Escaping from Reality

Have you ever wanted to be free from reality? Escape from it? I think we all have from time to time. Recently I heard the song Lost Boy by Ruth B. She talks about playing in the woods and being free. It brought to mind Emy and my trips to the Boundary Waters. The Boundary Water Canoe Area (BWCA) is a magical place. It does allow for an escape from reality, while hanging out and playing in the forest.
If you are not familiar with the BWCA it is unspoiled wilderness. Located in Northern Minnesota and Southern Ontario, it is forest and waterways. You canoe in and when you get to land, you pick up what you brought and portage (aka carry) it to the next body of water. The campsites are isolated and you see very few people up there. You will hear the wolves howling, see the occasional moose, and need to protect your food from the bears. It is a wonderful place to escape from reality. Cell service is spotty at best and absent all together in most of the BWCA.
It was in the BWCA that the Adventure Sisters were born. Emy and I went on our own into the untamed wilderness. Two ordinary woman out to have an adventure. The term “adulting” has become popular lately. The idea that we have to make responsible decisions even when they may not be fun decisions. Our yearly trip to the BWCA gives a nice break from the day to day responsibilities of adulting. There we have to survive. The only things you have are what you brought with you. So your decisions are based on survival.
There is a lot of work to taking a trip in the BWCA but it is a therapeutic type of work. Wondering in the forest looking for sticks, twigs, and branches, for a fire hardly feels like work. Paddling across a lake scouting for a campsite, seems almost more like play. Pitching the tent and setting up camp feels like adventure. There is also a lot of time for sitting around the fire, floating in the lake, and laying in the sun.
It is quiet out there amongst the trees, lakes, and wildlife. The chatter of a red squirrel and rustling of the breeze in the leaves allow an escape from reality. It allows you to go within, connect with yourself, and remember who you are. There is a peace and a flow to that place. It is a magical place. I find, since that first trip several years ago, I carry it with me in my heart. My own Neverland. My own way to be free.
Do you have a special place you go to when you need peace? Is it a real physical place or Imagined? What is it about this place the gives you that peaceful escape from reality?

Serendipity

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. This gives us all an opportunity to examine what we are grateful for. A moment of serendipity changed my world and my life for the better. It introduced me to a new place that allowed me to have adventures I may not have had otherwise. It also was the back drop for years of self improvement, helping me to become a better version of myself.

It all started with a Groupon. My friend Emy and I enjoyed going canoeing and kayaking. Although, we had not done much of it, at that time. I saw a package for a 3 day canoe trip. I envisioned Emy and I out on the water, enjoying the wilderness and the sun. I did not comprehend what this canoe trip really was all about. We bought the deal and the adventure began. I could not have envisions how my life would change because of it.

The canoe trip was in a place called the Boundary Water Canoe Area (BWCA). If you love the outdoors, isolation, and camping, then this place is for you. It is untamed wilderness. Lakes and forests provide a beautiful sanctuary for the area wildlife. Motorized vehicles are not allowed in most of the BWCA. Even a cooler with wheels is considered mechanized. The only way in is to canoe. When you need to move from one body of water to the next, you pick up all of your gear and your canoe. You portage (carry) it all to the next body of water. Quite the enterprise. Each lake will have campsites. They are far apart and isolated. A lake may only have 3 campsites on it, or less if it is a small lake. A campsite consists of a cooking grate and a pit toilet. There are no walls around the pit toilet but lots of trees and wilderness to provide for your privacy.

What you have is what you bring with you. Literally what you carry on your back. This untamed wilderness provided us with challenges we had not faced before. We had adventures that have kept us coming back year after year. The BCWA provided us with growth, individually, and as a team. It has provided me with a sense of pride. These trips have reminded me that I am capable of great things. If you put a challenge in front of me, I will do everything in my power to overcome it and succeed.

I am grateful for this moment of serendipity that improved my life and I am grateful for the changes I have made in myself. This first adventure helped me to be a better person and hopefully provide a positive influence to the world around me. It fortified my belief in magic and in myself.

