The moments I spent in Alaska are some to always be told but not always understood. I was emerged in an environment that brings out the beauty in the world. From mountain top to mountain top white snow lay refusing to melt under the eyes of the sun. The sun never left. From the moment I opened my eyes until the moment I entered my tent, the sun remained. Tall evergreen forest grew from the energy the sun provided them and they were beautiful. The woods I loved, the trees I treasured, and the memories I will never forget.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
In Alaska I grew as a person. I grew in a way that is not vertical but mental. While in Alaska my insides became accustomed to long days and my mind would drag behind trying to catch up to the pace. And in that catching up I learned how to forgive and forget the mistakes I have made because out there I learned how to smile to a brand new day. I let the past go because everyday I became a leader while trying to navigate my way on a kayak in the pacific ocean. I had to lead my kayak pod of fifteen people. I also had to lead myself. While cold rain fell on top of my paddling jacket I pushed on. I had to lead myself into a place where gloom was not welcome and happiness paved the way, that would be the only way I could make it through the day and the regular six to eight hours of kayaking.
In Alaska I became an engineer to fix my own mistakes. I could not afford to make a mistake while I set up my tent or while I was kayaking. I was responsible for my own security, I had to sleep in a tent by the ocean and carry all of my belongings in a boat bag. I was 3,500 miles away from home: away from my mom, my sisters, my boyfriend, my friends, everyone. I had to become a pioneer of my own emotions and I had to learn how to shape them so that sadness would not fill my head with negative thoughts that come with a cloudy day. Instead of dying inside from homesickness I had to find the beauty in the burning sun of Alaska. I found the beauty between the tall tress while I walked through forests of fresh and green. I found the beauty in the pacific ocean while I paddled through chunks of ice that fell from a flowing glacier. I found the beauty in struggling all day to reach my new campsite and be safe on land.
From my experience in Alaska I found that l am stronger than what I used to think. I was strong enough to be away from home for three weeks without any technology or commodities and I was strong enough to bear through the freezing cold weather in Alaska. I even reached the point where I would rather drink something cold instead of something hot; one day I made myself a nalgene filled with tea and then added crisp cold snow; it was the best thing ever. I enjoyed my time in the waters of Prince William Sound and found that by leaving my home and emerging myself into a challenging and foreign environment I become a stronger and more skilled individual. I am no longer afraid to face the challenges that lay ahead of me and I can say I owe that to Alaska. Thank you.
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