AAVE England Ireland Wales - My Family Travels

     “If the wind is too strong, just hold on tight!” yelled Peter, one of the three group leaders.

Meanwhile, you’re on top of mountain ridge, Crib Goch, 3000 feet above sea level with winds swirling around, a thick, dense fog approaching and not to mention a rain cloud coming. For you and nine other fellow campers, this is your first time hiking, climbing and scaling a mountain. The group, one by one, slowly scales across the “less” steep side of the mountain. Running through your head is your voice saying, “Do not look down, do not look down…Slowly, slowly …I can do it.” You remember to keep four points of contact and to check your handholds to avoid rocks rolling down the sheer and endless drop beneath you.

As you hold your position and wait for everyone to catch up, you are in a caught gaze at the opaque, white fog making the ground seem like a ceaseless fall onto heavenly clouds. Soon the peak is finally in sight. A surge of confidence and accomplishment fills your self-esteem and uplifts your mood. The breathtaking view and rewarding experience leaves you feeling invincible. After three hours of mountaineering, 3560 feet in altitude, you have successfully climbed, injury-free, Mount Snowdon, the sixth highest peak in the world!

This summer I made one of the best decisions of my life, I attended a teen adventure group called AAVE where I traveled throughout Ireland, Wales and England. Despite some tentative remarks from loved ones, I still chose to go. I spent twenty-one action filled days with twelve amazing people from all over the US and Canada. Our itinerary one day in Northern Wales, consisted of hiking up Mount Snowdon. We assumed the hike was just numerous steps leading to the summit of the mountain that would burn our calves but we were completely wrong. Everyone except the optimistic leaders dreaded it especially us girls who we were in less physical shape and would be embarrassed if we lagged behind.

Every day we had an itinerary of the day’s events which included a series of activities such as surfing, kayaking, cliff jumping, horseback riding, and indoor and outdoor rock climbing. Us campers had specific groups where we would clean, set up camp or cook the meals. Cook crew was everyone’s favorite because the guys didn’t know how to cook which made it really entertaining. Some of them didn’t even know how to make Mac and Cheese even though it’s microwavable! Sightseeing, touring cities and traveling acted as rest days from all the activities. Everything was fun even driving days. They were filled with everyone jamming to music, laughing at Welsh signs that looked like gibberish and funny conversations.  During leisure we’d sometimes spend it walking to the beach or simply talking. Each day we did our after dinner ritual that consisted of a game followed by a question of the day, glows and gripes (the good and bad of that day) and favorite quote or moment of the day. These rituals really brought everyone closer together and helped create many memories.

My AAVE trip is one of my favorite experiences.  At Heathrow Airport I was on the verge of tears because I knew it was over and that it was the last time we’d be together. Some of us still keep in touch through Facebook and want to attend another AAVE trip together next summer!  I’ve talked about this trip a million times since I’ve been back and I’ve convinced some of my friends to do one and so should you!

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