This week the academy I’m apart of, Mulitmedia and Digital Art Acdemy (MAD), took a sophomore retreat up to the Montecito Sequoias. It was a great opportunity to get away from the business and stress of everyday life, while also being tech free. On Wednesday we arrived at 7:15 and began our six hour bus trip from Santa Barbara. We drove through the gorgeous California mountains but the real fun started when we got there.
When we arrived the first thing we did was hike around the frozen lake. Many people brought tubes and sleds along to go down the snow covered hills and trails. Now days we spend most of our time indoors especially during the winter months, but getting outdoors can be both fun and healthy. Aside from just escaping the chaos of everyday life you get to breath better air, soak up vitamin D, and studies have shown getting outside reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure. Also when you are outside you are most likely being active which is always good for you.
The next day we began our biggest trek to the top of the mountain. After breakfast we all gathered outside and began our journey. It was an uphill hike in the powdery snow which was really difficult. My classmates and I bonded over the struggle and encouraged one another. Though it was tough I think it was worth it because at the top of the mountain there was and amazing view accompanied by a great sense of accomplishment! While on top of the mountain there were snowball fights and a lot of picture taking. Even though it was the most difficult part of the trip it is definitely one of the most memorable things and I felt accomplished afterwards which is always good!
Once we returned to the lodge we ate lunch and were then given free time. A few friends and I decided to go snowboard! I had never snowboarded in my life so it was pretty rough at first but eventually I got the hang of it. Another fun perk of the trip was that it was tech free. At first I wasn’t too excited about that but it actually enabled me to meet new people and be more present. Being tech free has its own benefits such as getting better sleep, being more active, strengthening real relationships, and just being all around present in the real world. On our last day we visited the Giant Sequoias and saw the tree with the largest diameter in the world. Seeing these giant trees really put into perspective the magnificence of Earth.
Overall we had an amazing time on our mountain getaway. We got a great taste of the natural world and took time to get away from our phones and strengthen our friendships within the class. I would really recommend taking time to be outdoors with friends whether it is a planned out getaway or a quick day trip, being outside away from normal chaos and stress is really fun, relaxing, and healthy for you both physically and mentally!