It’s always surreal to wake up in one place and go to sleep in another, especially when you’re coming off one trip on Quadra Island in BC and end up in your familiar home in Calgary, AB after an epic and new experience with a great group of new friends! Mikey and I rolled into town last night, grateful for a wonderful trip, beautiful weather, the chance to hear and capture some incredible stories, and once again the opportunity to learn so much from one another and on a new-to-us trip that we’d like to add to our Survive & Thrive Expeditions program plan. Get ready for a huge recap, complete with many pictures taken by many people. Thanks for following along with this adventure…enjoy the recaps in groups including the travel, food, experience, and lessons learned below!
It all began for Mikey and I in Calgary, Alberta as we set out with a carload of group gear, excited for the 11 hour roadtrip to the coast that we’ve done so many times. You can read the recap of leg #1 of the journey here so I’ll pick up from where we met the group at the ferry in Nanaimo, BC and then cruised north to the (smaller) ferry to take us across to the beautiful, hippie Quadra Island. Making sure everyone came in on time from flights, drop-offs, ferries, etc made for quite the logistical acrobatics for Mikey but in the end everyone ended up in the same place and at Camp Homewood! I shopped for fresh produce with Jay in Campbell River while the group learned sailing terms, the lay of the boat, and took a (freezing cold!) swim test…everyone passed, but not everyone was happy about the chilly experience. Chalk that one up to group bonding!
Later Jay and I arrived with the food and it was all hands on deck to prep for each day and also load the boats. Everyone had made it and already we were working as a team, unified to get on our way and begin the sailing portion of the adventure ahead!
After the trip, lots of unloading, and showers all around, we crossed two ferry rides and some group goodbyes.
My friend Naomi and I were looking at earrings at the Duke Point Ferry Terminal and she noticed I didn’t purchase a small, round turquoise pair that I expressed excitement over. Once inside the ferry, she presented them to me! I couldn’t believe it! We each have round earrings to remember each other and the trip with now. Thanks, friend!
Mikey and I drove Jay down to Seattle for his flight back to the Bay Area. I loved seeing those familiar sights and being in one of my favorite US cities, if even for only a few minutes!
We made it a few more hours east and slept in the car in a rest stop near Snoqualmie, WA before getting up at 7 am (PST) and driving until 8 pm (MTN) and arriving in Calgary. Whew! It was a great but long few days; so thankful all the travel arrangements worked out for everyone!
It’s amazing how food can add to or take away from a group experience, especially out in the wilderness. We were excited about this expedition because unlike a backpacking or self-supported kayaking trip you can pack a whole lot more fresh foods and utensils/cookware to prepare truly tasty eats. When we connected with our good friend Jay about a month before the trip and found out that he might be able to come and serve as our chef, Mikey and I were ecstatic! Jay believes that food is medicine and has a great food philosophy, engaging people to understand why they eat what they do and how it affects their bodies as he teaches others to cook and makes it manageable to eat well in every aspect of the word. We met Jay in Issaquah, WA where we bought an incredible amount of dried goods at a fantastically low price at Champion Foods and headed north to Canada, packed with food and already under budget (wahoo!).
Think that’s a lot of food? Think again! That back Thule was BRIMMING with goods by the time we finished! Jay, who is also the CliffBar Chef in Berkeley, CA where he lives, has unlimited CliffBars for life – so he shared some delicious ones with the group!
We made a few more stops at some health food stores/co-ops: one in Mount Vernon and another just north off I-5 in WA.
Holy nut butters! I was in heaven. This was an awesome store and I could have spent all day there! So many times I’d driven by this place on I-5 and never had a reason to stop; next time we’re in the North West we’ll be sure to swing by and stock up on some goods!
Once safely across the border (so thankful for the easiest border crossing ever!), we met up with those who were arriving at the hotel in Richmond, BC, land of great Asian eats! We settled on a Thai food restaurant and knew we’d be pleased with the results. Healthy, tasty, and they even gave us a complimentary umbrella after our meal!
The food adventure continued the next day one we arrived on Vancouver Island where Jay and I finished off buying the fresh produce for the trip ahead. He had researched quality food stores and places to purchase local, seasonal produce and it really set the tone for the trip. Less convenient, sure, but not much less, and the effort went a long way with everyone on the trip who was happy with what we ate and how it tasted.
