As many of you may know, I spent the first two weeks of December as part of a group that went sea-kayaking around Mauritius. Over the course of 12 days, we just-about paddled around the entire island (there were a few, welcome portage spots, and a wonderful half-way day off!). The experience was amazing, but also very tough - I soon realised that I was not nearly fit enough, but I got fit fast :)
After each day’s paddle, we pitched our tent on a public beach and spent the night there before setting off early the next morning for the next stretch of the trip. We experienced incredible, blue ocean, turtles, dolphins, flying fish. We met locals, ate fresh french baguettes and a lot of two minute noodles. We slept on land masses off the island itself, watched spectacular sunsets and sunrises and learned first-hand that there is no shade on the ocean! We went scuba diving, snorkelling, and swimming out in the deep blue ocean. I learned that my body is capable of far more than my mind allows. When my mind told me it was time to stop and rest, my arms kept paddling. I learned that as uncomfortable as sleeping on the floor is, eventually your body gets used to it.
But perhaps one of the most unexpected gifts of the trip was the waiting. We waited a lot. Sometimes for the right tide, sometimes for the right time, sometimes just because there was no where else we needed to be. I am used to living according to a schedule, a tight schedule, where I usually have places to be and things to do. But in Mauritius, we had to wait. And when you spend enough time waiting for the tide to change, you eventually learn to find a comfortable spot in the shade with a book, or simply watch the ocean, until it is time to move on. I had time to wait and be still, to not have to rush off. I remembered what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” No watch, no devices, and nothing to do but wait for the tide to change. It was indeed a unique experience. One that I am grateful for, and one that I would definitely do again (although perhaps I would train a little bit harder next time!)
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