The first time I summited a mountain—like literally stood on the very last rock on the very tippy top—I was 23.
I was exhausted and elated. My eyes welled up from sheer overwhelm. My heart felt like it was pumping glitter through my veins. "It makes me wanna dance," I said, kinda blubbering, to my woman who had guided me to this point on the planet.
"So dance," she said, as if it were no big thing.
I smirked and scoffed. Like I was just going to bust a move right there while she and the seven other folks who I'd only known for 32 hours were watching. No way.
She shrugged and moved on, high fiving our hiking entourage for making the summit. People jumped. They hollered. They cried. They breathed deeply. And I watched their joy unfold.
And then something weird happened: The Journey song in my head was on volume 10—no longer ignorable. Not at all suppressable. And suddenly my hips were taking the midnight train to Georgia. And I danced. Oh, I danced. Eyes closed. Arms thrust upwards. Then outloud: "Don't stop believing' / Hold on to that feeling" and I was alive.
And since that day, I have danced on every summit. Alone. Not alone. With friends. With strangers. With dogs, too. Because it feels good. And feeling good is a good thing.
Why do we dance at Girl In The Wild camps?
Because it feels good.
And feeling good is good in our books. In fact, research suggests that dancing curbs anxiety and self-consciousness. Now that feels good.
Because every woman and every girl have a story with a similar thread: I feel judged.
Ever notice how many people sit on the sidelines when the band is playing the BEST tune and they're all half-dancing in their seats and toe-tapping under the table wait wait waiting for the first brave soul to get on the dance floor because oh it would be so embarrassing to be the only one up there? Yep. That's a silly story. We dance because that story is old. And we're burning it up with dance moves.
Because not giving a shit is hard sometimes. Actually, all the time. And practicing it starts with dancing with your peers in a safe pace where everyone is equally vulnerable and so everyone is equally free to let 'er rip. No judgement.
Because cuttin' a rug is a pretty fun sweat.
It a feel-good way to get sweaty. And it beats lifting weights in a gym that smells like stale sweat and used towels. In our opinion.
Because dancing builds connection.
Sure, we dance solo. A lot. But dancing is also a great way to connect with other people. A study from the University of Oxford suggest that movin' and groovin' to the beat lights up brain pathways that blur the line between you and a stranger. Meaning: we're apt to connect with strangers more when we're dancing.
Dancing in a summer breeze on a Rocky Mountain top is just about the purest form of freedom there is. And, in our opinion, all girls deserve to fly.