As we celebrate a quarter of century of Moondance Adventures, we say goodbye to some of the old and welcome some of the new. We find ourselves saying goodbye to a trip that has been around since the beginning, Mountains to Sea in North and South Carolina, and hello to British Columbia and Norway. Every year we want to find new and better ways to explore. However, we never want to forget where we started and, most importantly, why we started.
From Pisgah National Forest, to the Ocoee, to Charleston, Mountains to Sea embodied Moondance’s mission from its inception, introducing students to the outdoors and exciting the adventurer. You don’t easily forget your first night setting up a tent, or the first time you pick up a paddle. Mountains to Sea was many peoples’ firsts; trip leader’s first time in the field, students’ first time with Moondance, and Moondance’s first as well. This trip has been so pivotal for so many people lucky enough to experience it, which makes saying goodbye difficult. When you see a student’s eyes light up as they learn how to belay, feeling the thick rope in their hands, you want to hold onto that forever.
But we aren’t even close to losing that. We might be saying goodbye to Mountains to Sea, but the location is the only thing we are truly closing the door on (for now). Moondance might not be traveling to North and South Carolina for the 2020 summer, but the locations are not what make a Moondance trip; the people are. Moondancers can go anywhere and enjoy those inexplicably unique experiences that you carry with you forever.
Whether it’s your first trip or your last, as a student or a leader, the people fill the lingering memories. The people you share your journeys with are the ones who remain in our heads and our hearts for years to come. You may remember especially stand-out moments, but those moments would be vastly different without the people surrounding you.
James Kavanaugh describes us adventurers well: “I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well.
We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved… For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.”
As we enter back into the normalcy of the year outside of the summertime, we mustn’t forget that we are still searchers in need of the beautiful experiences we cherish so much. So we look forward to summer 2020, knowing the goodness that waits for us, and all the wonderful wandering we can do between now and June.
The 25th year of Moondance will open doors to British Columbia and Norway, another Mystery Trip location, more students and leaders, and many more memories to be made. A student from this past summer said Moondance is “my favorite thing in the world and it’s something I never get tired of.” We could not agree more. It’s been 25 years, we still aren’t tired, and don’t anticipate that changing any time soon. It’s our favorite thing in the world.
– Moondance HQ
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