During the school year, I was anxiously anticipating summer, but was uncertain of how I would be spending my summer days. . Was I going to go to Dominican Republic? Was I going to work or was I just going to stay in New York and enjoy my summer? One day my friend, Marlin came up to me and told me about “Trip of a Lifetime.” I was stunned and wanted to apply. I went to my school counselor and told her that I wanted to attend this trip and she helped me through the whole process. After I got everything together, I felt somewhat nervous for the opportunity so I told my friend, Byron, to apply for the opportunity to win a scholarship and go to the “West Coast.” After speaking with my counselor we did everything required for the trip and in a few months found out that I was elected to receive the scholarship. I was chosen to go on America Trails West: California Cruisin’.
On July 4th, a Wednesday morning, I arrived at the airport to meet everybody that was going on the same trip as me. When I go to the airport I was nervous and a bit timid. One counselor came up to me and said, “Hey, are you part of ATW?” and I replied, “Yes.’’ After checking-in, we boarded the plane and in 5 hours got to San Francisco. In San Francisco, I had a lot of fun because I was a part of many amazing activities: I got to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge, I went to Alcatraz, I ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and more. Then, we went to Lake Tahoe and that was where I had the most fun. In Lake Tahoe I went water skiing. Water skiing turned out to be really hard, but something I enjoyed and will always remember doing. Then, we went west to Los Angeles and got to visit Disney Land, Universal Studios, UCLA, and the Improv Comedy Club. Finally, we went on a Carnival Cruise. I am pretty sure that I and gained a lot of weight on the cruise because of the non-stop amounts of food we were given throughout the day. At the Cruise we attended a Teen Club, a fantasy restaurant where we had to dress-up, and we had room service! After the Carnival Cruise, we had one more day left in Los Angeles before heading back to New York.
I didn’t go on this trip just to have fun, but I also wanted to learn and grow from it. Mostly everything I learned was because of the friends I made on the trip. They taught me how to interact with people and how to step out my comfort zone. This experience was great and taught me that everybody has that part of them that is insecure, but if you’re friendly and willing to open up, you can learn a lot about the world from others. Going to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe exposed me to a vastly different environment than the neighborhood I live in. If I continue to be successful, I can strive to make my neighborhood better, like the regions of the country I visited. This trip showed me how my neighborhood should look and now it is my job to fix it and make it a better place for everybody. With all these lessons learned, all the friends I made, and all these places I went to would not have been possible without Trip of a Lifetime. Words do not express how truly thankful I am.