My trip with Rustic Pathways was the greatest gift that my parents ever could have given me. I had never traveled without my family before so I was nothing short of apprehensive but Rustic made all of my nerves go away. Before my trip even began I received a box with a shirt, a journal, informational material, and some fun stickers and patches. This got me so excited and also made my parents and I both feel 100% better about the organization that I was traveling with. When I went to get ready for my trip I was of course questioning what to pack and I found a packing list right on the Rustic Pathways website which made it so much easier and literally had everything I needed the whole time I was there on it. When it came time to leave for the trip I was traveling with school and when all twenty some of us arrived in New Orleans the rustic staff was so prepared to start our trip with us! They did everything possible to make us comfortable from accommodating food allergies that group members had to stopping at stores for anything that we needed along the way. The base house that we stayed in was absolutely amazing and it gave us the opportunity to connect as a group by cooking our meals and spending time together in the common areas.
The service part of the trip was the best experience of my life. I was able to connect with people form all walks of life and listen to their stories and how they were impacted by Hurricane Katrina as it destroyed their home. I was able to rebuild houses, help at a food cupboard, and learn about the area. We spent the majority of our time doing service but we also had time to appreciate the culture and the history of the city that we were helping.
Since I have come home from this trip my life has been directly affected by what I experienced. Once I got back to school, the other girls in my group and myself gave a presentation to our school about what we did and what we learned and we did continuing service projects to benefit New Orleans. I fell so in love with the city that this past year I took my mom and grand mom to New Orleans so that they could get a glimpse of the same thing.
All around this trip with Rustic Pathways was an amazing and life changing experience and I am overly confident in saying that it would not have been the same if I did not go with the Rustic company. I am still to this day in touch with the leaders that I had on my trip. I loved the company so much that I went on another trip to Costa Rica the next year and I am currently planning my next trip to go on hopefully next summer.