Book Squirt

A Year Since Outward Bound

This entry is part 209 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

I can’t believe I just typed those words. “A Year Since Outward Bound.”

Outward Bound taught me so much.

On Outward Bound, I learned what a wonderful life I have.
On Outward Bound, I learned that the world is very different from what I thought it was.
On Outward Bound, I learned that I could do so much more than I thought I could.
On Outward Bound, I learned SO MANY THINGS.

I learned so much, that I still don’t know all of the things I learned! But it definitely taught me a lot.

We’ll be talking at church and almost every other week I’ll bring up Outward Bound. I think about Outward Bound every day, and I talk about it just as often. I’ve even started dreaming about it again – and I still miss it.

I’d love to catch up with my crewmates again. I learned so many things from them too.

Bobby taught me that smiling in a bad situation really helps.
Luke and Ben taught me that sometimes you have to work through the pain.
One girl taught me that belittling weaker people will only make them feel bad.
The same girl taught me that sometimes you just have to get away to calm down.
Bruce and Jordan taught me that people need positive influences in their lives.
Kayce taught me that it’s okay to be shy around people at first, as long as you open up to them eventually.

And there is so much more. This is just a few out of many things they taught me. There are some I can’t even begin to think of!

I wanted to write this long post about how much Outward Bound did for me, and how great it was, but I can’t. I don’t know how to wrap this up. Outward Bound has been in my thoughts EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for a full year. How am I supposed to finish this?

Speaking of not knowing how to finish my Outward Bound posts, how am I supposed to finish this one??

If you ever have any questions about Outward Bound, feel free to email me. Talking about Outward Bound is one of my favorite things to do – I’ve written over 200 posts about it! When I started recapping my trip, I had no idea that it was going to take me a year. I had no idea that I’d reach so many people with it. I had no idea what it was going to do to me.

A huge thank you to North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) for linking to these posts on their website, and an even bigger thank you to them for offering these courses. Outward Bound changed my life, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share it with everyone.

Thanks to Jen and Katie, Glenn and Patrick, Josh and Nicole, Matt and Whitney, and everyone else behind NCOBS. You all helped so much, and without you, it would have been a lot different.

Thanks to my Dad, for making me do Outward Bound. I didn’t want to do it (lets be honest, I was scared to death.) but he made me. And I’m so glad he did.

Thanks to my Mom, for letting me go for two weeks.

And thanks to everyone who has listened to me talk about Outward Bound non-stop. I’m sure it must be exhausting, and I’m sure you’re sick of it, but I can’t stop. It truly was an amazing experience, and things like that are meant to be talked about, right? 🙂


Life After Outward Bound, Part 2

This entry is part 208 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

I’ve gotten a few emails from my crew. One or two from Bobby, Luke, and Ben, a couple from Jordan, and a bunch from another crewmate (who asked me not to share his/her name in connection with the emails.)

I wish it were more than that though. The rare contact is nice, and it makes me happy. I just wish that it wasn’t so rare! But out of the ones I have gotten, I’ve gotten some nice ones.

These are all from one of the girls, and it made me wish that I’d talked to her more while we were out there:

I miss you too, it’s so weird not seeing you and the other crew members everyday.

I remember mostly everything from it and I’m definitely not trying to forget it. As much as I complained on the trip about how much I hated it, in the end, I was really glad that I was put into it. It taught me a lot of things and I met some great people, like yourself! You are literally the most positive person I’ve ever met, and ever since that trip I’ve been striving to have an attitude like yours and so far its paying off (: I read your blog though and its fantastic, I can’t wait to see more of your entries! Keep in touch with me Dora!

I feel like I should wake up in a sleeping bag full of spiders and _______ yelling in my ear lol!


This one is from Luke, and I thought it explained a lot! It definitely explained why he was in  so much pain the last few days.

Yeah, I had a herniated disk and a fracture in my back.

