There are two perspectives that are applicable in Borderlands exploration. The essentialist stand views background cultural aspects as the core of the development of identity. These cultural elements comprise religion, roots, language and heritage. On the other hand, the constructivist point of view is that identity sports through the exploitation of cultural symbols. Therefore, the constructivist view on cultural borders is that they are formed through the negotiation of differences and connection of various backgrounds. This view assumes that the cultures are not combining but crossing over,' where the cultural differences are clear and visible. The intention of this paper is to feature my Borderlands exploration experience of the Trail Running Group in Eugene event that takes place every week on Wednesday at Headwaters Trailhead. The aim is to perform a visual design assessment regarding activities, fashion, physical location and other factors that reflect beliefs, values, and attitudes of the individuals taking part in the event.
I took a constructivist perspective on culture because I was of the opinion that ones culture consists of differences that are obtained from distinct ways of life. In the course of seven days, I encountered a variety of cultural borders through daily interactions. I came across various sub-cultures, that is, the culture of learning classroom, school, home, and peers along with the impacting culture that is established by the community where I reside. Throughout the seven days, I negotiated these cultures using different techniques to attain the best results. English is a second language and to breach this cultural barrier, I participated in language sessions that have helped me to communicate in writing and orally. As a result, I managed to incorporate these cultures through effective communication and understanding. Communication has enabled me to interact with my peers and fit in the community where I stay as well as in the class environment. The need to learn English is connected to a social motive that is motivated by the emotional intelligence to comprehend others. My Chinese culture is different from the American culture, which is embraced by most individuals living in Eugene. Thus, the need to learn English is overwhelming because it makes it possible to understand emotions that are linked with this culture. Apart from enrolling in language lessons, I also searched for effective points of contact within the school culture where I take part in and observe to implement change. By using these methods, I discovered the means to enlighten my personal intelligence to view the world in the same way as others.
After looking at the various events that are held in Eugene, I decided to participate in a Trail Running Group. The venue of the function was Eugene Running Company that is situated at Headwaters Trailhead. The event was open on every Wednesday from 8th June 2016 to 28th December 2016. The rationale of getting involved in this activity was based on the fact that I was going to experience something new. I anticipated interacting with different people from various parts of the world with different social status. Moreover, I intended to see the way of life by distinct ethnic groups through discussions and getting involved with the activity.
All the participants met at Eugene Running Company on Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 6.00 p.m. The company provided a social atmosphere by bringing together both new and veteran runners. The runners comprised all age groups ranging from children who were accompanied by adults, middle aged and seniors. The ratio of female to male was 60% to 40%. The men wore t-shirts, shorts, and sneakers while the ladies dressed in tights tops made of wicking fabrics and suitable running shoes. The children were dressed warmly ready for any weather especially if the competitors spent some time after the run, which could see them depart at night. However, a majority of the players wore a cap or a fleece headband. Also, a good number accessorized with buffs that were worn either as a beanie or as a headband. On the other hand, others had sunglasses that came in handy for the sunny day.
The training needs for the runners were catered for as well as the safety of the participants, which was ensured through the implementing of the RRCA guidelines. The trail run was approximately 5 miles starting at Headwaters trailhead and ending at the Ridgeline Trail. Before the run, the group leader recognized new guests and members to make sure that all had signed a waiver of liability for the company or any of its employees. Additionally, all participants registered their names in a sign-in sheet and provided a contact number and name to be utilized in case of an emergency. To begin with, the group leader educated members about the safety rules to be followed throughout the trail. Moreover, the team leader directed everyone about the turning points and the terrain and the route. Everyone was charged with the responsibility of using appropriate language that could not develop an uncomfortable setting for the group. On that note, everyone was instructed to put a reflective gear that made the visible by oncoming motorists at a distance of 300 to 400 feet away. Every group was made up of 20 individuals from different race and nationalities. In my group, I was the only person from China, and it was exciting to meet with people from Africa, France, UK and South America.
Consequently, I encountered a variety of cultural boundaries such as personal style, that is, formal or informal, which determined the way a member preferred to address others. For instance, using titles and how one interacts with others. Also, I faced attitude border that established the nature of talk from the perspective of who dominates the conversation. Besides, the communication method either indirect or direct raised another cultural border that I had to deal with during the trail run. I realized that depending on the background of a group member; some expressed themselves more through body languages like gestures and facial expressions. Besides, emotions created a cultural border that was noticeable from a tendency to speak or act in an emotional manner while discussing a topic and when running.
