Blue Camp 20

Blue Camp 20

How the story of a pioneer settlement challenged my views on life.
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The year was 1849. A man by the name of William G. Johnson traveled across the wild prairies of the United States in search of a new life in California. As he journeyed along what would become known as the Santa Fe Trail, he reached a small settlement where weary travelers and those transporting goods across the plains found shelter and rest. In a letter Johnson wrote, the settlement, “...marked the separation between civilized and uncivilized life. Beyond were vast plains… little known to the white man- the home of the Indian- land of the buffalo.” From possible conflict with the Native Americans, to the danger of their wagons breaking down before reaching the next outpost, the pioneers brave enough to continue on from that small camp, risked everything.

Sixteen years earlier, a farmer named of John Bartleston had built a cabin in the woods along the Santa Fe Trail. Taking advantage of the water nearby and the prime grazing grass for his animals, Bartleston began planting crops and growing his farm. Soon wagon trails loaded with supplies for the Mexican and California trade markets began using the small farm as a resting point before pressing on westward. In the 1840’s families traveling to Santa Fe, California and Oregon stopped at this point in the trail in hopes of preparing for the long and dangerous journey ahead.

As the years went by, the small pioneering settlement became known as Blue Camp 20 because of its close proximity to the Blue River and its position 20 miles from Independence, Missouri. Many settlers passed through and while some went on to their final destinations, others stayed. The peace and safety of Blue Camp 20 often outweighed the settler's desire to journey back into the dangers of the plains where only uncertainty awaited.

The settlement grew and more pioneer families decided to park their wagons and stay. Soon Blue Camp 20 began to be known by a different name. Having become the major stop on the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the small town was aptly named, Little Santa Fe.

So why does this matter? Why is a college student in 2016 telling the story of a pioneer camp in the 1800’s?

I think it’s important the settlement was named Little Santa Fe. It became a copy, a smaller, less grand version of the actual destination. For all those who had come so far, there were many who settled for Little Santa Fe, because it was safer than taking the chance to see the real thing.

I first heard the story of Blue Camp 20 a few weeks ago. I was enthralled and continued to think about it for days. I came home and told my Father the story and described the sadness I felt when learning that many settlers had been so close when they had given up on their dreams. My Father listened intently to the story and then looked at me with a knowing expression on his face. “So what is your Blue Camp 20?” I paused for a moment and my blank stare told him I did not fully understand. He continued, “In what area of your life are you settling? What is your Santa Fe, and how are you going to get there?”

Maybe my Blue Camp 20 is the guys I’ve dated who didn’t understand or respect my passions, or the jobs I’ve worked at that have provided me with money but left me longing for more. Maybe it’s the friends I invested in who influenced me to squander my time and my youth on parties and substances that could never satisfy me. Maybe it’s the way I continue to struggle to have a vision for my life because I still find it hard to believe that I will ever graduate college. In so many areas of my life, I have settled.

We all have our Blue Camp 20. We find a place where we fit, where life makes sense, where we are safe from danger. Often we settle for our Little Santa Fe because the effort to get to the real thing scares us.

So my question to you is this, what is your Santa Fe? Think long and hard about what it is you want to accomplish and where you want to be, and make it happen. Do not settle for Blue Camp 20 just because the grass is green and the water keeps you alive. Do not park your wagon in Little Santa Fe because it’s too scary to risk everything and go for what you truly want.

Life is hard; the buffalo are big, the water is sometimes scarce and the path is rocky. But I promise you that every bump in the road and every moment of uncertainty will be worth it when you reach your destination.

So let’s go for it and make it happen. I’ll see you in Santa Fe.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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13 Things That Need To Happen Or Be Answered In Season Two Of 'The Umbrella Academy'

The first season left us with so many questions, ones we need answers to ASAP.

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This new Netflix show has only been out for around two months, but it's already a hit. People, including me, are wanting the second season right away, just because there were so many things unsolved and so many WTF moments in the season one finale. Here are some of the things that I want to see or have answers to when the second season comes out.

WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for season 1!

1. Where Did They Go?

The main cliffhanger: where did the Hargreeves "kids" go to when Five teleported them away? Or more importantly: when? Did they go in the past, so that somehow they can try to prevent the world from ending (again)? If so, was it a time in their childhood? Dating further back?

2. Will Vanya Be Redeemed?

People have a lot of mixed emotions about Vanya as a character. She isn't my favorite by any means, but I definitely think the apocalypse is more on Luther than her if I'm being honest (but that's a whole different issue).

She didn't seem to have any humanity of any sort left during the final episode of season one, considering Allison had to knock her out to stop her from killing their siblings. But, who knows, maybe being a kid again a being somewhere else with her family will give them a chance to help her. Or maybe not.

3. Is Ben Still Dead?

Since we only saw the Hargreeves turn into kids and disappear as the world ended, we never got an answer to this question. The whole time travel thing threw me off, because if they are kids again, does that mean that Ben is back alive, getting a second chance as a child again?

Or, since Five was still the same person just in his child body when he came back, is Ben still dead, just a dead child now? Although it would make more sense for it to be the latter, I would really like some miracle to happen where Ben is alive again, it could really change the dynamic of the siblings and make for an interesting story.

