Cell phones are becoming better adventure tools every day. You can find what feels like endless apps for navigation, trip guides, even stargazing.
So why, when you look through a NOLS equipment list, is a cell phone nowhere to be found?Read More
In January 2018, I was perusing the internet for outdoor schools on a whim that perhaps I would apply to a program. I stumbled onto the NOLS website; instantly, I wanted to go.
I found an 8-day women-only backpacking expedition in Alaska. I liked the idea of a women’s only trip and I have wanted to camp in Alaska since I was little.Read More
I was sitting in my doctor’s office, awkwardly fussing with my johnny gown and glancing down at the NOLS health form in my hands. My doctor comes in and after some formal chitchat I ask her to complete the health clearance for this month long hiking and cultural expedition in Patagonia.
“A month of hiking? Sleeping in tents? In South America? Are you being punished?” she half joked. “No, I’m paying to do this” I joked back. “Well good for you, I don’t even like going out in my backyard.” She signed the form and I left the office, mentally checking off the final item on my expedition to-do list.Read More
Two months into our fall semester in Baja and dinner had just ended, wrapping up a weary day of classes and cleaning the kayaks. I strolled over to my coursemate, who was writing on the beach, asking if I could join in. In waves, a few more came to join us.Read More
Rather than my watch alarm bringing me out of sleep, it was roosters and cows. Instead of bundling up to get out of my tent and start boiling water for my cook group, I was waking up in someone else’s home.
This was all pretty different than what I had gotten accustomed to during the previous six weeks of backpacking on my NOLS semester.Read More
I’m normally apprehensive about opening up to people—so I was nervous when I showed up to a random bus stop three plane rides away from home for the start of my Semester in New Zealand. That day, I met nine strangers who would supposedly become my new best friends during the following 77 days in the mountains of New Zealand.Read More
Months later, I still find myself wondering what brought me there, and what I brought back.
Always it is like this: from the warmth of home, the mind moves towards cold and distant lands. From known to unknown, from comfort into fear, from one set of questions towards another at once more vast and elemental. From union into aloneness, and then back again—but never to stay.Read More
Photo by Mireille Brown.
In his 1997 Idaho Adventure Course evaluation, Jim Harris’ instructors noted that “map reading comes easily to Jim.”
He reflected on that skill recently, and how it felt like he "was given the keys to the castle. I could go anywhere on the planet" with it.
But at the time he had no idea it would lead him down a path where few maps exist to show the way forward.Read More