I feel that people seem to like the phrase “life-changing” a lot, and use it to describe just about any experience that they really enjoyed. Sure, I have had many amazing experiences that I will never forget, but none that I would label truly “life-changing”. This mindset of mine completely changed with my first Rustic trip in the beautiful country of Thailand. First off, the people you get to meet are amazing. Whether it be your fellow students, the staff, or the locals, everybody is so open and friendly. I think it’s safe to say that nobody really felt alone on the trip and that everybody was able to form some great relationships. Also, this trip really allows for so many fun activities, all while immersing us in the local culture. One awesome thing that we did was try a bunch of unique local Thai cuisine, and it was really great to be able to try new and different things together with an equally inexperienced bunch of people. We even got to eat crickets, which were surprisingly tasty! Lastly, the service on this trip was great and so meaningful. I’ve volunteered at my local library shelving books before, but that can’t compare at all with what we got to do on this trip (of course, working at the library was/is still a good thing). We got to do inspiring things such as building a house for a struggling mother with epilepsy, teaching Thai schoolchildren English and how to swim, preparing meals for hospital patients, and starting an organic farm at a local school. It was motivating to know the backgrounds of all the service projects and it provided us with some insight on what the situation is like over there, regarding various aspects of life. One of the best things about the service for me was that I got to do a lot of physical exercise and help out the community at the same time. Back to the “life-changing” aspect of this whole experience: After I’ve returned home, I’ve been exercising a lot more, and I actually owe that to all the outside work we did on this trip. Also, I feel like a more open person, more open to new things and to meeting new people. I am honestly looking forward to starting school again and trying to make some new friends. All in all, my first Rustic trip was such an awesome experience, and today I will be signing up for another one for next summer!!! Thank you so much Rustic Pathways!