This is from one of the guys:

I have thought a lot about you all. I always think about how if you pin pointed where we all live on a map, you would see that we all come from all over the country and how we live different lives but we became good friends by the end of the trip.

And this is from another guy:

It’s weird thinking back to Outward bound I’m not sure if the experience really changed me much, but I feel an odd longing, and a bit off confusion towards the experience, and feel as if i have a connection to everyone that went on the trip.  I’ve been having dreams with all of you in it which are rather odd, and that give me a feeling that i can’t really articulate.  I guess in a way I feel like i didn’t leave things the way i should have, as i wasn’t feeling very uppity during our final days, nor do i feel as though I said good bye to everyone correctly.

It took me a while to believe that they were telling me the truth when they said things like “You are literally the most positive person I’ve ever met” and “Brett, you were always positive, even when you were scared“. Mostly because at home, I’m not a very positive person. I complain a lot, and I get frustrated easily. And I thought I was doing the same thing there, but after thinking about it I’ve decided my perception was just skewed.

What I saw as being complaining and weak, they didn’t really see. Only a few of them actually saw me cry, and a lot of the other girls complained more than I did. They probably saw me as weak, yes, but Luke was the only one who saw me break down because of it. The only other time I remember crying was the river, and just thinking about it almost makes me want to cry again! The fear I felt of that water was so real, and it still scares me.

Life After Outward Bound

This entry is part 207 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

After Outward Bound, I thought a lot. I thought about what I would have done differently. I thought about my crewmates. I thought about the mountains we’d climbed. I thought about the things that made me laugh, and the things that made me cry.

And I dreamed about Outward Bound too. I dreamed about being back, on that mountain, in the river, and at the Banquet. I dreamed about getting back together with my crewmates. And more often than not, I woke up crying from those dreams.

Mom said that it was because I’d become such good friends with them, and I’d never really had that experience before – becoming friends for however long the camp (or whatever) was, and then never seeing each other again. She said that’s why I came really close to crying whenever I thought about not seeing them again, and that’s why I woke up crying when I dreamed about getting back together with them.

I’m not sure why it bothered me so much. Maybe it’s because when I tried to contact them, they rarely responded.

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part Eight

This entry is part 206 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part seven of day fourteen, click here.

We got back into the car and settled in for the ride. We had several hours to go, so Colter and I put on a movie.

Two movies later, we were in recognizable territory, and before I knew it we were driving through Charlestown.

The movie was forgotten as I stared out the window, so happy to be back in my hometown. And then we turned onto our road, and then we were at our house, and it was so, so amazing. Seriously – amazing. I almost started crying when I saw the house!

Before we’d even parked I was unbuckled and opening the door of the Hulk, and as soon as the car wasn’t moving I jumped out of it and ran towards the house, with Colter not far behind me.

As we opened the door the little kids jumped out from their hiding places, wearing goofy glasses and big smiles. They all ran forwards to hug us, saying how happy they were for us to be home and “look, look!” at all the decorations they’d put up.

welcome home sign

The massive hand painted sign in the living room

The moment I didn’t have anyone holding onto me I dashed for the bathroom, avoiding several hands that tried to grab me. It had been a long car ride, and I’d drunk a lot of water at Taco Bell!

I went back out into the living room and talked for a while, but as soon as I could I excused myself. I grabbed my pajamas from my room and took a nice long shower – probably 45 minutes – and then got a drink of water from our faucet.

You know how the water from your own house tastes so much better than any other water? I’d really, really missed our water. The bleach that we used to purify the water made it taste like, well, bleach. It wasn’t very good. LOL

I hugged my Mom and Dad, said goodnight to my siblings, and crawled into my nice warm bed. It had been an amazing two weeks, but I didn’t want to think about it just yet. I wanted to sleep. In my nice, comfy bed. For like, a week.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part Seven

This entry is part 205 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part six of day fourteen, click here.

About twenty minutes or so after I closed my computer, we stopped for dinner. “Where do you want to go?” Mom asked, and Colter and I looked at each other.

