It has been an amazing year here at Wildland Adventures as we wrap up our 25th year of sharing amazing adventures around the globe with our extraordinary guests. Here are some of our personal inspirations from 2012.
Guiding with my partner in Patagonia
was the realization of a dream; working in the beautiful outdoors with the person I love and helping others discover and challenge themselves on our adventure. I'm very thankful to have been given that opportunity.
At 97 years of age my grandfather (a mentor, worldly adventurer and pioneer in cardiac surgery) passed away unexpectedly while I was exploring Bali this year with my wife and our Wildland Adventures guide. At 50 years old our guide Katut turned out to be deep into his studies of Balinese Hinduism and actively pursuing the path towards spiritual enlightenment. Winding through the back roads of Bali I shared with him my emotional distress. He stopped the car at a serene overlook and we had a lengthy conversation about the transition from life to death, from the living world into the spiritual world. Was it pure coincidence that put me with this man specifically at this time? I’m not sure, but it was a powerful conversation that I’ll never forget and something that my grandfather would have wanted for me.
On an expedition ship in Alaska
this year I remembered to honor the anthem: Carpe Diem! Enjoy every precious moment, instead of planning the next. Even though I had literally signed a lease to a new house days before our adventure, I lost myself so completely in the moment of where I was and the vastness of Alaska's inside passage, that the stress of moving completely evaded me.
The night spent at Feynan Lodge, I awoke around 4-4:30A. Whether from jet lagged rhythms or the barking of a dog or just the overwhelming light of a sky full of stars, all thoughts of going back to sleep immediately left me. I sat at my window and felt the cool night air, a slight wind swept into the room, breathing like a presence and stirring the silk ribbons hanging from mosquito netting above. I watched as a sliver of crescent moon rose gold & glowing over the dark embankment just beyond the lodge, instantly recalling one of my favorite lines from Rumi, “The madmen have seen the moon and are running to the roof with ladders.”
Following suit, I dressed & slipped through the dark & sleeping passageways of Feynan, to climb a narrow stairway to the rooftop. As the sky lightened, young Bedouin shepherds at a nearby encampment released their flocks of goats, setting out into the desert along the same ancient paths as countless flocks before them. At that moment, even as an American, I felt completely a part of Jordan
and its landscape, its rituals. I can’t wait to go back.
For the first time in my life this year I got to see a female puma and her 2 cubs walking in the wild at the Corcovado National Park
. Although I was amazed by the scene of the three cats rambling slowly along the river, what really impressed me was the behavior of all the other wildlife of around me: I had never heard the tropical rainforest so alive in a continuous crescendo or warning calls about the imminent danger of this jungle predator. This rare instant of listening to every possible creature in unison gave me a feeling I was touching something deeper; my mind stopped to embrace those incredible sounds. The Spirit of the jungle and my own Spirit united in a timeless moment and I understood the meaning of Oneness for those everlasting moments. It is a moment impossible to forget or recreate.
This year I wanted to start with a challenge to manifest a change in direction of my life. How better to do this than to jump in the Pacific Ocean in the dead of winter on New Year’s Day? Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but at the dojo where I practice the blending martial art of Aikido, this is a tradition. Starting with 108 strikes with our swords we ceremoniously throw any negativity from the old year into the bonfire.
2012 has been a year of excitement, change and a tremendous amount of personal growth. From my travels to South Africa
in May, a beautiful Seattle summer, and most of all marrying the love of my life this past September, this has been a year filled with meaningful moments I will cherish forever. But I am even more excited for what the future has in store!
The most inspirational moment for me in 2012 was getting the chance to work at Wildland Adventures and moving to Seattle. I've had a lot of great travels this year including a trip to Ecuador
with my Dad, but I've never been so excited to move to a new city and start a new job . I'm really excited to see where this new path will take me in 2013.
What I do know is that I have felt the need to look inward and see how I can be a better person not only for myself but for the people I am close too. I have found that by letting go of the need to control certain things, it has actually allowed me to see that everything will turn out just as it should and that trusting in myself and the people I love only leads to a path of love and acceptance.
While traveling in Switzerland I tackled Jungrau out of Interlakken. In the moment I didn't see how I was possibly going to make it to the top. I was so cold, had a headache and every step was an effort. But I did it and it was spectacular. We were there to attend our son's graduation from 4-years in Stizterland at Franklin College. I was so inspired by him going so far from home at 19 years to live for 4 years in another country, but then again, we raised him traveling with Wildland Adventures all his life! My travels this year in India
taught me a great truth – that I was in a country I was born to love – a country that gave me so much. I still feel deeply connected to the people I met there. There is so much beauty in the world.
My meaningful moments I cherish most are those when I see my kids eyes light up. This year it’s been my daughter flying a kite for the first time, and my son's complete joy swimming in a pool. This year I’m thinking more about what my kids are experiencing and learning, since they’re now old enough to remember important milestones for the rest of their lives. It makes me consider much more what experiences I’m giving my kids, what they’ll look back on to say: “Remember when…” It makes each moment more significant and full of possibility.
Traveling and leading groups in 2012 I was reminded how much I love organizing these wild and crazy adventures around the world for other people. I thrive on the challenge of taking people into the unknown where anything can happen, sometimes having to find our way out of a sticky situation in one piece where everyone can look back to appreciate the adventure! It's not easy sometimes, but it's what I was born to do and that's my ultimate inspiration.
Cheers to 2012 and Hello 2013!
Your wild friends,