Imagine this scenario:
You have been with your Rustic Pathways group for roughly 24 hours on your Southeast Asian Adventure. You notice the temperature is a bit hotter than you’re used too, your breakfast plate is piled with foods you don’t recognize, and you can’t remember the names of everyone in your group just yet.
Flash forward 48 hours:
The sound of a rushing waterfall is your alarm clock this morning as you wake up in your treehouse situated above the jungle floor. You smell Laos coffee brewing so your throw on your hiking boots, caked in an attractive layer of mud from your jungle trek the previous day. Noticing the mud, you remember the first day of your adventure. Your clean boots and first-day jitters makes you chuckle.
1. Find the Courage to Introduce Yourself
Ekanki C. participated in Rustic Pathways Public Health in the Caribbean program. She wrote that meeting new people was what made her RP experience so memorable. “What made it so special was definitely the wonderful people I met in the country who were so kind, funny and eager to show us their lifestyle and share their culture, as well as the girls I got to experience the journey with.”
2. Expect and Embrace Communication Barriers
Illana Hamer took the leap and joined a Rustic Pathways gap year, Spanish Immersion and Service. In recounting her experience, she remembers the challenges of being absorbed in the Spanish language. “…where I really grew, what I really learned, manifested itself in a combination of conversations, connections, and moments.”
Without even realizing it, what it means to be “out of your comfort zone” has shifted within just a few short days. Rustic Pathways alumni and staff know all too well about escaping that comfort zone and they shared four ways high school summer travel helps you make a break for adventure.
3. Remind Yourself That It’s Ok to Be A Beginner
Mcckenzie F. spent two summers working with RP in Fiji. She’s dedicated her summers to tackling new experiences from making coconut oil to earning her scuba certification. Check our her Rustic Pathways blog post about trying new things. “The skills I gained this summer came from leaving the comfort of my surroundings and immersing myself in a completely different way of life. I got to know another part of myself that was there all along but I’d been too worried to show before.”
4. Allow Yourself to be Humbled by Your Environment
Trevor S. participated on a Rustic Pathways service trip in Tanzania and reflected on the experience saying, “I awoke from my nap on a cramped two-hour bus ride to a brilliant view of the African savannah straight out of The Lion King. The country’s vast, expansive national parks and rolling plains are largely untouched.”
On your high school summer travel adventure with Rustic Pathways, you will be exposed to breathtaking landscapes, unfamiliar languages, unique foods, and diverse cultural traditions. We understand that the combination of these magical experiences will place you outside of what you know to be familiar. However, we believe this new realm of experience and understanding is what makes out teen travel programs so special for our students.
Liz first developed a passion for travel while summiting Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rustic student. This taught her at an early age the importance of experiential education for students around the world. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston. When Liz is not hopping from restaurant to restaurant in San Francisco or buried in a New York Times bestseller, she can be found packing her bags to spend time with family and friends.