A/N: I have been working on this blog post for over a month, and it’s gone through various edits and revisions. Nothing seems right. After all, how can I sum up all that Overland has meant to me in one measly blog post? I don’t think I can ever truly write exactly everything I want about the adventures I’ve had and the friends I’ve made. If I could, I’m not sure I’d want to. If you’ve done an Overland trip, you know. And that’s all I need.
Before every trip, my grandma tells me the same exact thing: make some best new friends.
Coming to this trip (a week at Williams College writing my college essay), I was nervous—how could I create the same Overland bond I’m used to in only a week? As it turns out, there was no reason for the nerves. Somehow, we did it—we became best friends.
This was my last Overland trip. There. I finally wrote it.
I’ve been avoiding this blog post for so long—I refuse to acknowledge this simple fact. This was my last Overland trip—last dessert circles, last cook crew, last high-low-cheers, last leaders—last a lot of things.
If my calculations are correct, I have had ten leaders and have made fifty-seven new friends.
I went on my first Overland trip in 2009. It was an introductory trip—two weeks hiking and exploring in the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. I had signed up on a whim—a cool looking catalog with cool looking trips and cool looking people showed up in my mailbox and I chose a trip. I never looked back.
I have gone to some amazing places with Overland and these sixty-seven inspirational people: to the Tetons, to Barcelona, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands (ending with Williamstown seems rather anti-climactic, don’t you think?). I have learned amazing things with amazing people.
I have also missed a lot of things at home.
There’s a price you pay to being gone every summer—I should know. I’ve missed countless social and academic opportunities, some of which have returned, others of which have not. But looking back, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Though I’ve missed home, I have returned with not only new experiences and new memories but a new outlook on life. I have learned both wilderness skills and social ones, I’ve laughed and I’ve cried (as cheesy as that may sound).
It’s a certain type of person that goes on an Overland trip, or any trip without their parents. I love this type of person. It takes courage to leave home at such a young age with no parents, unsure of what to expect upon arrival in a foreign airport. It takes openness—openness to new ideas, new cultures, new people, a new way of life. I am not always an open person, but I’m trying my best.
So, Nana, to answer your question, yes—I did make some new best friends.