Discovering More Than Meets the Eye in Niue

I had a moment tonight where I realized where I was.

It sounds funny, but it’s easy to take things for granted in our modern era of travel. Had I arrived on a ship I would have been sailing for weeks, even months, to get here. The remoteness surely would have settled in alongside a good dose of cabin fever. Instead I flew with a rambunctious child using my lap as a trampoline. The fact that I was flying over the open ocean didn’t strike me until we were about to land on “The Rock.”

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Solitude and Separation at Punakaiki Beach

Travel normally offers me an introspective time away – a break from everyday demands that allows me to do some reflecting on my life. For the most part, it is an inward journey through my thoughts, peppered with conversations with travel mates when the time is right. In addition to the joy and richness that comes from exploring new places, or challenging myself physically, this opportunity to reflect is one of the reasons I enjoy travelling, and make it a priority in my life.

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2014: A Year of Hopes and Dreams

It’s hard to think that any other year could be as intensely emotional and joy-filled or adventurous as this one. But another year lies ahead, and one that I am looking forward to with a good helping of curiosity. Life with a one-year-old will bring many new experiences. Careers are shifting. And home is becoming more settled even while adventure and travel are on the books. New Years is a day of resolutions, and while many people struggle to keep them, I am one of the luckier ones for whom goal setting does a great deal of good. Without being too strict or specific, there are a few things on my mind as we kick off a new year.

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Two Phrases that Kill the Adventurous Spirit

If there’s a three-word phrase I’ve heard as much as “Just you wait…” as a new parent it would be “Enjoy it because….”. Both phrases are meant to inspire me to appreciate what I have in the here and now. But, I have to say, they both make my skin crawl. As if parenting wasn’t challenging enough, people have to constantly remind me of how much harder it’s going to get. Or that there is something worth dreading on the journey ahead.

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The Kid Question: How An Adventurer Decides to Become a Parent

I just spent the week at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, the annual gathering of adventurers, adrenaline junkies, mountain artists and authors up at The Banff Centre. Being a new parent, I entered this year’s festival with a very different outlook on what it means to lead an adventurous lifestyle. As I listened to people’s stories of epic climbs and expeditions, I was curious to know how these “real deal” adventurers felt about parenthood. Did they want to have children? Had they chosen not to? If they did have children, how were they be able to balance life as a mother or father with their adventurous pursuits?

How does a life of adventure without kids compare to a life of adventure with kids?

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Taking Risks Outdoors as Parents: Part 3

Here’s the scenario I left you with in Part 2 of this series: Back in August my husband went on his first big trip since we had our daughter – an ascent of Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Prior to leaving he told me, “This trip could very well be about more than just climbing Mt. Robson. I’ll see how I feel about being disconnected from my wee family up there.”

I left you wondering how things went, and asked: Would he be able to separate himself from his emotions during the climb? Decide it is just too much for him right now, and give up on climbing big peaks for awhile?

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The Post-Baby Body: Reimagining Myself as an Athlete

Once I was through the first week of bliss with my daughter, the realities of my new body sunk in. I had spent a number of days in bed recovering from the birth, and otherwise didn’t venture out of the house until about Day 6. On that day, I walked about a block before pain turned me back. Though I was able to walk farther and faster as each day passed, I was discouraged by my reflection in the mirror and my inability to really move. My daughter brought me so much joy, but I felt that my body had betrayed me. I longed to run, to feel my heart pumping, to feel sweat on my back, and my feet hitting the pavement. I longed to feel lightness again. Instead I felt heavy, swollen and slow.

My discouragement went on for the first month until, funny as it sounds, I remembered I had just had a baby.

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From Brokenness to a Boler: Chris Nelmes

My conversation with Chris went in a direction I could never have predicted. For weeks I’d been talking to outdoor adventurers of all kinds, none who had ever lost sight of the role that their outdoor passions play in their lives (or at least they hadn’t mentioned it). But though he had enjoyed outdoor activities since he was a kid and truly needed the outdoors to keep a clear mind, Chris went through a stage just prior to having kids when the rat race really took over and his commitment to the outdoors evaporated.

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