What moments of serendipity do you have to be grateful for. How has a moment or experience changed your life for the better?

Choosing to laugh

Life is full of moments when you get to choose if you laugh or cry. We all cry sometimes. Sometimes crying is the best or only option. When you find yourself in a place where you get to choose your response, try picking laughter. Giggles will roll out of your chest and your belly will shake with the rhythm of your laughter. Hearing the ring of joy in the sound that erupts from your body will help you feel lighter. Here are a couple examples from Emy and my Boundary Water adventures that caused us to giggle.

During BWCA adventure #2 my water shoes were a cheap pair I bought at a discount store for a family cruise many moons earlier. This years trek in was treacherous and require much more hiking then canoeing than what we had done the first year. When we got into camp I realized I had walked holes right through the heels of my shoes.  These were my only option for the long hike back out at the end of our 5 days there. I wondered if they would totally dissolve! How funny that I could totally walk holes into the soles of my shoes. I could have worried and fretted about what this meant for me on the journey back out but why ruin our trip with that. We simply laughed at the holy soles and made the best of it.

Both Emy and I can be a bit clumsy from time to time. Our cooking in the BWs was not at all safe from these momentary oops’s. Emy and I like good food. One of the luxury items we brought on our extreme camping trips was a pepper corn and sea salt grinder. There was one meal Emy went to pepper and the top came off the pepper grinder and our food was filled with pepper corns. We just picked out as many as possible and carried on. When we were eating our meal we had to watch out for the occasional pepper corn. It kept us on our toes. Another year I was cooking and dropped the whole Salt grinder into the boiling water, not once but twice. The rest of the trip the salt was a damp clump and the top had to be opened and you had to reach in to pull out a wet mass of sea salt to season the food. It struck us funny and we giggled about it and carried on. Our food continued to taste fabulous even if our salt had a little issue.

When life presents you with a chance to choose to laugh or cry, I highly recommend laughter. There is something magical about the way in which we choose to look at the world and our experience. By choosing to notice the good and view the bad with humor we improve our life. Go ahead, give it a try. Do you have any stories of laughing and your trials you would like to share?

Go towards fear?

Our first year going into the Boundary Water Canoe Area, Emy and I were full of nervous energy and a lot of that was covered up with bravado. We wanted to hit the water right away at 5am when the outfitters open, so that we could make the most of the first day. The night before we stayed in the bunk house. We shared our bunk house room with others.

There was a group of men that stayed in one room and there was John. John was there from the Chicago area for his annual BWCA trip with his buddies. There was only one problem. John’s buddies all for one reason or another were not going to make it. I was impressed with John, who took all of this in stride and decided he would venture out into he wilderness solo. John also had nervous energy covered up with bravado as he talked about his voyage. He told us about the length of his BWCA adventure and the amount of portaging he was going to have to do. The weather was predicting rain. Emy and I put on our manifestation hats and told John to focus on sunshine and sunshine is what he would get. John was a good natured fellow and took our advise in stride.

We sat on the steps of the bunkhouse that night, all of us nervous. All of us also excited about what our trip would bring. The lamp outside the door blanketed us in a yellow glow. A moth floated back and forth between us as we chatted. Other nighttime insects buzzed around. At this point Emy and I were thinking we were in a little over our heads. I wonder if John felt the same way too. It was a totally empowering feeling to be taking on the untamed wilderness. It was also quite scary.

As Emy and I sat in the rain at our campsite the next day, we wondered if John was sitting in the rain. We wondered what it was like to be out in the wilderness, on a trip that was planned with friends, now taking it alone.

Those things that scare us can empower us. Someone told me recently to go toward my fear. To use fear as a gage that I am doing the right thing. During that first trip to the BWCA, so many years ago, we went toward our fear and our life has been so much richer as a result. Two women, alone out in the forest, surviving with what we carried in and what we could catch. When we planned the trip we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. Now we can’t imagine our lives without it.

What things have you done that scared you but now have made you life richer or fuller? What do you think about going towards your fear? Is that good advice or not?