Rong Luo

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Trip of a Lifetime

It was three o’clock in the morning, I remembered starting the day with putting on my Trip of a Lifetime t-shirt, dragging my suitcase to the car, and heading to the airport. I couldn’t wait to start this journey, and I was all set to go.

My heart was throbbing with excitement while I was looking out from the window of our plane. I watched this huge New York City gradually turned into a small puzzle and disappeared in the cloud. After a five-hour flight, I would be in the other side of the continent- Santa Barbara, California- a whole new city which I haven’t known about. Leaving from New York and my folks certainly made me feel alone and worried. Yet, I preferred to think more about this trip. I thought to myself, “What would life be like there?”

So, what was life like in Santa Barbara? After spending two weeks there, my answer was: “the best trip ever!” Two weeks weren’t a long time, but it was strong enough to make me understand why it is called the “trip of a lifetime.” I called it trip of a lifetime, because it was a mirror, reflecting all the flavors of life.

The many “first-time things” made up the most exciting part of the trip: I traveled without any of my family member for the first time! I visited California for the first time! I lived in a college campus for the first time! I learned to surf for the first time! I visited a church for the first time! I rode a roller coaster in Six Flags for the first time! I tried In-n-Out burger for the first time!......There were so many new things that I have never tried before, and it was so fun to experience them all with new friends!

True friendship, joys, and laughters were the sweetest parts of my trip. Traveling with new people gave me a great chance to communicate and make new friends. This was so meaningful to me that I gained more confidence about myself. Being the only immigrant kid inside a group of over 60 native-born English speakers was my bitter fear, but I viewed it as an uniqueness after I gained self-confidence by making friends with them.

The trip of a lifetime did not only help me gain self-confidence, but also taught me a lesson about being thankful and hopeful to life. The most meaningful part of my trip was to be a volunteer in the “Unity Shoppe,” a non-profit organization that offers life supplies for the local people who had difficulties in their life. We helped in the shop as volunteers to help the local neighborhood become better. I watched people coming into the store everyday, getting the things they needed, and leaving with their happy smiles. I realized it is such a valuable thing to help the people in need.

There were so many memorable things happened in this trip, and it was totally an incredible experience. Beginning with the landing in California and ending with saying goodbye to new friends, these memorable two weeks did not only bring me the joy of traveling, but also a better understanding of a community and a lesson about being positive and open minded, and this is going to be inspiring for my whole life. Thanks to Stan and the Trip of a lifetime team who offers me this opportunity to travel and have a great trip of a lifetime! For me. the meaning of this trip was not only to have fun, but also integrating into a community and making yourself a better person.