My UNP and YES Trips - My Family Travels

             I am Alex Porter from Eureka, Nevada.  I am now seventeen and a well traveled youth.  I’m presently more confident and wish to travel more, thanks to two trips that changed my life; the Oddfellows and Rebekahs United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth and the NRA’s Youth Education Summit.

            In the summer of 2008 I was very lucky to have been chosen as a delegate of the United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth.  I traveled to Philadelphia, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Niagara Falls and Canada.  I flew with four other delegates, all seasoned travelers and seniors in high school.  It was an intimidating proposition for this small town boy, but it changed my life forever.  I made many friends and saw numerous amazing sights.  It made me appreciate the fact that there are so many wonders in the world to see and experience.  For souvenirs from the trip, I packed two addressed priority mail boxes, in the bottom of my suitcase.  After I had purchased enough souvenirs to fill a box I sealed it and sent it home.  I had less in my suitcase, room to buy more, and it was like Christmas when I got home and opened the boxes.

        The following summer of 2009 I was selected as a delegate for the NRA Youth Education Summit.  As the only delegate from Nevada I traveled alone to Washington, D.C., a daunting prospect for myself to be sure.  I would be changing planes in Los Angels, CA on the way to Washington, D.C. Dulles Airport.  In preparation I went online and viewed maps and information regarding the terminals, shuttles, and times; printing these maps and creating a plan of action I felt prepared for anything.

            Once I arrived at LAX I felt confident in changing terminals; everything was well-marked and I could see the online map in my mind.  I did have a few moments of uncertainty when the first terminal shuttle passed me by, but that wasn’t going to stop me!  I knew that the shuttles came by every twelve to fifteen minutes, so I would have another opportunity.  I also found it helpful to watch the seasoned travelers in the crowd.  I boarded the next shuttle and completed the plane change successfully.

            When I arrived at Dulles airport in Washington D.C. I was met by a representative of the YES program.  We were all given t-shirts to wear on the plane trips so we could be easily identified in the airports upon arrival.  I was happy I packed one suitcase which made an easy retrieval at baggage claim.  Having a cell phone and the means to call my parents, friends, or the representatives on both trips was comforting.  I knew that if something unplanned had occurred I would be able to call for help.

            Traveling alone was a bit scary, but I had a great feeling of accomplishment when I arrived safely home.  I know that traveling is something that I have just begun doing and really long to do a lot more of.  I learned many traveling tips such as: flat-rate postal boxes are a must for souvenirs, one suitcase is a luxury, a cell phone is a necessity, and to research your destination.  This small town boy has learned that there are sites to see and places to visit outside of this secluded valley.  While viewing the wonders of the world on television or in movies can be exciting; the first hand experiences of those places is incredible.

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