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Solo Experience This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By Andrew B., Brooklyn, NY

     Over 50 miles from the nearest gas station and a five-day paddle from any sort of infrastructure, I stepped out of the canoe, waved good-bye to my fellow "leaders in training" and entered the unknown. Armed with my pocket knife, a tarp, 20 feet of rope, a fishing rod, a Bible, a journal, my sleeping bag, clothes, water, an apple and two granola bars, I suddenly realized that for the next 48 hours, these would be my only companions. As I stood on the shoreline, staring into the decomposing forest of Northern Quebec, with the sun setting on my back, I was frozen and irritated. Swatting at swarms of no-see-ums and mosquitoes, I wondered, Whose idea was this anyway? What benefit is there to spending two days alone with nothing but trees and bugs?

Awakening the next morning to a soaked sleeping bag and pummeling rain only heightened my discontent, yet it was under these conditions that I was able to clearly examine my life in a way I never had before.

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