Stars, Trees, and Turning 17 | My Family Travels
redwood

The stars above me were unlike any I had seen before, first in the multitudes that existed, and second in their extraordinary gleaming brightness. It was my 17th birthday and I was lying in a sleeping bag in the northernmost part of california, Redwood National Park, on a riverbed surrounded by the tallest trees in the world. I had refused to sleep in a tent, needing to experience the power of these ancient trees and stars for as long as possible, even if I were asleep while doing so. But it must have been around 2am when I opened my eyes to a complete blanket of stars above me, I was breath taken, these stars were billions of years old, the trees surrounding me thousands, and I had just turned 17.

â–º  QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

This family adventure-vacation suddenly turned into so much more for me, In that moment I was humbled by the ever-extending power of the earth and universe. I saw how small my part to play was in the cycle of life. You’d think that this would foster a sense of insignificance, however I was comforted by the thought of the greatness that exists in our world, and thankful to be able to experience it – if only for 17 short lived years. This moment came to me entirely impromptu, however I think I had been waiting and was ready for something of its nature. Throughout our trip, I was feeling connected to the spectacular nature around us and the wisdom it contained, and this moment was a culmination of that. I let myself be open to the powers of these ancient beings, and was given in return a moment of purity that I will always remember. It taught me to be open to enlightening moments everywhere, and increased my desire to see more, to travel everywhere. That trip and moment were some of the best in my (incomparably short) lifetime, traveling truly opens many doors in a person, emotionally and spiritually if one lets it.

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