Earl Marriott Secondary students are on a cultural adventure at Haida Gwaii. The students have agreed to share their experience with Peace Arch News. (Contributed photo)

BLOG: Haida Gwaii trip offers ‘opportunity to disconnect’ for South Surrey students

Earl Marriott students, who are currently in Haida Gwaii, share their experience with PAN

Earl Marriott Secondary students are on a nine-day cultural adventure at Haida Gwaii, which began on May 1. The students will tour several sacred sites, explore the rich historical significance of the islands while mingling with locals.

The students have offered to write a daily blog post about their adventure, which the Peace Arch News will publish for the duration of their trip.

To read other blog posts from their trip, click here.

‘The Beauty of Geographic Seclusion’

– by Rori Denness-Lamont

Where to start.

My experience here in Haida Gwaii has been nothing but amazing and the Earl Marriott group of students and staff have been so incredible, we’ve all bonded so tightly.

Being out here has given all of us the opportunity to disconnect from the social media lives we are subjected to live in at home. The lack of service here has empowered everyone to come close and get to know one another and spend time together without distractions.

That alone, I believe, has made a phenomenal difference in how we interact with one another. Everyone has been so open to going out and exploring and taking in every moment in without the need of a cell phone.

I came here only knowing a few names but now those names have turned into tight unbreakable bonds. The people that we’ve met along our trek here have welcomed us with such open arms and shared all their kindness. We’ve become a family here in Haida Gwaii, no one is ever left behind and every occasion has promoted positive energy and encouragement to one another.

The sense of unity here in each community is tremendously stronger than our communities within Surrey and White Rock.

Every destination we’ve visited have had such kind hearted people.

And the people here are so in touch with one another, those we met in Massett knew the people we met in Skidegate and they knew those we met in Gwaii Hanas.

Haida Gwaii is an exceptional representation of the word unity. Not only have the locals demonstrated this but us ourselves have shown it as well.

We took a several hour hike to Rose Spit where we experienced adversity with people experiencing pain and coldness but with encouragement from those who surrounded us and everyone pointing out the beauty of the stones on the beach and the amazing view surrounding us we got through the walk.

It was a breath taking experience… literally. But also figuratively as the beach walk was not like any walk possible to do from home.

As Haida Gwaii has a much lesser dense population than where we live, we got to experience seclusion from society. We got to experience that walk as a group without the disturbance of passing cars, boats and large groups of people like we would see and hear at home.

Haida Gwaii is so supportive towards their people, everyone has a connection of some kind even with their geographical seclusion between one another. We don’t get to experience community and connection like this at home.

We are such a large population and not many people make the effort to get to know one another, we live life our own ways. I feel we should try connecting more with one another, because from what I’ve experienced here is that this brings nothing but richer happiness and better mentors in our lives.

These friendships have enriched my adventure here. The island has felt so welcoming from the from the first steps we took.

Upon our arrival I could feel the relaxation flow through my body. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Massett, I knew this was going to be a trip I’ll hold with me forever. The positivity radiating off of everyone was exhilarating and has had such a powerful impact of the way I’ve taken in every opportunity placed in front of me.

The air quality in the nature here is so refreshing. The hikes we’ve been on have of course given me the opportunity to connect with my peers and has truly given me the opportunity to connect with myself. Walking out on the beach or in the woods here is an experience like no other.

It has allowed me to open my mind and hear all my own thoughts without any interruptions and has also allowed me to clear my mind and detach from any negative feelings. I feel exceptionally grateful to be a part of this trip and cannot wait to embrace what the rest of my journey here in Haida Gwaii has ahead.

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