The Trip That Changed My Life (Part 2)

Previously, I had started writing about the trip that changed my life and I wanted to go into a little more detail about it. If you’re a young adult who has received a cancer diagnosis, this trip is a must (and totally free!).

On this trip, I made some connections that I’m sure will last a lifetime. It was a little intimidating walking into a house with about 14 strangers and knowing that I would be spending a week with these people I had never met before, but that feeling was gone after about 30 minutes of being there.

Strangers with a shared experience

Everyone in that house shared a similar story: We were all diagnosed with cancer as a young adult. That was enough to form strong bonds just on the first night and we left feeling like family.

It was amazing how well we all clicked because everyone was so different. Some people were married with kids, others were single. Some lived in big cities, others lived in a town with a population of 800 people. There was even someone there that had never even been on a plane before!

Although this was a whitewater kayaking trip, none of us had ever been whitewater kayaking before. Most of us were a little intimidated, but the instructors made it so easy to learn. By the end of the trip, we were all able to make it through at least class 2 rapids and some of us opted to try the class 3 rapids. They taught us everything we needed to know when it came to kayaking from the basic paddle strokes to safety techniques. If someone wasn’t comfortable doing something, it was completely fine to sit out and watch. There was no judgment based on skill levels or how long it took someone to nail a new technique.

Growing and healing together

It was amazing to watch the people who were initially afraid to get in the water, progress everyday. The instructors were wonderful and gave us simple, easy to follow steps and really worked with us one-on-one when needed. Each day we would face a new challenge and we were able to put the skills we had already learned into practice. Confidence levels grew tremendously in people who walked in having such low self-esteem. I know because I was one of them.

When I think back to that trip though, kayaking is the last thing I think of. What stands out to me are the friendships I made and how emotionally healing this week was.

Read Part 1 of Crystal's story about the trip that changed her life and part 3!

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