Book Excerpt: Arrival

My bus chirped with the sounds of friends getting caught up after a summer away and second year students getting to know first year students.

The Bus Trip

I made myself as small as I could, smooshed up against the window, sharing the green leather with two second years from the other outdoor program. They asked politely about where I was from and which program I was in before continuing their own conversation.

I leaned my head against the cool glass. The country roads wound through kilometers of farm land, cleared fields with dark, rich soil prepped and ready for the onset of winter.


After forty minutes the second years let out a big whoop and a holler as we turned into Wilderness Tours’ driveway, marked by a dark wood sign with bright white lettering welcoming us to the property.

Chaos exploded as one hundred and fifty of us tumbled out of the buses like clown cars into the narrow drop-off zone and headed to the gear bus to retrieve our bags. As fast as students threw bags off the bus students grabbed their own. We weaved and ducked through the crowd, bringing our bags into the amphitheater at the end of the main lodge.

We first-year students wandered the deck, unsure of where to be or what to do next. Harried-looking WT staff directed us towards the wet suit shed if we wanted one for the season. Between my heightened stress levels and the humid morning, I felt warm and opted out of the ugly blue and mauve farmer john wetsuit. I had on quick dry shorts, a one-piece swim suit that was causing me a terrible wedgie, and a rash guard.

All I knew we were whitewater rafting next. I didn’t understand exactly what that meant. I’d never been whitewater anything before. I’ll be fine to get a little wet today. I found the stairs leading down to the bathroom and went again.

I’m writing a career change memoir and I’d love your feedback as I post small ~300 word blurbs. What do you want to know more about? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Comment below or e-mail me.

Photo credit: Mike Seyfang

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