Negotiation of the cultural borders
First of all, the negotiation of the cultural borders commenced with the evaluation of why I took part in trail running group Eugene. As noted by Abraham Maslow, personal needs motivate people in their daily life. His concept that is referred to as the Maslows hierarchical theory, Abraham Maslow insists that most ideas regarding motivation are restricted in that they focus on fundamental psychological needs. The theorist asserts that such theories ignore the most paramount demands that are connected to personal development. Therefore, Abraham Maslow addressed the problem by placing different needs on distinct levels of the hierarchy. The bottom line comprises physiological necessities such as sleep, food, air and drink. The middle level of the hierarchy entails intimacy and affection needs. On top of this level, is the need for esteem that is made up of the need to feel successful and competent along with the demand for respect and admiration. On top of the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization, which is the realization of a persons ability.
From this point of view, my decision to participate in trail running in Eugene was influenced by affection, esteem and self-actualization needs. On the self-actualization needs, I intended to find ultimate experience through this event. In fact, I satisfied this need because the trail route was exciting considering that we made several stops that gave me a chance to enjoy the view. Also, the event gave me an opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds, which enhanced my communication skills. Having been able to hold meaningful conversations with members of the trail group was an achievement in the sense that I was able to communicate in English and engaged in the talks without feeling out of place.
I fulfilled my esteem needs through mastery of the rules of the event. From the start of the run until the end, I managed to abide by all the regulations that were given by the run leader. By doing this, I had a successful run with no injuries or accidents. For instance, as directed earlier by the group leader, I stayed close at least to a member of the group. The rules were that we should run at least in twos where it was impossible to fit as a group. Secondly, I obeyed all the traffic signs, which ensured safety on the road for me and other road users.
Overall, the event helped me satisfy my affection needs through the creation of relationships. I managed to make friends with a number of people in my run group, which I aimed to maintain even after the event. I had a couple of contacts and invitation to private functions that I feel will strengthen the bonds that have been developed. Also, the run group gave me an opportunity to engage in a team work because we encouraged each other to continue despite the urge by some to pull out after running for some distance. Every member of the group motivated another so as to attain the set prizes. For this reason, I learned the power of a work group because every individual in the group completed the 5 miles run successfully.
Secondly, I meet my emotional needs by assessing my social motives by promoting emotional intelligence that assisted me to understand others and myself. General intelligence focuses on recognition and comprehension of a variety of human capabilities. In this case, I assume that I relied on fluid intelligence to learn how to manage the trail run. John Horn and Raymond Cattell described fluid intelligence as the ability to acquire the knowledge that is needed to resolve challenges. The two researchers suggested that human beings depend on their fluid intelligence the first time they attempt to solve a problem they have never experienced. However, Howard Gardeners argues that there are numerous spheres of intellectual expertise. His theory of multiple intelligence explains that there are distinct ways of thinking concerning the world, also known as, the frames of mind.' According to the theory of multiple intelligence, every frame of mind is independent and unique with its right. During the expedition, I employed linguistic intelligence to understand guidelines provided by the group leader and to interact with the other group members. I engaged both the auditory and visual senses to sharpen my skills in recalling information, writing, listening, speaking and comprehending the meaning of words (class notes on human bits of intelligence).
Likewise, the application of interpersonal intelligence helped me get an insight about the opinion of other group members. Moreover, interpersonal intelligence facilitated the collaboration between myself and other group members because I was able to comprehend their motivation and desires to participate in the event. Besides, I employed intrapersonal intelligence to manage my emotions, performance as well as to understand myself, which minimized the risk of getting into conflict with the values and way of seeing things by other parties.
Additionally, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence played a critical role throughout the event since it is required whole-body movement along with eye and hand coordination. Furthermore, trail running involves positioning, aim, timing and balance. Thus, bodily-kinesthetic explains how I managed to run and at the same time engage in a conversation. According to Nardi, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence describes how the human bodies recognize the body movements automatically. More so, bodily-kinesthetic consists of bodily wisdom that arouses the capability to recognize feelings like muscle strains that occur inside the body along with exterior pain. The event being the first of this kind to take part in, bodily wisdom spells out the reason I felt muscle pain afterwards.
