Thursday, August 5, 2010

¨I came in search of a story, in search of a life lesson...¨

*This reflection was written by 17-year-old Volcano/Panama student Alle Hunter after completing her course*

Do you know that feeling when you hop off a plane and you look around and nothing is familiar? Do you know that feeling when you see a crowd of new faces, but you don’t know anyone? Or how about the feeling you get when you see someone greeting a relative and you feel sick because you don’t know anyone. This is probably the natural reaction when arriving in a foreign country, and you don’t know a single person from that area. I was on one of the last flights that came into Costa Rica on June 29th 2010. And little to my knowledge there were five other people that were on my flight heading to the exact same place that I was.

I have been on another Outward Bound course, in Utah. So I thought I would have it easy, that I wouldn’t have to work quite as hard as the others. Little did I know Costa Rica Outward Bound is a bit different than the Outward Bound’s in the States. I am not the type of person that organizes and Facebook’s my fellow campers, so when I got to camp I was revealed the shocking information that I was in a group of only five people. The first few hours upon meeting my new group did not go so well. Personalities clashed and for lack of better words we did not get along. But our little “problems” were not enough to stop our counselors from waking us up at five thirty and having us pack our stuff for our first part of our course.

Into a van we piled for the long drive. But, when we reached the top of the mountain the view that seeped into our brains was well worth the long car ride. I have never seen such a beautiful place. It was enough to set all our problems aside and just BE. Soon afterwards we began our decent into the cloudforest. The first night we stayed in a school house in a small remote village. During this time, we all made a deal to put our problems aside. The eight of us began to have to the time of our lives. The next day we left for the jungle. One of our group members became sick, which was unfortunate because as soon as the group began to bond, she had to leave. Into the jungle we went, it was wet, muddy and cold. I swear, it seemed the day would never end. I fell more times than I can remember. But one of my most memorable falls happened on the first day. I don’t remember what happened, or how it happened but one wrong placement of my foot sent me toppling over. Head first I fell down into a ditch. A ditch is an understatement, a muddy slimy stream filled with gross water. I did NOT want to get my hair wet. Somehow, I caught myself and ended up in a “v” shape up-side-down. At the moment, I was not happy. I was grossed out and upset that I had just fallen so hard. But as soon as I looked up, I began to laugh. I laughed, until I cried. I laughed, and loved the situation we were in. The jungle hike lasted for three days. And as each day drew longer and longer, we became closer and closer. The seven of us became the best of friends. We laughed and made the hike that we once thought as such a horrible situation one of the best experiences of our lives. We laughed and pushed ourselves through the different obstacles that were thrown at us from every direction. Even though all we wanted to do was to make it out, I can promise you now if you ask any one of us four campers we would all do it again.

I chose to come here; I willingly came because I wanted to push myself. I wanted to be stronger mentally, and physically. I wanted to meet new, amazing people. I came in search of a story, in search of a life lesson. I can promise you now, that coming here and living with five other campers, all with very different personalities is no cinch. You have to be in charge of the groups dynamic. You are the person who decides if you are going to have a good time, or be miserable. I feel like I was very blessed with my group. That even though we started off rough, I made some of the best friends I could ever ask for. Did I push myself? Yes! Of course I did. Every day was a new experience and a fresh start. Did I become stronger? Yes! No matter how hard it got, I always just told myself “you can do this!” Was it easy? No, not at all, it has to be you who pushes yourself. If you don’t want a challenge, and you don’t go searching for one, you won’t get one. That is what I love about Outward Bound. They don’t force you to change your life. They don’t tell you, we expect you to be a better person after this trip. They leave it up to you, and because of that people do change. They do become better. And they do have an experience to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

1 comment:

Daniel D. said...

Alle, I could not have Described it better! I was an amazing experience!