Live Out There Exclusive: “Go Your Own Way: The Best Kept Secrets of a Solo Adventure”

Hey kids! I recently started blogging with the awesome outdoor apparel and adventure company Live Out There and I am very excited to share with you my pieces as they are being published. I recently penned a post about why sometimes adventuring “bear by yourself” (as my mother would say) trumps grinding it out as a group. I hope you enjoy!

Go Your Own Way: The Best Kept Secrets of a Solo Adventure

There are many great things about adventuring with a loved one.

A plus-one means having a companion in arms for when the going gets tough; it means greater variety in food and snacks; and probably best of all, it means having someone to share in the epic views of a crested peak or conquered valley.

But the thing is, trekking and exploring solo is just as awesome and awe-inspiring as going out as a pair. In fact, I would argue that it is actually better.

Find out why here.

Waking up to a sleepy sun

This morning I caught the sun before it went back to bed.

Sunrise

I often have the privilege of witnessing the early dawn sky.

Unfortunately, the reason that I am this lucky is because I struggle with anxiety, and the majority of the time it manifests itself in early morning heat attacks.

Seriously, it’s like my whole body is engulfed in flames.

Often times it’s very difficult to fall back asleep, so I instead just get up, and get a really early start to things.

So this morning, instead of subjecting Marc to my sauna-inspired tossing and turning, I slipped out of bed and tiptoed downstairs.

I sat quietly on the sofa, with a cup of coffee in one hand, and watched as the sun got up, stretched, and then lay back down to sleep, in (what I can only presume to be) its bed of rest, located just behind the Fraser River.

As someone who finds this sort of thing practically impossible (falling back asleep after getting up), I was more than a little jealous. If I only I could learn its secrets!

So knowing full well that there was no way I could possibly go back to bed (even if my life depended on it!), I decided instead to lace up my runners and go out for a fast 4.5km run.

I managed to complete my route in eighteen minutes, which is a good time for the number of hills that populate the course, and it made me think that maybe (just maybe!) I will be able to run a sub-40 10km at the Fall Classic on November 19th.

The weather was just perfect – the air was cool, but not so much to make the insides of my ears burn, or make my lungs ache. A slight breeze to bring bounce to my ponytail and pink to my cheeks; fallen leaves crunchy underfoot, while the balding trees overhead presented a delirious kaleidoscope of greens, yellows, and browns.

I could smell the magic aroma of coffee and other miscellaneous breakfast delights, drifting from the different houses that mark my path to the park and back.

Sprinting the last four hundred, a lone tear slid from the corner of my left eye.

It’s funny.

I can’t for the life of me remember what I thought about while I ran.

I’m certain there must have been a few musings about Halloween, and the party Marc and I are attending tonight.

The lovely dinner we had with friends last night.

Michael Chabon’s latest novel, currently taking up real estate on my bedside table.

My stride length, and whether or not I was landing on the balls of my feet.

A series of short vignettes, starring a sleepy sunrise.

I remember when I was a little girl, I would always try and wake up as early as possible on the weekends, because Saturday and Sunday mornings were the only times my sisters and I were allowed to watch TV.

The earlier we woke, the more episodes of Inspector Gadget, or Rescue Rangers, or Duck Tales, we could watch.

I don’t know when exactly I stopped racing out of bed, and started sleeping in, but I feel as though I have now come full circle.

I am back to being that girl, that pre-sunrise child.

I just need to make sure this is due to my love of cartoons and not the heat of a worry that’s setting my alarm.

On a Wednesday morning

I wake up to his hand on the small of my back.

Like a paperweight, holding me in place.

 

I shiver, and

He wraps himself around me.

 

Warm arms, and

cold knees.

My parted lips, and

His chest.

 

Enmeshed.

 

I can feel his breath.

Warm and thick

In the crook of my neck.

 

His beard.

Soft bristles

That tickle.

 

And our fingers,

leave gooseflesh,

Not prints.

 

Outside,

Dawn stretches.

Slowly, lifting the dark shroud of night.

 

Like a magician.

Ta-da!

 

And I want to lie here,

Forever.

 

Until the sun supernovas

The stars fade away.

Sunglasses at night

So I says to Mabel I says: Going to work in the dark and leaving work in the dark is definitely a bit crap. 

I find myself heading out at lunch time, just to breathe some fresh air, (fresh life!) into my lungs and bask in the limited-time-only daylight that seems to be available only between the hours of ten in the morning until two in the afternoon.

Working within this time frame makes me thing that whoever in charge of allotting Vancouver’s daily sunlight ration must also be affiliated with the Swiss consulate (as they seem to keep the same hours.)

It’s quite a trip looking out the window as I exit my office building and see the moon, shining down on myself and all the other commuters at 4:26 in the afternoon.  It makes me want to yell out: “JUST BECAUSE I LIKE THEM, DOESN’T MEAN I EVER AGREED TO LIVING INSIDE A PHILLIP K. DICK NOVEL!!!”

COME ON.

(Or Heinlein, or Asimov, or Herbert, or – okay hopefully you get my drift).

That tiny dot on the left? THE MOON! At 4:30pm!

The one plus to this perpetual darkness?  The view walking to transit in the morning can be utterly breathtaking.  The sky is engulfed by a brilliant mosaic of blues, and greens and oranges and purples – like the most beautiful bruise you have ever seen – and Mount Baker stands stark, back lit, like an American Mount Doom, looming in the foreground.

One view to rule them all.  One view to find them.

[Please sir – may I be an elf?]

Okay, in all honesty I really shouldn’t gripe.

There is something almost romantic to getting up, and getting out, in the early a.m.

The world is quiet, still.

Because it is so early, each person who is up, are themselves quiet.  Although they move, they exude, are even defined by, a pristine stillness, becalmed by the early hour.

We are awake, but are still, very slowly coming alive – stretching our arms, wiping away the sleepy cobwebs in tandem with the molasses-slow sunrise as it heralds the official break of day.

Standing on the metro platform, our breath is a thick fog that hangs suspended in the morning chill; no one talks, no one looks at each other.

We are like living statues, meditating on the start of the day (or perhaps just counting down the minutes until hot java will surge through our system and jolt our brains into activity.)

This sunrise took my breath away (sorry for bad quality!)

I actually don’t understand those who prefer waking up later and therefore staying at work later – why would anyone want to leave work at a time when it doesn’t just look like night, it actually is night time?

Blargh.

Even if the daylight has faded, I would prefer to have the afternoon and evening to myself – go to the gym, prepare dinner, read, spend time with my husband and cat, go for a walk, watch a movie – all in the same night if need be.

I can’t imagine accomplishing any of these things, let along all of them, if I was leaving work after eight o’clock at night.

Plus I really hate doing laundry anytime after seven o’clock – eight MAYBE if I’m really pushing it..  I get this crazy anxiety that the clothes won’t have time to dry properly and everything will end up moldy and smelling like the boot bin at one of the Annapolis valley Frenchies.

(a.k.a. THE WORST EVER.)

Also, I am paranoid about the neighbours having a conniption about the late hour of these washing exploits.

Having worked shift work for two years, I am familiar with very early mornings and very late nights (that I suppose should also be classified as early mornings.)  I know about sleepiness on both ends of the tired spectrum and I promise you, that if I was forced to chose between the two, I would pick early mornings ten times out of ten.

So Mr. Morning Sauron! Bring on the 6 a.m. starts!

I’ll name my first child little Vanilla Bean Gamgee  if need be.