My Favorite "First"

June 21, 2024
Jenna Barr

Longmeadow, Massachusetts, United States

Class of 2026

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Firsts. They’re terrifying, and intimidating, and feel like an empty dark tunnel in which you don’t know what lies ahead.

The first I reminisce on the most is my trip to Costa Rica. I would travel abroad with two British counselors, three boys, four other girls, and a Costa Rican tour guide I had never met but only heard funny stories about. This would also be my first time traveling abroad without my parents. This trip has been a camp tradition for years, I’ve looked forward to it since I was 10 years old, and the thought of not going didn’t exist. I was fearless of what lay ahead.   

The day comes, and we all enter a suspicious white van, with our suitcases that are probably on the brink of 50 pounds. A third British counselor drives us and tells us all the funny experiences she had during her time in Costa Rica. Even though some were a little concerning and scary, I remained fearless. We sit squished together, in matching hoodies we customized for the trip that says “Bonim ‘23, Pura Vida.” I anxiously wait to arrive at Laguardia Airport and all I can feel is excitement. I’ve spent 10 months asking questions, planning what I’m going to pack, and telling all my school friends I get to go to a foreign country with my best friends.  

Even though I had asked so many questions leading up to the trip, I still had no idea what to expect. I had packed a variety of different clothing options because even though we had an in-depth schedule, I was clueless about the adventures about to happen over three weeks. I made sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray, wondering if it would be too expensive in another country.  I bought a nice quality hiking backpack and bladder for it, unsure of how many hikes we would go on. All I knew was that the hikes were long and draining, but I remained fearless.  

I was uncomfortable with the fact that I didn’t know what was going to happen at each hour of the trip. I’m one to be organized, have all my outfits planned out for each day, and bag packed for the journeys ahead. But, I couldn’t do that considering the plans changed on a day-to-day basis, and laundry was extremely limited. I ignored that fact and just remained fearless. 

Little did I know, this would be the experience of a lifetime. I would have never expected to climb hundreds of stairs to take pictures in front of a massive volcano, go surfing and get up on the board, and drink $3 coconuts bought off the side of a road. 

I believe in being fearless of the unknown. 

Jenna Barr is a BBG from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and she is on a competition dance team!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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