My own path here was a wonky curve in the road, laden with a hybrid of disappointment and excitement. The disappointment was laid down by a longtime history of going to inside the box schools, ones who raised young people to be blindly guided into a dogged workforce agenda. Filled with tedious lecture and regurgitative classroom structure as well as hostile authoritative propaganda, these places were a slow dragging of the soul in the doldrums. When one has known schools as being just so, one often has a hard time finding something outside of this constrictive box, especially when most everyone around them sees these institutions as the only way to be truly “educated”.
Then came my complete rebellion against the system. After having completed high school and gone to my first semester of regular college, I could no longer stand the emptiness that was being served up and chose to leave even though I would look crazy and be seen as an irresponsible, uneducated citizen. This is when I happened to pick up two hitchhikers who changed my world and started the journey towards Prescott College. Northwood and Snatch(like Gingersnatch, he was a redhead) were their names, traveling with a tiny husky puppy named Sydney. I must admit I never before had picked up hitchhikers, but I was sold when I saw the puppy. Upon picking them up I was surprised how young they looked, and even more surprised when I found that they were only a couple of years older than myself. Over the next hour ride they told me many stories about how they too had left the system, to find something better, and had found themselves in a community of modern gypsies who traveled from National Forest to National Forest, pulling themselves off the grid by living in a highly spiritual nomadic way. They invited me to a gathering of these modern gypsies in the Shawnee National Forest just beyond my initial destination. I threw caution to the wind, so captivated was I by their stories, and drove us all the way to the gathering in the thick of the forest. There I was greeted by so many amazing people, some of the best music I had ever known, and food cooked over campfires that would compare to any fine restaurant. I was so struck by these people’s ideals of respecting the earth through leave no trace philosophies, and at the end of the gathering the only evidence left from them was a soft pounded space free of trash. I had found a kind of heaven.
They asked me if I would like to travel with them, and I made one of the best decisions I ever made. I went back and quit my dead end job as a waitress, packed a backpack and left to see the world…
It was epic, a true epic. It was gnarly, hard, and oh so beautiful. I began studying my passion of holistic medicine through different herbalists and farms we came to along the way. We danced and sang under the moon in a crowd of trees more times than I can count, and met the most amazing people with amazing stories. Traveling to Prescott was initially just a move towards finding another gathering of these gypsies that was happening in the Prescott National Forest, but what I found here talking to a young woman was much much more. This young woman, aptly named Rae, for she was a ray of sunshine, told me about Prescott College and the wonderful things you can do as a self-directed and experiential student. She also told me about Prescott College’s commitment to Holistic Health education, something I had never before heard of in an undergraduate school. I felt the meandering road had finally brought me to a place I could set roots and learn so much. One of the greatest lessons I learned was that there are fantastic institutions that let you learn from outside of the box, but that are still powerful enough to be acknowledged as fully legitimate sources of education. Prescott College is one of these. Prescott College is also a bridge, a bridge where young people can come to learn not just how to live within their societal systems, but how to learn about them and how to change them for a better, brighter world.
When it comes to my path in life, assuredly, this has made all the difference.
Brittany Davis 7.1.2013