I believe in going away from your known environment, leaving your comfort
zone and experiencing life from different viewpoints. In my life I have gone places and
done things I never dreamed I would do. I did not particularly enjoy some of these
experiences at the time, but in retrospect I have found that these experiences have caused
me to grow as an individual and were times of adventure and personal challenge. One of
these times began two years ago when my father decided we would go to a working ranch
in Idaho. He was very excited about this, calling it “a once in a lifetime opportunity”, but
I was not so sure about it.
One of the major reasons that this experience impacted my life was learning to
know the ranch owner. He was a modern day cowboy with all the polish of the twenty-
first century and the determination, work ethic and character of cowboys of past
generations. Watching him conquer the challenge of an untrained horse displayed his
determination. When he mounted his horse, the horse immediately began to buck
and hurled him off slamming him into the hard dry dirt. It took several minutes
before he could get this horse to cooperate, but I could tell by the unyielding look on his
face that he was not about to let his horse get the best of him. On the trail we were on
the lookout for any signs of wolves. Wolves had been introduced back in to the wild in
this part of Idaho and they were encroaching the ranch and killing some of the calves.
He spoke passionately against the government’s attempt to integrate wolves into the wild.
Leaving my comfort zone really began when I was drafted to help brand the
calves. People from the ranching community volunteered to help. They lassoed the cattle
and dragged them over for branding. I grabbed their back legs and held them down
while the rancher took a hot iron and seared their flesh with a red hot brand. I can still
smell the flesh burning and hear the calves yelling.
Through this trip I learned some things about myself and about others. It made
me a more tolerant person concerning life styles that do not appeal to me and people who
choose to live differently from the norm. It also helped me to learn the value of doing
things that seemed uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone. In the future when I find
myself in unfamiliar ground, I will be more prepared for the challenges of doing the
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