My signature project entailed a trip to Australia and New Zealand. The trip had an outdoor theme so we went on lots of hikes, chose from unique activities, and got to explore an entire new world.
My understanding of the world definitely changed as a result of this trip. It made me feel a sense of how little I have seen in this large world. I have been out of the country before, but Australia and New Zealand just seemed like their own little worlds. Seeing all of the different sites in these countries made me realize something. As people, we often trap ourselves in our little world we call the United States, but we don’t venture elsewhere because maybe it is too expensive, not enough time or whatever excuse. I realized that after this trip how much I have often trapped myself by making several different excuses and not experiencing these great attractions in person.
In Australia, I was able to see many different unique scenes which included the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House The feeling of being in countries like Australia and New Zealand was out of this world. Animals only seen in aquariums as a little kid, appeared right before my eyes. It was definitely an awakening. The Sydney Opera House was a whole new story. I knew it existed because I was finding Nemo, but I wasn’t able to completely grasp its shape or size until I saw it for myself. The way that the Sydney Opera House lit up the night sky is still embedded in the back of my mind.
New Zealand was similar to Australia but had several differences. First, the nature felt much different. When walking in New Zealand, it felt like the area was much less civilized. This was extremely apparent in one of our first stops, Doubtful Sound. The area we were at felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. However, when the sky turned dark and I looked up I saw some of the brightest stars I had ever seen since there was much less light pollution. The stars that I saw still awe me to this day. Another site that was awe inspiring was Lake Wanaka. As a group, we all went kayaking on the lake and it was one of the clearest lakes that I had ever seen. As we all paddled, the ripples on our paddles just seemed to disappear into nothing.
There were 24 people in total who went on this trip and not a single one gave me trouble. That is incredible. The interactions and relations I formed on this trip I hope will last a lifetime. Our group had so much fun, and I believe all of us got along with each other despite our different career paths we chose. I think I learned how to play three different card games as everyone was so helpful and understanding of one another. I have been on several group trips, but I think this is by far one of the best groups of people that I have had the honor of collaborating with on countries halfway across the world.
The transformation that this trip has bought me matters significantly as someone who has one year left of school. I now know that have 23 extra people in this world who would have my back in the very least, but I think I experienced a great deal more than just 23 extra friends. I got to see places that only a handful of people in this world have gotten to experience.
Most people only have pictures or videos of what might possibly go on in Australia and New Zealand, but they don’t know what it feels like to stand and look up at the Sydney Opera house. They don’t know what it feels like to snorkel and look down at a clown-fish. They don’t know what it feels like to look up at a clear sky and see more stars than they ever could have imagined. I think these feelings mean something, and I hope they will bring me good fortune in the years to come.