Hi! My name is Neil Olaya and I’m from Chile. I began my journey to the World Scout Jamboree on the afternoon of 16 July 19. My girlfriend and I started our journey at Santiago International Airport. Our first stop was Mexico City, Mexico. We arrived very early in the morning as it is a long flight. In the early hours of the morning, we spent 4 hours in the terminal because of a layover before continuing our journey.
Our next stop was New York City, New York. We arrived via plane around 16:00 on 17 July 19. We started to explore the city and encountered a couple challenges along the way. First, our train fares did not work the first two times! We had to pay three train fares before getting to the platform – crazy! The second challenge was the weather. It is currently winter in Chile, so we were acclimated to cooler climates. When we arrived in New York City, it felt scorching! We explored a park in Chinatown and relaxed before continuing to Charlotte, NC.
As we were leaving for North Carolina around 20:00, the heavens opened, and it rained heavily. Luckily, we were headed to the bus; however, it was also raining inside of the bus! To top it off, there were also people sitting in our seats. The seats we ended up taking were also broken and permanently reclined. At this point, we were scared. We had been traveling for over 24 hours and we were the only Scouts on the bus. We weren’t sure if our bags would make it. We didn’t want to sleep because we could miss our stop, but we were exhausted. We managed to get some sleep eventually, but upon arrival in Charlotte, we stopped at a gas station around 07:00. The driver told us this was our stop, but he didn’t speak English or Spanish very well, so it was confusing. This was another scary moment. We had no idea where we were or if the next bus would pick us up. We got off and got some breakfast in the store.
Our bellies full, we found a shuttle bus to the Charlotte Airport, where our next and final bus would meet us. This bus driver also did not speak English or Spanish very well, so figuring out the price was confusing. We thought he said $40, but he really meant $14. We weren’t prepared to spend even more money, but a friendly person also getting on the shuttle helped us pay the correct amount.
At this point, we had been traveling for over 36 hours and were exhausted. Finally, we were on the last leg of our journey to WSJ: Charlotte to Summit. We were finally comfortable enough to get some sleep on the bus ride. We also made a friend who shared her tablet. Together, we watched the Friends tv show for a portion of the ride. When we finally reached the Ruby Welcome Center, the line was short and took less than 30 minutes! It was a record as some people waited for over 4 hours!
Once we were checked in, we got on the bus from Ruby to our site. On the way, we saw some wildlife – a bear and a deer. We had finally arrived at our tents. After setting the tents up, we took a quick nap and went to dinner. After almost 48 hours of traveling, we had finally arrived at the World Scout Jamboree, ready for the experience of a lifetime. All the traveling woes were worth it. We were ready to make new friends, participate in fun activities, and Unlock a new World.