Tales from our PACK: Hiking a Volcano in the Dark

It’s 3 am and I am with a group of people who are making the 5000 feet trek up Mount Batur. It’s pitch black outside and everyone around is closely following the person in front of them. “Be sure to step where the person in front of you steps,” one of the guides says. Our group decides to take the steeper route which will save us 45 minutes in order to have plenty of time to make it to the top to see the Balinese sunrise. In order to make this happen, we have to stick close together. Our feet slip with every step over particles of loose lava. My legs begin to tire as I try to stay on the heels of the person before me and the only thing that illuminates the path is the end of the flashlight the person in front of me is holding. I don’t have my own. At one point, a guide is waiting on our group to pass and loses her footing. She loses her balance on the side of the cliff and I grab her arm just in time. There is really no way to tell how far she could have fallen; 10 feet, 50 feet, 100 feet. The scariest part about this climb is the unknown, the darkness, and the fact that I must trust the person in front of me to light the way. After my month with Find Your Pack, I realized, that this one single experience basically describes what PACK is all about.

I’ve always been one to go against the grain, to embrace living life outside the box, and to do things a little different. Nothing about me is mainstream and for years I struggled with trying to fit in. You see, I have always had this desire for movement. To go. To see. To do. To be. This passion for living life and living it to the fullest. The pursuit of not just living, but being fully alive in whatever it is that I do and it hasn’t always been easy. Whether it be American culture or Western Culture, there is this pressure to live a life that looks normal. A life that isn’t too daring or dangerous; one that stays within the status quo. If I am completely honest, I felt dead living that kind of life. Sure, it works for most people and that is beautiful, but it never worked for me. I’ve always had this desire to see more, breath it all in, and just keep going and that doesn’t happen when you’re tied down to one place. Sure, I have been dubbed irresponsible. People have told me that I am running away from reality. I’ve been called a butterfly on more than one occasion because I can’t seem to land anywhere. And you know what, it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I won’t.

We each have something inside of us that we are pursuing. We have these desires that overwhelm our spirits. Something that makes us tick. Something we fancy or something that fancies us. Something that enables us to feel alive when we’re feeling dead. I always ask people, “What does your heart ache for?” Well, my heart aches for the stories of the people I meet. It aches for the change of perspective I will have because of the things I have seen. It aches for the deep love I have for those around me because of the places I have been. It aches in a way that I can find fullness even when I feel empty. It aches for the faith I have because of the things I believe and never see. This ache comes from one simple word: wonder. You might be able to relate to this ache. You might be able to identify with the struggle of loving so many people and places, but knowing that you still have this push to keep moving. You might know what it is like to not really fit in with societal standards and to feel like you have to explain the why behind what you are doing. “Why don’t you settle down?” Sorry Judy, but I will never settle down. The life that I am choosing to pursue will never be one which settles.

It’s funny, because I bought a house and had a decent job. I had been in one physical location for almost two years. I was ready to check all the boxes of what the norm would find acceptable. I would finally fit in or so I thought. I was doing everything right, but at the end of the day, there was no life inside of me. I was living my mediocre life instead of my best one. I was working my butt off to help build someone else’s dream and forgot that I could be pursuing my own. And if I am completely honest, I was pretty sad. When I got to Bali with PACK, I didn’t really know what to expect. I just knew I was in a place of leaving a season where I literally tried to settle. Just a few days in, I began having conversations with the other participants. People from all walks of life and backgrounds. People who had in some way, faced the same struggle, but were daring greatly. In days, a group of strangers became a community. One that builds each other up, embraces the mess, and fights for those around them. A community of people who after one month, turned into a family. You know, people who aren’t just blood, but people you choose. 

PACK is more than a month of travel to another country. It is more than luxury villas, great food, and scenic views although those are always a huge plus. It’s more than having an incredible, efficient co-working space and the ability to learn from other entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and world travelers. PACK is about creating a movement that embraces the people who don’t fit in and allowing those people to know that they are not alone. It is the pursuit of accepting people and building a space that is big enough so that everyone can fully be themselves. PACK will give you the opportunity to pursue your dreams, awaken your soul, start pursuing your best life, and the peace in knowing that there is a family out there who, no matter what part of the globe you happen to be, will always believe in you. 

- Aubray Scott, Bali 2017 participant