Home – Iris

This is a little piece of writing I wrote the morning after Adventure Trip. I was actually planning on writing something the night we got back, but I fell asleep before I turned out the light. So here it is…

It’s 11:07am, the day after the adventure trip, and I’m back home. Home, as in school, piano, never-ending homework, procrastinated projects… that kind of home. I’m back to time measured down to the very seconds, fattening drivers who are always impatient with bikers, dinner around a table rather than a campfire, no barefoot soccer, no spontaneous singing of “Home”, no running as though you’re flying… I won’t be biking 30km or 70km, I won’t be two hours behind schedule and decide to turn around and sit by a lake instead of continuing to my original destination. I won’t be slathering on layer after layer of sunscreen until I’m ghostly pale. Instead, I’ll be spazzing at a computer, or staring blankly out a window from my desk. I’ll be stressed about piano, finals, even in-depth, as much as I love it.

I’ve found home somewhere else. It’s hidden atop a hill surrounded by trees that are close, but not too close. The sky is our roof and the bushes are our toilets if we get desperate. And yes, we do have an actual washroom, but it doesn’t flush and the toilet paper is half out. Our two precious sinks drip dry of hot water before we’re done doing dishes, but hey, at least we have lights. The grass is soft and the wind is sweet and the rain is quick to come but even faster to go. Best of all, I’ve got a big, beautiful family. There are five (and a half) adults and 35 of the most beautiful, courageous people in world. We can scale Mount Kilimanjaro, we can bike up Mount Everest, we can build 5 tarp shelters and eat dinner at 10pm. Here, I’m always happy. Whether it’s getting “Home” stuck in everybody’s head because I only know the chorus and 2 and a half verses, or biking up every hill with the (slow) Best Group Ever, I’m happy. Even though there’s conflict between us sometimes, with a little bit of love and forgiveness the sun will always laugh with us.

As we all sat around the last campfire, I watched as all six of our Grade 10 girls broke down a little. They apologized and confessed that hey, they weren’t perfect and they knew it and that they were sorry for anybody they hurt. I teared up a little as I listened and watched their blurry faces through the campfire. They were older now, more than just the gossipy, shallow girls my first impression had decided. They were ready to take on the world.

I didn’t want to leave this home. I could finally live each and every moment the way I wanted to. But the final day rolled around, and before we knew, we were 15 minutes away from the ferry. Taking one last look at the place where I knew I would always happy, I jogged passed the irritated ferry ticket collectors and onto the boat, and in less than four hours, each TALONS kid was back in their soft beds.

And I’m back here anyways. I’ve dried my tears after every speech and every hug of closing circle. I’ve said good-bye to the unlockable pit toilets and seemingly-impossible-but-actually-conquerable humpback hill. That’s life for you. It’ll let you have the time of your life and snatch it away so fast you’ll wonder if it was even ever there. But that’s just another hill to climb. I’ve made it up all of humpback hill, so I’m all set. I’ll take them on one at a time. And hey, the sun will still shine and the rain will still splash, and life will keep rolling on.

biking

The Start of an Adventure Trip – Jenna

Whenever I talk about what I believe the Adventure Trip is all about, I feel somewhat hypocritical. You see, I am one of the few unlucky people that didn’t get a chance to participate in her grade 9 Adventure Trip due to an injury. Let me just say that for those of you that don’t know, this trip is the TALONS trip of all TALONS trips. And even ‘til this day, I still feel out of place because I never went. So as this year’s trip is rapidly approaching, I feel like I am a grade 9 – I don’t fully know what to expect. I’ve tried to piece together the words and experiences of my classmates but I still don’t think I would ever understand unless I’ve experienced it. So I am unbelievably anxious and excited for this year’s trip! And I think to enjoy it to the fullest, you need to be prepared – and it started today with our practice bike trip to Belcarra.

I would consider myself to be a person that is reasonably in-shape and physically capable – but there is something about biking up a hill while your thighs feel like they’re on fire, you’re out of breath and you’re looking ahead and seeing that you’ve only made it up a quarter of the hill you thought you were almost past – it definitely plays with your mind. I think a huge reason for our practice bike trip today was not only to learn how to push yourself physically, but also mentally. There were so many times where I felt defeated, exhausted and considered just getting off the bike and taking a rest, but I knew I could push myself just that fraction further -and I believe that’s what the Adventure Trip is all about. It’s about discovering your abilities and pushing them to the limits, despite the blood, sweat and tears. And trust me, there is going to be a lot of those. 😉

I think the whole experience, starting with preparation, teaches you a lot about life and that despite how difficult things might seem, there is always a way to get past it if you set your mind to it! We’re all going to be pushed to our absolute limits, but just remember to enjoy the ride – don’t worry, you’ll survive.