“Taco Bell!” we said together, grinning at each other. We’d already talked about what we wanted for our first meals – my crew had spent hours talking about what we wanted first.

Kayce wanted 20 chicken nuggets, two Big Macs and a large thing of fries. Someone wanted pizza, others wanted burritos. I just wanted the chicken quesadilla from Taco Bell. Three of them, to be exact. Normally I only eat two (my family eats a lot. :D) but since I hadn’t had any “real” food in a week, I was going to go all out.

We stepped into the Taco Bell and Colter and I shivered, then grinned at each other. We hadn’t been in such a cold building in two weeks!

I told Mom what I wanted and found us a table. Colter and I sat next to each other, so Mom and Dad could sit across from us. We started swapping stories, interrupting each other occasionally to explain something to Dad.

So many things from our courses were the same, and yet so many things were different. He was Top Dog in his crew, I was the lowest on the leaderboard (in my own opinion.) He was one of the strongest, helping his crewmates with their packs, while I was the one who needed to be helped.

But we still had the same things. We had the same difficulties – the cursing had been hard for both of us, being away from home had been hard, and dealing with a bunch of public schooled kids was very interesting. (I’m  not insulting public schooled kids, but I think they’re very different from the kids that Cole and I are used to.)

When our food got to our table, Colter and I prayed quickly and dug in. The quesadillas tasted amazing!

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part Six

This entry is part 204 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part five of day fourteen, click here.

I nodded, unable to speak. I cleared my throat and added “I’m just going to miss you guys. A lot.”

Tullia smiled and said “I know.” Then Mom and I left the bathroom and let Cole and Dad go to the bathroom.

As we left the airport I gave Bobby one last hug, doing my best to hold the tears in as I walked out the doors. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and I was going home. I should have been thrilled, not sad at all! But I had this funny feeling – like I was mourning the loss of my crewmates.

We climbed into the Hulk and I headed straight for my seat, sighing contentedly as I sat down. It was wonderful to be sitting down in my spot in our van, not in the 15 passenger van!

As we pulled away from the airport I got out my computer (that Mom and Dad had charged for me) and opened my email application. I added all of my crewmates email addresses, added the contacts to an email, and wrote.

Hey y’all!

Hope you all got home safely! I’m already missing you guys – Colter keeps asking me what our inside jokes meant, (since he heard a bunch of them) and I can’t really explain them to him without you guys. ( I can’t explain the Benhamin joke to him, and he does not understand why I can’t pronounce Banquet right. LOL) Good times, huh?

Anyway, just wanted to make sure that I had everyone’s email addresses right. I had so much fun with all of you on our trip. It would not have been as much fun without every single one of you, and I just wanted to thank you for helping me with everything. 

I know that the trip would have been so much harder for me if you had not helped me, and I can’t thank you enough. 🙂

 I did have a favor to ask – remember how I said I wanted to write down what everyone said about me in the give and take thing? Well, I never got around to it. If there is anyway you could send me what you said, I would love to be able to look back on those and remember. 😀

 Love you guys!


I saved it as a draft, so I could send it when I got home, and then settled in for the long car ride. I couldn’t shake the sadness, but I was excited to see my siblings!

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part Five

This entry is part 203 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part four of day fourteen, click here.

Colter joined me and we hugged Mom and Dad, so thrilled to be back with them. Dad picked up the box at his feet and held it out to me.

“The soap you requested.” he said, smiling at me, opening the flap to reveal some different soaps and lip balms.

I thanked him and grabbed the box, looking around to see if the other kids who’d been picked up were still out there. They weren’t. I frowned and decided that I’d have to email them and get their addresses  so I could send them a bar of soap and a lip balm – I wanted them all to try it.

When Mom and Dad were done signing us out, we walked inside the building so I could give soap to the rest of my crewmates, the ones who were checking in. I let them each pick out a bar of soap and a lip balm, giving them suggestions as they looked through the box.

