All The Feelings - Embarking on a New Adventure
Updated: Jan 17, 2021
Whenever you do something for the first time you have a whirlwind of emotions. You are excited, nervous, scared, even doubt can come into your mind! And you guessed it, going to summer camp is not any different. I want to explain how I felt during the first moments of my adventure. When I first arrived on my campsite and exploring all the different cultures and quirks of the lifestyle I chose to do for my summer. I want you to know that these are all normal feelings and you are not the only person that feels this way - trust me!
You have gone through the whole process of actually getting placed and all the paperwork to be there. But now you are getting on that plane. Never mind the first time going to summer camp, this was my first time getting on a plane by myself. The first time I have gone through customs by myself. Yes, I felt nervous going through customs, but doesn’t everyone! You don’t know if you are going to get selected for a random bag check, if you forgot you had water in your bottle, if you forgot to empty your bag out before the packed your hand luggage. All of this is going through everyone’s mind at customs, you are not the only one. But honestly, the physical journey was fine.
Upon landing, that is when my excitement levels were high. Touching down on the tarmac and knowing that you are finally here, after so much planning and it is finally happening. The excitement gets you through immigration, luggage and eventually getting a cab to your accommodation.
My accommodation was a hostel, which many people like myself who were going to summer camp were staying. Once at the hostel, I was a little apprehensive. I had never stayed in a hostel before, I was stepping into unchartered territory. My first hostel experience was a female 16-bed dorm style room. Now as a first experience this was jumping into the deep end. 8 bunk beds and every bed had a locker - which was suitcase size - so you could lock up your belongings – so I would suggest taking a padlock with you so you can utilize the locker and feel confident and secure with your belongings.
Now sharing this space with 15 other strangers can be scary; you do not know these people, and you are expected to live with them even if it is only for one night. However, the greatest thing about hostels are that everyone is kind of in the same boat as you, they are on their own adventure. They might not know anyone either. My advice is smile at people, be friendly, maybe strike up a conversation. People are less scary once you speak to them. Yes, granted not everyone is going to want to speak to you back, but at least you tried and nine times out of ten people will be friendly and laid back.
Now you are less than 24 hours into this new country, you had not the best sleep, sleeping in a room of 16 people and you are summoned to an early morning orientation. I was definitely not in the right head-space to be an outgoing, I love life type of person. So, I took the ‘fake it until you make it’ approach. I was sluggish because I did not sleep very well, the excitement had worn off and I was getting nervous to find out what I was actually going to be doing this summer - like what my day is going to look like. Who is going to be there? Who am I going to be living with? How will I get in contact with friends and family back home? There were so many unanswered questions. This is where orientation comes in.
During orientation, I met many people going to the same camp as me. I was seeing face to face for the first time the people I am going to spend the summer with, and this calmed me immensely. There was a group of 13 of us, all going to the same camp, all first timers to the summer camp program and to the camp, from all over the world. We all had similar questions and my feeling of being sluggish faded once getting more comfortable with this group. Yes, the orientation was basic and did not particularly cover the camp specific questions that were still floating around in my head. But the fact I didn’t feel as lonely in this new city anymore, helped the positivity build throughout my orientation. The whirlwind does not stop there, as the following day we hit the road to camp.
My first 48 hours in my destination city before physically coming onto camp property was an adventure in itself. The ebb and flow of emotions was just the start of my summer experience. Little did I know it was going to be the start of an amazing journey that ultimately changed my life.
My advice is do not be overwhelmed by how quickly your emotions are changing in such a short space of time. Everything is going to be okay. And no matter what you are thinking, ask questions, someone is probably thinking the same thing as you. Friendships can blossom in these first 48 hours, but because you do not click with people at your orientation doesn’t mean you won’t click with anyone at all. Camp is a large community and is a place where anyone can be anything. Get ready to dive in!