As we pack up the bus for the last time open, we begin to prepare for the long ride home. Many are excited to see their family and friends, to share their experiences during our NAST and to get back to normal life.
We start off our journey with off the cuff (impromptu) speaking, responding to questions about our thoughts regarding specific speakers and stops along our travels. We hear members reflect on the importance of the relationship between Canada and the USA, our differences and members’ greatest takeaways. We continue our reflections with a whole group discussion on our key takeaways from our time spent with RULE class 16. Thank you again RULE 16 for welcoming us to Pennsylvania and for making us feel right at home.
After a morning of reflection, we stop at our last tour of the trip, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars. They are a third-generation farm producing premium grapes. They offer a variety of award-winning wines, one of their top sellers is their unique HOT (pepper) wine that is habanero infused, starts sweet and finishes off with some heat. It was also great to hear about their marketing – they use unique labels that convince the consumer to pick up the bottle and the high-quality wine product keeps consumers loyal. We get to sample 12 different wines, ranging from dry to sweet, from red to white, all very flavourful and good. We say our thank yous and goodbyes, and head to the border and closer to home.
As we get closer to home, we hear a moving speech from one of our daily coordinators, Nikki, who shares memories from our time on NAST and leaves us with lots to reflect upon. She summed up our trip best, when she said “Most of all, we’ve grown together. Both as individuals and as a family – the family that is AALP class 16.”
With many hugs, tears and tired bodies we say goodbye to our classmates, knowing memories made on our journey will last forever.
Thank you to our readers for following our journey, to our bus driver, Nancy, who made our trip, and to all our speakers, tour guides and tour locations. This truly was the trip of a lifetime.