Living it Rough | Teen Ink

Living it Rough

September 7, 2014
By Yoela PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
Yoela PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
27 articles 0 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"My powers stretch over the horizon and work even when my eyes are closed"

Imagine your bedroom. You might share it with a family member, or you might have it to yourself. Invision your bed with its thick mattress, heavy winter quilt, and comfortable sheets. Note that your closet is full of nice, clean, ready-for-school clothing. Your room is probably decorated with images and posters that are snapshots of your life. Your room is an extension of you.

Step out of your room. Walk down the hall to the bathroom with that shower and lovely supply of hot water. Take a second and recall that the door has a lock. In the cabinet is everything from toothpaste to facewash, all at your hygienic disposal.

Erase it. The bed, the room, the bathroom, the shower, the toilet. Get rid of the personal space, the alone time, the family, the house. Evaporate your neighborhood, the paved roads, the civilization. All that is left behind are 94 strangers, three backpacks of sandwiches, water bottles, and the wilderness. 94 strangers: 80 fifteen year olds and 14 twenty year olds. You are one of them.

Forget the stylish outfit in your perfect closet. Forget the privacy of a closed door. Forget  washing away the germs on your hands or being sanitary. And do not even think about the bed.

Welcome to Machal, Camp Stone, one month of my summer. We slept millimeters from from the ground, tucked inside tents and sleeping bags, praying for a dry night. We woke up promptly at six in the freezing morning. After mourning the puddles that gathered in the tent after yet another rain storm, we packed up, consumed cereal in the form of sugar, bent our heads against either boiling heat or a chilly damp, and trudged the next 14 mile leg of our journey as we tried not to think about the last time we showered.

When people ask me how my summer was, my standard reply is, “Best summer of my life.” Yes it was hard. No I may never eat another sandwich in my life. Yes I would do it again in a heartbeat. The adventures we had; running from lightning, spotting bears, rushing to set up our tents in an East Coast downpour, brought us together. The 94 of us became a community.  We have seen each other at our weakest and smelliest (i.e. seven days without a shower). In four weeks, we built something that takes years elsewhere. We did it, and I would never give it up for a real mattress.

At your house, with your room shared with no more than two or three (imagine sharing a bunk with 40 other people vying for the singular mirror) and your unlimited shower time (three minutes max at camp), you may not recognize that mascara is not a necessity. Please wear deoderant in public, but it is not needed on a five day canoeing trip with a group of 20 friends who smell just as strongly as you. Do not be afraid to try things you might never believe is possible in your life, because seriously, showering every day is overrated. Other things are just way more important in life. I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new, because it might be one of the best experiences of your life.

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