They all thanked me and put the soap in their bags, a couple of the girls trying out the lip balm as I walked away. Colter and I each picked out a couple of bars to send back with Maggie for our instructors.

Mom took a picture of me and Colter with Dad and posted it to the GMS Facebook Page. “They’re back!” she wrote.

I laugh when I see the picture now. My hair looks awful, my face is red because I had come really, really close to crying so many times, and the lighting is awful. But in the picture I was happy to be back with  my parents, so that’s all most people see.

Mom and I left Dad and Colter with our duffel bags and the box of soap, heading to the bathroom before our seven hour car trip. When we were done washing our hands Mom hugged me and asked if I was glad to be back.

I nodded and started crying as Tullia walked in. “Brett?” she asked.  “Are you okay??”

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part Four

This entry is part 202 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part three of day fourteen, click here.

As we pulled into the airport we’d left two weeks ago, I fought back tears, searching for the Hulk or Sprinter in the parking lot. I didn’t see it, and I wondered if Mom and Dad weren’t there yet. I had a feeling that they were – I didn’t think Mom was going to let them be late.

We all hopped out of the van and got our bags out of the trailer. Colter’s crew joined us and we were all told to get in a circle.

“If you’re being picked up, say goodbye now and go with _____. If you’re flying out, stay with me.”

Tears filled my eyes as I went around hugging my crew. I held them back somehow (I’m still not sure how I did that…) and hugged some of my crew a second time. I was going to miss them SO MUCH.

I circled around and hugged Bobby a third time. “You’ve already hugged me twice!” he exclaimed, hugging me back. “I know.” I said, wiping away a stray tear as I let go and picked up my bag.

“Okay, if you’re being picked up, come with me.” Bruce, Sarah Margaret, and Rebecca walked with me, everyone else staying to get their instructions. We walked through the parking lot and under the overhang, walking towards the doors we’d walked through two weeks ago.

About two minutes later, I saw Mom and Dad. I forced myself to stay behind the instructor taking us there, knowing that he wouldn’t like it if I ran past him to Mom and Dad. But the moment we were close enough that I thought it would be okay, I slipped past him and ran straight to Mom and Dad.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part Three

This entry is part 201 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part two of day fourteen, click here.

I couldn’t believe it. We were saying goodbye here, not at the airport? “But Katie, I wanted you and Jen to meet Mom and Dad!”

“I already met them, remember? At the airport the first time? Besides, Jen and I have stuff to do. The Instructors never go to the airport. Maggie will get you there just fine – you don’t need me.”

I teared up as I hugged her, then Jen. They moved on to hug the rest of my crew, so I got into the van and sat in my normal spot. One by one the rest of my crew got in, sitting down in the seats they usually sat in.

When I looked out the window I couldn’t see Jen and Katie, which was probably a good thing. I didn’t want to start sobbing in front of everyone, and if I’d seen them I probably would have.

As soon as the car started moving, everyone got really excited. When Maggie said “You can turn your cell phones on now!” they all went crazy, turning their cell phones on and groaning when they realized that there was no cell reception.

“Two weeks without it and when I finally turn it on there’s no reception?”

“What? No reception! Gah!”

“Not even one bar? What the heck?!?”

When they realized they were going to have to wait for reception, they moved on to the snacks. I pulled out my chocolate covered pretzels and ate a couple, offering Bruce (who sat next to me) the bag. We at them in silence, listening to everyone else talk.

Five minutes later he turned to me and said “You can have the last one if you want.”

I chuckled as I looked in the bag and saw the last one. “It was completely full five minutes ago – how many did you eat?” He looked guilty and didn’t say anything, looking at me with puppy dog eyes. I laughed and said “It’s okay.” before giving him the last one.

