Is Bold Earth Right for Me? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Josh Goldbach21 Mar, 2024
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A teen boy smiles with his hands on the deck of a blue surfboard as they bob in the water

Now is a great time to be planning out your summer break. There’s a lot to balance, between spending quality time with friends and family, while also pursuing your own interests. If you’ve been browsing our programs, but not ready to take the leap, check out these 5 questions to help you decide if a Bold Earth summer is right for you.

1. Am I looking to meet new friends?

Bold Earth trips are centered around connecting. Our aim is for you to connect with the place you travel in, the culture or community of that place, and the kids on your program. For a lot of teenagers, summer is the time they spend with friends at home. Making the decision to travel means opening yourself up to meeting new people.

You might not click with every person on your trip, at least not right away. It’s normal to feel out of place when you arrive in a brand-new location with a group of strangers. The blend of nerves and excitement is shared by every kid arriving on their first day at a new camp.

Occasionally, Bold Earth students will sign up for a trip with someone they already know, but the majority of our participants arrive without knowing anybody. This can actually make for a more cohesive experience. When you all start out in the same place, it’s easier to get to know one another. Showing up with an open mind and enthusiasm for meeting new people makes all the difference.

A group of teens stands around a cake lit with birthday candles in a darkly lit room

2. Am I ready to fly alone?

Many of our students take their first solo flight on the way to a Bold Earth trip. It’s perfectly okay if you haven’t had this experience before. You don’t need to be an expert traveler to have an amazing time on a Bold Earth program, but it’s a good idea to consider what this experience might feel like. Navigating an airport and making a connecting flight can be a great way to gain some independence if you usually fly with family.

If you’re feeling nervous, we have a few ideas that might make you feel more comfortable. Before the start of a trip, we send out suggested flight itineraries to all the families of the participants. These are flights we’ve handpicked to create a smooth experience with minimal layovers. If you want to meet up with another teenager on your program, we connect students who are coming from the same area. That way, you can fly with someone who is also going on your trip. You’ll have a travel buddy along the way and a head start on getting to know each other.

Homesickness can strike at unexpected moments and setting out on your first solo flight might be one of those times. Doing a little research on coping with homesickness is a great way to get out ahead of the problem, even if you don’t expect it to be an issue for you.

A boy jumps from a rocky ledge into green water while a few other boys watch from the ledge below

3. Am I physically prepared for this trip?

The best thing about our programs is that you don’t need to have any prior experience. From rock climbing to white water rafting, you’ll learn the skills you need to participate in the activities. Our trip leaders have a wide range of outdoor skills to help out. You’ll also be working with specialized local outfitters who are experts at what they do. The most important skill to bring to the table is a willingness to try new things and give it your best shot.

All of our programs are active and fast-paced, meaning that you’ll be on the move and using energy for most of the day. We recommend our participants are in good physical condition to be able to maximally enjoy the experience. This doesn’t mean that you need to start hitting the gym every day, but it’s a good idea to take a look at the specific trip you want to do and think about your current activity level.

Some trips have different physical demands than others. For example, if you’re looking into our Kilimanjaro Summit and Service, you’ll want to be comfortable hiking uphill for multiple days in a row. If you have specific questions about the challenge level of a certain trip, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Three teens cross a wire suspension bridge on the Via Ferrata with the snowy Alps in the background

4. Which trip is the right fit for me?

It’s difficult to go wrong with any Bold Earth trip. However, the best experiences come from trips that are a good match for the participants. You might not know right away which one is right for you. Here are a few things to consider when making the big decision.

Take a look at the activities you’ll be doing. If you’ve always wanted to practice a foreign language, take a peek at Costa Rica. If you’re dream is to hike in the mountains all day, check out Bold Alps. Think about the day-to-day experience you’re looking for on your adventure.

To narrow down the search, you can also decide whether you’re interested in a domestic or international adventure. One difference between the two is the mix of accommodations you’ll be staying at each night. Domestic trips will give you more opportunities to camp outside. International travel entails staying in a combination of hostels, homestays, and some camping. Every trip has a slightly different composition, but you can check out where you’ll be sleeping by taking a look at the trip itinerary.

While activities and accommodations are important, most returning Bold Earth participants will tell you this: it’s the people who make the trip magic. Once the trip is underway, you’re experience will be defined by your interactions with the other teens and your trip leaders.

A teen sits in a hammock strung between two trees in a grove while glowing rays of sunset sink below the horizon

5. How can I best adapt to a tech-free experience?

When your flight touches down on your first day of  Bold Earth trip, you’ll meet your trip leaders at the airport. They’ll help you get oriented to the new and exciting place you’ve landed in. After you’ve let your family know you’ve arrived safe and sound, you’ll be ready to turn off your phone.

For the remainder of the trip, you’ll be living tech free. You’ll have mid-trip opportunities to call home, but for the day-to-day experience of a Bold Earth trip, it’s essential to be prepared to live without your phone. This is because we believe in the importance of being immersed in the present moment with the people around you. Going without a phone doesn’t have to feel like a punishment or an imposition. Thinking about this ahead of time might save you the shock of transitioning to a screen-free adventure.

If you love taking photos, bring your own camera on the trip. That way, you’ll be able to independently practice your photography skills without needing to access your phone. Your trip leaders will be taking pictures the whole time, but if capturing the moment while traveling is something you enjoy, make sure you have a camera with you.

Consider bringing along a journal to record your experiences for friends back home. If you know you’ll want to send out text updates from your trip, think about writing down favorite moments from the day. Instead of sending photos throughout the trip, wait until you get back to share a slideshow with your friends and family. Bold Earth will send you a collection of photos at the end of the summer that you can share.

You’ll also be helping to write a daily blog throughout the duration of your trip. We’ll upload this blog (along with pictures) to a website your family can access. Writing a blog creates a keepsake to look back on after the summer has finished and also provides a way to update your loved ones without needing to text.

We can’t wait to meet you

After reading this article, you might have more questions to ask. That’s okay. Reach out to us and start the conversation. We’re here to make your summer a magical experience.

Two boys with excited expressions pose for the camera as they stand in front of a riverbank with backpacks loaded with camping gear

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