Hello kind krafters!
Hope you are all enjoying the summer and making time for rest, relaxation, and fun! This past long weekend I headed off to Cape Breton Highlands National Park for a three-day camping trip. One big thing on my bucket list is to visit every Canadian National Park by the time I turn 30. At 21, I still have many to go, but Cape Breton was certainly one of my favorites so far.
The trip almost never happened, primarily because with no friends or family able or interested in going, I was faced with the option of go alone or not at all. The idea of camping alone was a little daunting, for myself and my concerned family. But, I didn’t want the fear of being alone to stop me from doing something exciting. So, I spent a few days planning and prepping, making sure I had everything I would need to be well fed, warm, and safe. And you know what? It was an awesome trip! Being alone meant I could do what I wanted when I wanted, which lead to a lot of early morning back to back hikes, and late afternoon reading breaks. I was prepared with pocket knifes for protection, and opted out of hikes through coyote territory where I felt unsafe all by myself. I even brought my little dog Molly along with me as a companion. All in all the trip was enjoyable and eye opening as to what I am capable of and reality that saying no to an opportunity because no one else will go or do it with you, doesn’t have to be the only option. Below are 15 things I learned camping alone in the highlands, with a few tips I’d like to pass along to all of you kind krafters!
Lookoff views from along the Cabot Trail. For more photos check out my Instagram!
15 Things I Learned Camping Alone in the Highlands
1. You can start a fire, it might be slow and you’ll might use a lot of matches, but yes you can do it. Kindly neighbours with lighter fluid are also helpful.
2. Most of your portable chargers will probably die before you actually need them to sustain your google maps guided homeward drive. Remember your car charger.
3. Dogs make good companions, but will demand to sample all of your human foods.
4. You will likely never regret bringing a toque and baselayers, you might even wear them to bed under piles of fleece, your mummy sleeping bag, and two blankets.
Puppy cuddles to keep warm at 5:45am, and the wake up views from my tent.
5. Don't forget dish soap. You can probably forget a bathing suit and shorts.
6. Dogs make good heat packs at 5am in the morning.
7. Audiobooks make great driving companions, but make sure your chargers work.
8. Always have a knife in your pocket. Your Mom will be thankful. Mini machete sized saw optional.
9. Packable coffee French press thermos. I think this one speaks for itself.
10. It’s not weird to camp alone, don’t let anyone tell you that.
My camp site, and my furry companion.
11. Eggs scrambled in butter on top of biscuits is the best camp breakfast.
12. Always bring a tarp, some rope, and lots of bungee cords. They’ll keep you and your tent dry.
13. Collect your kindling, twigs, firewood, and rocks to keep your tent corners weighted down when it’s still light out.
14. Always pack a headlamp, they’re helpful in most situations.
15. You are always much more capable and much stronger than you think. Don’t sell yourself short, trust in your abilities and preparation.
Saying goodbye to the Highlands from Cape Rouge; sunburnt with messy camp hair, but happy.
Seriously, kind krafters, you can do anything you set your mind to, and being alone doesn’t have to stop you. I challenge you all to trust more in yourselves, in your strengths and abilities. Find something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t. Prepare, research, plan appropriately and do it! I believe in you all, and hope you’ll share some of your fearless experiences with me!
Hello kind krafters!
Are you making time for your free time?!
Working full time is definitely keeping me busy, so much so that I try to pack my evenings full of new adventures and activities to ensure I am still getting my daily dose of leisure! I am not sure if you folks are feeling the same way, but sometimes it feels like there is not enough hours in the day! Although it can be challenging at times, it is so important to make time for yourself! There are so many health benefits that come from taking the time to do what you like and like what you do! I try to schedule at least 1hr of “me time” into each day to do an activity that brings me joy. I encourage you to try it- I found it made such a great difference in my day.
My free time is working towards my future professional tool kit!
Since studying therapeutic recreation, I realized how important it is to be well practiced in a number of different leisure activities. By expanding the number of activities I am knowledgeable in, I will one day be able to deliver treatment that is meaningful and tailored to a client’s leisure preference, no matter what that may be.
This year my boyfriend, Dan introduced me to skateboarding culture. He taught me about the history, the style, and the mechanics of skateboarding. His passion for skateboarding is intriguing. I had always thought of skateboarding as a means of transportation, until Dan showed me that there is so much more to skateboarding. When Dan speaks about skateboarding his face lights up and now I can see why. This blog is inspired by Dan’s kindness and patience in teaching me how to skateboard, and the friendly community he has introduced me to.
Learning something new- because why not?!
Dan started my skateboarding education by showing me movies and video clips last summer. These clips highlighted the skillful talent of the most renowned skateboarders in history. After watching a few clips it was interesting to see the reason why skateboarders began skating. For some, it was an escape, for others it was the adrenaline rush, but each person who skated did it because they loved it. The passion skaters have for being on their boards captivates me. Their level of fluidity and art in their movement is a pleasure to watch. Each skater has their unique style on the board.
It was no surprise, that after watching these movies and clips I was ready to start learning! I wanted to experience that feeling of being completely present on a board- having a flow experience. Dan started to teach me skateboarding last summer. For me, it was scarier and harder than it looked in the video clips. Rolling of a little curb was equivalent to a cliff in my eyes, a twig was a roadblock, and a stone was a death trap. I discovered that my fearful thoughts were preventing me from advancing on the board. With Dan’s encouragement and advice, it made me realize that skateboarding would be a great treatment modality for adventure therapy- pushing someone outside their comfort zone with calculated risks so they can advance and overcome challenges in their everyday life. Skateboarding teaches strong coping skills and resiliency. Dan’s advice to be confident and comfortable on the board made a big difference in my performance and progress.
Dan skateboarding on my new board!
My experience- no skateboarding stigmas!
Dan brings me to a park in Dundas. This park has a circular layout, filled with a playground, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, tennis courts, a splash pad, and an outdoor rink. This park is popular spot for all ages. I was a little nervous to skate there at first since it is a quiet, family park and I felt that I would be disturbing those around me. I was pleasantly surprised with the interaction of those around us when we were skateboarding. Drivers were courteous and patient, peopling walking and biking around the park were encouraging and polite. This reaction surprised me since skateboarding used to be viewed as a deviant leisure activity and I felt that more people would have been against us skateboarding in the park. It has been fun and smiles all around thus far! Each time we go to skate there it is a great experience and I am grateful for that.
Call to action!
I want to hear what you are trying that is new to you! What are you going to try this summer that is outside your comfort zone? Do you know someone who is already passionate about it that can help you get to where you want to be? Share your stories in the comment section or reach out to me via social media!
PS. Stay kind to skaters :) Peace, love and happiness!
Hello kind krafters! I hope you’re all doing well, and for those of you who are students, enjoying the post University exam season! For me finishing exams means a number of things. The start of a four month summer and a nice break from spending my weekdays in classrooms is a particular favorite. The end of exam season for me also means the start of full time working hours at a retail and wholesale industry shop here in Halifax, called Murphy Gear. For the past four summers this has been how I’ve spent my time; work most of the week, play in the outdoors on my off time, and volunteer whenever I can.
This year I decided to change it up a bit, and added in an Internship, completed as an elective through the College of Sustainability at Dalhousie. I’m not one to enjoy spending my summer days inside a classroom, so I knew my internship would have to involve some outdoor work and lots of playtime in the natural world. Enjoying physical activity, being an avid hiker, and wanting to find a way to promote greater accessibility and community awareness of outdoor recreation opportunities in Halifax, a hiking related project was my natural choice.
In my happy place, hiking in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia.