Last summer (July 2016) I went on my first trip with Travel for Teens on the Costa Rica Adrenaline trip. In short, this was the best trip of my life. Everyone was so kind, positively-minded, and energetic! My counselors (Marco, Danielle, Sarah, and Katherine-CIT) were outstanding! They were always encouraging us to try out new things and were all so hilarious! I really can not say enough good things about them. If I went on another trip, I would try to request them for my trip because they made the trip extra fun. I think that by the end of the trip, all the teens and counselors became such close friends because we were constantly spending time with one another, that by the end, it felt like we kinda became one big family haha. I am a shy person and was pretty nervous about meeting new people before this trip especially since I was coming all the way from Los Angeles on my own. However, after only a few hours of spending time with everyone, I felt almost at home! On my last day, I kid you not, I remember we were all at the airport saying our goodbyes and most of us were crying because we just became so close with one another! In fact, some of us started discussing our plans for future trips together.
I enjoyed every single part of our trip whether it was hiking to waterfalls, ziplining, or even simply just riding in the buses. We followed the itinerary which had detailed activities for each of the 10 days we spent there. We got to go water rafting, hiking to waterfalls, ziplining, canyoning, horseback riding, visit hot springs, surfing, and so much more. The guides for some of our activities were so patient and had great stories to tell us. I surfed for the first time on this trip and I learned so quickly with the help of the instructors. I also spent my 16th birthday on this trip, and they were nice enough to buy me a small cake and made sure it was well spent. Definitely my favorite birthday yet!
Although the hotels we stayed in were, I believe, considered 3 star hotels, they were great. They were very clean and spacious. The first one we stayed in had lots of extra space, a pool, the beds were comfortable, and the food was delicious. They also had really tasty Costa Rican coffee which I would definitely want to have again! The second hotel we stayed in was also good. It was more centered in a local beach town (about a 1 minute walk to the beach) which gave us the opportunity to watch several beautiful sunsets from our hotel rooms. We even got to hang out with some dogs and cats who would wander around both hotels haha. Throughout our entire trip, it was raining every now and then with the occasional thunder storms, but during those times when we had to stay in our rooms, we would all play games, talk, laugh, and oh boy did our counselors have some funny jokes and stories!
Throughout our adventure, we were also given a good amount of freedom. The counselors/directors made sure that we were always safe, but still gave us enough room to do what we wanted in our free time. Essentially, they did not treat us like little children who were irresponsible, which I thought was really great. I had been to other camps in the past and most of them didn't respect us and treat us as well as Travel for Teens did.
My trip with Travel for Teens made me feel limitless. It's everything you would expect and more. Every single time I get to travel to a new destination, I simply feel invincible and I greatly thank Travel for Teens for introducing me to that feeling.
In the future I hope to go on as many more trips with Travel for Teens as I can. I am hoping to do more programs with them such as "Europe for Older Teens: Greece, Italy, and the Islands," "Thailand for Older Teens," as well as "South Africa Service, Adventure, and Safari." I hope to become more well-rounded from these trips and learn more about the rest of the world, while also opening myself up to new experiences and meeting new people. I hope to gain more appreciation for other cultures, make friends with strangers, and to better learn to enjoy the simplest things in life. I believe teenagers are always trying to figure out what they like, what they don't like, or basically trying to find a sense of self identity; it's part of growing up. These trips really helped me personally to learn more about myself and I think they can benefit others in the same way. I think every now and then, it's good for people to take themselves a bit out of their comfort zones and I travelling really pushes you to do that. Travelling just really opens up a lot of new perspectives on many things and takes you to a whole new place (literally).