I have been very fortunate in the fact that my parents could afford to take me on several family vacations throughout my life. I have also been able to go on cross country trips with the high school band and college organizations. I have been to almost every state within our country. However, every time that I have traveled it has been with a large group of people (5 or more) and I have been under someone’s supervision.
This summer two of my friends and I decided we wanted to spend a week in California (one of my favorite places to go) just the three of us. I bet you’re thinking well technically you’re not alone, and I know but this was the first time I traveled with a small group where I was in charge of myself.
I have to admit I thought this was going to be so easy, we had help booking the hotel and flight and getting out there proved no problem! We tackled several small problems together such as; buying ham and bread for sandwiches during the day as we could not afford to eat out all day everyday, or deciding to utilize Uber as none of us were old enough to rent a car. We were happy go lucky; we spent the first couple of days hitting up the tourist spots such as West Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, and even Universal Studios.
Then came day three…being 20 none of us wanted to spend the extra time sitting down to make an itinerary…once we ran out of the classic tourist spots to visit we didn’t know what to do. We would try to decide and came up with nothing, especially at night! We weren’t quite 21 and so we could not find a whole lot to do for night life. It got frustrating! We spent three hours hiking down a highway one day only to end up at the Hollywood sign hours later. This opened my eyes to all the people that had planned trips for me, how difficult it had been and how much money they must of spent.
Despite the frustration we were still enjoying ourselves, I mean we were in California! Then came our biggest mistake of all…it was the final day that we were in California. It turns out however, that we should have headed home the day before. Without the itinerary in front of us all three of us forgot that we were supposed to leave the day before we actually did! We ended up paying somewhere around an extra $500 dollars after paying for the extra night at the hotel and a new flight ticket. We also ended up carrying our luggage around California (luckily we only brought carry-ons) for the day; we went to the movies and shopping with our luggage…for 11 hours.
All in all I learned a lot, I learned that some things require planning. I gained a whole new respect for the people in charge of trips. I also learned that you’re never too old to ask for help and sometimes you don’t know everything! I learned a lot about myself too. How I handle stress, what kind of decisions I make in a split second, how I handle criticism, and more. If you’re ever looking to learn more about yourself, others, and life in general I suggest that you travel on your own or with a small group. I suggest that you make mistakes like these and grow from them! It will make you truly grateful that you are given the opportunity to do these things.