Monday, July 21, 2014

Adventures in kayaking


I few weeks ago I checked another thing off my growing bucket list. I went river kayaking for the first time. The activity itself was a lot of fun. But what was even better was trying something way outside of my normal Crista box. Like I’ve alluded to before, 2014 has been the year of venturing out of my comfort zone. As I do so in various ways, I find that I learn really valuable life lessons. Here are a few from my kayaking excursion.

1.       It’s okay to have fun

I should mention I took the trip with several 20 somethings who do outdoorsy stuff all the time. At one point, a few of them (my kayak partner included) thought it would be fun to play bumper boats. There was an immediate war between my adventure self and my conventional, orderly self. Once I heard the internal voice of caution that sounded a lot like my mother, I decided to silence it…just this once. I knew we were going to be fine, so why not cut loose a bit and enjoy the ride?

2.       Remember to take in the view

Like anyone else, I wanted to not only do something awesome, but capture myself doing something awesome. Truthfully, I did get in a couple of shameless selfies out on the water. I couldn’t resist. But I didn’t want to trip to be so picture focused that I missed the experience itself. The river was beautiful. We passed an affluent neighborhood of huge houses on the water. We paddled in the early evening, so halfway through we were able to see the sunset. Then, my favorite moment of the trip was when our kayaks spontaneously gravitated toward each another. We were all huddled together, gently bobbing in the waves and taking it all in. It was a good reminder to just stop every once and a while to absorb the scenery.
 

3.       It gets hardest at the end

As with most things, towards the end it wasn’t quite as fun anymore. Exhaustion and a touch of nausea had set in and I was ready to get out of the boat. It felt like it was taking longer to get back than it had to row out and I felt a little annoyed that we hadn’t started to turn back sooner. I could’ve let myself panic and succumb to silly thoughts like, we’re never going to make it back. Instead, I decided to keep paddling, and in fact, I paddled a little faster. That was the only way to shore after all. The group decided to make a race of it, which reignited the sense of fun and adventure. Obviously, we did make it back and I was able to maximize those final moments instead of dread them until the very end.

4.       Be open to new connections

I think one of the coolest things about any new experience is the people you meet. I met a fun group of people I probably wouldn’t have met in any other context- free spirited, adventurers who enjoy life to the fullest.  My kayak partner even said, “Hey, we should be friends.” I thought it was really endearing that for some people the basis for friendship is just that easy. Hey, we shared this experience and it was really cool. Let’s do it again. Who knows if we will, but it really inspired me to see there’s a world full of really awesome people and all I have to do to meet them is be open to trying something new.