When adventure calls, you go. Well that's what I do.
It wasn't always that way though. Excuses are easy to make and comfort zones are hard to break.
You just have to be aware of what you truly want. You have to recognize the type of life that you really want to live.
So, when a girl that you're mutuals with online messages you asking if you want to meet up to stargaze and hang out; you say yes, absolutely.
It was a Sunday afternoon when I got an Instagram message from Jaimee, plvntstrong. She told me that she really wanted to check out Cherry Springs State Park. It's one of the best places on the east coast to stargaze due to it's remote location. We've mentioned it a couple of times before to each other because it's in the middle of the state and we're both of opposite sides of Pennsylvania.
She told me that she wanted to visit the following day, Monday. I knew immediately that I was going to make this happen. Someone who I really enjoy following online is going to be 2.5 hours from me, I must go. It's almost like an unspoken rule I've created for myself.
I told her that I had to work until 2 but I could come straight after. It worked out! Our plan was to meet up, hang out, watch the stars, and just let the night take us wherever it was meant to go.
And that's exactly what we did.
I got off of work and drove the 2.5 hours to Cherry Springs. The entire drive was absolutely beautiful. It was also a drive that I wouldn't want to make when the snow is flying. I hardly had any service the entire drive because I was within the mountains and valleys of central Pennsylvania. It was just me and the very few cars I passed on occasion. It was quite relaxing, like a breath of fresh air.
I got to Cherry Springs and met Jaimee for the first time. It was such an easy and effortless interaction. You know how sometimes you meet people and there's a sense of "okay what do I say or do now?" in the air? This was the complete opposite of that. We immediately got ready and went on a short hike. We walked and talked as the quiet and serene sounds nature surrounded us. We spent the evening talking, just talking. Well, eating too. We had a gourmet dinner of veggie straws, rice cakes, and clif bars that filled our stomaches as our conversations filled our sous.
Being in the middle of the trees left us very few options as to where we were going to watch the sunset; a must, of course. We asked a nice couple in a little country store where the best place would be and they directed us down the road a bit towards a perfect location. We pulled over on the side of the road and sat on the hood of the car to watch while the sun set for another day.
On our drive back to the park we were talking about bears. I shared some stories about experiences I've had seeing bears in the woods and Jaimee said that she never saw a bear. About two minutes later we saw a bear along the side of the road. It was the coolest experience, like the universe saying "hey, you're meant to be on this spontaneous trip right now."
We got back to the park and set up our little fortress of pillows and blankets to watch the show that the universe was getting ready to put on for us. The sky got dark and the stars began to brighten. The milky way was shining bright and shooting stars bolted across the sky. We talked and watched for hours. I've never seen the stars that bright before. It was such a unique experience that I wanted to put into my pocket and cherish forever.
We were the last ones in the field, everyone else was probably home and tucked under their covers by the time we left. We were looking for a sign that it was time to go. It was around 2 a.m. and we heard a car coming. We parked in the short term parking lot and we thought it was someone from the park coming to fine us or tell us to move. We quickly gathered up our stuff and headed back to the car to find that it was just another star gazer coming to check out the sky. At this time I realized that I dropped something in the field so we went back to grab it. On our way back to the car we stopped to listen to coyotes howling in the distance. We listened to them for a bit, just to soak up the last of the remote nature that surrounded us. As we turned around to go the moon was beginning to rise upon the horizon. It was so beautifully bright and just the sign we needed to know that it was time to go.
We said our goodbyes and couldn't believe how quickly the time passed. We drove our separate ways into the night. I was about 90 minutes into my drive when my low tire pressure light came on. I still didn't have cell phone service at that point and I've never changed a flat tire in my life. I knew I was in trouble. I did the only thing I knew to do, kept driving. I knew that I had to get somewhere that I could at least pull over. Luckily I only had to drive about 3 miles on my flat tire to a random small town with a tiny post office. I pulled in and realized that I only had two options. I was going to either sit there until the post office worker came to work and hope that they could help me or I change the tire.
I changed the tire.
I had to walk down the road a bit to call and ask my dad a question but I did it. And I was so excited about that. I never learned how to do it and went into it with absolutely no knowledge about it. But I figured it out! That made me so happy because all that I did was try. I could have easily just sat there and waited for someone to come help me. But I took matters into my own hands and did something I didn't know I could do. It sucked because it was at 3:30 a.m. in the middle of nowhere and I was paranoid that I was going to get murdered but I survived and it makes for a good story!
I got home at 5 a.m. and had to be at work in 4 hours. But it was such a good night full of laughs, good conversation, beautiful scenery, and new experiences. I wouldn't change any of it. I went to bed that night (morning) SO GLAD that I said yes to that experience.
That's what living is. It's sometimes getting 2 hours of sleep, getting a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, being so excited about seeing a bear, watching the sunset, meeting new people, and going new places. It's now a story and part of my life that I will be able to share and cherish for many years to come. It's also a motivator to make more of those moments happen. Those times when even if I want to say no, I'm going to say yes.