This is What Traveling Abroad by Myself at 17 Feels Like

Joined by a group of 11 Spaniards and 10 Americans, I traveled to the United States on the 16th of July for a month! The 10 American students had just spent 15 days in Spain and France. And now, it was our turn to spend 4 weeks in the United States. I’m Elisa Igoa and this is how this unique experience started in my life.

Name: Elisa
Gender: Female
Age: 17
Country: Spain

On the 3rd of August my correspondent from the United States arrived to spend 15 days in my house learning French. During those 15 days we had a great time and started becoming friends.

Now, my time to leave for a month for the United States had arrived. I was very nervous, thinking I would miss my parents terribly. We Skyped with my correspondent’s family, and they were very likeable and pleasant. I already knew whom I was going to spend that month with, but still, I couldn’t get rid of my fear of the unknown.

The trip was long, it took a full day to reach my destination. I’m not going to lie, the first days were harsh, crying, Skyping with my parents. The family was charming, so after a few days everything got easier and time started to fly. We started making plans and we didn’t stop until the last day. We visited Buffalo, Rochester, bathed in lakes, went shopping, went to rodeo, went bowling, went to a Fifth Harmony concert, we ate burgers… typical American things.

One of my fears before the trip involved the family, since it was a total immersion experience and I would spend a great amount of time with them. I truly was very lucky and the family couldn’t have been better. All of my friends who travelled with me also stayed with loving and generous families.

During those 4 weeks, for 2 days, we joined the Spaniard group. The first day we went to Niagara Falls, a surprising experience of nature; which I recommend seeing from the Canadian side.

The second day we visited a water park. I hated those places; I honestly feared most of its attractions. I was terrified, waiting in line for the first ride. My Spaniard friends encouraged me, and I finally got on the attraction and enjoyed myself. After overcoming the first slide, I got on most of the attractions of the park. This way I overcame my fear of water parks and expanded my comfort zone.

The last day to be with the family arrived and I had to say goodbye, it was sad but I am confident we will see each other again in the United States, France or Spain. Finally with the group of Spaniards we spent our last three days in NYC. It was amazing.

Any advice for others who are afraid of this?

This has been an experience that if you have the chance to live, go for it!!!!!!!!!!!! And I say this with all of the expression marks possible, because it is so worth it.

I’ve been back for about a week from this wonderful trip, I miss it everyday and I hope I can repeat it next summer. I learned A LOT. Now I have more confidence in myself, I know a bit more of English, I’ve met new people, I’ve come to realize I’m much braver than I thought.

I was inspired by Michelle Poler’s videos to face this fear. She conveys her message with such strength and sincerity I had to try it for myself. So I hope this experience can inspire someone else like she inspired me; it would make me very happy.

This has been a month #withoutfear. Elisa.

This story was translated from Spanish to English by Angela Pabon from Colombia @angiepeibon

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