My name is Lucas Roberson, and I’m from Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2014 and 2015 I attended Walkabout which is a nine month Gap Year program offered through Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, Texas. I now attend Liberty University and am majoring in Audio Production and Sound Engineering. Before I go any further, let me say that if you are considering taking a gap year; DO IT. During the Spring of my Senior year of high school I decided to take a gap year because I wanted a year away from academics to really figure out what it was I wanted to do with my life. My parents highly encouraged me to take a gap year as well. When I arrived at Camp Eagle I was really out of my element, but it was exactly what I needed. I was never much of an outdoorsman, but I had to become one very quick seeing as that was the basis of Walkabout. There were about 20 other students in Walkabout. Everyone was from different places around the country. I lived in a cabin with five other guys. We represented North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, and California. Walkabout allowed me to meet people my age from all over the country with different upbringings and backgrounds.
The program consisted of nine backpacking trips throughout the year. These trips allowed us to gain wilderness survival skills and confidence in our navigation and resourcefulness. I loved it. More than anything, these trips allowed me to enter into another world. A world that was disconnected completely from social media and social status. A world where I could fully appreciate the natural beauty of the earth and fellowship with my peers. We backpacked, mountain biked, canoed, and camped all over the Southwest region of the United States. Walkabout allowed me to see and experience parts of the country I otherwise would have never seen.
I could speak to so many aspects of Walkabout and why taking a Gap Year is so important, but I want to hit on one element specifically. Taking a Gap Year allowed me to disconnect from the world and truly think about my life. It allowed me to address emotions and experiences that were necessary to address before I could actually mature as a man. I came to Texas with a lot of emotional baggage and confusion. The truth is that I didn’t choose to take a Gap Year. I made poor decisions in high school and my parents saw it best fit for me to take a year off of education and figure my life out. It was the best decision they could have made. Walkabout has shaped my thinking in a way no other experience could. Our leaders taught us to serve others and to truly focus on the important things in life. I cannot stress enough how valuable it is to take a step back from education, relationships, habits, and life in general to really evaluate the importance of your own life, and that is what my time at Camp Eagle truly was.
Now that I’m in a University setting in my Sophomore year focused on getting internships and making good grades, one might think that I would forget my time at Camp Eagle. In contrast, I think and reflect on it daily. I spent nine months of my life in the hill country of Texas for a reason. I can confidently say that taking a Gap Year was the best decision I have ever made. Though difficult at times, it was well worth it. Walkabout has shaped me into the motivated man that I am today. So like I stated earlier, if you’re considering taking a Gap Year: DO IT.