I'm entering my last year of high school! How exciting and simultaneously frightening is that! To mark this last summer before my explosion into the adult world I am traveling to Europe alone, to weather the unparented shores by going on a solitary retreat in the beautiful countryside of France and walking the Camino de Santiago in the northernmost areas of Spain.
I will be going to Dechen Choling (dechencholing.org) to participate in a Rites of Warriorship program. This is a program in the Shambhala tradition of Buddhism that marks one's emergence into adulthood. I am going to France doubly to go on this retreat and contemplate my many personal questions about adulthood, and the responsibilities that come with it, and to prove to myself that I can be responsible and execute and implement my plans to travel to a foreign country alone. As a bonus I can practice my nonexistent French skills and negotiate foreign transportation. I am excited to see culture, landscape, and people that are so vastly different from what I have grown up with, and to see what comes up when I am alone with myself and my ever wandering mind for a day. This program will be intense, but inspiring and worthwhile as well, and I look forward to it.
As a follow up to my retreat in France, I will walk the Camino de Santiago. This will also be a time for me to think about my future and what I want to do with my life after high school. I will have time to be alone with my thoughts and contemplate - a walking meditation. But there will be time for me to talk and interact with the myriad of people that walk the Camino. I am interested in their stories and their reasons for walking the Camino, and I am interested in filming this leg of my journey so that I can remember everything from the landscape of my thoughts and the outside world to the people I meet and the food I eat. I know that this experience will stay with me for a lifetime, and will change me - hopefully for the better. I look at this trip as a time to grow up, to pull up my cowboy boots and become a big girl, but not without some fun along the way.
When I return I will compile the videos into a short film that documents my trip, the places and the people I saw, and the stories I heard.
Costs include gear (hiking boots, camera), transportation, lodging in hostels as well as food.