Breaking Barriers Through Rustic Ties

Breaking Barriers Through Rustic Ties

Sarah Karp

 Children of India 2014 | Ultimate Africa 2015

Sarah Karp is 23-years-old and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Miami. She will begin law school in fall, 2021.

All photos have been provided by Sarah. Read her story below!

Rustic Pathways is not your typical summer camp or summer travel experience. My summers that I spent with Rustic were some of the most transformative summers in my life thus far.

Being a Rustic Alum is something that I cherish deeply; looking back on my two trips with immense nostalgia and gratitude.

My first trip was to India in 2014. Me, and 12 other girls were volunteering in a children’s home, playing games and helping the kids with schoolwork and their English skills.

This trip instilled in me a strong appreciation for education that I didn’t previously have. My whole life, education was a given. I went to school, I was going to go on to college, end of story.

Seeing these kids and their thirst for knowledge, made me take a step back, at 16 years old, and view education as one of the greatest privileges of my life. For me, this trip was one that taught me important life lessons, while also making friends and memories I will never forget.

The next summer, I knew I wanted more Rustic Pathways in my life. So, when I saw that Rustic was offering the first ever “Alumni Only – Ultimate Africa” trip, I knew this was going to be my next summer adventure.

This time, it took a lot less convincing to get my parents on board because they had already seen all that Rustic offered me the summer before. This trip was my favorite of the two.

Don’t get me wrong, India was educational and transformative, but nothing could have beat 21 days and 7 countries in Southern Africa.

This trip was all adventure; safaris in the Serengeti, cage diving with Great White Sharks in Cape Town, repelling next to a waterfall in Lesotho, and bungee jumping at Victoria Falls.

Sarah and Lily

Not only was this the most adrenaline I’ve had in my system for 21 days straight, but this trip brought me one of my closest friends to this day, Lily.

Making friends through the shared experiences that Rustic gave us, is one of the most special ways to bond with people. We all lived together in such close quarters for three weeks, which taught me lessons like patience and respect for others on a deeper level, but also gave me my Rustic Family.

Cape Town

Anyone who has been on a Rustic Pathways trip knows the bonds and connections that can be made; strangers become friends, cultural barriers disappear, and the world as a whole begins to feel smaller.

My experiences with Rustic helped to shape and transform me into the person I am today. I learned that I wanted to do more in life. Travel outside of my comfort zone, learn about other people’s cultures, and constantly push myself to engage and learn more. Rustic Pathways taught me how to be a global citizen.

I also learned how to enjoy moments both big and small. My favorite moments from my Rustic trips are a combination of the two. Cage-diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa is something I will never forget. The adrenaline that rushes through you when you see these majestic beasts breaching from the water is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

But my favorite moments on my Rustic Trips were always towards the end of the trips when we would sit in a circle together and reflect on the experiences we had and the bonds we made; our Rustic Ties.

For those reading this that may not know, at the end of each trip, usually one of the last nights, we all sit around and share how this experience transformed ourselves, as well as how we have seen it transform our peers.

When we are done going around the circle, we are given “Rustic Ties” that symbolize the bonds we’ve made and the experience that we have all shared. To this day, I cherish my Rustic Ties, as well as the people that they remind me of. These people are more than friends to me, they are my Rustic Family.

Only we know the experiences we have shared, and I can say with confidence that these experiences shaped me to become the person I am today.

I am currently 23 years old, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Miami, and I will begin law school this fall, 2021.

Rustic Pathways has taught me how to connect with people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds, as well as how to step outside of my comfort zone, because when you do, that is when real change and education happens.

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