©2019 THE SMILE PROJECT

How I Fared: Finding Adventure in August

September 1, 2019

“I’ve never cancelled a flight before,” I heard myself saying as I laid in the grass in a Los Angeles park, cancelling my flight that was boarding in six hours.

 

When I chose Adventure for the month of August, I didn’t think it would lead me here.

 

Summer 2019 was one for the books. I worked at four summer camps in four states (Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and California). The last camp ended on August 10th and I was set to fly back to the East Coast. Until I wasn’t.

 

On the final full day of camp, one of my co-counselors turned to me and mentioned a potential road trip. I told him I had a flight. But the seed was planted. And I’m a sucker for a good road trip.

 

That night, we pulled up maps and talked about our favorite West Coast National Parks. I alluded to things I had seen on last year’s #SmileProjectRoadTrip and thought about how fun it would be to travel with him and another counselor.

 

Then I shrugged it off. I had a flight and anyway you can’t plan a road trip in a couple hours. I figured by morning he’d have forgotten about it.

 

Camp ended on Saturday. I was to fly out on Tuesday. I was tired, a little sick, and definitely not in the mood to organize anything. I told him that if they planned everything and kept the price low, I’d split driving and expenses.

 

Then I shrugged it off. I had a flight and anyway you can’t plan a road trip in a couple days. I figured by Monday he’d have moved on from the idea.

 

But of course, it was me who was stuck on it. “It would be really fun…” I told myself as I washed all my dirty camp clothes, half thinking it would be good to start a road trip with a clean suitcase.

 

But of course, it was me who casually mentioned to my parents that I might not be getting on my flight, just to gauge the reaction to this vagabond lifestyle I had adopted as of late.

 

But of course, it was me who was looking up the cancellation policy for my flight and remembering the words of my former boss and mentor, “I’m a firm believer that choosing Adventure is never the wrong choice.”

 

Adventure. My Essence.

 

Reader, I cancelled that flight.

What happened next was amplified joy. My friends and I spent 11 laughter-packed days driving from Santa Ana, California up to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and back down to Los Angeles. We swam in Lake Tahoe and camped in Umpqua National Forest. We watched a beach sunset on the Oregon Coast and hiked the Hoh River Trail. We saw waterfalls and National Parks and elk. We ate camp fire meals and vegan food truck meals and tired “what do we have in the trunk” peanut butter and apple meals.

 

Adventure is never the wrong choice.

 

After the trip ended, I flew to Washington state, to my home (3000 miles) away from home to see my dear friend who taught me what Essence means. As I type this from her kitchen table, a cat on one side and a sleeping dog on the other, I am reminded of what joy there is in being open-hearted for the unexpected and holding place in your heart for Adventure to flourish.

 

Love always,

Liz

 

 

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