Pushing the boundaries

There’s no doubt that physical activity and fitness stimulate the brain and improve our wellbeing on many levels. Life for me is always about finding a new challenge, something to sink my teeth into and push myself beyond the limits of my comfort. Generally I enjoy the things I’m good at, usually because I can do them comfortably, and because I don’t have to invest time or effort into learning new skills. But the greatest satisfaction always seems to come from pushing my boundaries, and putting my skills to the test by trying new things.

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There’s definitely a reason I chose to try my hand at retail in an outdoor adventure store, because it represents the kind of activities I want to be doing myself. The part of my brain who carefully plans the direction of my life knew exactly where this path was leading, while the flippant, reactive, ‘everything has to be rosy all the time’ part, freaked out the moment monotony crept onto the scene. But over the last two weeks I took on the well-guided advice from my followers that happen to know exactly what is good for me. Get out and hike they said; which is exactly what I did. I dusted the cobwebs from my pack, filled it with gear, and walked with a friend to Garibaldi Lake 9km off the beaten track to one of the most stunning settings in the world. That was step one. My next challenge was to push my boundaries, which can be difficult having superseded my own standards by hiking the PCT right off the bat. But life ain’t all about long distance hiking, and I can tell you there’s much enjoyment to be found in shorter multi day excursions, overnight trips and day hiking.

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A lovely young woman came into the store today and approached me to admit she was having a star struck moment because she follows my blog and has watched all of my videos (which is how she recognised my voice in the first place). I was left flattered and speechless, with that vague celebrity sensation I experienced  when visiting the school children at Leona Valley, Del Sur and Anaverde Hills School in Southern California, post PCT hike. Of course I blushed exponentially with embarrassment and laughed throughout the entire experience, but what she said before she left stuck with me the entire day. She told me, “You’re so inspiring.”

This is a much easier statement to accept when you’re walking 2,650 miles across the length of the United States. But she didn’t say, ‘you were inspiring’, or ‘that hike you did two years ago was pretty cool’. She said ‘you’re inspiring’, and it definitely shifted my thinking. If I had to write down just one goal I hope to achieve in life, to be filed away in some universal volt alongside my hopes, dreams, and darkest secrets; it would be to inspire another human being. My goal used to be to impress my parents, because I often gauged my success on how proud they were of what I was doing. But although I still strive for my parent’s pride in the things I do, I now have to work even harder to impress myself.

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Because of that interaction today, I’ve chosen to open up my world again to share my most recent experience, which I’m proud to say did push my boundaries in many ways. I’ve begun taking advantage of the field courses, discounted club memberships and the storeroom full of gear I’m able to rent at work, and have dived head first into the sport of kayaking, both on whitewater and on the sea. I made the short montage below of my first whitewater experience to share with the team I paddled with, but hopefully it will have the added benefit of inspiring the rest of you!

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I believe the hardest part of starting or exploring a new hobby is finding a way into it, and the only way I’ve figured out how to do this is to surround myself with people who practise that activity. The doing part seems easier than figuring out how to get there. Like before I began the PCT, I remember my greatest concern was simply how to get to the trail. Once I was there, I knew all I had to do was hike, and once Don and Donna relieved me of that anxiety, it was up to me to continue walking.

Fortunately I’m surrounded by people who mountain bike, climb, kayak, hike, canoe, surf, swim, camp, and have a passion for the outdoors, every single day. It’s taken me a while to find my groove; but now that the doors are opening, it’s up to me to pick the ones I want to walk through.

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15 thoughts on “Pushing the boundaries”

  1. Fantastic to see you back! This is how we found you on youtube a few years ago- smiling, bubbly and enjoying life. Best wishes from Perth. Gary

  2. A wonderful gift to see ourselves through other’s eyes…of course you’re inspiring!!! Those of us who follow you readily know that. Add to that the fact you always bring smiles! As “Crackedcrown” said, “Fantastic to see you back!” You friend, “Mother Muk” 😉

    1. Was thinking of you when I wrote this last night and all those amazing children I met at your schools. What an amazing gift that was. I hope to have the chance to come visit you down south again one day!

  3. Hi Suzanne….what a wonderful insightful gift you are having….pushing the boundaries….opening up to new exciting experiences and adventures….I know that these attributes give you joy….as said so many times before, “You go, girl!”

    It is always a joy to hear from you…..it gives me a great lift…I giggle and my heart kinda leaps when I see your blog in my email….YES, you are inspiring….you also have given me joy…and, without ever seeing you face to face, I love you anyway….

