I have mentioned that I have, quite possibly, the coolest job ever, right? The job that believes so much in the mission of the agency that it sends all of it’s new permanent employees to the Grand Canyon for two weeks so that we can learn about the agency as a whole, and network with people from across the service.
It was also, for this semi-adult who has lived a very small-radius life for most of her days, the longest that I had ever been away from home.
Weird, right? In this day and age of technology and access to travel, I was nearly 28 before I left home for two weeks at a time. I never did sleep away summer camp, my family didn’t take long vacations elsewhere. I was traveling on my own (with coworkers, but still) for two weeks to a place I had never been.
It was terrifying and exhilarating.
The Canyon is one of those places that completely succeeds in making you feel small. The wonder of the training I was at, is that you can be in such a place, and manage to not feel alone while feeling insignificant.
We went chasing sunrises, played in the snow, marveled at the elk, hiked for sunsets, cooked big dinners and bacon and pancake breakfasts, played loud music and sang around camp fires. It was the first time I had been in a room full of 50 people, and secure in the knowledge that I shared some kind of common ground with each and every one of them. We all work for the same agency. We all believe in the mission. We’re all away from home. We’re all freezing. And we’re all happy to be there.
It was, beyond a doubt, a life changing experience. I’m happy to be home, in my familiar surroundings and where I know where I stand. But I’m also glad that my envelope has been pushed a little further, a little more open. I want to see more, and now I’m more confident in my ability to get there.