How A Trip Across America Taught Me About Life
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How A Trip Across America Taught Me About Life

Shoutout to Teens Westward Bound.

How A Trip Across America Taught Me About Life

Four years ago, I went on a 23-day trip to California and back with 80 strangers. Now, with that description, some may think I was in an epic thriller movie and sometimes I even thought so. I can't even begin to describe this trip because it was beyond words. I can, however, tell you how this trip helped me figure out who I am and who I will be as a person.

In movies, you see these incredible journeys of finding out who you are, and while I used to laugh at that overly dramatic part, I realized I had a cross-country journey to figure out who I was, not much difference there.

I set out on Teens Westward Bound the summer after my 10th grade year. A lot had happened in the past year, and I was ready to get away from my boring hometown. I was expecting an adventure of a lifetime, but I gained so much more.

I learned a lot about myself that summer. I learned that I was very capable of figuring out things when I usually had relied on my parents' help. I had to keep track of money, decide what I should buy and make sure I had enough money to last me 23 days. I had to figure out how to use many different laundry machines and how to use a pay-phone. I learned you can survive without a cell phone constantly in your hand (SHOCKER). I no longer second-guessed myself, knowing that I could figure it out if things didn't work the first time. I gained confidence in myself and my future.

My self-concept changed that summer. I realized I wasn't an introvert like I thought I was (and now, I don't understand how I thought I was). I could make friends very easy and loved meeting new people. I realized that EVERYONE is different, but no one is better than another. Just because someone believed one thing and I believed the opposite doesn't mean I can't be friends with them. I learned respect on a totally different level. Every state we passed through held different people than the ones before. I became more sure of myself, more open-minded, and my respect for others increased.

Some people may say America isn't that great like other countries, but I beg to differ. I have been abroad and seen many beautiful sites, but America will always be the top of my favorite places. We are a melting pot like no other country which shapes the uniqueness of this country. I learned more about myself traveling America in 23 days than I learned living abroad for five weeks.

America taught me that there is beauty everywhere, even among the oil rigs in Kansas, that respect is the most important thing you should have for others and that you don't have to be anyone but yourself. I learned it is okay to laugh, to cry and to sing through life.

My Teens Westward Bound trip taught me more than how beautiful America is, it taught me about life and the wonders that fill it.

So before you begin to doubt America and its beauty, explore it. We can learn a lot from the people and places our nation holds.

If you haven't noticed, my TWB experience was one of a kind. It will always be one of my most favorite trips. I am so thankful for Dennis Deaton and the rest of the gang for keeping this wonderful experience running. Hopefully one day, I will be a counselor for 80 teens traveling across America, finding themselves along the way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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