Hey guys! Long time no see—totally my fault since I’ve been on the road for about 3 weeks now and had no service or working Macbook battery to update. I’m going to keep this short since although we’re now back in civilization, we’re still iffy on the wifi.
This past MONTH has been such a whirlwind of adventure, sleep deprivation, stress, and hardcore friend-making. 3 weeks ago, I met 22 other crazy, gung-ho, outgoing people. Today, they are some of my closest friends. Spending 24/7 for 4 weeks together can do that to you. I’m just surprised that none of us have killed each other yet. We’ve slept under the stars together, supported each other when it was our turn to lead for the day, we’ve experienced the magic that was a downpour of rain in Monument Valley for the first time in years. It seems that every chance we get, we always ask ourselves “How long have we known each other? Because it feels like forever.”
I really want to say more and share all the stories and ridiculous times that I’ve been having, but wifi is sparse this summer and these photos are gorgeous, if I do say so myself Enjoy! (Because god knows, I’ve gone through hell to get these). Kidding. Maybe.
Our itinerary mimicked one of the trips that we will actually be running this summer:
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park
The training itself was already an emotional whirlwind—despite training only spanning 3.5 weeks, it felt like we were on the road for years. When we weren’t setting up camp, cooking, leading, discussing, we were researching the places that we were going to, ready at any moment to pop out a presentation on a certain subject.
Our days themselves were longer, about 18-19 hours a day awake and only 5-6 hours of sleep, all while trying to be better leaders and experiencing all that the national parks had to offer… which was also under the guise of “research” as well.
I was constantly tired because of sleep deprivation, hungry because food was just energy for my body at that point, and nervous because I wasn’t sure if my presentations were up to snuff. Nervous because I didn’t know if I had what it took to command a tour group. Nervous because I didn’t want to be the person to fail out of training.
Oh, but the good—the goods outweighed the bads so much.
First off, I feel like I’ve personally grown so much from this trip. I went from feeling unsure of if I even belonged in this group of amazing people leading this amazing life that could be so much… to knowing that I would put in anything to do this summer successfully. In the first few days, things were so overwhelming and intense that I honestly questioned if I’d made the right choice in coming out west. I was tired, I was constantly nervous, and I was insecure.
However, as the trip moved on, we all grew with confidence. They called on us and we were embarrassed so much that at a certain point, I realized I was no longer even nervous. We were all going through the same thing and making mistakes are a part of the job.
Secondly, the people. The people that I’ve met here have been by far some of the best concentration of people ever. They’re all friendly and open to any conversation. And, the best part—most are chill enough to survive extreme amounts of time together in close proximity. Sure, I got tired of the entity once in a while, but it was also easy for me to pull away from the group when I needed.
Thirdly, the places. I would never have been able to go to some of the small towns that we’ve dropped by, these roads that offer some of the awesomest scenery I’ve ever seen. But these aren’t the roads that people take to get from Usual Point A to Usual Point B. It’s from towns in the middle of nowhere to more towns in the middle of nowhere. But with that comes the sense that you’re exploring the unknown—that you’re getting a fraction of the feeling that maybe the pioneers had when they first made it out to the west.
And for all these experiences so far, I’ve been extremely grateful.
What has everyone been up to?