“I am going on an adventure!”
~ Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit.
Adventure travel by its very definition can change you. Stretching outside of your boundaries, pushing yourself to your limits gives you a greater appreciation of the world and your place in it. Faced with new experiences, you’re playing in a zone of uncertainty, which ultimately helps you navigate life’s uncertainties when you return home from vacation.
Kim Donnelly, a recent guest at Orca Camp discovered there are benefits to playing outside her comfort zone. We caught up with her recently to ask her about her very first adventure travel experience. Here’s what she had to tell us:
“When I first signed up for Orca Camp I knew I was traveling outside my comfort zone – but because I live in a city, I was yearning for a vacation that put me in touch with nature,” Having never so much as gone camping before, she didn’t really know what to expect, but she knew she wanted to see Orcas in the wild. In her mind, Orca Camp was the best way to accomplish both goals.
“Anyone in my family would tell you, my idea of roughing it usually involves a two-star hotel, not camping in a tent, eating around a campfire, or ocean kayaking for hours at a time! Adventure travel was not on my bucket list!”
For Donnelly, having her first adventure travel experience at Orca Camp was a life-changing one.
“I was more than a little anxious about traveling on my own. With no experience ocean kayaking I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to keep up, and as for sleeping alone in a tent, without my husband…well, let’s just say I more than a little nervous – intimidated, actually.”
Looking back, she says she needn’t have been concerned.
“I really didn’t need to worry. Our guides were amazing – they put me at ease on day one by assuring me I’d only do what I felt I could do. Sure we paddled hard, but not for six hours at a time! Instead, we’d head out for a couple of hours, then stop to drink in our surroundings, or picnic on a secluded beach. We might have been gone from base camp for six or eight hours, but only half of that time was spent on the water.”
Donnelly may have overcome her concern about hours in the kayak, but what about overcoming her fears of camping? No problem she said – she was quite content sleeping in the rainforest.
“I can hardly begin to describe what sleeping underneath the canopy of a rainforest was like. The tents are all situated in private little alcoves, tucked into the forest. While you had total privacy, I also felt reassured, knowing that the rest of the guests were in their own private nooks just steps away.”
Donnelly says that after she realized the ever-present splashing she heard was the sound of salmon jumping, she let the total darkness of the Johnstone Strait envelop her as she drifted off to sleep.
“I’ve never experienced such total darkness. You’re out there on the coast, there’s no ambient light – the sound of the ocean and salmon jumping and the earthy, but calming scent of the rainforest just lulls you to sleep – it was like Mother Nature’s sleeping pill!”
Inspired by her first adventure travel experience, Donnelly believes going to Orca Camp changed her in ways she only fully appreciated after returning home.
“I’m really aware of the hyper-connected world I live in and while I thought I had a pretty good handle on keeping the connectivity at bay, I realized when I was totally unplugged for four days just how dependent I was on my electronic devices. Realizing the value of living in the present moment was a benefit of adventure travel that I didn’t anticipate. I never fully plugged back in once I got home.”
With her first adventure under her belt Donnelly looks forward to more.
“Orca Camp really opened my eyes to the wonders of nature. I told Ken, our guide, when I left that while I had arrived at camp uncertain, intimidated and feeling way outside of my comfort zone, I was going home more than ready to book a return visit next year with my husband, it’s just that kind of special experience I want to share.”
We have to admit it; we’re pretty flattered to hear Kim wants to return next season.
We’d like to hear from you now – when you think about going on an adventure when you vacation, what are you looking for…soft adventures of the mild, yet still wild kind, or something a bit more hardcore, where you’re pushed to your physical limits? Hit the comments box and tell us!
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