Anna's Blog: The end of the trip and I want to do it all again
PUBLISHED: 13:37 15 September 2016 | UPDATED: 14:09 15 September 2016
Youngsters from the Saffron Walden Young Carers Group have returned from the trip of a lifetime in the USA after raising the money themselves to get there.
In total, £24,000 was raised through car washes, quizzes and other fundraising events to take 11 members of the group to Florida.
The carers group, which is based at Fairycroft House, is made up of young people in Saffron Walden who look after members of their family on a regular basis.
Among the 11 to make the trip to America is aspiring journalist Anna Percival, 16, who has been writing an online blog for the Reporter about her experiences.
Here is Anna’s fifth and final entry...
The trip had finally come to an end, well, sort of.
We still had to pack last minute bits and pieces, go to the airport and then actually fly back. That morning started off very similar to the morning we left Walden, because again we had to get up at a stupid time which no one appreciated.
However, there was a pretty big difference from the morning we left, which was we were all sad to be leaving America as opposed to being excited that we were going there.
It felt as if we’d only just got there, and as I talked to everyone in their half asleep state we were all in agreement that we didn’t want to go.
Unfortunately though, we had to. After a morning spent freaking out over whether everyone had all their stuff together and double checking we’d packed all our things, we got into the cars for the last time to make our final journey to the airport.
Most of the airport procedure went smoothly except when it came to security. One of our group got taken off somewhere while another three had to have their hand luggage further searched because they had liquids in their bags.
One of these three had not only one bottle in her bag but three. How she managed that after being told she couldn’t have liquids in her hand luggage god only knows but somehow she did it. Luckily for her she didn’t have her whole bag confiscated and destroyed.
When the whole group had finally managed to get back together we had a little bit of time to go grab some food. That time, however, went very quickly and we nearly missed the plane.
Fortunately for us we made it just in time. Unlike our flight out, which was a straight nine hour flight, the flight back was in fact two flights. The first being a two hour journey to Atlanta, which was actually quite nice and the second a seven hour journey to London which was hell.
I suppose the second journey back wasn’t as bad as the one out but it was still pretty awful. For example, it was absolutely freezing. I had several layers on and a blanket and then I ended up using someone else’s hoodie and I was still so cold. I’m surprised I didn’t catch frostbite.
Not only that, but I got literally no sleep at all, which meant by the time we landed back in England I was so unbelievably tired. I just wanted the ground to swallow me whole.
Due to my lack of sleep everything was annoying me, and I had to do my very best not to snap at people. It didn’t help that the queue to go through security was miles long, making me even more irritable.
After centuries of waiting we finally made it through security and when I saw the coach that was taking us back to Walden I could have cried. All I wanted to do was collapse.
I think we all had pretty mutual feelings seeing as everyone fell asleep on the coach. Coming back to Walden, I felt more sad than happy and I think I was the only one who really felt like that.
All the others were thrilled to see their parents and happy that they’d get to go to their own houses, and I guess I was sort of glad to be back as well but after seeing everything we saw while out there and getting to do all those wonderful, crazy things it just felt like I was coming back to something less.
Saffron Walden now seemed so small in comparison. By going on this trip and basically having all my dreams come true, it’s made me realise that those are the kinds of things I want to be doing all the time.
Not necessarily going to theme parks but going out and actually experiencing things I’ve never experienced before, things that I won’t find in Walden.
However, it’s only thanks to two people that I’ve actually come to realise this. Without Tim and Leanne organising this trip and dedicating so much of their own time and effort into making this the most amazing trip for us, I would never have seen that there’s so many awesome things out there and most of the others probably wouldn’t have either.
We all owe them so much for everything they’ve done for us - from before we went away, to while we were over there and to what they continue to do for us even now we’re back.
When I started to writing this blog I described this trip as ‘the trip of a lifetime’ but now I’m back in Walden I really hope it isn’t true because I’m already desperate to go away again.