On the trip we enjoyed delicious meals whipped up by Jay including fresh fruit salads with oatmeal, yogurt, granola, and carrot/ginger/orange juice he made and froze before the trip for breakfast as well as blintzes with homemade chocolate sauce and fruit compotes – sometimes crafted from berries we picked on the islands we camped on! Another favorite breakfast was seasoned scrambled eggs with polenta and leftover chilli from the previous night’s dinner. Lunches were a mixture of tuna salads and seaweed rolls with fresh veggies inside, CliffBars and fruit, and different rice cakes with dried hummus – just add water (genius!). Dinners included the polenta and chilli, smoked salmon split pea soup, and always a delicious salad to complement the meal. No snacks/dessert at night except for the last night out, in which Mikey and I had convinced Jay that we needed s’mores as an option for people because it’s such a great campfire tradition. Although he put the marshmallows back once in the store, he finally caved and said yes as long as we had another option too: bananas! Mikey picked out organic dark chocolate, some graham crackers, and the mallows and we all enjoyed a bit of both around the campfire, joking about finally getting some refined sugar.
Thank you, Jay, for encouraging us to eat well and to take more time to connect with our community through food! Everyone enjoyed each meal and we were blown away by your planning and foresight; we’re so glad that the task didn’t fall to us because Mikey and I would have been a) in over our heads and b) not as m great of cooks as you! Your food and presence added to this trip in an immeasurably fun and meaningful way.
A week of sun in a summer that wasn’t. Great wind for 3 days, enabling sailing skills to grow and lots of happy yelps to go out from the boats. Camping every night on islands. Cliff jumping and lake swimming, diving off boats and campfire conversations. A story coming together for a film and stories being shared from the heart.
What an experience!
Charts, sailing lessons, campfires and tent faces!
Great vistas, creatures, and moments on board.
The scenery was unbelievably beautiful – mountains plummeting straight into the deep blue waters, gorgeous sunsets, and even spotting God’s creation in the form of orcas, porpoises, and seals!
Jay captured Mikey & I launching off the cliff at Walsh Cove!
A moonlight shot of our candles floating out to sea after a meaningful, moving last campfire time together.
The Learned Lessons
Mikey and I always learn so much on each trip, and this trip was no exception to the rule. This sailing expedition came on the heels of a very busy few months and we knew going into it that it would be a very different experience as we’d never led the trip but only been on it as participants. It was hard to gauge the time it would take for the group to get packed up, gear to be rowed over to the boats and loaded, and how to estimate about when to leave with the miles ahead of us each day. That being said, we were reminded that rituals are important because they help set the tone for the trip. Daily quiet times, a ritual surrounding meals and making sure we’re not missing anyone, a group cheer or something that brings us back to why we’re out there…those things were missing as it was a recon trip and we didn’t know the specifics of what each day would look like going it. We will make sure to integrate them into the next sailing trip now that we know the flow a bit better. But it’s okay that it turned out as it did on this recon trip because…
Because we were also reminded that community is created with or without rituals, with or without our efforts. This was a humbling but great reminder because we saw the group come together, help each other, take personal quiet times, and connect over meals even without us facilitating those actions. We can trust in the power of what being outside, removed from our comfort and familiar zones, and sharing stories with a group of people does – it unifies! Watching this take place on the trip was amazing, as it always is!
Servant leadership is rare in our world. Our skippers specifically modeled this in amazing ways, grabbing bags and gathering firewood and going above and beyond the skipper’s duties. It’s not often we see this in our world and we were blessed by Ben (our head skipper with an amazing beard!), Allan (a friend’s dad who we now consider a friend!), and Royce (a man whose way of life we would like to emulate!).
Lastly, I was reminded that I need to view everyone as beloved. Generally I’m more of a people-oriented than task-oriented person, but I noticed at times on this trip that I would get wrapped up in the logistics or the plan and neglect to see the beauty, the pain, the laughter, the moment around me with those I was adventuring with; it’s humbling and hard to admit. As someone who’s life mission statement is to love God & love people, my heart was gripped and I was reminded that, once again, only people count. I am impacted by my new friends even now as I sit and reflect on the incredible trip and can truly say that I love these people! They are living compelling stories and I pray they were reminded not only that others matter but that they also are utterly worth loving – so valuable with epic stories to be lived out.
What will make my own story more epic? If I continue to lay aside my selfish desires and view everyone as beloved, my personal story will grow and flourish, because people are a part of our stories! View everyone as beloved, and keep living out the epic story God is weaving and writing for mine and Mikey’s lives. How can you contribute to writing your own story? How can you make it more epic? Finally tackle a goal you’ve been afraid to reach? Take more risks in your daily life? Push your body beyond what you thought your limits were? Smile at others more? I’d love to hear how you can add to the story of your own life.
Blessed! to live an adventure with others. We will definitely be keeping this trip in the rotation of our expeditions! Special thanks to Erwin and Camp Homewood for making this trip possible, those who donated via our Kickstarter project page, to Jay and the skippers for serving so well, to those who prayed for our trip, and to the survivors who came, shared your stories, and inspired – looking forward to hearing more about your stories as God unfolds them before your lives.
And now…back to daily reality! Hoping to start working with some clients this week as I will be training again. Now: back to the loads of laundry and gear unpacking! It’s been real…thanks for being a part of the adventure! Live well & be well friends,