Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Unfittie's Guide, redux

Blue-footed Boobies
Galapagos Islands
(redux) an adjective meaning "brought back, restored"

Okay, perhaps you are so used to me that you no longer think about the name of my blog...if you are my blogging friends from 'way back, for instance, but now there are some of you who don't know about my "adventurous travels," so we're re-visiting here one of my first blog posts, and I hope to share more soon. 

Let's begin with this:
Perhaps you’ve never really accepted being less than completely fit. Maybe your mental image of yourself is from an earlier time, when you felt ten feet tall and bulletproof. 
Just accept it!


Photo from Trip Advisor
For a long time, my self-image was of the day I walked to Peace Arch Park near our home town in southwestern British Columbia with my mother and my young teenage brother Rob.

The inscription of the Canadian side of the Peace Arch reads "Brethren dwelling together in unity."
On the American side it says "Children of a Common Mother."
It certainly was a beautiful day for a walk with our mother! 

It was also a beautiful day for a run, and I suddenly found myself shouting, “Race you to the arch, Robbie!” 
It felt wonderful, moving as fast as I could. In my mind’s eye, I still see soft green grass below me, blue sky above me, the Canada-US border in front of us, and Mom laughing behind us. 
Alright, okay, I know my brother was only 13 at the time, and my legs were still longer than his. And maybe, just maybe, Rob wasn’t trying very hard because he really didn’t think I could beat him. Nevertheless, I got there first, and I was 21 when Mom had him!
Laughing and perspiring, I panted, “I won!”
“That was pretty good,” he said, with a grin. 

America's Cup winner: Australian yacht, Gretel.
Rob and our friend and I spent a day aboard
when she started her retirement career
as a day sailer off the Queensland coast.
Of course it never happened again. A year later, when Rob and I were traveling with a friend in Queensland, Australia, I tried to run, tripped over a tree root, fell flat on my face, and decided enough was enough.
However, I’ve carried the image of that one victory in my head for years, pushing aside the embarrassing memory of eating Australian dirt, ignoring the pain slowly overtaking me, and trying to ignore the years overtaking me as well.

So don’t think I titled this section “just accept it” because I’m good at acceptance. I’m not. I’m here to say don’t do what I did. Don’t do what I still do from time to time – don’t refuse to accept your limitations. 
This may sound contrary to the moral “it’s better to go than not go” but it isn’t. Acceptance is key to enjoying adventurous travel. Accept your limitations by learning to deal with them effectively; accept being unable to do everything your traveling companions can do and, above all, accept help.
Accept help? 
Become a little old lady escorted across streets by boy scouts? Oh no, your inner voice screams, I can’t, I won’t, and I never will, so there! 
(From Shutterstock)
I know, I know. My inner voice screamed the same things, but there were times when I had to accept help from the most unlikely sources...for instance, from my mother. 
Good grief!
I’d rather have had a boy scout help me. Or a girl scout.

So how did I get from there to the Galapagos Islands? To Costa Rica? To anywhere outside my immediate neighbourhood?
The moral of this story should be immediately clear, but in case you’re having one of those days when the obvious doesn’t jump out at you (I have lots of those days), let me state the moral right up front. 
It is better to go than not to go. 
Enlarging upon that unpretty little sentence: If someone offers you a travel opportunity, you may regret it if you don’t go, but you aren’t likely to regret it if you do go.
It still doesn’t roll trippingly off the tongue, does it? So you might want to make it easier for yourself by borrowing a well-known phrase from The Bard: “To be or not to be?”
Blue-footed booby with egg.

Because, really, that is the question.
When my husband, flush from our successful exploration of Charles Darwin’s eye-opening Galapagos Islands, within the 

boundaries set for tourists, suddenly announced we should also go on a wilderness adventure trip to Costa Rica, I suggested he go without me.
I hadn’t been the best at hiking in the Galapagos, but fortunately managed to spend most of a day sitting in a field full of blue-footed boobies because they nest in the open.
But the Costa Rica suggestion?
“You’ll have more fun if I’m not there to slow you down,” I reasoned. “Go ahead,” I insisted, “I don’t mind.” 
“But I don’t want to go without you,” he replied. 
Aww, that was sweet!
Monkeys in Costa Rica
Many a husband would agree with a wife, then promptly make a reservation for himself, or decide to take his son instead. My husband only has daughters, and he didn’t immediately suggest taking one of them. Neither did I.

“I really don’t want to go if you don’t,” he repeated, “and, you know, they have monkeys.” (Pause while that sinks in.) 

Buttercup,  the world's most famous sloth.
I spent a whole day with her!
“And they have sloths.”

Well now, sloths I can relate to. Big time.
So I had my own answer. I knew I would regret staying home and never seeing sloths. 

