Since working for DO, I have attended vicariously through the recollections of my team mates. I thought I knew what to expect, but my first DO experience still blew me away.
It's really quite difficult to explain the feeling of DO. The spirit of it. The very essence that transcends the itinerary to sink deep into your bones.
Large groups of people scare me. Like a frightened cat, I usually spend the first hour of any gathering cowered in the corner. DO wasn't like that for me.
It was an education, above all else.
I learnt that forming friendships is an innate part of our nature as human beings. I met people I will consider friends for the rest of my life. DO does that. It's such an immersive experience that you go through together, the steep emotional ups and downs form an inviolate mesh of a relationship.
I learnt that when we speak up, amazing things happen. But when we listen ... well, that's where the magic is.
I learnt that compassion can be a super power, and that when we join together and show we give a shit, we're almost unstoppable.
I learnt the meaning of community.
I learnt that bearing vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.
And I learnt to laugh. God, did I learn to laugh.