It’s amazing what a Netfix series can inspire you to do. This particular one set in motion a unique opportunity for change. I had been feeling stuck for a while. A little twinge in my spirit was telling me something wasn’t quite right, although I didn’t know what.
I call this feeling “the thorn in my side”. It always feels uncomfortable when it arises, but through travel and experience, I have learned that ‘discomfort’ and ‘setbacks’ in life aren’t always a bad thing. They are often the catalysts that spark inner transformation and personal growth. They can ignite positive change. I’ve learned that the only way to understand that annoying thorn is to sit with it, feel it, listen to it, and then honour it by taking some kind of action — whether small or big.
The series was “Win the Wild”. It’s about six British couples who fly to Alaska to compete against each other for the keys to a homestead located in the middle of nowhere. I could only imagine how amazing it would be to work and live somewhere like that just for one season.
My soul was like a caged lioness craving freedom. Perhaps the self-isolation got to me. With less ways to distract myself, I had to pay more attention to me and my inner world instead of doing all the things you can normally do in a city like Victoria. It forced me to re-evaluate what was really important to me, what really fed my spirit and soul.
The show got me thinking about my favourite place, a special piece of wilderness in the mountain tops of southern British Columbia.
I’ve retreated to this place a few times in the past with others, and once on my own for a long weekend before I ventured off on my four-month solo backpacking adventure in South America. It’s a breathtaking piece of earth with azure lakes; alpine meadows that burst with a painter’s palette of colour in mid-summer; rocky peaks including moon-like rock formations the closer you get to the heavens; and shaggy sun-bleached mountain goats. You’re nearly guaranteed to see them.
I made the call the day after watching the winners cry at their newfound life and the owners cry as they let theirs go. I really didn’t expect anyone to answer since BC was still self-isolating from the dreaded Coronavirus. Most places were closed. But Glenda, who always answers when I call, picked up the phone. We chatted and I asked questions like, “Will you be opening this season?”, and “Will you be hiring?”. Yes, very likely, to both of those questions. She gave me a name and email address to contact.
What did I have to lose? Or rather, what did I have to gain? In my mind, a lot. You never know what doors and windows open when you step in a new direction. So often we dream of something but brush it off as impossible — just a dream. Then we let it fade away like a slowly evaporating cloud. So, I sent a letter.
To make my long story shorter, I’m now sitting in my camp chair, with a morning cup o’ coffee, watching the raging Ashnola River escort the melting Cathedral snow caps towards the ocean. The frigid muddied waters are roaring and crashing over steadfast boulders, moulding them to look like smooth gigantic tortoise shells.
I had picked a spot off the gravel road after leaving Cathedral Lakes base camp. My sleep was restless as I kept my ears perked for grunts and sniffs above the constant watery RUSSSSH outside my tent. At 3:30 am, I gave in to my gnawing unease. I unzipped my tent door, shot my flashlight around the campsite hoping not to see any glowing eyes. Then I gathered my sleeping bag and pillow, and bee-lined it for my car.
I got the job yesterday afternoon. It will be an interesting summer season full of hard work I’m sure. It will be rewarding and busy like it was while running the pilgrim hostel (albergue) in Spain. Lots of cleaning, serving, running the front desk, possibly social media, and maybe even chopping wood and driving guests up the gnarly road to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park beginning June 10th, my birthday, until the end of September.
My soul feels good right now. Hard work at a rustic wilderness resort and exploring and relaxing in one of the most beautiful places in BC during my off time sounds pretty amazing. New experiences, mountain goats, and adventure, here I come!
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