This, then, is part of the moral of the story. If you would regret missing the Louvre when you had the chance; if you’d hate yourself forever for saying no to the Northern Lights; if you’d cry because you never saw dolphins – then don’t miss the opportunity when it is offered. 
If the opportunity doesn't arise, it’s different. If I never get a chance to go to Olduvai Gorge to see where the remains of ancient homonids were found, I know I can live with reading about it in books.
But if I'm ever offered a camera safari, and I know there’s a way for me to make the trip, but yet I still say, “I don’t want to slow you down,” then I may regret it. 
Regret is something we all want to live without, isn’t it? Disappointment we can handle; pain and sorrow await us all; but regret is something we can avoid by the way we respond to life’s opportunities. 


Right. Good questions. I asked myself those same questions many times, and learned the answers through experience, both good and bad. 
I want to share my hard-won knowledge with you. Not because my way will be perfect for all unfitties of all genders, but because it worked for me – sometimes well, and sometimes, well, not so well. 
But it’s been fun. 

As Dick likes to point out to me every time he finds a new adventure on which to embark: By the time I get home I’m always glad I went.
Ask me at 30,000 feet over one of the major oceans if I’m glad I squeezed my portly self into an uncomfortable airplane seat for nine hours and I’m apt to snarl in reply; but get me home, fed, rested, and within hobbling distance of my very own bathroom, and I’ll admit I’m glad I went. 

Give me six months, then I’ll be acting as if the whole thing were my idea to begin with. I’ll be hosting slide shows for my friends, explaining the history and geography of faraway places, and I’ll have completely forgotten that I didn’t want to go in the first place.
True fact.


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
&*> You know I know... and am nodding sagely! YAM xx

magiceye said...

Very interesting read.

Lady Fi said...

Oh, this made me smile and chuckle! You're such a good writer! And I have to agree - always say yes more than no.

Rob Davies said...

I saw some boobies today.


Bill Nicholls said...

I love those blue footed booby's

Victoria said...

Inspiring post, and I love your photos!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Hello, Kay. I don't recall how I stumbled over your blog but the name of it caught my eye and I can truly relate to it. Today's post about regret really hits home for me. You've given me some true fodder for thinking. Thank you.

Dimple said...

Hi Kay!
Thanks for educating me -- I now know what "redux" means!

Also, thanks for sharing your wisdom regarding body image, regret, life's adventures, and sharing with your spouse.

Yes, I would love to _____!

Angie said...

Kay - you had me spellbound from beginning to end. My problem is not the BIG adventures - bring it on - but the little ones, like deciding I can handle a black diamond run on our local ski mountain. Your principles still apply, so thanks for this inspirational post. Regret? Banished!

Powell River Books said...

It's so good you take advantage of travel options and figure out a way that you and Dick can enjoy travel together. I sure wish a head of state would visit the Peach Arch and read both sides, but maybe that's too far to go and to many words to read. - Margy

Jenn Jilks said...

JB loathes travel, but we are going out to see the kidlets.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for sharing your wisdom

Small City Scenes said...

You are so right about regretting if you don't do it. I love adventure and life is an adventure whether you go to Costa Rica or just for a local road trip. I am always ready---my late husband didn't want to go anywhere---a real home boy---I wasn't unhappy but not real happy either. Now my friend Bob is willing to travel and we do

Small City Scenes said...

Oh BTW: My sister who lives in Kelowna BC now lived for many years near Lethbridge Alberta and yes beauty is everywhere

smulan said...

What a story! How good that you will go again and again ...!!

smulan said...

What a story! A good way to persuade oneself.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Kay, great post. I have been to Costa Rica and would love to go back. The wildlife was awesome and the scenery was beautiful. I also would love to see the Blue-footed Booby. I wish I had more money to travel, if it was free I would never be home. enjoy your day!

bill burke said...

A great read. I'm always ready for an adventure and wouldn't consider saying no to one. I love your photos, I never seen a blue-footed boobie before and the sloth is fantastic to see too.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.
Have a wonderful day.

Al said...

You're definitely better of trying than not! I have to remember that for my upcoming trip to Asia.

Gattina said...

I see you are into memories !!

Sharon Wagner said...

I'm not the most fit either. But, we've been to Central America 11 years in a row. And counting... Happy travels!

Stewart M said...

Nice post! Its a dangerous thing you know, stepping outside your own front door. But its a great thing too!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

PS: The numbers at the bottom of my 'Look out for animals' picture are a phone number!

NatureFootstep said...

You have to love those blue feet. I wish I had seen that species :)

Mara said...

How timely is this post? I have just today accepted a new job! In another country (yet again). I am anxious about making the right choice, but not doing it and regretting it will be worse!

Jenn Jilks said...

That must have been an amazing trip!