First, a quick explanation if you don’t know what DofE is:
You do a 2 day 1 night (Bronze), 3 day 2 night (Silver) and 4 day 3 night (Gold) expedition. This goes from simple roads, to moorland, to mountainous. There’s also 3 sections- Physical, Skill and Volunteering. Exactly what is says on the tin. For Gold you also have to do a residential, like a summer school or perhaps NCS.
Anyway, the focus here is the expedition. No matter the weather, you’re out there. A heavy bag on your back, annoying people and stupid views that make up for nothing. Many km you have to walk, and hills you have to climb. Many mistakes of taking disgusting food, or in my case not taking a pillow (which isn’t allowed, but it’s worth it). Not to mention your personal hygiene soars out the freaking window. Some evenings it’s 16:30, tipping it down, windy and you have to be outside cooking something on your stove. Or in the early morning at 7:00 you’re scrubbing the black parts of your stove, running late to leave because your teachers are being nit-picky. And whilst walking, you’ll either be stuck with people who are too fit and fast, or too slow and pathetic.
Are you leaping at the chance to do it yet?
The point is, those things are kind of good. I myself am an indoorsy person. I like comfort, warmth and internet- and being left the HELL alone. And I get that comfort every day when I get back home. But DofE takes that away. And it’s awful. But I appreciate it when I get back. My family will buy me a milkshake from McDonalds (it used to be chicken nuggets, but alas, vegetarianism), and when I get home I get to burn in the shower, flop onto my bed and put on Netflix. I get to feel ‘thank goodness that’s over’. It’s good every now and then to be uncomfortable. It makes the good things in your life better. Not to mention you do get some good stories; like lying by the lake looking at the stars, a boy snorting Pringles like cocaine, a couple who stupidly decided to go in a group together, somebody running around camp in their underwear etc. (Note. these are my genuine memories). Not to mention, for me, it makes where I live pretty good. Going up the counties biggest tor (it’s called Brown Willy, let’s all be mature please), seeing vast moorland and thinking that walking can actually be a challenge are some things I never would’ve done. .
And that is precisely why, despite wanting to give up whilst climbing Rough Tor the other day, I never will give up. I’ve done Bronze. I’ve done Silver. And curse my life- I’m finishing Gold.