The Pack-up

Four cans of bear spray, check.

Running shoes, check.

Running vest and water bottles, check.

Wool socks, sports bra and undies, check.

Hammock, sleeping bag and tarp, check.

Sun screen, first aid kit, electrolytes, check.

Hat, watch, go-pro, check

Good book, journal, check

Food, snacks, camp stove, bowls, knife, spoon, check

Head lamp, charger, check

Everything is accounted for as I make my final selection, tucking it into a duffle. It's nearly time I tuck myself in for the night as well, after taking a moment to stretch and savour this feeling of being home. Not too often am I given the privilege of sleeping in my own home, a tiny house I built with my own two hands. Even for the night I will take it! My heart is always filled with nostalgia as I navigate the chapters and transitions I have lived using this place as my base camp over the last several years. Thinking it would become a place to set up roots and unite with garden projects, its still a dream. For now, the world has other opportunities in store and I am answering the call. Life as an active travel guide has shown me places around the world faster than I could have made possible on my own dime. With this career, packing has become a way of life. Moving with the seasons, I learned to keep my necessities close by and remember that everything can be replaced. At the end of the day its what's inside that counts. As an environmental educator I used to carry all my belongings on my back. Together with my students we moved at the speed of a turtle. Down rivers, up and over mountains, no matter where we were going there were endless opportunities to celebrate independence, pitch our own tent and cook over a fire. The best part was that we looked out for one another. When the days were long and hard, you could see who needed time to reflect and who needed ways to connect. Nature has a way of revealing our most humanistic side. Over the years I developed a great comfort in a life in perpetual motion. Not resting more than a few nights in the same bed for months at a time. It is essential to become independent and self-assured as there will be endless problems to solve as you get to where you're going. With a curious mind, always fascinated by the horizon, I wondered what could be found over the next hill. Following the path of expeditionary icons who proved you can achieve what you set out for, and others who proved you could die trying. Both endings made for a healthy dose of inspiration and a necessary bedtime story. Maybe we all

hold a glimmer of hope, a curiosity of lands unimaginable. Of sounds that draw our senses closer or favours that surpass our previous knowing. A touch to leave us breathless or views to soothe the soul.

Humanity has a heartbeat, and it is often strongest when navigating outdoors. Trusting our feet and relying on our strength. Turning the plans into reality, walking our dreams alive. Life has proven, I must never doubt my abilities or my dreams no matter what surrounds me. After eighteen years, this promise I vowed to keep to my sister, as she sipped her last few breaths, is about to emerge. Crossing the Trans Canada Trail to create awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and live out my childhood dream. I will start with stage 1, the run: 250 km across Vancouver Island in seven days. With the support of my dear friend Mark, my dad Robert and mom Rose who will be our support bike and truck moving our life from place to place, the pace will be quick and light.

Nerves and elation all wrapped into this one present moment, making sleep seem to be a far reality. However uncertain the road to come may be, I am ready.

I blow out the candle, cuddle under 5 layers of blankets and drift to sleep.

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Photo credit Coburn Brown

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