Coming into Ball State as a member of Sports Link, there was always talk about heading over to Cardiff, Wales.
Then, just days into my freshman year, we received the announcement — this is going to become a reality. Chris Taylor and Brad Dailey visited Cardiff in May of 2019, and Cardiff Met program directors Joe Towns and Lukas Burks visited campus in September.
It was real.
I was excited but I knew as a freshman, I would be on the bottom of the totem pole to get to go with upperclassmen lined up before more. But, I was given a spot to get on a plane and head across the pond. I could not have been more excited, and I could not wait.
I have never traveled to Europe, so I knew that I was in for a huge cultural experience. Once we touched down in Wales, after 18 hours of travel, we began walking the streets of Cardiff. There were definitely some similarities, but without a doubt many more differences.
To start, there was a castle smack dab in the middle of the town. My mind was blown. One, I have never seen a real castle before so there was that, but for it to be a part of the community was something special.
The sightseeing as part of this trip was incredible. We had the chance to get to go to cliffs, bays, mountains, islands and more.
I love photography and using my camera to capture breathtaking images was something I will never forget. From Cardiff Castle, to Dunraven Bay to Pen y Fan Mountain, and many places in between.
Then, I got to meet Will Godwin.
Before we went to Wales, Seena Greiwe and I teamed up to do a story on Will. He has been through more in the last two years than most do in a lifetime. I knew this was a story that I wanted to tell because it was a very powerful story. Once I met Will, I knew I was going to enjoy telling this story very much.
Will was very invested in our project and he was willing to do everything and anything to help produce his feature — and make our lives easier. While that would have been enough, Will also just hung out with us.
He came with us to some of the sights. He brought his dog. He brought his mom. He brought his best mate.
I think he was just so excited to be around us and see us work firsthand. We quickly became friends, exchanging contact info and still talking today.
I have also grown closer to everyone from Sports Link whole went on this amazing trip. Spending 12 consecutive days with everyone really allowed me to become closer to each of them.
As the only freshman on the trip, I thought I could be the odd one out as I had only known my fellow classmates for just a couple months.
I never felt more a part of a group than this. They have been nothing but the best people I could have asked for. They made this trip full of memories and experiences.
It was an honor being the only freshman, representing my class on a historic trip that none of us will forget. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the experience through our finished project which premieres June 30.
Not to mention, the return trip in 2022 (my junior year) is already in the works.