Inga (Iceland)

Little did I know when I looked up the steep hill towards Burg Rieneck and cursed, that this path - which to a chubby indoor Scout seemed like a vertical rock climbing wall - would change my life forever.

A first IMWe is a bit like losing one’s virginity.  It’s all very new and confusing.  You don’t know where to go or what to do and it hurts afterwards.  But you kinda like it.  The second time is fun but still a slight disappointment.  The third time you know you’ll never stop coming.  You’re going to do this again and again, ‘til the end of time.  You feel so close to the people that are with you in the act and you never want to let go of them.  You’re filled with love and affection.

My first one was in 2004.  I was so disoriented, -the medieval castle was a total maze to me and I got lost on my way to lunch every single day.  Never in my life had I encountered such a collection of weird and interesting people.  I met funky Austrians, dramatic Latvians and partying Norwegians.  Never had I met a better story-teller than Wendy, with her way around the English vocabulary.  A German guitar player stole my heart, an Austrian stole my something else.  If I would have got a penny for the times I saw Michele’s butcrack I wouldn’t be drinking the cheap coffee I’m drinking right now.

When I came home, unprepared for the IMWe-blues that would wash over me like a tsunami, I didn’t comprehend the way IMWe had opened my eyes.  I didn’t understand what I had learned.  I didn’t know it would change my life.  But now I know.

Now I know how IMWe has given me friends that have touched my heart, for a brief moment or eternity.  IMWe has caused an explosion of creativity in my brain.  IMWe has made me a better Scout leader and transformed my event planning skills.  IMWe ignited my wanderlust and has provided me with my own couchsurfing network.  IMWe has made a platform for me to create, perform, make mistakes and make miracles.

IMWe is not an event, not a course or a place.  It’s a lifestyle.