As a family that is known more for our travelling excursions than anything else, it is funny to know that kayaking was the catalyst for our travels. Truth is we haven’t been shy in exclaiming to the world that kayaking changed our lives.
We were your typical, if not extremely large, family. Our kids were in school. We ran from after school sport to after school sport. Each year, we planned our one week trip to the beach. And tried our hardest to eek out as much fun during the rest of the year as we could.
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But when we discovered kayaking, everything changed. Our lives literally changed in a matter of a few months. Going so far as to homeschooling all our kids and traveling fulltime in an RV. It was deemed such an extreme that our excursions caught the attention of news publications, TV and we even found ourselves on The Today Show.
From there came dozens and dozens of Producers wanting to make a show based on our “alternate” lifestyle. We seemed to be on the fast track to fame, that is until we were denied, by a Network, the opportunity to have editorial control. Not being able to control what was seen on TV was a deal breaker for us, and so we abruptly ended our 15 minutes of “fame”.
Family is Our Top Priority
Family preservation has always been our top priority and so this decision was a no-brainer for us. However, the RV’ing lifestyle didn’t change as it was the single most bonding action we had taken to date. Kayaking too. Kayaking transformed how we spent our time with our kids. Instead of cheering them on from the bleachers, we were cheering them on from our own kayaks. Kayaking suddenly came on par with snowboarding and climbing … we were co-participants and it was awesome!
And, today, 8 years into this new found excitement for travel and all the adventure it entails, we always travel with our kayaks.
Why? I mean, why would we travel to say, Texas with 14 kayaks in tow when there is seemingly little whitewater to be found? Great question, read on for all the answers.
The community is full on proof that total opposites in all realms of life can get along. I mean, just look at the political environment today, if you look at social media, or even the Mainstream Media, you would think people were ostracizing themselves from life. You would believe we are all feeling like we have to be silent in order to get along. Well, the kayaking community isn’t an exclusive society, in that we can all 100% be ourselves and, short of a few misfits, on both sides of the spectrum, never feel ostracized or blackballed. We all rally and run rivers and party and have a blast regardless of political, religious, color or creed differences.
Also, having a bunch of boats with ya, brings fellow kayakers to you. We roll into a Walmart anywhere near water and inevitably someone comes up to us and asks if we want to run something, “in like an hour.” It’s the best way to meet like-minded adventure friends in person!
Whether you find a nice lake for a quick flat water paddle or learn of an epic local run, getting in your boat after a long drive makes you feel Oh so good! On long drives you can almost feel your muscles atrophying, and your stomach growing from all long road trip snacks.
Kayaking can reverse all this. Kayaking helps you work off all those snacks you undoubtedly consumed and can even substitute for a day at the gym since kayaking uses all the core muscles and even requires use of muscles in the legs, back and shoulders, as well as the muscles that rotate the torso.
It’s Good For the Soul
Kayaking is one of the most stress alleviating activities ever. While on the water, whether Class V or flat water, kayaking provides the opportunity for your brain to literally shut out everything and to focus only on the activity at hand. It eliminates all the background noise that is a constant in our lives and greets us with beautiful nature, wildlife and a sense of tranquility.
Many kayakers refer to paddling as Church … it’s where they feel the most peaceful. While we attend actual Church, we can certainly attest to the fact that kayaking is not only great for the soul, but great for your mental state too. It’s impossible to get off a river without feeling amazing.
I recently read an Article that stated most Americans are Vitamin D deficient, including those that live in states that have a majority of sunny days, like CA, CO and FL. Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong, healthy bones. Vitamin D also helps support your muscles, heart, lungs, and brain. Unlike other types of vitamins, your body actually makes its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but the problem is most Americans, including children, sadly are simply not outside enough, and if they are, they are slathered with sunscreen.
Kayaking is a great way to get some sun exposure whilst having fun. Most experts recommend spending 15 minutes or so in the sun before lathering on the sunscreen to get the maximum benefit from the sun’s generous Vitamin D.
Off the Tourist Track
Admittedly, we most likely travel differently than the majority of families. We avoid the touristy spots, retail tourism as I like to call it, like the plague. In fact, you will never find us at a zoo or a museum or on a guided tour. Our budget for travel is held at a minimum because we don’t frequent tourist traps and gift shops.
Instead, we prefer to get a feel for the people, the culture, and the vibe. One of the best ways we have found to do so is, believe it or not, walking into a kayak shop and talking to the employees. We always get the 411 on the best dive bars, the best restaurants, the coolest things to see and do, and of course, the best rivers to run.
Case in point, while we were in Denali, AK we quickly drove through Denali National Park to say we’d been there, but then went and ran the Nenana River. We saw Denali in a totally different perspective than 99% of the tourists who visit. Way cool.
Off the Map
Shameless plug: https://trulifetv.pivotshare.com/media/kelloggshow-skookumchuck-narrows/55480
Kayaking has an uncanny ability to bring you to places you would otherwise never have a desire to go. While in Vancouver for an RV Show we were headlining, we made the snap decision to go to Skookumchick in Egemont, BC.
For comprehension, a little about Skookumchuk, “Twice daily, nature puts on a show as the tide changes and the flow of saltwater switches, reversing the direction and power of these incredibly turbulent rapids. The difference in water levels between one side of the rapids and the other sometimes exceeds 9 ft in height, with 200 billion gallons of water flowing through the Skookumchuck Narrows connecting Sechelt and Jervis Inlets. The Sechelt Rapids are famous for their spectacular whirlpools and, for their attraction to extreme kayakers and divers. “Skook”, as it is affectionately named, is one of the great whitewater wonders of the world, attracting thrill-seekers from across the globe.”
Here our youngest searched for sea creatures and ran around on the rocks talking to locals who hiked down to watch us after talking to us at the marina. The rest of us surfed with seals! No lie! It was an incredible experience, and if it were not for kayaking, never would we have ended up in Egemont, BC.