All in all, I utilized my senses to make meaning of the entire experience. Theory of perception contends that the way a person perceives things is determined by the manner he or she is inclined to behave towards them as a result of how they appear to the eyes. Aristotle described perception as the ability towards the passive and active strengths that are associated with critical expository elements of consciousness. When specific things possess a passive potency power to be acted upon or an active strength to take action shows that there is a similar passive force and the opposite is correct. This implies that the passive potency also shows a similar active effectiveness. Hence, general passive and active forces are mutually interdependent.
On the other hand, Plotinus argues that the soul plays a part in sense-perception, which implies that it takes an active role over a passive one. It is assumed that the sense-perceptions are not actions nor are they decisions, which are concerned with affection but are linked to the real attachment. On the contrary, the sense of vision is manipulated by the existence of colors to the eyes that is viewed as passive, which helps to make a decision about something such as making a suggestion that an object is black or red. Also, vision enables a person to rule the physical aspects of others like their skin color. As stated by Plotinus, perception is all about attaining some form of a type of impression about a thing. Perception includes the whole body or some organs that are involved in a specific function, for instance, sight and touch. In such a case, the artificial types of organs act as intermediaries between the people passing a judgment and the situation or a thing that is being judged. Also, the artificial organs notify a person regarding the attributes of an object that is being contemplated. From this angle, the vision senses enabled me to recognize different backgrounds for the participants through their skin colors. For instance, black color made it easier to associate a participant to African origin regardless of the point he or she was African American or from Africa. In addition, while studying the route map, different colors were assigned to represent certain landmarks and signals were used in the legend. For example, the landmarks included significant points that we came across on the trail route that helped a person to understand the exact location at a given moment. These points included and not limited to bridges, crisscrossing roads or rails, buildings, water bodies and sharp corners. The legend, on the other hand, provided cues that would help members to find their way back on track in case of getting lost. These clues encompassed marshes, dirty, paved or gravel roads, railroads, less utilized trails along with the main pathways. Bearing in mind that the trail run started at 6 p.m. it is clear that vision and sense perception played a critical role in facilitating the night run. The reflector gears worn by every member made it easier through reflection to identify the distance between members, which assisted in maintaining a reasonable gap.
In conclusion, the trail running group in Eugene presented me with a new learning experience especially in the area of borderland assessment. The event enabled me to interact with various individuals that are attached to distinct beliefs and cultural backgrounds. Communication is one of the biggest cultural borders that I encountered during the event. Mainly, I realized that people use various forms to exchange ideas and express their interests. There are those who spoke orally while others employed non-verbal types of communication like gestures. I negotiated the borders recognized so as to fulfill my objective of interacting with different people. Some of the borders that I tackled include emotions, communication, personal style, and communication. I employed human intelligence that helped me to participate in the run successfully. For instance, the use of bodily-kinesthetic ensured movement and balance in the whole body. Running is a sports activity, and hence it was imperative to use this form of human intelligence. Additionally, bodily-kinesthetic enabled me to perform two things at the same time, that is talk and run. Also, linguistic intelligence assisted me to comprehend oral and written information. Despite, the use of maps that contained detailed information, it was important to read the road signs especially at night to avoid accidents. In addition, language intelligence helped me to understand speech as I took part in group conversations.
Apart from the ability to interpret written and spoken information, linguistic intelligence made it possible to recall the guidelines given by the group leader before the start of the trail run. On the other hand, emotional intelligence bridged the gap of the emotional border because it facilitated an understanding of self and others. In this case, both intrapersonal and interpersonal characteristics of emotional intelligence were significant. Intrapersonal promoted comprehension of self and interpersonal enhanced understanding of the group members. Likewise, the utilization of human senses was vital for night participation. The senses that were actively involved are visual and sense perception. Vision enabled me to understand color to make sense of a thing. Color differentiated group members where some had dark complexion while others were fair. Also, colors were used to denote various aspects of the route map as well as on the reflective gears worn by every player. Besides, sense perception generated the overall image of an object that made it easy to understand the meaning of it through the manipulation of colors appearing to the eyes. Overall, the implementation of different elements to gain the significance of the borders was made possible by the exploration of the social motive. Social motive entailed the reasons as to why I decided to be a part of trail running group Eugene. I have discovered that the event was useful for self-actualization and satisfaction of esteem and affection needs. The group run provided a platform where I formed relationship with new people thus meeting my affection needs. Additionally, the group run offered a test ground of my English command, which boosted my self-esteem in communication. All in all, I discovered the potential I had in engaging in sport activities and therefore attained self-actualization.