When my husband Nick and I got married, we knew we wanted to start a family pretty quickly. That said, we decided to take an “adventuremoon” as it would probably be our last opportunity to get completely off the grid for years to come.
Some of our favorite newlyweds told us about the Pacuare Lodge (http://www.pacuarelodge.com/), a magical place where you literally arrive by white water raft! The river guides become your waiters and the chef makes the most delicious organic food every night.
The bungalows were beautiful. And get this, no electricity! An entire week without makeup or a hair dryer – YES PLEASE! Each day, Nick and I pushed our physical fitness to the limits. Hiking, canyoneering, horseback riding, and more.
On our bittersweet last day at the lodge, we arrived at the raft launch point and noticed that there were 5 guides (FIVE) waiting for us with BIG smiles on their faces. We weren’t sure why there were so many as we were the only couple leaving camp that day. When we were getting on the boat, Nick asked one of the guides what the most dangerous season is on the river. His response? “TODAY.” Gulp.
As we made our way down the Pacuare, we quickly realized that this river was no joke. We were tossed and turned using every muscle in our bodies to navigate these incredibly terrifying, unbelievably challenging, and ultimately thrilling rapids. When we came up on Pinball, I saw water crashing violently into the rocks creating what looked like a washing machine. In his most serious and firm voice, our guide started preparing us for what was coming next. “OK, when I say paddle right I need you to paddle with everything you’ve got.” For the first time in my life I realized that if I did not follow this guidance and put in my absolute all, there was a real possibility that I would not make it out of this trip alive!
Obviously if you are reading this, you realize that I did in fact survive the Pacuare and I left that experience with a new found respect for mother nature and for my physical body that dominated the river that day!
More importantly, the lesson from the Pacuare has stayed with me forever. The same incredibly terrifying, unbelievably challenging, and ultimately thrilling feeling shows up every time I take on the next big step or expansion. Becoming a national sales manager with McGraw Hill at 28, marrying the man of my dreams, becoming a mother, and now the president of Career TEAM’s Education Division – incredibly terrifying, utterly challenging, and ultimately thrilling – the sure sign that I am GROWING!
The message from the Pacuare is that in the midst of these expansions, we should follow our guidance, stay the course, and give it everything we’ve got. Most likely, we will make it down the river! And when we look back, it is astonishing how much we can accomplish when we just paddle hard!
**Yes, this picture is of Nick and I navigating Pinball on the Pacuare. Fun side story…when we survived this part of the river, I said to him, “If I am pregnant, this baby is going to be VERY adventurous!” Sure enough, I was! Kai is now 18 months and I’m certain that day on the river played a part in shaping his very spirited and energetic little soul.