Experience, travel-these are as education in themselves.
As Saint Augustine wisely said, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Travelling stands out as a major part of any person’s life. Whether a man has travelled across oceans or just across the state, any form of a journey is important to helping a person grow. In my short seventeen years, I am lucky to say that I have travelled out of the country to Honduras, Costa Maya, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands, as well in the country to Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, and all throughout New England. Although I have been to numerous places, one trip in particular stands out the most.
Last year, I was privileged to experience a week of solitude in Ithaca, New York. The trip was filled with gorgeous scenery and loving company. Ithaca is known for its beautiful gorges and falls. It My family, from my parents to my sister, aunt, uncle, and cousin, all endured in a cramped six hour car drive from Peabody to Ithaca. The uncomfortable, long, sticky hot, overcrowded drive was well worth it. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I was dumbfounded. I had never felt so small in my life, than when I stared up at the waterfalls. I knew this vacation was not just about making s’mores and exploring the land. It had a much deeper meaning to it. Camping allows us to center ourselves. It is in nature that we are allowed to escape the harsh realities of everyday life. We become closer to each other as well as ourselves.
As my parents unloaded the cargo, I could not believe my eyes. Here we were at Buttermilk Falls camping ground in Ithaca, and I did not expect to be as amazed as I was. After setting up our tents, we all explored the site. As I moved from gorge to gorge, waterfall to waterfall, I was able to completely release any stress that I had been feeling before. The enormous rushing waterfalls diverted my complete attention from any worries that I had brought with me on vacation.
As I walked further through the rocks and water, I began to contemplate about a higher power. I had always believed in God, coming from a religious background. But as I explored deeper into the natural atmosphere, I truly think I became closer to God than I had ever been before. It goes without saying that every single person on the Earth has the right to their own beliefs. And I’m sure that any other person who takes the same journey that I took would feel something completely different. But, in spending time in Ithaca, I managed to build a faith in God that was stronger than I had imagined.
It started simply by looking at the waterfalls. But as I adventured out and climbed onto the falls, I actually felt God’s presence with me. I explored the slippery paths of the cascades and easily found falls to jump off. If fear were tangible, I surely would be holding it with a tight grip right as I was about to jump. But for some reason, everything felt safe.
I had never experienced anything quite like Ithaca. Ithaca provided me with the opportunity to connect myself with my own beliefs. My sister, mom, dad, cousin, aunt, and uncle all experienced different feelings at Buttermilk Falls. But one thing I know we all felt for sure: a sense of closeness with the people around us and the environment that surrounded us.
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