Learn to Kayak with REI!
Being a Force of Nature sometimes means trying things that you’ve never tried before… things that maybe you didn’t grow up doing or aren’t familiar with. It’s stretching yourself past your comfort zone to discover a whole new world of awesome opportunities. This summer has been full of those kinds of opportunities for me and this past Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining #reioutdoorschool here in Atlanta to learn how to kayak.
Who knew kayaking was so much fun?! I absolutely loved it!
True story, I was super nervous and slightly scared to give it a try. I’m sure some people would say… it’s kayaking, not swimming with sharks… what’s the big deal, what are you afraid of? The possibility of tipping over of course! Yes, I can swim, but tell me, how does this plus sized girl get her beautiful self back in said kayak if she falls out?? (If you could only get a glimpse of some of the scenarios I played out in my imagination!)
Anyhow… turns out, there is a method and a trick for everything, so yes; even I could get myself back in a kayak if I needed to. Of course the goal is to stay in the kayak and surprisingly that is totally doable, it was much more comfortable and stable than I thought. Sometimes our imagination is so much worse than reality!
Our REI Outdoor School instructors Clay and Mark were fantastic. They showed us all the basic paddling strokes and gave us plenty of one-one-one coaching. We spent hours paddling to the far corners of Stone Mountain Lake, enjoying the sunshine and testing out our new skills. The more I learned about the proper way to handle the paddle and the kayak the more empowered I felt. And above all, it was empowering to conquer something new! I did something I’d never done before and I loved it. Gliding through the water was incredible. I felt strong and graceful. The more time I spent in the kayak the more comfortable I became and the better I was able to maneuver myself around – and that was super empowering too! By the end of the class, I didn’t want to get out of the water!
Side note: Yes, I noticed that I was the youngest of the group and the only person of color. I definitely would love to see more millennials and people of color out doing these kinds of activities, but you know what, this small group of only 6 student had a couple things in common… we all wanted to learn to kayak and were all nervous about something! None of the things that separate us mattered on that lake! Clay, Mark, Kevin, Barbra, Corina, Leigh and Craig were all fanatic and it was a pleasure to spend the day with them!
So, one nervous Nancy to another, I encourage you to get out there and try kayaking, or whatever activity it is that you are interested in trying… who cares if you’ve never done it before or if you are nervous – reality typically debunks our fears anyway. Learn what you can, take a class, enlist friend – do what you need to do, but get out there… this life is too amazing not to experience every bit of it that you can!
Stay tuned for another new adventure recap from me soon, because next weekend I’m going backpacking for the first time ever with REI! Whoop, Whoop! Cheers to living our best lives!