ADVENTURE

FINDING ADVENTURE - say yes first

I finally managed to get my family to join me on a hike to Webster's Falls a few weeks ago.  I had been telling my boys how much they would love this hike for a month.  "The trail winds along a creek!  At times it is high up on the edge of the valley and at other times so low and close to the water that you have to hold onto tree branches so you don't fall in the fast moving water."  This hike had all the elements I knew my boys would love - nature mixed with a healthy dose of adventure.  

Still my request was met with some pretty strong resistance.  Our youngest (and for the moment still the smallest amongst us) was not looking forward to the sore legs that follow after a long walk with taller people.  And my oldest who has an aversion to mud (which is pretty much a staple on the trails in Ontario in the fall) saw no real need to go and get his hikers dirty.  In the end the adults pulled rank and veto voted the outing into action.  

Sadly not long after we we set off, the boys concerns were quickly manifested. At our first brief rest stop our youngest complained of aching calve muscles and my oldest scrunched his nose with dismay at the 2 inch mud cake clinging to the bottom of his boots.  We pressed on, down the steep embankment to the creek's edge, past the spot where the creek is joined by another tributary, across the rocks sitting just above the large boot sucking mud patch, through the large moss covered, man-sized boulders and finally as close to the base of  Webster's Falls as the heavy spray would allow.

The noise from the rush of the water plummeting over the edge of the 22 meter high 24 meter wide ridge into the valley made it difficult for me to hear what the boys said as they scrambled closer to see this amazing site, but the look on their faces told me they were not sorry they came.

My husband has a friend and mentor who has always maintained that when opportunities arise, you say YES.  Say yes FIRST, knowing you can always say no later.  Opportunities don't always come around twice.  I'm not sure this is an approach that comes naturally but I've always hoped my boys would embrace this approach to life.

As we turned to start our walk back to the trail head, my youngest bounded up behind me and threw his arms around my waist.  "That was awesome. I'm glad we did it." he said.  I just smiled.

 

This post is dedicated to our dear friends who have said YES to a very big opportunity!   They have taken their family of five on the road for a year of learning and adventure.  We will miss the Gilberts here at home but we look forward to following your travels abroad.  You inspire us!

 

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5 REASONS TO GO (BACK) TO NEW ZEALAND

If you read my post yesterday about the pivotal moment I experienced on a mountain in New Zealand, then you might not find it surprising that I want to go back.

Here are 5 reasons why I think you should go (and I want to go back) to New Zealand:

1.  It is achingly beautiful.  A landscape photographer's dream.  Everywhere you turn there is another amazing photo opportunity.

2. The climate and weather is interesting.  I am a bit spoilt living in Canada - we have 4 distinct seasons - and that means lots of landscape variety.  New Zealand is similarly blessed - though they have another edge.  Amazing clouds!  I guess they don't call it Aotearoa (the Māori name for NZ which roughly translates to "land of the long white cloud") for nothing.

3. The people are lovely.  Friendly, relaxed, happy... I imagine there are some kiwi's who don't fit this description, but I didn't find any.

4. The coffee is good.  No, I mean really good - and I am pretty picky about this.  I think you would have to try really hard to find a bad cup.

5. There are crazy talented and inspiring photographers living there.  Trey Ratcliff, Todd and Sarah Sisson just to name a few.  Imagine having the chance to bump into these guys!  

 

PS - if any of the above mentioned inspiring photographers should find they need a keen New Zealand photography workshop assistant... let's talk.  I might be agreeable to working for little more than photo ops and coffee.

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MOUNTAIN TOP REFLECTIONS - finding more than just a place to take a photo

We had to climb a good distance to get to the top of Deer Park Heights from where we were dropped off.  It was quite steep.  So steep that I almost stepped into this pond as I came over the rise.  Very convenient as I needed to catch my breath anyhow.  Catch my breath and take a moment to reflect.

Some experiences change you.  Call them pivot points, critical milestones or defining moments - you know the ones.  They are the enlightening experiences big or small that reshape not only where you are headed but who you are at a core level.  Times that move us to more closely align our authentic selves and core values with our true calling.

My most recent defining moment happened right there, in Deer Park Heights, while attending Trey Ratcliff's New Zealand Photo Adventure.  It was a big moment.  The whole adventure in fact was big!  You can see how profoundly I was impacted in the clip they recorded of me for this video (it's late in the reel but watch the whole thing - you'll get to see all the great folks I met.)  I am nearly speechless, barely coherent.  

A Stuck In Customs Video. More info at http://store.stuckincustoms.com/workshops

Can you name 5 pivotal moments in your life so far?  Perhaps a critical milestone is on your horizon.  Maybe it will happen today!  Have a good one my friends.

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