    Thanks, again, for sharing your heart and mind as you continue to mature in the wonderful creation …. smiling with you, from Barbie

    1. Your comments always warm my heart Barbie, thank you for giving me such a wonderful boost no matter where I am in my world. I’m still inspired to get out surfing some time soon after one of your earlier comments – it’s definitely stuck with me!!

  4. I’m glad someone came in recognized you and told you that! really surprised it didn’t happen before now. I came across your vids first as I was researching blogs on the PCT, then I looked back at your earlier adventures in India and Mt. Kilimanjaro…and I was inspired by your attitude, life force, your ability to project a sense of wonder at even silly things (how to clean a tent!) and you project you are as a human being with no real pretense to being anything but who you are. I bring you up as an example to others (often) of what I feel/think humans should be and do with their lives. You seem driven to explore life outside and inside your own head, both things I admire. You and Wired (both of you way different), are the only two blogs I’ve gotten “hooked on” and follow though I have read dozens and am incredibly impressed by others, but “inspired” by really you two.
    I guess I just want to say that you touch others, as you saw with the woman who came into the store, people like me you only know as names here, but we get something, i’ll call it inspiration, because I think that projects a good part of it. As long as you share your life with us (sometimes I do feel a bit like a voyeur) I’ll be excited to see “…all the places you’ll go” physically, and mentally in your life voyage. It makes me smile to know that there are people like you in the world!

    Whitewater kayaking is on my list…such awesome location!!! I have done bit of sea “touring” kayaking, but not riverine..its a must do. Met a guy few years back was on the US Olympic whitewater kayaking team, he freaked me out a bit describing some of the extreme things and dedication needed. Whew!

    1. Another beautifully written and complimentary note from you Gromit. It’s so funny how we as human beings react to nice things being said about us. Something in our conscious always seems to cry out that we’re not worthy, or we suddenly become afraid of heights from being put up on a pedestal. Thank you for your kind words, and I can’t encourage you to WW kayak enough – it’s such an exhilarating rush and feeling of freedom (when you’re not swimming too much!!) 🙂

      1. Must laugh, agree that little high pitched voice screams “your not worthy” to me constantly….but I tend to go on one foot in front of the other.
        I looked over what I wrote before hitting post, and thought…geez how mushy. I thought scrap it and rewrite…but no. I said go with what just spilled out. It was heartfelt. Pedestal, yeah I get you…not a comfortable or stable place to be. So easy to crash and burn. Myself, I don’t even like people until I see they are fallible. If too perfect then I just don’t trust ’em. So no pedestal, really, your just you, and whatever that is just is.

        Yeah, and swimming with flotation vest on is pathetic

    2. Exactly the same thoughts about MukMuk vs. Wired. Both inspiring in different ways. And the two blogs that I keep up with from season to season.

  5. Hey Muk, another quick question: are you continuing to pay yearly for your PCT blog to remain up and running? Or is there some way to archive it and pay a lower rate so that it can be read, but not updated? I’m about to upgrade my blog, as I’m running low on space and thought you might know the answer.

    1. Hey Ian! Because I pay for the domain name I have to pay the yearly fee to maintain it. Plus I pay to stop advertising being added to my vids. I’ve stopped paying for video press though because I no longer upload to it. Short answer is though, if you have the free .wordpress.com domain name, you shouldn’t have to pay any fees for your site to remain online as far as I know. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi Rozanne, I’ve been following a few hikers blogs and this one, as do many others, show how much you have reached out and motivated other people ( myself included)!
    This clip is from “I think I’ll take a walk” on WordPress “The Journey Here” July 17th 2015.
    “Meanwhile, I had found a website that listed local events for almost any outdoor activity called Meetup. I found a local woman named Beekeeper was going to be doing a backpacking gear display near our house at a professional building and she was going to break down all her gear, what she recommends, and how to start figuring out your needs and what’s right for you. I signed up immediately and drug Paul along too. I loved her immediately when we walked in. She had more gear then I had ever seen and I took notes like a madwoman about everything she said. After the class I emailed her and she sent me some suggestions for further research and information. One thing she sent me changed my life forever. A woman named Muk Muk was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail by herself, and was doing a fantastic blog about her journey. I became so obsessed with the Pacific Crest Trail I told Paul within two months that if my body ever healed, I was going to do it. Of course he thought I was nuts but from that first moment he supported me and so did my parents.”

    Best Wishes
    Gary

    1. Hey Gary, thank you so much for sending me this snippet! I can’t wait to read more of this woman’s journey! It still shocks and overwhelms me to read comments like this. In fact it leaves me speechless. This has made my day! Thank you!! 🙂

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