Written by guest blogger Micah Berman, ‘11 SCA National Crew, while in Alaska. Micah was a high school graduating Senior from New Hampshire during this trip. He is currently a Freshman at the University of Vermont.
As I’m sitting here next to this peaceful lake, way up in the back country of Alaska, I realize that I am at home. My entire life, I’ve considered one place home: where my family , my pets, and friends are, where my parents cook dinner and my sister makes me laugh, the woods of New Hampshire. I’ve grown up in a great life, one I never hesitate to come back to. Where I’ve adapted the backcountry skills of a true New Hampshire-ite, made lifelong friends, and everything else I could ask for.
Before this trip I never had a reason to expand my home. I didn’t think I could fit more space into it. Yet, after spending 30 amazing days with 7 other great people, I came to a realization. Yes, where I’ve grown up is where I will always go back to, to rebirth old memories of times forgotten. It will be where I harbor some of my experiences most dear to me. However, that’s my physical home. The home I discovered here in Alaska, and the one I will carry with me to college and beyond belongs in my heart. And, it is constantly expanding, accepting new people, experiences and ideas that will continue to redefine my life.
I realized this after hearing the simple barking of a squirrel. It reminded me of my dogs barking at home to be let in, then out, to have food, etc. As I heard this I began to realize that the amazing friends I made here were also my brothers and sisters. Not metaphorically, but for real. My leaders acted as my parents always looking out for me and making sure I accepted and took on serious responsibilities. We cooked, cleaned, laughed, slept, and did everything normal I would at my own home. This realization helped make me stronger. I realized I could never really be homesick or feel alone because everyone I meet can change my life and I can carry their teachings and love with me.
The friends I made here may never have been ones I would have made in “real life.” I love them all, yet all our different tastes and preferences may not have permitted us to be friends in the “real” or “normal” world. I find that sad - that the norms of society can determine our friendships- but at the same time I can learn from this. I’ve learned that I need to expand my horizons and be more open to people and ideas; you never know which seemingly insignificant experience may change your life.
The wildlife I’ve seen here, the wise experiences I’ve learned from building perfect trails and finishing jobs is something amazing I will take with me. And, I couldn’t have done this without SCA and its supporters. The opportunity SCA provided me with is impossible to express in words and I can’t thank you enough. The lessons I’ve learned and friends I’ve made is all I could ask for, and I owe it to SCA and to all the people who make SCA possible. Thank you so much.