As we rode I accepted offers of snacks from everyone, trying several different things. We started talking about our first meals – I wanted Taco Bell, several others wanted McDonalds, and several others wanted pizza.
When we left the mountains and everyone got cell service, the car got quiet as everyone started answering their text messages and friending everyone on Facebook. Because I didn’t have a phone I sat there and started getting contact information from everyone, knowing that I wouldn’t have much of a chance later.

A couple of minutes later we started seeing signs for the airport and I knew that my time with my crew was coming to an end.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part Two

This entry is part 200 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part one of day fourteen, click here.

I groaned and helped him with his address label, handing my letter to Katie once I was done.

Once everyone had handed Katie their letters, we were brought back into the building where our duffel bags were. They unlocked the case they were in and everyone eagerly grabbed their bags.

We had to carry them to the trailer that would be taking them to the airport. When we got there we were told that we could take things out of them, but we couldn’t do anything with the things we took out.

“You guys have a forty-five minute trip to the airport, so I suggest you all go to the bathroom before you get in the car.”

We did, and then we gathered by the vans again. Colter’s crew showed up in a truck with all of their bags in it, and they all jumped down and pulled out their bags. We were jealous – they got to put their bags in a truck, and we had to carry them.

My crewmates were saying goodbye to Colter’s crewmates, and everyone was talking about what they were going to do as soon as they got in the car.

“OMG, I can’t WAIT to turn my phone on!”

“You guys, we’re totally sharing snacks. Did you see what Rebecca has?”

“Okay, you HAVE to show me pictures of your boyfriend as soon as we can turn the phones on.”

I didn’t join them – I was looking around, realizing that soon we’d be leaving.

“Maggie’s going to drive you guys to the airport” Katie said.

“Wait – I thought you and Jen were driving us.”

“Nope, this is where we say goodbye.”

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Fourteen, Part One

This entry is part 199 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part eighteen of day thirteen, click here.

When I woke up the next morning, everyone was still asleep. I slipped out of my sleeping bag, being careful to not step on anyone, and went to the bathroom. Then I crawled back into my sleeping bag.

A couple of minutes later, Bruce’s watch alarm went off, waking everybody else. We didn’t immediately rush to get up, we just sat around talking. We did a lot of talking the last two days. 😀

We eventually got up and got dressed, packing all of our stuff (ALL of it) into our Happy Sacks (our massive garbage bags that kept things from getting wet), because our backpacks had already been de-issued.

We started walking from our platform back to the De-Issue area. Along the way the bags started getting annoying – we were just carrying big garbage bags, but they had all of our personal gear, our sleeping bags, and our water bottles/eating gear, so they were really heavy.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I want my pack back.”

“Me too! This is awful!”

“Seriously. Who’d’ve thought that these things would be so bad?”

I didn’t say anything – I was focusing on not letting my pack fall. It was a lot harder than it seemed!

We (finally!) arrived at the De-Issue buildings and started washing our things. We were each given our Outward Bound t-shirts and told to pull out our journals.

“Take your letter to yourself and your bucket list that you wrote on Solo and put them in one of these envelopes. Address it to yourself and give it back to me. We’ll send it to you six months after your course.”

One of my crewmates sat down next to me and said “Um, Brett? Do you know how to format an address label?”

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound Interview

This entry is part 198 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

One of my crewmates actually responded to my emails a while ago, so I started asking him questions. I asked him if I could blog his answers and he said that it was fine, as long as I didn’t include any names. I’m linking things, so that if you wanted to read about them you can. (You might also be able to find the names that he asked I take out. :D)

This happened a while ago, so if something seems wrong date wise (when I said I was writing about solo and then the last day of hiking) that’s why.

Brett: Do you still think about Outward Bound? Or have you done your best to forget it?

Crewmate: I talk about it, but I haven’t forgotten it. But I have moved on, and remember the things I learned.

Brett: Right now on my blog I’m writing about our solo. What did you think about solo? Did you like it?

Crewmate: Yeah, Solo was easy for me.

Brett: What did you do during solo? I mostly sat and wrote in my journal.

