homecoming…

After three months wandering around back home, we went back to campus for a brand new school year. 

After more than one year recovering from the Thomas fire, we finally had an all-school camping trip in the first week.

After the protracted and exhausting travel from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the busy packing unpacking and packing back, putting everything in order, meeting new people, I got so tired but still tried to make myself look energetic.

An opportunity came up, a chance I could escape from all of this. 

Then I was on the bus with my day pack which had my lunch sandwich in it sitting beside me, my huge camping bag with a sleeping pad, bag, clothes and almost everything I need sitting under me in the luggage hold. 

3 days without my phone, what a challenge. My phone became a part of me, like an external organ, it stayed with me every single moment during the summertime. 

“I will be fine,” I kept telling myself before we departed. 

But as it turned out, I was really more than fine without it. I really enjoyed the time spent with my friends. We played card games, went to the tide pools, played volleyball on the beach, watched the sunset, ate s’ mores, brushed our teeth in the dark and so on. 

These days, with no phone, feeling isolated from the rest of the world, but closer to what is really around me. 

photo credit: trailhead.gsnorcal.org
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The Other Night

I woke up under the stars the other night. There were so many and, though I couldn’t nearly see all of them, it reminded me of how pretty, plain beautiful our universe is.

I woke up on a slick rock in a canyon in Utah. I woke up a couple times that night, the rock was pretty slanted and not that comfortable, but I didn’t mind. Everything around me was too beautiful to mind being awake.

I woke up and my nose was cold. Aside from that, I was cozy in my sleeping bag, but the breezy fresh air made my face all cold. But, once again, I didn’t mind.

Photo Credit: farm3.staticflickr.com

I always forget how much I love camping. But then, when I go, I fall in love with it entirely. I love hiking for hours and watching the landscape change around you. I love having nothing to worry about other than making a good fire and finding water to filter. I love to not set foot into a building for days and I love waking up at night underneath the stars, being reminded of how pretty our universe is.

Of course camping can be stressful sometimes, like when the blisters on your feet are burning and you know you still have miles left to go or when you’re wearing all the layers you can possibly wear, but you’re still freezing in your sleeping bag. But, again, I don’t really mind those things all too much. The freeze-dried food, the soaked shoes, the farmer’s tan, it was all worth it once again. Because, the other night, I got to wake up underneath the stars in Utah and it was so beautiful.

Enough is Enough

“I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts, I want gun control. And I hope to God nobody sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns” Susan Orfanos pleaded.
A year before the shooting in Thousand Oaks, her son, Telemachus Orfanos, was at the shooting in Las Vegas. Telemachus survived the deadly attack and saved others as well.
Brendan Hoolihan, another Las Vegas Survivor stated “he easily saved hundreds of lives.”
The twenty-seven-year-old military veteran was shot and killed November 7th, 2018 at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.
Just twelve days later, four were killed in a hospital shooting in Chicago.
There have been 62 mass shootings so far in President Trump’s term.
Trump has tweeted about getting free tickets, how the White House is decorating for Christmas, how people from Pakistan are fools, how he has “never seen thin people drinking Diet Coke,” how Robert Pattison can do much better than going back to Kristen Stewart, and countless other pointless things.
Trump has tweeted seven tweets about how Pattison should move on from his Twilight costar, yet of these 62 shootings, he has only tweeted about three.  Dear Trump, just because you think Robert Pattison going back to Kristen Stewart is far more important than the gun control crisis taking place in America, the remaining sane people in our country disagree.
Trump’s tweets on the shootings include:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families”
“School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!”
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.”
Dear Trump, dear America, thank you for thoughts and prayers, but thoughts and prayers are no where close to what we need. We need change. We need gun control.

Photo Credit: MSNBC.com

 

powerless (it’s ok)

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.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

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-

right now.

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.

A World of Adventure

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.

  1. 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.

Photo Credit: weheartit.com

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.

Camping Conundrums

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.

Image Credit: gardenbetty.com

 

Santa Cruzin’

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.

Photo Credit: http://www.nps.gov

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.

Photo Credit: upload.wikimedia.org

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.

Photo Credit: i.ytimg.com