But I do not feel ready yet...
July 12, 2021
Realising you do not have to know everything before you start; simply have the willingness to learn, adapt, and grow as you go.
The sun setting behind the Isle of Jura - lighting the path for our first and longest open-water kayak crossing… Are we ready for this?
When have you ever felt truly ready to embark on a new experience or even a big trip you have been planning for ages? Very rarely right? Despite your admirable efforts to have thought of everything you will need, everything that could go wrong, and researched everything there is to know about the topic or area… There will always be something you have forgotten, something that unfolds unexpectedly, and something more you could have known!
Of course, we could always be more prepared. But if we waited until that time arose where we felt 100% ready to depart, we would never go anywhere or start anything. It just would not happen. There will always be more preparation you could do, but sometimes you must start regardless embracing the excitement of uncertainty and discovering the rest along the way.
Bless these salty smiles — there is nothing like three months at sea to strengthen a fabulous friendship!
The ambiguity of readiness was highlighted the other year when some dear friends and I decided to sea kayak around the western and northern isles of Scotland. We considered ourselves to be experienced novice paddlers, having studied Outdoor Recreation and been working as sea kayak guides. However, there was certainly much room for improvement regarding our paddling proficiency and many unknowns to embrace undertaking our first multi month sea kayak expedition.
We had never spent more than a few consecutive weeks in a sea kayak nor hanging out with just the three of us, never paddled in tidal races, and although coming from Tasmania where we are known for a colder climate, nothing had prepared us for the chill and rain of a Scottish summer! We had no idea how challenging it would be sitting all day every day on your bottom. Or surprisingly how much we would love being stranded for days on end in remote seaside bothies due to wild weather (in hindsight getting our training in early for COVID lockdowns!).
A grateful refuge as we sought shelter from the inevitable Shetland squalls. Thankyou Nick for your generous hospitality and inspiration to make a difference in this world.
Some research was done on the area and activity before take-off but there is also beauty in not knowing and unveiling a place as you go. This minimises expectations of exactly what you will experience, see or feel; and allows you to absorb, assess, and appreciate the surroundings as they are. Being in the great outdoors encourages you to remain flexible given the ever changing and at times unpredictable ways of the natural world – you may have one plan, but nature may well have another. The open ocean is a humbling force to be respected and reckoned with awe.
Another great benefit to being on expedition is the increased time factor. You have the time to build your fitness, stamina, skill, and naturally if you do anything for long enough you are bound to improve. Things will inevitably break, or situations will deviate from the original plan, and the only option is to learn as you go, keep calm, and forward paddle. Even if you do not have a lot of time, simply by doing something you are still building on your previous understanding of what is possible and learning from it.
Embracing the wrath of the Atlantic Ocean and the fears and uncertainty that comes with it. Our trip mantra “Keep Calm and Forward Paddle” was incessantly recited over the 80days.
Through your own experience is to truly know. Reading books, listening to podcasts or speaking with others undoubtedly gives us worthy insight and inspiration. But the real understanding and growth comes from your personal experience of being or doing. Our most impressionable moments in life cannot often be expressed in words; they leave us speechless and mesmerised. Scotland certainly graced us with many of those:
Sea cliffs soaring up above seeping with vibrant coloured minerals and a deafening chorus of birds nesting in every nook.
The most kind-hearted souls inviting us into their humble abodes for respite from the wild weather and refreshments to warm our chilblain ridden extremities.
Utmost admiration witnessing each other tackling our greatest fears and pushing our physical and mental limits on the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean.
So, what are you waiting for? Now is the right time. If no harm is being caused to yourself, other beings or the planet, you have planned and prepared to the best of your intentions and have the willingness to learn and adapt along the way, you are as ready as you humanly can be… off you go!
Please share this with anyone who may need the oomph to make it out the door, onto the plane, or even into a sea kayak. Snaffle will be offering experiences soon to help you do just that. Follow us on the links below to keep updated. We would love to hear of any adventures, challenges, or new experiences you or your loved ones would like to embark on.
Hannah Hokarari is the social ambassador that heads up Snaffle Your Challenge, an initiative from Snaffle to challenge our customers and staff to push themselves to the next level.
Read more about it here and stay tuned to the Snaffle blog for more of her fascinating adventures.