Hello everyone! Welcome to the yak board – a space where we will be posting our questions, reflections, photos, etc. for the next few months. Even though we have not yet met, I already feel deeply connected to each one of you. To decide to engage in meaningful adventure this fall (despite the utter chaos and uncertainty of life at this moment!) reflects the mature character you hold. I look forward to learning more about each of you through these introductions and living and learning together this fall in the Southwest.
My name is Keshet and I am one of your instructors this fall. I grew up in both New York and Arizona, but now consider home to be all the magical canyons and camp sites of the world that have dotted my life with intense moments of gratitude. Growing up in the suburbs and attending public school felt crippling to me in ways at the time I wasn’t sure how to explain. And so after graduating from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability I decided to dedicate my life to teaching (and learning) in unconventional settings and wild places. I have continuously sought out opportunities to work in settings that combine my love for the earth, youth development and cross-cultural connection. This has led me to a variety of roles including organic farming, wilderness therapy, trail maintenance and conservation, environmental education and finally now for the last two and a half years, to the world of Where There Be Dragons.
The North American Southwest has been a home to me on and off for over 10 years. My exploration and understanding of this complex and varied cultural and ecological landscape continues to evolve – from the dry desert of central Arizona to the rushing headwaters of the Colorado Rockies and the high desert farming communities in-between, I continue to wonder in awe. This fall, as your instructor and mentor, I believe in asking the big hard questions. Both of myself and of you all. This means we will not be afraid to be uncomfortable, to get our hands dirty, and most importantly laugh at ourselves in the process.
I believe there is value in moving slowly, value in embracing stillness. Throughout our time together we will experience a range of emotions. Highs and lows that are not marked by simple explanations of “good and bad days.” Rather our perspective on the world will ebb and flow naturally as we learn more about the Colorado River Basin, the mountains surrounding us and through the amazing communities we will engage with along the way. I hope ya’ll are ready to unlearn, and maybe even shed even just a bit of light on the infinite questions we will have about the Colorado River. I ask that we all stay curious and patient in this process, even when we wish for things to just be easy. I would like to say thank you for your courage already to do so.
In the upcoming weeks I hope you all find space and time to prepare for this fall. This can look different for everyone, and may surface in many small ways before departing. Know that it is honorable to feel overwhelmed or nervous or excited. And if you have any questions at all please feel free to reach out!