In a small, rural town surrounded by cornfields everyone thinks the same, dresses the same, and any bit of individuality is frowned upon. There is, however, a small percentage of people in the middle of the cornfield who want to know what else exists in the world. There are a few who know that there is more out there, and are eager to discover and learn about the things that are unknown to them. I have always felt lost in the middle of the giant cornfield. I have always wanted to discover who I am and where I belong because I have always known that my destiny and happiness does not belong within dismal Syracuse, Indiana. As I entered high school my curiosity peaked, and traveling was at the top of my to do list.
The Pacific Northwest United States was specifically a place that I wanted to visit. My dad agreed to accompany me on this exploration. We arrived in Seattle on a sunny, warm day and I immediately fell in love. The mountains, city skyline, and bay views were all invigorating. Not only was it the city that was captivating, but the fact that I could smell the alluring wilderness just a small distance outside of the city was almost surreal. My dad, who had visited the Pacific Northwest in the past, insisted that there was more to see than just Seattle. I could hardly fathom the idea that there could be more.
We ventured toward Crater Lake, located in southern Oregon. We drove through mountain passes with impressive views that mesmerized me. We drove with the windows down so that we could feel and smell the fresh mountain air. The smell of a freshly fallen cedar is incomparable to even the sweet smell of a rose. As we approached Crater Lake our elevation increased and there was ten feet of snow on either side of the road. We finally reached our destination and had to take a lovely hike to view the lake. The mountains surrounding the lake were the gates of heaven and the lake itself was the mirror reflecting yet withholding all of God’s beauty. I could have remained at Crater Lake for eternity, but my father insisted that there was more to see. I now took his word for it and we drove to the coast. We saw the Oregon sand dunes, sea lion caves, and coastal mountains. After exploring the Oregon coast for several glorious days we decided to go to the Hoh rain forest in Washington. We did an entire day hike through the rain forest, and I easily could have spent the rest of my life gazing at the waterfalls and lush ferns, but it was time to go home. Seattle, Crater Lake, the Oregon coast, and the Hoh rain forest all withheld the answers to my future.
Back in the cornfield, I was worried that I would not find my passion in life. I had worried I would never find a place where I belonged, but on my trip to the Pacific North West United States I found the place that had been calling my name. After exploring the tide pools, hiking up mountains, and watching the sea lions I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to spend my life researching and conserving the wild. I fell in love with the outdoors on my exploration with my father. I always knew that there was more to the world than a cornfield, but to my surprise I discovered my passion as well as my future home.
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