Lately I have been reflecting a lot on where my life has led me in the last few years.
I’m in the midst of a major transition with the expected arrival of the little person I have carried around the last 32 weeks. For the first time in a while I feel I have a clear line drawn in the sand, a kind of ‘before’ and ‘after’, point of no return…whatever you like to call it. I have every confidence that life will continue, full of adventure, even as a parent – something I’ve been exploring over on The Adventures in Parenthood Project. But I can’t help but stop and reflect on the incredible freedom I have explored through my 20s, and the amazing experiences that freedom has allowed.
The other day, my friend Katie over on Adventure-Inspired posted a blog that immediately caught my eye: On Writing Reverse Bucket Lists and Remembering How Amazing You Are. The gist of the exercise is to write a list of things you have accomplished – a bucket list in reverse. “It’s not about bragging or tooting your own horn,” she writes, “it’s about patting yourself on the back for achievements you’re proud of.”
As I move into my next phase as an outdoor adventurer, writer, traveler and…mother, I thought this was the perfect way for me to summarize all the things I’ve been reflecting on. I hope you don’t mind me putting them out here. I encourage everyone to do the same and share their lists with both myself and Adventure-Inspired!
My Reverse Bucket List
1. Move to the Mountains: After spending a few summers out in Banff National Park, I finally made the permanent move to the mountains in 2008 and have never looked back!
2. Master an Arm Balance: Yoga has been a big passion of mine for a few years now and I especially love floating, balancing and being upside-down. A solid handstand still evades me, but one posture I absolutely can do and love is Astavakrasana.
3. Travel Abroad Once Per Year: As much as possible I try to keep in mind how privileged we are as Canadians to be able to travel throughout the world. My travels in the past 5 years have taken me to Costa Rica, Mexico, the British Virgins Islands, Saba, Dominica, Antigua, Sint Maarten, and Nepal, as well as on an 8-hour blitz in Seoul, South Korea!
4. Write For a Living: While this one is not always so easy, the hard work has paid off and I now make my full income off of writing - in one form or another.
5. Learn How to Make Raw Chocolate: Thanks to my friend Sam over at nu roots nutrition, I finally learned not only how to make chocolate, but raw, organic chocolate that is, apparently, really good for me!
6. Partner with a Brand I Love: I believe that great brands deserve a shout-out for being awesome. This year, Mountain Mama gave me the chance to do this by bringing me on as a Brand Ambassador.
7. Fall in Love: Time to get sappy here. This is of course nothing we can truly plan for, but I was so blessed to meet the mountain man of my dreams back in 2005 and he’s been stuck with me ever since. Now we have the bonus of pursuing our dream careers together (you can check out his photos here!).
8. Write a Cover Story: A chance meeting with the editor at IMPACT Magazine at a conference a few years ago has led to numerous articles with them, as well as a cover story about ultra runner, Ellie Greenwood.
9. Take On an Adventure that Scares Me Silly: When my husband suggested we embark on a 5-day ski touring trip in Canada’s Arctic, I gingerly agreed. The trip felt so far out of my comfort zone. But, we did it and it proved to be one of the most memorable adventures I’ve ever been on. You can read a bit about our trip in IMPACT Magazine.
10. Take My Wellness into My Own Hands: This is still a work in progress, but in recent years I have learned a ton about cooking with whole grains and superfoods, incorporating Ayurvedic practices into my life, the importance of staying hydrated, and more.
11. Make a Movie: If you would have told me two years ago that I’d have written the script for a film that presented at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, I would have called you crazy. Check out Mountains in Motion on the festival circuit.
12. Watch My Life Flash Before My Eyes: Mom, I hope you’re not reading this. But with all the adventures I have pursued in the mountains in the past few years I have definitely had a couple of close calls, including having a huge boulder come barreling straight towards me on a scramble and being exposed to a lightning storm on a summit three times. These moments aren’t things we can plan for or predict (nor do I really hope for them), but they offer us great reminders of what it means to be alive.
13. Build a Meaningful Online Network: There is still an opinion out there that relationships created online aren’t real. I beg to differ. Over the past few years I have developed an extensive circle of outdoor bloggers, adventurous parents, media, writers, photographers and wellness practitioners. Many of these I would offer a huge hug upon meeting in person. I am continually inspired by each of them and am so thankful that we met, even if just virtually.
I’ll leave my list there for now, but now that I’m rolling I could definitely keep adding more items. Thanks to Katie for the idea! Even if you just keep your list to yourself, I think it’s a valuable exercise to go through. Feel free to comment below with a link to your list!