NWOBS alumna Camille Newsom reflects on her experience on a Northwest Outdoor Educator Course.
Outward Bound gave me more than just fifty days of exposure to the Pacific Northwest, it gave me a place I could call home. On day one of course we were asked to stand where we call home on a theoretical map, and as I explained then to my crew, I don’t really feel connected to any home. Being born in California and moving five times before age eighteen, only to find out my parents were moving to Canada, didn’t give me much to answer the question with. But after fifty days of new experiences, friends, and of course, some Outward Bound discomfort, I felt at home. Things make sense in the wild. Some days are sunny, others are rainy or foggy, and others somewhere in the middle— just like us.
Some days we feel bright and happy, other days our minds are foggy and our bodies sore and tired. Maybe there is even some tear duct precipitation. A home to most involves somewhere to rest, something to eat and drink, and a feeling of comfort and ease. My home for the past fifty days has been simple; the same sleeping set up of a sleeping bag, foam mat, and groundsheet; the same food and drink of rice, beans, cheese, bickies, and peanut butter; and that feeling of comfort and ease that a simple routine gives after a long day.
While I did enjoy this simple lifestyle, it wasn’t the tarps and camp stoves that made it feel like home, it was the people and the ideas. I found a place where I could share my insights on human values, my interest in learning about who people really are inside, and my goofy desire to share when I was going to use the trowel, Raoul (hence my trail name, Lady Raoul.)
I had found somewhere I belonged both in the golden larches of the Cascades, but also in the lives of the people I shared my experience with. While we all saw the same orcas, the same sea lion devouring its brunch, and pushed our bums up the same nearly 9000ft mountain; we also witnessed more than that. We saw the discomfort, the challenges, the pasts and the futures of our little banana bunch, and to me, that’s where I found my home.
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Photos: Course Camera