From the moment I stepped on the ferry to Victoria, I knew this trip was going to be a life-changing experience.
The first day we met the group, I could tell that they were really an amazing group of youth.
Over the next couple of days we had lots of "bonding activities." I never expected we would get close so quickly.
During our stay in Victoria, we volunteered at the Rainbow Soup Kitchen, serving food to the many people who came in.
Talking with the people who came into the soup kitchen was the most interesting part; they had so many stories to share with us. I had never volunteered at a soup kitchen before, and it was a great experience.
We also volunteered at a place called Cool Aid in Victoria, where we made "harm reduction" kits that make it safer for drug addicts who aren't able to quit using drugs yet.
We went whale watching and saw a whole pod of orcas with a tour guide who told us all about whales.
We also explored Pender Island, and then it was on to Vancouver, where it was my turn to plan the activities. I decided we needed to relax a little, so we visited the Richmond Night Market, had a picnic in Stanley Park and watched the absolutely stunning Canada Day fireworks.
On to Penticton, hometown of one of the adult leaders on the Peace Bus. Her mom hosted us for three days. We spoke to a group of kids at a day camp and went dragon boating - what a workout!
Lake Louise was absolutely beautiful, and we completed a gruelling hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House.
What can I say about the 100th Calgary Stampede? The deep-fried w were awesome. And I found the animal-rights protesters had an interesting message about the rodeo and animal cruelty.
The mosquitoes in Dinosaur National Park absolutely ate us up. But we enjoyed the tour of the Badlands and saw some very cool dinosaur bones.
In Moose Jaw, we learned how years ago, Chinese people were used to smuggle goods through tunnels, and we also learned how tunnels were used to smuggle alcohol during Prohibition.
In Manitoba, we visited the Hutterites, where I have extended family in one of the Hutterite colonies. I had never met these relatives, but they recognized me immediately.
It was an interesting visit, and I learned a lot about their culture, where there's no private property and they all live in large farming communities.
One day, we did an antibullying activity that was new to me: we had to write an apology to someone we had bullied and write how being bullied made us feel. Then we all burned our papers in the campfire.
Our halfway point was at Kakabaka Falls near Thunder Bay, Ont. We stayed at a beautiful campground and even got a taste of thunder in Thunder Bay.
Annie Takaro, a Grade 9 student at New Westminster Secondary School, is going on the Peace Bus with a group of teenagers from across Canada through Children's International Summer Village.
The group is travelling across the country to promote peace.
Annie is sending our readers updates from her travels. Her first column ran in The Record on Friday, July 6.
For more on Annie's travels, go to www.royalcityrec ord.com.