Ashley Contreras

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Someone once said "We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."I didn't get the meaning until now. Trip of a lifetime showed me that I have not been living. For years I felt empty. Like I was a puzzle and I was missing a piece. Every Time someone asked me what do I want to be when I grow up, I had no clue. I shut down. I've been pushing myself to figure this out before high school ends. What I didn't know was that when the time comes I'll know.

My work is my priority. Thats all I've known for sure about. But along the way, I forgot some things. Communication. I never really had a voice for anything. I was quite. Which led to people believing I'm shy. Which became a fact as the years passed by. My life isnt full of adventures and great stories to tell. Although, that changed on July 8th, 2015. On that day struck a new beginning. That was the day my new story began. No. My new stories. Not a new life, but a changed life.

On my trip I made a bunch of great friends. At first, I was worried that I wouldn't stick to my promise that I'll let go of my old shy self. However, on the second day I adjusted. That day I met 4 great friends. From that moment on I knew that I will not go through this great adventure alone. And along the way I met 3 to 4 more friends. And together we made the best out of this trip. We went to Amusement parks, movies, bowling, golfing, zip lining, surfing, among other activities. And most of these activities I have either never imagined myself do this back at home or I haven't done whatsoever.

The trip was very amusing. Even the little small things caught my attention. The first of four camping nights was probably the worst first day for anyone in your perspective. However, the bad situations that occurred that day brought everyone together. The first day was scary for a shy girl like me. We had to build our tents on a campsite. However, I was very sick the first week I went on the trip due to prior sickness i caught back home. So I asked if it were okay if I stayed on the bus to not bother anyone with my cough alongside getting the kids and counselor in my tent sick as well. They said it was alright and I did. That night on the bus was cold, scary, dark, and lonely. Then it started pouring rain and thunder brightened the night sky. And all I can hear was the sound of the lightning and then footsteps. A flashing light caught my eyes and blinded me for about a minute. It was one of my friends i met on the trip,Fatou. At first it was anyway. The lights on the bus started to project brighter and brighter and more footsteps started approaching. Then I was told that everyone's tents feel on them due to the rain pressure.Everyone slept in the bus with me. Or tried to sleep anyway. Except for one tent. The tent I was supposed to be in. As we stayed together on that uncomfortable bus that night the other 13 kids missing from our ongoing trip were stuck at an airport for about 10 hours. However, from the stories i’ve heard and the pictures I've seen the denver crew, which they were called, stuck together through that horrible situation. That first day was our best in your average bad day.