A Slice of Shalheaven: Off the beaten path

Katie Feld, Staff Columnist

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I sometimes find myself wondering where I’ll be in 20 years. Oftentimes I take the easy way out and choose not to think about it. For many of us students, it’s hard to imagine any life outside of the classroom. We’ve been in school for as long as we can remember.

I’m in 11th grade now, and word on the street is that my academic career is almost over. But am I really supposed to believe that between SAT tutors and college visits? I find myself feeling like school’s only really just begun this year, and when I think of the milestones ahead, I see college campuses and job interviews.

So excuse me for asking, but when exactly do I get to adventure, experience and live? In search of my answer, I turned to our beloved Shalhevet staff.

Instructional Support Chair Mr. Josh Horwatt has gone on some of the most amazing adventures. At 16, He spent two whole weeks canoeing in Canada’s wilderness. Later in his life, between high school and college, he spent six weeks safari-ing in Africa and spent most of his time filming animals.

Describing these experiences as “more important than anything he had learned in college,” he shared how through these adventures, his endurance strengthened.  “My will-power was tested,” he explained. “I learned a lot about who I am and I gained self confidence.”

Mr. Horwatt concluded our interview with: “Whenever I think of what life is about, I think back to that. Not anything in college.”

At the age of 24, General Studies Principal Mr. Roy Danovitch spent a year teaching in Thailand. Mr. Danovitch explains, “I became who I am today because of that experience.” Growing up in a family of doctors and knowing that he didn’t want to be one, Mr. Danovitch decided to pave his own path.

In Thailand, he lived in Buddhist village and traveled monthly to “a travelers bookstore.” A traveler’s bookstore is a library of books that have been left behind by previous travelers. Mr. Danovitch would bring some of these forgotten books back to town and spend hours on end reading about anything and everything.

During his time in Thailand, he didn’t talk to many of his Los Angeles friends. He would just sit out in the boonies reading book after book. “I literally read 10 books a week,” Mr. Danovitch said. “It was here where I developed an idea of what I wanted to do.”

Reminiscing on his solitude, Mr. Danovitch offers some advice on how to learn who you are and where you belong. “Growing takes place when you’re content, by yourself. Always remember the difference between being alone and being lonely, be content with solitude and allow yourself too explore by yourself.”

It’s hard to imagine that we actually can experience the things we find ourselves wishing we had the time for. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from talking to our staff, it’s that putting down your binders and textbooks is anything but detrimental to your future. Perhaps this long-awaited inconceivable adventure is exactly what you need to put you on your path.

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