A Trip of a Lifetime

11:34 PM

I wanted to end my Gratitude challenge with a trip that I am extremely grateful for. 

Imagine a high school Ana with a hunger to see the world but without the funds. I was invited to participate in an educational tour of Europe but the cost was out of the question. During my senior year, I applied to be a youth ambassador for Sister Cities to Reggio Emilia, Italy. I was accepted and thrilled. Even with a scholarship, I did not have the financial or parental support to attend. 

I shared my situation with some of my teachers who wrote letters of recommendation for me. With their encouragement and support, I had more than enough funds to go on this trip of a lifetime. This trip is so special to me because I was able to experience so much. I got on an airplane for the first time in my life! I remember checking into the airport and asking for help. I remember saying, "Hi, this is my first time flying and I'm not sure what to do." The airline attendant responded, "where are you headed?" I answered, "Italy". Her eyes got so big lol. She responded with something to the effect of - how are you going to Italy on your first flight ever?

I traveled to Europe for my first time and met amazing people. This is what makes Sister Cities, in my opinion, unique and priceless. We had locals showing us around town. We were able to visit schools and local restaurants. We stayed at host Italian homes and fostered relationships with Italian families. We ate homemade Italian food. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing it was. I had some of the best meals of my life. I tried bringing back as many treats as I could fit in my suitcase. And the gelato. Oooo eeeee. Have you had Snickers gelato? There's nothing quite like it. 

I am so grateful to the people that supported me and did not let me give up. I am grateful to my host family that welcomed me with open arms. This was a trip that I will never forget. This trip was definitely a catalyst for traveling abroad. It gave me more desire to travel the world. It let me know that I could actually make all of my travel dreams come true. I don't know about you, but traveling has formed in an addiction for me. The more I travel, the more I want to travel. 

I had the honor, four years after my trip to Italy to donate money to a young man's Sister Cities trip. As you read this, I hope it inspires you to take a risk or a leap and travel.  While I may not be able to donate to your trip, maybe I can support you with ideas? Travel ideas here. Or I can help you plan a trip? Send me an email! 30dreamsto30@gmail.com
Maybe you could share this with a friend who is thinking about traveling? I hope it's encouraging! This world is too beautiful not explore! Go somewhere you've been dreaming of visiting beause tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

Unfortunately, I saved all my digital files on only one computer that crashed about a year after my trip. I only have prints in a scrapbook. I had to go old-school. 

 Florence
 The cheese. 
 These are some of my favorite photos from my trip. 

Thank you so much for reading! I appreciate it more than you could imagine! 

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