Crewmate: Once I set up my tarp, I ate, wrote a little in my journal, and then I went to sleep.

Brett: Cool! What’s your best memory of the course?

Crewmate: Topping Table Rock.

Brett: I know… the moment of triumph when we FINALLY reached the top after that horrible day. Remember how we had to evacuate the mountain because of that thunderstorm? And then we had to all squish into that one platform?

What was your favorite meal of the trip?

Crewmate: My burger at the Banquet.

Brett: Oh, yeah! Those were amazing! Remember the cookies we had with them?

What was your least favorite food?

Crewmate: grape nuts.

Brett: Those things were nasty! What did you think about the cheesy grits?

Crewmate: Good. I eat them frequently, so that wasn’t anything new.

Brett: I’d never had them before. I didn’t particularly like them, but I didn’t hate them like some of the others did. 🙂

What was your least favorite part about the course?

Crewmate: The girls complaining about everything. At first it was funny, because ____, ______, and I made jokes about it, but then we were told to stop. But the girls didn’t, and it all went downhill from there as you recall. At the end even I was starting to get agitated.

Brett: I didn’t know that you guys were told to stop! I just remember when you did. I hated the complaining too – especially when ______ was complaining during our hikes. She was like “let’s go, c’mon we don’t need to stop” and I was physically unable to keep going. It was horrible. What was it like in the van when _____ and _____ talked to the girls during resupply? I wasn’t there for that – I was talking to Josh. But I got in the van and everyone was upset.

Crewmate: It was loud. And by loud, I mean ______. Mainly her – everyone else was calm. ______ explained to the girls how we (the guys) felt about all the complaining that they (the girls) did. That set ______ off, and then they got into for a bit. Then _____ stopped all together. He ignored her for the remainder of the day. Then _____ and I took over, and we all agreed that they needed to stop, or reduce the amount of complaining they did. It was better after that if I remember correctly. ______ still didn’t talk until we got out of the van.

Brett: Wow. I can see why _____ was so upset. I was pretty bewildered – I had no idea what the heck had happened. LOL (This is what I wrote about it for my grandparents). I just remember how uncomfortable it was in the car, and how _____ and ______ were pissed about it for quite some time.

What do you think was the hardest part of the trip for you physically? And for the whole crew too, not just you?

Crewmate: Personally, the hardest day was the first day of hiking. Getting acclimated is not easy. But it only got easier for me; even the steep hill we climbed on day 10 was not bad. Athleticism has its benefits. I think that keeping a solid pace was the hardest thing for the crew. We stopped too many times, and that got even me agitated. I talked to my brother, who also went on an OB trip, and he said that they typically got in around 6-8PM, and one day they turned in at 10AM. Comparing that to what we did, we did something wrong.

Brett: For me, the hardest day was the day we summited Table Rock. I can’t wait to blog about that. LOL. I couldn’t breathe that day. I wasn’t physically getting enough oxygen. You know, that’s part of the reason we had to stop so often. Because I couldn’t physically keep going. I knew that it was annoying people, but I wasn’t able to keep going.

If you’ll remember, there were a few times we were done by 6-8. Now, there were a couple of times where we were up kinda late… Remember the night we were up until 3 in the morning?

We may have been doing something wrong, but in the end everything turned out ok. 🙂

Do you miss anything about/from our course?

Crewmate: I miss the freedom of the outdoors. It was nice to be out there. I also miss of the crew, particularly the guys, we just got along so well.

Brett: I miss that too. I’m glad that you were able to get along well with the guys. I wish that I had been able to get along with the girls more. Unfortunately, with the way I was raised I have never really understood people like them. So I didn’t get along with them as well as I wanted to. I tried, I just could NOT understand them!

What was the thing you liked the least?

Crewmate: Stopping when it wasn’t necessary.

Brett: Yeah, sorry about that. It’s been six months and I still feel guilty because of all the times we had to stop, because of me.

