I’m madly in love with the outdoors. It’s true. And this last year it has been such an all-consuming passion that I kinda forgot about some other things I love too. Like a girl with a new boyfriend who starts avoiding her friends, I realized that I have neglected some other softer, gentler pursuits that are just so good for the soul.
Late last year a travel deal came through my email for a beautiful beachside villa for a terrific price. I bought it. I’d never been there, but it looked amazing. I had just been through a very difficult time (a terminally ill friend, a death in the close family, followed closely by a health scare with my son) and decided I needed that late Winter break in my back pocket as a reward for making it through. Now this is a seaside villa on the Atlantic Ocean in February. I had no idea what to expect and half figured I’d probably get snowed out of any plans I made anyway.
To be honest we didn’t have a very playful winter this year. I was determined to make the best of it but it was more grey and dreary, than fun and white. My snowshoes only made it out once, but still … I’m ready for Spring. Psychologically I’m just ready for everything be alive again.
And I will be honest … all the sudden bad news/scares of late 2016 made me anxious. It all just really took me from “confident that everything always works out” to “fearful that things could go terribly wrong”. I tried to stay out of harm’s way a lot more than I ever have before.
But here we are, the day has come. My seaside villa is booked about two hours drive from the city and I’m throwing things in a bag. It’s been too long since I’ve run away for the weekend. It’s unseasonably mild weather, too.
I used to go for car trip adventures all the time. Just point the car in one direction and go from there. Take any dirt road or “Wharf” or “Point” or “Beach” road that sounded interesting just to see what was there. I have found amazing, beautiful things along and at the end of these little paths to lost places.
I had forgotten I loved that, you see. All last year my excursions had clear destinations, trail heads, GPS co-ords, distance markers. The goal was NOT to get lost, rather than to get lost in some wonderful adventure and then find your way home.
My first stop was a detour from the highway to coast. I wanted to go visit my old sea glass cove haunt on the way. Turns out it’s not that secret anymore. I used to be able to walk that beach for two hours without seeing another soul and leave with pockets full of glass. Today I arrive at low tide and it looks more like a roadside yard sale. Cars everywhere, beach littered with glass hunters. I found a few leftovers, but basically need a new sea glass beach now.
And then my first adventure moment. I knew I could get back to the highway by retracing my steps OR could turn left and just see where it took me. I knew it was generally the right direction.
I turned left.
My reward was the most beautiful winding road (S-turn after S-turn) that traced the slinking path of the LaHave River as it snakes its way into the town of Bridgewater. Fishing village after fishing village dotted the way. Beautiful, grand sea merchants’ mansions painted in impossibly cheerful colours like Cotton Candy Pink and Aquamarine Blue. And yet with them stood the abandoned ones, and boat houses and fish sheds. With barely-there flaking paint leaving bare their silvered bones. I could have spent hours just photographing it all. I wanted to. I promised myself I would go back with a real camera and do it.
I lost track of the number of times I said … out loud … “OH MY GOD that’s so beautiful!” It was nearly reluctantly that I arrived at my final destination for the night.
The Quarterdeck villas are a series of rowhouses built behind a seawall about 30’ from the roaring ocean. There is a stunning breeze-through in the middle which provides you with your first glimpse of water. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I checked in, got my key and dragged my food and overnight bag in. I was stunned. I beelined it for the deck outside the downstairs sitting area. And there I stayed until dark and dropping temps drove me in.
I sat there in quiet worship of the beautiful world we live in. The thunderous and yet still soothing thump and whoosh of the ocean. Like a mother’s heartbeat. My heart tuned to each wave. I breathed it in deeply.
I let the memories come too, of the dark times of last year. I cried a little. But my tears were just absorbed by the ocean and the next wave took them away. I was able to surrender the sadness. The next wave brought good memories to take their place.
On the way home today I decided to punch up a trail – any trail – and go find it. And I did. I walked it a bit, as I did the beach earlier this morning, but more promised I would come back in the true Spring. When I can only imagine it will be the most beautiful place.
The point is that … not all adventures require a Sherpa and/or a deep diving certification. Adventure is just really that which gets us out of our comfort zone. Allows us to see, hear, taste and otherwise experience things that we never have before.
Adventure begins, when we don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Life itself is an adventure. I drove home today with a deep sense of inner peace and reclaimed confidence. When I picked up my son tonight to take him back to campus there was quite a few inches of snow between me and his unplowed parking lot. On Friday when I dropped him off I stayed in the laneway and avoided it.
Today I drove through them.
Bernardine Wood aka Hiker Bee is an avid hiker, cyclist and kayaker. She is also a member of the #HBFCrew. She resides in Nova Scotia , Canada. She is committed to sharing her love and knowledge of the outdoors with others, especially those who may not have ventured out, without her excitement and support. Those who might also find healing and strength in nature.