From the first out of state trip with my family to my first out of country trip without my parents, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. I fell in love with traveling when my parents took me to New York and I was able to go out with my father and explore the city. Travel can almost be called my past time. My parents have always been a little uneasy sending me off to different countries alone, but they knew that to progress you must go out and experience things for yourself.
I remember my first trip to England and France with my middle school perfectly. I will never forget the freedom I felt hopping on the subway and feeling the excitement of not knowing exactly how to get back to the hotel. I would go out for hours, going to famous landmarks and finding beautiful scenes to copy down in my sketch book. It was calming and peaceful. I felt like I was on my own, I hardly knew what that meant.
The next trip I went on, I had an immense amount of work, not only to be accepted on this trip, but when I got to my destination. I was spending hours on projects for the People to People Ambassador group to Australia. I needed to raise enough money to get there too. This trip gave me the most satisfying feeling once accomplished. I met important members of Parliament and created a few small peace alliances with new friends I had made. After that trip to several different places in Australia, I knew I wanted to go on another. So after I started high school I went on the Chinese Trip to Beijing. This trip was cookie cutter, I loved it, but I wasn’t able to go out on my own and experience China for myself. I learned a lot about the actual language, but nothing about the cultural differences besides what they ate and learned in school.
One year later I got the best offer. A friend of mine told me a well respected school in Beijing needed a summer teacher. At this point I thought it would be impossible for me to get a job teaching English in China to high kids, but I gave it a shot. I sent them my resume, and to my surprise they called me. They said they liked that I had so much travel experience, but they had never hired a high school student, and they were reluctant to do so, but they did! I couldn’t believe it; I was off to China that summer. This trip opened my eyes to how you live a life. I had to live in an apartment, but my groceries and go to work every day on my own. Now those things didn’t seem too hard at first, after all I had done almost all of them here, but when I got to China, and had an empty house I felt the pressure. Everything was so different, I had to speak Chinese all the time, and simple tasks like buying toilet paper where almost impossible for me. If I didn’t know a word I was out of luck. People were very understanding; of course I am a 5’6’’ blond hair green eyed female teacher under the age of 18, they always picked me out for an American. Teaching in the classroom was what I thought would be the hardest part, but ended up being the simplest task. The kids were friendly and very smart. I got them to learn lots of English and also learned so much from them. This truly was my best traveling experience. After 4 months I felt like a new person, I came back to America as an adult who was ready for the rest of life.
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