It was in August of 2006 when I recevied a letter in the mail stating that I had been chosen as a student ambassador of the United States to travel to Australia in the summer of 2007. This letter had put a giant grin on my face and had me curious for what adventures I would go on during my upcoming summer.
It felt like it had taken forever and the day was just never going to come when it was actually time to depart from Denver International Airport. Between August of 2006 and June of 2007, there were about four meetings (each lasting a couple hours) which discussed what would be needed for the trip, what activities would take place, safety procedures, and basically all of the little details that all parents could ask for regarding the safety of their children.
The day finally came on June 10, 2007 that it was time to fly across the United States into a continent that I had never been into before. It was a total of around twenty hours on planes before my group had landed, but it was a relief once we had arrived. Automatically, an adventure had begun and we were off to participate in an Australian activity. Our first stop was in Sydney and we travelled to the Sydney Opera House and later dined at the Hard Rock Cafe. The following day I was aware that we were going to visit the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but what I wasn’t aware of was that we were going to climb all the way to the top. I was really freaked out and I wanted to back out of it due to my fear of heights, but I decided to go ahead and give it a try and decided that it was one of the best experiences of my life when it was finished. By then, I had nearly conquered my fear of heights!
For the next week or so, my group went on a bunch of tours, did a bunch of shopping, and visited the beach a handful of times. We went to this camp that tried to show everybody that they are worth something and that obstacles in everyday life are ones that we have the opportunity to overcome. At this camp, I yet again had to face one of my fears: the fear of falling. I had the opportunity to zipline through Australian forests! I had been standing on the platform right before I would’ve had to jump for five or ten minutes before I decided to give it a try. As soon as I jumped, my stomach had turned in a knot and I was scared beyond belief. Within a minute or so the zipline adventure was over and I hadn’t believed that I actually faced that fear. What an amazing feeling it was! I eventually discovered that one of the messages the camp was trying to send us was that fear and excitement are the exactly the same feeling: it just depends on how a person perceives the feeling is how they will view it.
Through the next two weeks of this trip, I just tried to live my life to the fullest in a continent I may not have the chance to ever return to again.
I returned home and decided that I had transformed into another person. I appreciated what I had so much more and I decided to give everything a try no matter how hard it appeared to be for me. I had gotten rid of the pessimistic side of me that once pulled me down.