I also just love him so far, so I definitely want to see more of him.

4. How Did Ben Die?

As much as I love this show, I'm salty that we never got any explanation on what happened to Ben. Obviously, when Klaus sees and talks to him, he is about their age, so his death must have been fairly recent to them, but it's impossible to tell.

The siblings never really talked about what happened, or just Ben for that matter, they all seem to have their own issues to deal with. Still, I really want to know what could kill something as powerful and deadly as Ben was, so hopefully, we get a flashback or explanation of the day that he died.

5. Klaus' Powers

Okay, that moment when Klaus was supposed to be the lookout, but he ends up using a new found power to bring Ben into being somehow to save his siblings is one of my favorite moments from the entire finale. Klaus' powers were perceived as useless by his siblings, so this was an epic move where it showed how powerful he really is. I'm excited to see how he develops these powers in season two and becomes more of a fighter.

6. Will Allison Get Her Voice Back?

In the finale, it was still unsolved as to whether or not Allison was ever going to be able to speak again. This is a huge deal, not only because it was Vanya who slit her throat, so that's a whole obstacle to get over for them, but also the fact that Allison's voice is the source of her power.

Although I don't want her to lose her voice forever, I think it would be interesting to explore how she gets used to life with no powers and no voice at the same time.

7. Who All Was Teleported Away?

Obviously, Five took the Hargreeves with him wherever he was going, but right after that, it showed some random people that seemed to also be surrounded by the blue light that was the portal. Hazel and Agnes seemed to have been sucked into it, possibly Cha-Cha but I don't remember if I saw the portal by her.

And then some random people that the portal seemed to grab. It made me wonder if these really were random people, or if maybe they are some of the other children with abilities. And will they all be the only ones who remember what happened to Earth?

8. Will Luther Actually Feel Bad For What He Did?

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Coming back to my idea that Luther is the real cause of the apocalypse, not Vanya, I wonder if he will actually feel bad for locking her up. Then again, he may be too selfish or dumb to connect the dots that Vanya may not have lashed out if he had to listen to LITERALLY all of his other siblings that just wanted to help her.

His ego got in the way, and even though he claimed it was because of what Vanya did to Allison, I think it was really just because he enjoys the title of Number One a little too much, and uses his mutation and strength to intimidate the others to listen to him.

Therefore, it has me wondering if he and Vanya will have a confrontation about it in season two. I wonder how that will go since he would no longer have his huge build to boost his ego and strength. Sorry if you are a Luther lover, but part of me wishes he was still on the moon when Vanya blew it up.

9. Flashbacks To Their Childhood/Teenage Years

Even though it might be weird to include flashbacks of their childhood as they are currently living as children again, I kind of want to see more of them growing up. I am just always interested in the backstory of characters, and although they did include a few flashbacks in the first season, I want to see more.

I mainly want to see closer to when they all went their separate ways, instead of them just describing it. I just think this always helps develop relationships and characters if we know more about their upbringing.

10. Relationship Development

I am always a fan of family dynamics, especially when those people aren't related by blood. I love watching relationships develop through issues and triumphs. This show is filled with so much action and so many different storylines, that it was kind of hard to focus on the relationships of all of the siblings.

There was an obvious emphasis on some, like Allison and Vanya's relationship, and even Klaus and Five's relationship as well. But I hope in season two they have room to slow down a little bit and develop all of the siblings' relationships with each other, instead of just choosing a few important ones. Who knows, maybe them being kids again will give them that opportunity.

11. Will We Meet More of The Special Babies?

In the very first episode, the hook of the entire show is the fact that 43 babies were born across the world randomly on the same exact day, without being pregnant. While I definitely want to find out what was up with that, and what exactly happened, I also wondered if season two will explore them discovering more of the other 36 babies with superpowers that are all over the world.

I definitely want to them to at least meet a few more, and maybe band together to once again stop the apocalypse.

12. Where is Hargreeves Really From?

The finale started out with Sir Reginald Hargreeves on seemingly another planet or another universe entirely. Does this mean he wasn't human? Or he was exploring other planets?

I think this definitely needs to be expanded upon, and maybe the Hargreeves siblings can discover something about their adoptive father, who he truly was, and what his real intentions were, cause let's face it: that man is still a huge mystery.

13. Klaus

I'm obviously picking favorites, but I just want to see a lot more of Klaus. Not only is he funny and sarcastic, but his powers are pretty cool, too. Oh, and he talked to God, so I'm interested to see if they will keep having talks. If so, that's definitely an interesting friendship to explore.

Also, I just want Klaus to be happy. I want to see more of Dave and their story, and just more of Klaus' experience in the war. I'm especially excited to see his powers develop, and his relationship with Ben as well. In season two, Klaus deserves more appreciation from his siblings.

I mean come on, the guy saved their lives, and they were the ones who didn't even notice he was kidnapped and tortured. I'm basically excited for anything Klaus related.

So many questions, so long to contemplate them. Hopefully, time flies and season two is here before we know it. With everything that happened in just season one, I can't even imagine how season two will unfold, but I'm definitely excited.

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