Before VINA, my social life was completely non-existent. Once high school is over, you realize that half of your friends are only your friends because you see them every day, and the other half you only see when our “adult time clock” allows.
Over the past few years, my main focus consisted of school and work, leaving my friendships in the backseat. While my peers were out having their first legal drink and sitting in the VIP section of the newest clubs, I stayed at home in my comfort zone. You see, I suffer from anxiety and when I’m in large crowds, it sometimes triggers panic attacks. Trying to explain my anxiety to someone who isn’t already my friend may put me at risk of being judged or viewed as weird, so I tend to just avoid it.
When I found my first VINA friend, Shai who shared the same similarities as me, I couldn’t wait to meet up with her. Our love for traveling, reality T.V. shows, and junk food is what brought us together. Shai and I had been in constant contact since we met, so it’s no wonder that only three months after our first outing, we were already planning our first vacation. We knew we wanted to go somewhere fun, out of the country and on a budget! I went to Canada for my brother’s 21st birthday and mentioned to Shai how much fun I had, so we both agreed that Canada should be our destination. Neither of us had been on vacation with a vina before, and we had no idea what to expect.
I live in New Jersey, and Shai lives in New York. I met her in New York at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where we racked up on some expensive snacks and stood in line to board our bus. We were lucky enough to have our seats upgraded (free of charge) to an Express bus, meaning we would just drive straight there without any stops along the way. We both threw our bags on the ground and grabbed our seats. Since the bus was almost full, we ended up sitting across from one another. We managed to talk the entire ride, seven hours of vina talk!
Once we finally arrived in Canada, we were so happy to be there. We spent all night looking up restaurants, museums, and other cool places where we could get our adventure on. We spent five days and four nights going all over Montreal—for under $500.
This trip changed my social life. It allowed me to become open to new possibilities and showed me how to face my fears. Most people would never go on a vacation with a complete stranger. When fear tried to stop me from going on this trip, I had to ask myself, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
What made this trip so special was that not only did I gain a friend, I gained a sister. A sister who understands me, who appreciates me and I can go to for advice, no matter how embarrassing the situation. We all know that it’s hard making friends, as well as keeping them. Well, Shai and I took our first of many girl-trips together, and with only one year into our sister-ship, we have forever to go.
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