I like to consider myself as someone who does not have many fears. Yes there are some things I am genuinely terrified of, but other things that make me uneasy or on edge I like to try and overcome. Horses have never been s preference of mine. Something about their size and power leaves me uneasy in their presence. But if you are nervous around them, they are nervous, so I did everything that I could to stay calm in preparation to saddle up.

There was one horse that caught my eye. It was slightly larger than the rest and was a steel white. Many of the other horses stood like statues, eyes closed and ears motionless, while this one was much livelier. As we prepared to begin our experience we were split into two groups. Mustering up some of the superficial confidence I had put my mind to in order to mask the uncomfortable feelings inside, I chose to be in the first group. Not only the first group but the first to actually mount one of these horses as well. Of course the horse I had been looking at earlier was the one I was chosen to ride. Once on top of it, I was surprised at how comfortable I felt. Maneuvering left and right, starting and stopping almost seemed natural. I felt as if I could navigate the countryside by myself. The views that I saw from atop the horse seemed like they were being experienced as they should be, rather than from inside a car.

The whole day of horse riding seemed to mirror my experience in Iceland almost seamlessly. Anxious and nervous at the start but neglecting to show it. Once set in the place that I had been anticipating a surprising feeling of comfort and belonging. An abrupt start with bumps and adjustments along the way. Always alert and observing what there is to be seen close and far away. I believe that experiences like these allow you to grow as an individual. Facing your fears head on allow you to see what the other side has to offer. It brings what was once in the dark to the light, and allows you to evaluate and move forward from there. Whether it be mounting a horse or flying to another country, facing what is unknown and may bring you discomfort head on is an invaluable skill that I have still yet to master, but strive to in the years to come.

“Why does place matter to my writing?”

montauk2                    Breckenridge

Place carries a strong influential factor with it. The context of a place can change the decisions we make about many aspects of our daily life. Consider the two images above, each place requires a different type of preparation to be comfortable. At the lighthouse, maybe you brought a beach chair and a bathing suit for the day, while in the mountains you could be wearing snow gear with a pair of skis attached to your feet. These places call for different physical items, but also can bring about a number of different thoughts and emotions. Imagine yourself at each location. How would you feel? What thoughts and emotions could you be experiencing? Some would be more comfortable on a beach relaxing, while others enjoy the rush of skiing down a mountain.

The place we are turns into the places we have been, and ultimately shapes our lives. Each experience is different that the last, while each place offers its own array of sights, smells, sounds, textures and maybe even tastes. I believe that my writing is impacted by my mindset. I also feel that my state of mind can change when subjected to different places. Since place can impact my mental state, as well as shape my experiences, it can be very important to my writing.