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Yellowstone National Park: Erupting Epiphany!

01/08/2014 15:24 BST | Updated 30/08/2014 10:59 BST

Here are several words that would encompass our varied reactions after our family trip to the Yellowstone National Park back in the summer of 2008: exhilaration, fear, anticipation, satisfaction, and excitement. No matter how discordant my family members' distinct voices were towards this unforgettable trip, we did agree on one word.

It is, 'Erupting'.

This is a rather specific word, as Yellowstone National Park naturally invites association with its geological features like geysers and volcanoes. However, it could be regarded as 'erupting' to a deeper level. It was an adventure, a family adventure that truly tied us together more - unusual, exciting, hazardous, even insane... Whichever way you define 'adventure', I will try my best to convince you that it was one. 

I had aspired to become a volcanologist when I grow up. However, I have been granted little support due to the physically dangerous nature of this profession. For me, Yellowstone National Park would be the perfect place to collect my research data and jolt down any observation that can inspire me to come up with innovative ideas for my writing. Yellowstone, to me, is the Mecca of my passionate beliefs that resemble the erupting wildness of volcanoes. 

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. The Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth seems peculiarly applicable to this situation. The calderas and craters first appeared inviting to me, as I could grasp the heat waves, which are rising up to my face, admire the colourful appearance of those natural formations, and smell the scent from our Mother Earth's darkest inner souls.

My parents, on the other hand, had been far more interested in the scenic parts of the region - vast green spaces delicately adorned with wild flowers, those delightful yellow petals; spectacular terraces and fountains; the volcanoes (which also made my mother slightly nervous). As I fantasied in the back seat of our rented car, my parents were playing some light music and talking about some good places for interesting photo shots. Simultaneously as I opened my mouth to join the conversation, I immediately halted my action. So did my parents. Even the music seemed to stop automatically.

Silence.

A wolf was right in front of our car. With fear, the three of us held our breaths, inevitably noticing that our vehicle was alone on this road and noting that the wolf was crossing the road, proudly and gracefully. We now expected to be its dinner, served in a forest and teared to pieces, raw. 

I kept my eyes shut, not wanting to see its claws scratching our windows and waving 'hello' and 'adieu' to us, all in a flash. No! 

The wolf did not seem to care about our presence, to our hearts' greatest delight. I dared not look at its eyes, but imagined them to be large, yellowish and beautiful.

My father finally broke the silence, 'It's gone.' Indeed, I thought that it was ironic how the adventurous, daring part of me seemed to chicken out so quickly. I became deeply ashamed at this fact and attempted to return to my plans for my volcano research projects.

However, I soon came to the realisation that I needed to reconsider my personalities in order to understand where my true passion lies. Though I can be as wild and untamable as an erupting volcano in terms of creativity and innovation, I have my limits - as represented by rationality that stand against my idealism. 

It was an adventure that altered some of my beliefs, and an eruption of self-discovery.