It was convenient, since I was already in Belize. When I heard about this kayak, camp Belize trip I asked Arne if he thought we might extend our time in Belize so I could go on this trip? He said sure. So it was really easy. With the push of a few buttons I was onboard to kayak with a group of women coming to Belize from the USA.
I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I just thought it might be fun. But when all was said and done it was much more than just fun. It was many things unexpected and rich, and more than anything, it was a fabulous adventure with fabulous women.
Our amazing guide Eric became notorious for saying “no problem” for any question we asked or problem we posed. He was amazing and made the journey so simple. Eric’s tour company Belizean Style (firstname.lastname@example.org), was contracted by Kayak Belize to guide us through the week. Bainbridge Island, Washington based Journey for a Purpose was the lead organization, who pulled together 12 women to experience this together. The 12 of us, aged 30-72, came from many different backgrounds, places, professions and experiences. And yet we fit together like a beautiful puzzle. It was fate.
Sometimes I am hard to impress, given the amount of territory I have covered. But this place – the cayes off the coast of Belize – is almost indescribable. Azure blue, turquoise green, golden-yellow, royal purple. These are the colors of the world-famous reef and seas. Jungle green, sandy pink, cocoa brown, chalky white. These are the colors of the tiny private atolls. So much beauty everywhere you turn.
I’ve had some amazing moments in my life that have empowered me, when I’ve found myself doing things I might otherwise turn to Arne and expect him to do for me or with me. Everything from setting up a tent, riding my bike across the state of Washington, walking 487 miles on the Camino to climbing a mountain. On this kayak journey, I found myself figuring out the logistics of equipment. Paddling the single kayak without Arne’s help. Finding private time when I needed it. As much as I adore my husband it’s always a good feeling when I’m left to my own powerful decision making.
We had some big winds and some tough paddle days. My back hurt and my arms felt like jelly but I made myself endure. The high winds and rain also surprised us early one morning and our tents flapped and threatened to sail away. But it was amazing how everyone worked together. How Mr. No Problem Eric was there to help. How we laughed about it after. We were strong. Invincible. Fierce.
As a group we spent time each day in “circle”. Here we practiced the art of listening, more than telling. Each woman had time to talk about herself, her background, her greatest challenge, her greatest achievement. While each spoke the others listened intently with acceptance and support. It’s not something I am usually comfortable with, but the format made me so. It was open, acknowledging and welcoming. It was real and refreshing and full. It was inspirational.
The atoll we were camping at is Moho Caye. It is about 13 miles out on the reef from Placencia. From 10am-3pm day trippers can visit the island. Some days as many as twenty people might show up, while other days perhaps only five. But from 3pm to 10am we had the entire island to ourselves. We all agreed it was spectacular. It was a cross between Gilligan’s Island and Castaway. A remarkable opportunity to relish the beauty of a private island to ourselves. We sung around the campfire and skinny dipped in the ocean. This was our island and we embraced it and it in return it showered us with lovely memories.
There is absolutely nothing in the world so wonderful as belly laughing. Laugh yourself silly. Laugh yourself happy. Laugh yourself healthy. It’s cleansing and exhausting and wonderful to laugh fully with abandon. And we did. We laughed over stories. We laughed over songs. We laughed over games. We found so much to bring smile and laughter to our time together, even though we had known each other such a short while. It was a happy and full experience of genuine spirited female fun.
Our wonderful leaders Spring and Maria from Journey for a Purpose found a variety of positive ways to bring us together as a group from snorkeling with sharks, rays and turtles to kayaking to singing to sharing. But in addition some of my most favorite moments were when we all did yoga together on the beach, creating an awareness within us as well as pulling the positive energy into our bodies. We also spent time making beach art and describing our beach art to each other. One day we walked around our island and brought back something from nature. We then spent time with Mr. No Problem Eric and learned something about the items we found. Then together we shared. It was great fun as the items collected ranged from a gecko to driftwood, from coral to leaves and branches. Our island shared its deep natural history.
While on our island, one of the women got the news that her father-in-law had passed away. As much as she felt she should be home with her family, we became her family that day and showered her with love. We helped memorialize a man we didn’t know, but it was so easy because we were all on the same wave-length. It was very affirming to me, to feel the love and joy being heaped on our friend and her departed kin. But for me it was also affirming to my life’s mission of living each moment as if it were my last. Of caring for myself in a way that gives me the strength to care for others. And above all, being fully present. A reminder to center myself and just be. This was a gift.
Journey for a Purpose
This is my second experience with Journey for a Purpose and I have loved both. You can find more information about them at the website link above. A few spots are still available for their Blake Island, Washington trips this summer.
I recently stumbled upon this quote, and it epitomizes for me how I feel about my kayak camping adventure as well as my daily life;
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no man’s land.” – Pema Chodron
I was thrown from the nest n this adventure and loved it immensely. Thank you for challenging me and loving me and for my new friends who I hope to meet again someday. To Spring, Maria, Pamela, Susan, Suzanne, Eileen, Kathy, Nadine, Meg, Katie, Kelly, Ian (our cook) and Mr. No Problem Eric, I salute you. I hope you find what you are looking for and I wish you joy.
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