Tonight at midnight makes 1 year since I climbed into my boat and rowed out to sea. With all but 3 days of training, I was bound for adventure.
Those who know me, know that I’m not the same person I was one year ago. I’m still integrating, but some things are totally different.
For one, I’m more content going slowly forward in my life. And I’m more committed than ever about setting boundaries. Boundaries on work, boundaries on relationships, boundaries on the pressure I put myself under.
Here’s one example. Shortly after getting back to Colorado, I began planning my next big adventure. (No, I will not share what that is…)
The whole cycle was starting over… fundraising, logistics, meetings with sponsors and partners. Momentum and support was there – but after a while, I realized my heart wasn’t in it.
I just didn’t have the drive to “make” myself work, or plan, or create. Even with my body – I could exercise for fun, but not to achieve fitness goals. And mostly, I just found I wanted to go on walks.
It was a very disorienting, often sad winter and spring as I struggled to understand why I didn’t want to run, or workout, or do anything related to my “passions.”
After all, I saw so much on the ocean that inspired and motivated me — both beauty and the tragedy of our oceans’ poor health. And I felt guilty for not taking huge action. I mean, if someone like me who witnesses the ocean’s poor state firsthand is not dedicating themselves to helping solve it, then who will?
But I just couldn’t force myself to do anything. So I told my partners and sponsors that I’m game to work with them – just not right now. And I let myself walk… and walk… long, trudging walks through knee- and sometimes waist-deep snow through national forest. Slogs through mud. Climbs over hills and mountains.
While walking in the woods, my mind found peace, and I became present to the moment… Kind of like I was on the ocean. Just admiring the beauty, exploring, reflecting, but most of all, trying to clear my mind, or focus on a singular task.
For me that task became tracking elk, deer and moose in the winter, and then finding their shed antlers in the spring. (Side note, if you’re wondering: male ungulates shed their antlers every winter. Yes, every winter. That’s one of the differences between antlers and horns, which never fall off.)
I had never found a single antler in the woods before this year, not even growing up in the Adirondack State Park. But in Nederland, Colorado, it became my mission… I found my first elk shed in April, then got hooked. I learned to visualize what I’m looking for: picturing elk sheds in my mind’s eye, and then they appear at my feet. I then tried it with moose sheds, focusing specifically on the vision of a moose antler on the ground, and then I found two of those.
And so, I’ve spent the spring and early summer letting myself follow this muse, wandering the woods for hours at a time, through rain and shine, just quietly keeping to myself, until I happen upon my find.
That’s a glimpse of where I’ve been. Offline, walking in the woods.
And tonight, as my 1-year anniversary arrives, I will also begin walking down memory lane. Sharing photos, snippets, stories with you from my 71 days alone at sea.
Stay tuned. And no, I won’t share anything about future adventures. Right now, I’m content reflecting, processing, integrating and sharing stories from the last one.
Thank you all ❤️