I am back in Asheville this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Outward Bound School. When I arrived at Table Rock in the fall of 1996 to be a student on a semester-long course, I was 26 years old and utterly adrift. I was depressed, unsure of myself, and where I fit in. Eighty-something days and hundreds of miles hiked and paddled later, I awoke on a mountain in Costa Rica with a sea of stars overhead and something I don’t think I had felt in far too many years: possibility. After years of being asleep, my eyes opened to the wonders of the world around me, and the realization that I can do so much more than I ever imagined. Outward Bound not only taught me how to live, it taught me how to be alive.
Thank you North Carolina Outward Bound, and Happy 50th Anniversary.