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.*