Trip of a lifetime

Empowering students through summer travel experiences

Rajendra Singh

When I first saw I got accepted to American Trails West, I was both nervous and scared. I was scared of the activities, I was scared of the intimidation. Mostly I was scared of traveling alone. It felt both extraordinary, and out of my comfort zone. It was July 22, and I kept thinking about these things. But on the other hand, I thought. I get to go to my dream place which was California and spend 2 weeks worth of time there. I suddenly got more excited. Then I went to sleep eagerly waiting for tomorrow. The alarm rings, 5:00AM July 23rd. I rush to get ready and get in the car to get to JFK. I have my bags ready and all my stuff but my information is missing. I wonder what terminal am I in? I call all the project toal people but no one picks up. My mom and I do this for about 30 mins, then I hear a phone call from Stan. He tells me Terminal 7, and I rush over there. I feel relieved that another person that is in the American Trails group sees me and I am ready to go. I give my farewells, and meet Carey a counselor at ATW. My first words are: “I cannot wait for this amazing opportunity. Thank You.” I have to say being in an airport by myself for once felt nerve wracking and exhilarating. The thought of actually going to a state felt new and odd. Anyways, I go through security to meet my fellow peers. I didn’t know anyone but started to meet them. Now my best friends Ben and Thomas who I met first were very nice to me. They were my closest friends and could tell them anything. We introduced at first and I got to know a lot about them. I knew from the start I was gonna be the youngest and thought “oh no. I’m gonna get picked on.” But then I had some counselors, Ben and Thomas along with some other campers I met that it's ok to be the youngest, Anyways we land in San Francisco at 3:30PM. I call mom and lets just say after we land thats where the fun begins, The fun goes from going to various hotels with amazing views to going to different breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots to going to Alcatraz Island and going inside the prison to going to the Golden Gate Bridge and actually walking across it to going to pools and beaches and arcades. Plus a bonus: Going to Disneyland and Universal. It WAS SO MUCH FUN BEING THERE. I don’t regret anything except the limited amount of time there. If there was one thing I could change about Trip Of A Lifetime and ATW, is the time there. Instead of 2 weeks, you could make it like 3 or 4 or even 5 weeks. Wouldn’t that be awesome. Anyways I was worried because I did not know the activities but after Eric the group leader at ATW told us every time we were on the bus what we were gonna do tomorrow It got more and more exciting. Although the bus rides could have been shorter. When riding from San Francisco to San Diego and to Los Angeles, I wish the rides could have been 1 to 2 hours. Not like 4, 5 hours, not even exaggerating. Anyways I did various amounts of water activities. From swimming in pools and bathtubs with girls, to tubing with my friends to kayaking, to rafting where it was my first time floating, I definitely went out of my comfort zone. Although, I almost went outside the boundary of my convert zone by almost drowning in 4 feet of water, the experiences and the friendships there I will never forget and I will cherish forever. ATW Cali Cruising 15, was definitely one of the BEST SUMMERS EVER. Meeting new people to doing new things to seeing awesome girls, the memories are too great to forget, I wish I had more time to do more and more activities, but I still keep in contact with my peers today. Especially Ben and Thomas, those are my buddies as along with everyone else. Even though I was the youngest, I made 39, no 45 including counselors friends. I loved everyone there. Thank You Campers. Thank You Counselors. Thank You Xavier (the bus driver.) Thank You Stan for the information. And Thank You Project Toal for making this really a Trip Of A Lifetime that I could never ever forget. Thank You SO MUCH!

  • testimonialImg
    "I may be multiracial and I may be living in the ghetto but what I am going to do with my life is going to be historical."
    "I may be multiracial and I may be living in the ghetto but what I am going to do with my life is going to be historical."

    Alphonso

  • testimonialImg
    “This trip made me realize that there’s more to the world than the South Bronx.”
    “This trip made me realize that there’s more to the world than the South Bronx.”

    Selina

  • testimonialImg
    "The trip has taught me to have confidence in myself and believe that anything can come true."
    "The trip has taught me to have confidence in myself and believe that anything can come true."

    Madelyn

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