Our family is a bit too busy to take vacations — Lucky for me, I am a Girl Scout. And yes, I’m proud of that. The troop I’m involved with is special.
We’re a family; ten brilliant girls, three wonderful co-leaders, and a leader who could outshine Mother Theresa herself. One thing we all have in common- we love to go out of state. It was July 2006 and we were heading for North Carolina for a week of white water rafting and tons of trips to the Asheville Mall (What can I say-we fit the girl cliche perfectly for shopping).
This was my third time out on the rapids, but that didn’t matter. I loved this state. It’s gorgeous.
I can honestly say that these trips were some of the best times in my life. You never know how much someone means to you until you see them pop, and I literally mean pop, out of a raft and be thrust down the raging rapids. On the other hand, you never realize how much trust you put into the person sitting next to you until you’re in the water.
Rafting is a team sport; it’s all for one and one for all. Sitting in the raft, you get a chance to look around. And that’s when you realize how truly beautiful this world is.
Nothing takes your breath away like the towering mountains all around you, how the river curves gently to the right, or when you see a ledge of where it looks like the river just suddenly ends-that, of course, would be the beginning of a rapid.(Which I, luckily, figured out my first trip. The ‘newbie’s’ around me hadn’t quite made that connection yet.) I do believe that the people around you make the biggest impact on your trip. And, as much as I love my troop- during this particular trip, we did have our downfalls.
We love to refer to this trip as the one with ‘The Talk.’ It seemed that too many of us were arguing and not enjoying ourselves. By day four, we decided the girls needed to have their own discussion; my best friend and I were to be the leaders of it (No one seemed to have a problem with us). That day I learned things about these girls that I would never have thought possible.
The girls that I see constantly, that I hang out with, that I call my family-I realized I knew nothing about. To see the hardships of everyone — and to let my own be known, that was priceless. And it brought us closer than I could ever have imagined.
Life is unexpected. People get hurt. Yet, at that moment, we were suffering together. We were crying for, not ourselves, but for each other-for us. We were sharing things we hadn’t dared whispered to the silence. I can’t even begin to explain how meaningful that is. No matter what happens to our troop, we will always have that trip. We will always share that bond. Traveling shows who you are. It brings out your courage, your weakness — and in this case, it brought out how truly human each of us are.
There’s something about the mountains that soothes people, it puts you in a different world. And that world will forever be etched in each of our hearts. I can only hope another ‘family-‘ traditional, or a group of girls like us, can find that same world, and know what it truly means to be at peace with yourself.
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