By F. Lebl
Dear (Future) Leaders,
I am sure most of you are already anxious to step outside your comfort zones and adventure into the unknown. You look at past pictures of those who chose to embark in this journey and wish your trip will be just as great. But let me give you a bit of insight and promise you something: your trip won’t be near as great as those who came before.
And that’s not something bad.
I travelled alongside 11 other colleagues and friends. I was lucky to be placed in such a diverse group; I was closely acquainted with some but had not talked to others in years. That is where the fun begins. Whether you’re selling cupcakes in bake sales or rolling up mud balls to build a house, you will become closer to some and ignite profound friendships.
There will always be moments your group will hold dear. I remember dancing to local tunes alongside other ‘tourists’ and teaching them the worm. I remember being catcalled by the locals and playfully answering back. I remember eating a raw onion and annoying Ms. Hunter. These memories will not only serve as great conversation starters but will also greet those who did not dare to travel beside you with incredible stories.
You will have a lot of fun but you will also learn very important skills; like how to start a fire, how to negotiate prices and even how to fold your clothes (WOW!). I am sure Ms. Hunter will, at least once, give a big speech on responsibility because you have not folded your tent properly (or another excuse to lecture everyone for her entertainment); but don’t take it poorly. All of you will come out on the other side with much more experience and responsibility than the little children you once were.
But all these benefits fall short when you can meet the one and only Huashan.
I meant it when I said that your trip won’t be as great as past trips. This is true for only one reason: it will be much better because it will be yours, with your friends. You will cherish these experiences forever because you were the one who did the hard work of waking up early every morning (in late June!). No comparisons will be necessary once you step off that plane and experience what it is like being completely out of place.
Enjoy your trip and I, alongside the whole 2019 World Challenge Team, wish you the best of fun and a lot of hard work.
See you on the other side,
P.S. If you don’t like the local food you can always order an iFood