Did you get any good pictures?

Crewmate: Unfortunately, my camera broke so no pictures survived.

Brett: Your camera broke? That stinks! How did it break?

Crewmate: I had it in the same bag as my sunscreen. When my sunscreen exploded, it ruined the camera.

Brett: Oh, that really stinks. Would you like me to send you Jen and Katie’s pictures? They gave me a bunch that weren’t on their FB page.

Do you think you learned anything on our course?

Crewmate: Sure, I’d like to see some of the photos. I learned more than I thought I would, actually. I learned a new knot (which I still know), and what it is like to be away from civilization for an extended period of time. Great experience.

Brett: Which knot was new to you? They were all new to me. 😀

Crewmate: The top line hitch (I think thats what its called) was new.

Brett: Which knot was that? I don’t remember what they were called. LOL

Crewmate: That was the knot that we used to tie the line (what you non sailors call rope) from the tarp to the tree.

Brett: Do you remember how many feet we went up on that last day of hiking (table rock day)? Trying to write that now…

Crewmate: 4900 I believe. Somewhere close to a mile.

Brett: Thank you. I was thinking it was somewhere around four or five thousand.

I’m so glad my crewmate let me post our emails. (If you read the blog posts I linked to, you might have figured out which crewmate it was. ;))

I’m almost done with my recapping, so if you have any questions about Outward Bound let me know! If there’re enough questions I’ll do a q/a post. 🙂

Has It Really Been That Long?

Exactly a year ago, my Mom sat me down at the table with my younger brothers and said “It’s time for you guys to start a blog.” We picked out our domain names, purchased them, and wrote our first blog posts.

Mom got us each podcasting, ignoring our protests. That very day she brought us upstairs to the podcasting equipment and made us each record our first podcast.

Even though I didn’t like podcasting, I wasn’t going to quit. So each week I forced myself to podcast, praying that it would get easier. And in time, it did!

When I went on Outward Bound, I did my best to get two podcasts scheduled before I left, but it didn’t happen. So I wrote a blog post from the hotel room in NC, explaining that I was sorry, but I hadn’t gotten my podcasts recorded.

When I got back from Outward Bound I jumped right into recapping it, recapping that first day with only two posts. That never happened again! As I kept going I started posting everything I remembered, making sure that I would never forget.

I promised myself that I was going to get back to podcasting. But as time went by I realized that it had been two, three, and then four months, and I still hadn’t started again. Oh well, I thought, I’m having much more fun just recapping my trip. 

As 2012 turned into 2013, I began feverishly writing posts. Starting September 3rd I had been publishing a blog post every single day, and I didn’t want our Florida vacation to ruin that. I wasn’t bringing my computer with me, so I had to get them all uploaded and scheduled before we left.

I wrote my last post the morning we left.

After we got back from Florida I started writing again, glad to be back to recapping. But after a while I wanted to do something different occasionally, so I wrote posts about the time I got the truck stuck while learning to drive stick shift, and the time I did a commercial with our videographer. But I kept up with the recapping.

Then kidding season started, and I wanted to blog about the baby goat births. So I did! I made sure that I wasn’t posting anything too graphic, but real enough that people could see what a birth was like.  I also put together a page with the more graphic pictures so the people who wanted to see them could.

March 2nd was smack dab in the middle of Kidding Season, but I knew I couldn’t ignore it. March 2nd was the day of the tornado last year, the tornado that we saw from our backyard. So I wrote a post about it with lots of pictures, including the post I wrote a month after the tornado.

After kidding season I went straight to another thing, the A to Z Challenge.  I managed to complete it, though I was really glad when it was over.

So, now I’m working on finished Outward Bound. I’m about to start the last day, which, honestly, makes me sad. I don’t want to finish. But I have to finish at some point. 🙂

And when I’m done with Outward Bound? I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might get back to “Book Squirt” and do book reviews. Not podcasting – been there, done that.

