In August 2018 I found myself not only out of my element, but out in the elements. I had embarked on a 28 day canoe and raft journey down the Fraser River, from the headwaters at Mount Robson to the salty Salish Sea. The sheer scale of the adventure was daunting enough, but there was even one more twist to make this a real challenge for me; I was the only male participant of our 12 person team comprised of strangers. All the physical and mental preparation I did for a month of paddling and living outdoors was not enough to equip me for what life would be like with a canoe full of women. Some men may dream of an opportunity like this, but for me I was paralyzed. We had spent the first day practicing paddling techniques and water safety, while also introducing ourselves. The make up of the team was incredible, from an eco-activist, to an environmental lawyer, to a journalist, and a handful of student's finishing their degrees. Then there was me, the dude. That first night thoughts rushed through my head faster than the rapids of Hells Gate, as I frantically tried to determine who I would need to be in order to fit in. Sitting on the pebbled beach as the the cold turquoise blue water surged past me, I asked the river to help me chose the mask I would need for this journey. That's when I received my first lesson from the Fraser. Why not just go with the flow? Why add another challenge to this trip by trying to be someone else? That's when I committed to being me.
Thanks for sharing your story, Brock. It was quite relatable.
Here’s what I make of it:
Trigger – canoe and raft journey for 28 days
Problem – the only male member in a team of 12
Quest- figure out how to deal with being the “outlier”
Resolution- decide to just be yourself without any mask
Purpose- we need to accept ourselves as we are before others can accept us as one of their own
Wow! What an adventure. Here's what I picked out...
Trigger - Having prepared well for a journey, you were thrown to be met with an unexpected situation
Problem - Find a way to adapt to in the situation having not prepared for it
Quest - Wracked your brain to determine a strategy to adapt
Resolution - You turned to the environment you did prepare for for inspiration
Purpose - Insight from the quest you prepared for helped you realize that you had what you needed to adapt to unexpected situations