El Norte

I left Phoenix (shown above with the sunset) and took a trip to Salt Lake City this week. Not so much as a vacation, but to get some things done. I hitched a ride to St. George with my buddy Lincoln and Reggie (“my buddy” includes 2 people). I spent the week sleeping on the couch at Tamra’s house. Got to meet her awesome and roommates: Caroline, Kandace and Jenny. They live in a beautiful duplex on a hill that overlooks the city. Each morning Tamra made the most healthy smoothie in the world, and after she and Kandace and I would go for a run. St. George has some of the most beautiful scenery surrounding it hands down. I don’t care where you are from, and no matter how green and magnificent you think the mountains are where you live. Nothing compares with red and white sandstone hills with etched markings of wind and water, with black lava rock and green junipers painting the rest of it.

While there I zipped over to Moab and attended the Aspiro Tryouts. Aspiro is an outdoor therapeutic program similar to Anasazi, but they do adventure based activities (rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, etc.) instead of wilderness survival. After the tryouts I was pulled aside and offered a job right away! This made me really happy, but I had to postpone the offer because I’m committed to work at Anasazi until May. If you’re thinking I’m leaving Anasazi for good, that’s not true (it never is for those of us who are “lifers” there). I’ll be coming back in the Winter to Anasazi as usual.

I have made a big decision: not going to pursue a degree in Engineering anymore. I realized this in January when I got my acceptance letter into the program. I was not excited when I got it. I didn’t want to believe it, but it was true. Needless to say I’ve decided to pursue Experiential Education as a career choice at this time. It is what I’ve loved doing for many years now, and so much that I hadn’t realized how far I had come with it. My education is in it, and 90% of my work experience is with teaching in the outdoors. It’s not that I don’t like math and science and rockets and computers… I love it all, but my passion has shifted to people.

I’m still doing math and programming on the side. I have a need for this technical stuff as well in my life. I still want to know how things work. I’m pretty happy doing these two things as a balance.

Really, if I could contribute anything to society right now, it would be the understanding of the true connection we have with out planet and how our modern technology is actually a part of it. Let me explain for just a minute: we are connected to our Earth. Not just in a spiritual way but literally physically. Our cells, and atomic structure are based off of carbons just like our planet. We resonate with it, whether we realize it or not. Most people don’t see this. We only watch movies about it (like Avatar) and wish we had it too. But my message is that WE DO! This has become more apparent to me the more time I spend in the great outdoors – sleeping on the ground, and not separating myself from nature with modern camping equipment. I hope I’m not sounding too off the wall here. I completely support the expanse and discovery of our modern technology. Someone told me this a few weeks ago and I agree: “What we are doing with technology is natural, because our planet has produced us and given us this ability to create what we have made.” Now I still believe we have to fix how we do things and make our technology cleaner and less intrusive to our planet. The paradox of our existence is our ability to create and destroy simultaneously. But I wish we respected the balance of our planet among all this invention and modern living. Too many people are scared of nature, see it as dirt, or disregard its importance. I get to work in a place right now where I take kids who don’t understand nature and after a few weeks in the wilderness they realize how ALIVE and connected our Earth is. And once they realize that, they become better people too (thus is the concept behind therapeutic wilderness programs). We seem to take for granted how dependent we our on our planet until something changes – like a natural disaster – and that is when we realize how fragile we are without the complete support and cooperation of our planet Earth. I wish the general population would understand this better. I know there’s a lot of people out there who know this, but there is still too many individuals preoccupied with their image or their bank accounts to care enough about where it all comes from. We are married to our Earth, and must understand it. Our practices need to change more than just using a recycling bin. The best thing is knowledge. Learn what our Earth is and understand why we are who we are – because of our planet. Lastly, I’d like to build myself an earth home. They are pretty dang cool.