sometimes i think about how powerless I am,
how powerless we are.
how that even when your world or mine will stop,
the waves would still crash.
how time doesn’t stop for anyone.
how nothing really matters.
how the world couldn’t care less about you or who you love.
when i go surfing is probably when i feel most powerless;
it’s not a bad thing though.
i don’t mind.
truly, i’m ok with it.
people say i’m “unmotivated,”
but, truly, it’s not that (or at least that’s not how I think about it).
i just think a lot of the things we spend time focused on don’t matter.
we are wasting time,
time we don’t have in the first place.
i want to spend time on the things that matter to me-
no, i don’t know where i’m going.
the only reason i’m speeding up is because i’ll get in trouble if i go at my own pace.
sometimes i think about how powerless i am.
Sometimes I contemplate whether or not after high school I should take a gap year. There’s so many things to learn by simply traveling and exploring, and I wonder if there’s too many possible adventures to simply get done in a life time. I can’t imagine them all as I’m stuck in school doing essays, endless math problems, and projects, but I hope.
As much as I picture myself being an ambitious law student in the heart of New York City, I begin to stalk the traveler pages of Instagram who share their passions to the world, and wonder how life like that would be. To take life one step at a time without a care in the world about the future. To travel freely, explore different cultures, or learn for mere enjoyment rather than cramming in information for a final exam.
I’ve had the privilege to travel before. From galloping horses through Ireland’s terrain to swimming with stingrays in the Cayman Islands, highlights of my life have always included traveling. But if I’m honest with myself, I probably won’t become one of those people who are in a new country every week, and that’s okay, but there are two things I know I want to do before I die.
- Backpacking through Europe. This has always been on the top of my bucket list. I just want to go with a group of friends traveling city to city via train, bike ride through Amsterdam, go to the art museums in France, or swim in the oceans of Greece. There’s so many opportunities in Europe that there wouldn’t need to be a full agenda to make the trip enjoyable.
2. A horseback riding safari through Africa. I didn’t even know this was a thing until a couple months ago, but it’s been on my mind ever since. I’ve always wanted to go on an African safari, but being able to do it on horseback would make it ten times better. Just picturing galloping through the Savannas near the zebras and the antelope under the bright sun, it seems to surreal to be true, but it is.
These are just two things out of a dozen. The world is so big that exploring every inch of it in such a short time seems impossible. But I want to make sure that I discover as much of it as I can.
At Ojai Valley School, the whole school is like one big family, similar to having around 120 brothers and sisters. One thing that makes the OVS community like this is the annual fall camping trip. This trip is used to introduce the new students to the OVS lifestyle, and involve them in our big family. The trip I went on was to the Eastern Sierras, by Rock Creek Lodge. This trip was anything but a walk in the park with numerous ongoing lightning and thunder storms, the flooding of our tents, and hours of sitting in cars and waiting out the storms.
The first day we got to the campsite our tent was a bit of a wreck, with broken poles and stuck zippers. The whole process of trying to set up the tent took around an hour, trying to hurry with the constant pressure of the storm sneaking up on us. That night, the lightning was less than a mile awhile away and when it would strike, the entire world to us would go white and then back to utter darkness.
On the third day, as we drove into the canyon back to our campsite, it was like a scene straight out of a horror movie; leaving the clear blue skies behind and entering the gray fog covered world ahead. As soon and we drove beneath the ominous sky, the waters came down.
When we arrived back at the campsite, Mr. Risser jumped out of the car and ran to a safe spot from the lightning to meet with the teachers. We were told to stay in the car, safe from the storm. We stayed in the crammed back of the truck for around an hour or two singing songs and eating quesadillas brought to us by the selected brave souls who were fearless enough to go out during the eye of the storm. We finally left the truck when darkness hit and sprang to our tents, straight into our sleeping bags.