Thank you all for being there the whole time. I have gotten more views on my blog than I ever expected, and more and more people just keep coming. In this year I have written almost 300 posts (this is number 280), and I’ve learned a lot about writing. You could almost say I’ve gotten pretty good at it! 😉

Outward Bound – Day Thirteen, Part Eighteen

This entry is part 197 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part seventeen of day thirteen, click here.

I am NOT good at coming up with things about someone when I’m “forced” to do it. So before she handed out the papers I’d tried to come up with something for as many people as I could. Of course, Tullia was one of the ones I hadn’t thought of anything yet.

Thankfully, I came up with something before it was my turn. I don’t remember exactly what it was – I think it was something to do with how easily she made friends.

“Okay everyone,” Katie announced. “Here’s how this will work. The first person will stand up, walk over to the person he is delivering the certificate to, say what he has to say, and give him his certificate. Then the person who just received his certificate will stand up and present the certificate he has to the person whose name is on it. Does that make sense?”

Everyone nodded or said yes and it began. A couple of people went and then Bruce stood up and walked over to me.

“Brett, you were always positive. Even when you were scared. Thank you for that.”

He handed me my certificate and I thanked him, setting my certificate down before walking over to Tullia. I didn’t personally agree with him – I’d been a mess the whole time, but I wasn’t going to tell him that!

I gave Tullia her certificate, said my thing, and sat back down on my sleeping bag. When we were finished with the ceremony we all lay down and were silent for a bit, but then we started talking. We talked and talked and talked. And talked some more.

Eventually Jen and Katie had to tell us to go to bed, because we talked so much. I think that after the ceremony everyone else realized what I’d realized a couple of days before – we’d be leaving soon. And despite wanting to go home, no one wanted to leave.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*

Outward Bound – Day Thirteen, Part Seventeen

This entry is part 196 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part sixteen of day thirteen, click here.

I looked up from studying my hands to watch my crewmates. In less than two weeks we’d become friends. Bobby and Rebecca were laughing together, Bruce, Luke, and Kayce were doing something weird, and the others were wandering around looking at interesting things in the clearing, laughing and talking the whole time.

Jen and Katie came out and we started walking back to the platform, everyone satisfied. It had been a good evening – the time together in the platform, talking with Colter’s crewmates, and the ah-mazing dinner.

When we got to the platform we began the usual night time routine – getting changed, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom in groups, etc. Then we all slid into our sleeping bags and talked. We talked, and we talked, and we talked. We talked so much that no one heard Katie the first time.

“I said, can you all sit up and pay attention??”

It took a minute, but after a bit of elbowing and kicking we managed to get everyone’s attention.

Katie and Jen talked for quite a while about the importance of Outward Bound. They talked about how they tried to be a positive influence and how they tried to help people change. Then Katie pulled out a handful of pins and a bundle of papers. The pins were for us, if we felt that we deserved them. If we thought that we had upheld the four pillars, (compassion, craftsmanship, physical fitness, and self-reliance) then we should come up with a reason why we deserved a pin and we would get one. If we didn’t think we deserved our pin though, we shouldn’t take one. When we felt that we were ready for it, all we had to do was call or write to Outward Bound and they would ship it to us.

I don’t remember any of the reasons. I do remember that a couple of the guys didn’t take pins, saying that they weren’t ready for it yet.

When we were done with the pin portion of the ceremony, Katie pulled out the papers from before.

“I’m going to give each of you one of these certificates. You will not get your own, you will get someone else’s. When you give them their certificate, you have to say something nice about them. Something about them you admire. Something that helped you on your course.”

Katie shuffled through the papers and started handing them out. You could tell she wasn’t just handing them out randomly – she was thinking carefully about who got which certificate. I prayed that I’d get an easy one – I’m not good at coming up with things like that on the spot. When she handed one to me, I looked down at the name and grimaced. I had no idea what I was going to say for Tullia.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here. Thanks too NCOBS for letting me use their photos.*