By: Henry Bost
Coming off of the NOLS course, I don’t think there was any better way to decompress and reflect on our experience than the four day road trip that we took to get to the reservation. Coming out of the woods, two of the main things I was craving were food and music. I think that I somewhat overloaded on both of those fronts the first night, evidenced by my intense belly ache and perhaps four hours of sleep that night after listening to Dark Side of the Moon in it’s entirety (among other music) nonstop. Waking up early the next morning, I felt somewhat disgruntled at having to immediately hit the road without one of the a-famed ‘layover days’ that we took on NOLS when we were feeling overwhelmed by the pace of our excursion. Once we hit the road, however, and getting to sit shotgun the first day (giving me ample legroom and somewhat of a mental/physical buffer from the others in the van), I came to understand that this was exactly what I needed at this point in time. Just getting to sit, think, listen to music and be driven in a vehicle seemed pretty luxurious compared to what we had just experienced. Staying in churches in small towns, eating out at restaurants, playing frisbee on the front lawn, shooting some pool with my cohorts; all of this created a fairly ideal environment in which to relax and connect with my peers in a new way. We didn’t have to worry about hiking at six o’clock in the morning to fetch water and get breakfast. I felt more in my element and I think my peers did as well, which allowed us to interact on a new level. We had a fair amount of free time to go around to shops at night or experience the small town dynamic. We could have fun in the car listening to music together or just taking some alone time. Ultimately that level of freedom was a refreshing change that I felt was a necessary buffer between the intensity of NOLS and the intensity we are experiencing here on the reservation (more on that next week). By the time we got here, I felt like I had had enough time to ready myself to jump back into a more structured and activity oriented environment, and I feel like we as a group had enough time to acclimate to the front country dynamic and learn how we were going to operate and adjust to said dynamic as a collective. Very excited for things to come here!