I Tried Kayaking For The First Time

Here’s What Happened When I Tried To “Relax” By Kayaking

Lately, I’ve been plagued by stress. And long story short, I’d had been itching to break away from my day-to-day routine to try to forget, if only for a few moments. I wanted a budget-friendly adventure. So, my college classmate who also works within her family business called me with a “wonderful idea”. She thought it’d be cool to go kayaking.

KAYAKING! REALLY? Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an outdoors person. But $20 bucks later, 2 hours outside of my city, nature called. So, apparently, my getaway adventure involved a narrow two person boat in mosquito infested waters for 4 or so hours in a national forest.

After arriving in the tiny town of Brooklyn, MS at Black Creek Canoe Rental, I was given a quick briefing on how kayaking typically goes down. These were my takeaways: During high season, the water could be up to 25 feet. YIKES! Luckily, we’d gone in off season, when the water was pretty shallow. It was absolutely crucial that my friend and I worked synchronously or else, we’d capsize our boat. I’m not gonna lie, we had some issues with this one. Hey, we tried our best though. Also, the map detailed that we were supposed to look for a house on my left and pass under two bridges before trying to stop the boat or else my “adventure” would’ve lasted forever.

Sounds easy, right? WRONG! No one told me how much of a upper body workout that I was in for or the fact that I’d have to get out of the boat to push us out of annoying rock formations and fallen trees. Ya girl was tired after all this.

I admit that I had a hard time relaxing out there. Sitting still isn’t my forte. My classmate kept telling me to stop rowing so much as just let us flow with the current. After like two seconds of just “going with the wind”, I got irritated at sitting still and started aggressively paddling until my arms started hurting and I was forced to just ride the waves, until we had to maneuver around obnoxious tree trunks, of course.

I was annoyed at 1.) how long we’d have got stay on the river (with limited things to do or see) and 2.) the fact that I couldn’t turn off my brain to relax. Like, what are you supposed to do after looking around and going, “Aww, how pretty!” a few times?

Busyness is how I cope with life basically not going my way. I find value in constant activity. Relaxing makes me feel stagnant and too uncomfortable, overtly aware of my current problems. Filling my day with never ending to-do lists keeps me from facing those.

I must admit that kayaking was too terrible. The few times that I did sit still, I felt peaceful. The weather was agreeable. The warmth of the sun was like a hug. The views around the forest were gorgeous and quiet enough. I’d probably want to try it again.

So, why couldn’t I let go completely? I’ll never know. But at least I got out of my comfort zone and got out of my head, if only for a few seconds. And after another week or so, I’ll be itching for another adventure. What should I try next?

If you’re a busy body or an indoor person, what are your tips for embracing outdoor adventures?

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