Two days before we headed back to school, a select few of us hiked to the most stunning valley we had ever seen. Luscious, green grass spread as far as the eye could see, while crystal clear, blue waters intersected them at the white shores. Picturesque mountains surrounded the valley sheltering us from the world outside. We hiked along a waterfall at the end of our journey, and jumped into the mind-numbingly water. Even though we couldn’t feel our legs from the chilling water, it had no effect on us because we couldn’t bare to look away from our exquisite surroundings.
Although we endured many set backs during our trip, we were all heartbroken to leave, but excited to unfreeze our fingers and toes and take a shower.
I don’t consider myself a water person – unlike the bounty of surfers and ocean fanatics that I now surround myself with, I grew up inland and only ventured to the cold Oregon Coast 1-2 times each year.
Now in California I have many more opportunities to go swim in the ocean, or just be near the water.
However wonderful my opportunity is to many, even sometimes to me, when I heard I was going camping for a week at Santa Cruz Island, I was less than enthused.
The idea of being surrounded by ocean for five days straight, no matter how clear and beautiful I knew it would be, scared me. We were to be completely isolated – an hour boat ride away from land.
My trip seemed to be the most popular out of the four – everyone wanted to go, and I even felt bad for taking up a spot when I wasn’t nearly as excited as some who couldn’t go.
Once I was on the boat to the island, standing with salty wind blowing through my hair, watching the island grow bigger and bigger, I began to feel excited. No longer was I wishing I was on route to Yosemite, I found myself looking forward to the next week, and what was to come.
What I thought would be a long, torturous week turned out to be adventure-filled and an amazing time. The ocean, originally the object of my fear, was beautiful, full of creatures, and the best part of the trip.
Out of all the camping trips I’ve been on throughout my life, this one was the most fun. And not only did I explore caves, but I also explored my limits.
After an incredible summer, I’m back and ready for my senior year.
Coming back to school felt so sudden, especially when I heard the news that there was a mandatory all-school camping trip on the second week of school.
I give credit to my editor and friend, Kendall Shiffman, for this quote that is oh so accurate: “I’m just a happy camper who hates camping.”
The thought of being consistently dirty for five days makes me cringe, but the decision was already made that I had to go.
On the drive up to Moñtana De Oro, I became warmed up to the idea of camping, and as soon as we arrived I was suddenly overwhelmed with excitement.
The environment was incredibly green, cold, and lush. Camping instantly seemed less terrifying.
As the trip went on, I ventured far out of my comfort zone. I never would have imagined having fun was a possibility on a mandatory camping trip, but that’s exactly what happened.
This camping trip truly taught me one thing: I feel more open-minded about life than I ever have before.
“Every patch is a memory, every tear has a tale. These are the stories we wear.”
This is the motto of Patagonia’s Worn Wear Campaign.
As I have grown up, I noticed the environment becoming more and more important. Grocery shopping at Whole Foods and the Farmer’s Market, buying items that are fair-trade, environmentally friendly, and made out of recycled materials became of a higher interest.
That’s when I decided to learn more about what went into making those big, puffy jackets I had from a company called Patagonia. After doing some research on their website, I learned their story.
Patagonia’s clothing items are made using e-Fibers (environmentally friendly fibers). These include: recycled polyester, organic cotton, hemp, chlorine-free wool, recycled nylon, and Tencel Lyocell. Tencel Lyocell comes from the pulp of eucalyptus trees, a major benefit as it will have zero chemicals. A large majority of Patagonia’s clothing items are made with recycled materials. This includes anything from plastic bags to recycled water bottles.
Patagonia teamed with IFIXIT, a company that helped created repair kits specifically for Patagonia’s clothing materials. They came up with the Expedition Sewing Kit that can be used to repair holes, zippers, and tears in clothing. Because Patagonia creates clothing and gear for the outdoorsman, this kit is travel sized and handy. With this kit, one of their pricier jackets can last a lifetime of adventures.
Now I raise the question: what are you wearing?