The one piece of knowledge I’ve learned on this trip that I could tell anyone would be just say yes. While we are all college kids making our way in the world and limited funds, some of my favorite memories have been because I said yes regardless. I’m fortunate enough to have a father who said go have the trip of a lifetime and we’ll figure out how to pay for it once you get back, just don’t get too spend happy. I know I’m going to have to work 2 jobs and extra shifts all summer but it was totally worth it. I don’t come from a wealthy family, but a family who understands the value of a dollar. And you can’t put a dollar amount on once in a lifetime experiences, opportunities and memories. Follow your dreams and do what you want to do because you can always make more money tomorrow but you’re not going to live forever. Because I just said yes, I’ve got to go New Zealand where I met people who have become like family, seen the almost extinct bird of New Zealand, the kiwi, got to go jet boating on lake Wakatipu, Shotover and Kawarau rivers, and go on some breathtaking heights with even more incredible views. Saying yes has given memories I never could’ve imagined and will forever be thankful I just took the leap of faith.
It’s hard nowadays to make myself take the leap. Everything seems to have a price tag attached that until recently my parents took upon themselves. As I’m getting older and becoming more responsible for myself, financially and figuratively, these price tags are now something I have to deal with. Mistakes in school can cost thousands, one stupid decision and alternate life’s journey in more ways than one and “on the whim” decisions can cost more than I ever realized. New Zealand, and studying abroad in general, was one of those “on the whim” decisions but one I would make a thousand times over just to be able to experience these past few weeks all over again. I now have memories I’ll hopefully never forget, people who started out as strangers but have become close friends since no one has experienced what we have over the past month and a changed, for the better, version of myself that I don’t think wouldn’t existed otherwise all because I just said yes.