COM0014 – Blog #1 – When Vacations Go Wrong: A New Perspective

The trip that changed the way I look at life experiences…

As a small business owner, vacation time is often elusive. Between 18 hour days and a perpetually empty wallet, I’d have a better chance of finding a unicorn than getting a vacation. So when a friend asked me to go camping, I was itching to go and jumped at the chance! I had gone back country camping for the first time a few years before and fell in love. Since then I had been trying to convince friends to try it and finally someone wanted to!

 Back country camping is not for the faint of heart, for those deeply attached to the comforts of home, or for those that take issue with doing their business in a hole in the ground. But the tranquility and natural beauty can’t be beat – so off we went! We found a canoeing route in Algonquin Park that seemed straightforward, was supposed to be a two hour paddle, and had one portage. Seems reasonable enough, right? We thought so, but nature had other plans for us.

My friend Nicole and I arrived at Canoe Lake ready to enjoy the October weather and excited for our first back country adventure together! As we lugged backpacks and a ridiculous number of dry bags bursting with supplies to our canoe, light rain sprinkled the parking lot. No big deal. We were going rain or shine! In the first twenty minutes of paddling, it started raining gently. Gentle rain became heavier and constant, pelting us for the entire three hours of paddling.

The moment we realized that minimalist packing was not our style. Photo Credit: Cara Sicoly

We reached our campsite soaking wet, exhausted, and with dusk rapidly descending upon us. Even with frozen hands we managed to get our tent up, hung our food barrel (after fifty embarrassing attempts by me to fling the rope over the tree branch), and finally scrambled inside our tent to change into as much warm clothing as possible! We woke up in the morning to the realization that we might have overestimated our fitness level, feeling like we had been run over by a herd of stampeding hippos. But at least it wasn’t raining! We spent the second day of our trip recovering our ability to move our limbs, eating, and exploring the lake.

After a second more restful night, we packed up the campsite and set off towards home, hoping for better weather. What were the chances of rain for both our paddle in and our paddle out? As you might have guessed, like clockwork, as we started paddling the light rain began, quickly turning into a solid downpour for the entire three hours! I’m fairly certain I uttered the phrase “You’ve got to be kidding me!” at least twenty times during the paddle back home. Our adventure ended with us dragging our drenched and weary bodies to the car, more than ready to drown ourselves in fries and hot chocolate. But we made it!

Me wondering why I bothered to straighten my hair that morning… Photo Credit: Cara Sicoly

Was our trip a flawless success? Absolutely not. Do I regret going? Not a chance! These experiences, the hiccups we endure, the challenges we encounter – they are the stuff of incredible memories. They are the recipe for laughter and bonding, for appreciation and cooperation, for feeling alive and realizing that things don’t need to be perfect to be worthwhile. So what did I do on vacation? I reminded myself what it is to feel alive, and all I wish for you reading this is that you find those experiences that make you feel alive too, whatever they may be.

I want to hear about your experiences as well! Have you ever gone on a trip that didn’t go quite as planned? How did it make you feel?

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