By: Bailey Wagner
I hear it every time I ask my parents about an upcoming trip; “The cheapest you’ll ever travel will be your years of college, so go!” Taking full advantage of my parent’s willingness to see me fall in love with every part of the world, I started packing my bags to go to Hawaii.
I was able to explore the beautiful backcountry of the island of Maui with 11 other people. A 9 day backpacking and service trip provided through the university’s Buck-I-SERV and Ohio Adventure Center programs.
I became what some would say “crazy hiker person” for that 9 day trip. Never once did I see the inside of a resort, but instead we stayed in close quarters of what seemed to be the smallest 4 person tents. Never once did I shower with more than a garden house or the salt-water waves of the Pacific Ocean. Only twice did I have dinner prepared in an actual kitchen. I learned to envy those “crazy hiker people”.
I had never felt so out of shape until this trip. The adventure part of this experience were definitely some of the most strenuous work I have ever done. Never before would I have thought hiking would be a difficult task, but that was before I went down into a crater of a mountain then expected to go back up, not to mention this mountain sits 10,000 feet above sea level at its highest point. Let alone the work that goes into surfing! Surprisingly I was actually not half bad at the surfing deal, but man did I just want to lay on my board and take a nap.
The people I met and the service we did were just as impactful. One day we planted 50+ coconut trees, ending the day covered in mud from head to toe. (Remember how I said I didn’t shower for 9 days…I came back to Ohio with mud in my hair still.) And 3 days later we cut down 2,300+ pine trees in the national park. Pine is an invasive species to Hawaii and will take over the land, not letting native species grow. Coming home with more than just mud and souvenirs, I gained awful tan lines from the days in the sun, there was no beautiful Hawaiian glow for me.
There will never be enough words to describe this amazing experience nor will the pictures ever do it justice. So I encourage you, travel while you are in college, for it is one of my most memorable pieces about my college career.
Mahalo for reading!