follow the flow
a travel journal and photography journey
When we missed the ferry we were supposed to catch from Prince Rupert to Juneau, we decided to wait to get the next one 3 days later. And when we somehow couldn’t book that ferry online, and there was no space left when we arrived at the ferry terminal early the morning-of to book it, Terence and I looked at each other, knowingly. If the door doesn’t open, it’s not your door, I thought. We looked at the driving time from Prince Rupert to Juneau. 1 day, 2 hours. Let’s. Fuckin. Do it.
It was June 17th, and the idea of being in Alaska by the Summer Solstice had been planted in our brains early on in our journeys. But it was clear in this moment that something wasn’t right, and we needed to release the grip on our plans a bit. I was sad, but I was hopeful.
We arrived in Whitehorse, YT the next evening. And as we were driving through the little city, though it was a gloomy day, Terence and I said to each other there’s something that feels good about this place… though we didn’t know what, yet.
The next morning we were enjoying the sunshine by this little lake spot we had found, and felt properly nourished by the full days rest. We were gearing up to do another full day drive towards Alaska, when a man pulled his car up next to us. He said he worked for the city—he finds the places that have a lot of abandoned trash, and then plans a playful gathering where there is a BBQ and a community clean up. There wasn’t much trash where we were, but he stayed and chatted anyway.
Within about 5 minutes, he, Terence and I were talking about psychedelics, travel stories, and great biking trails in the area. His name was Pierre, and he swiftly invited us to go on a bike ride with him and his wife, Stella, to park our van in his driveway and sleep there if we wanted, to do laundry, or shower, or anything else we needed. Wow, that is so generous of you! we said. Hey, I was a traveler once too, he said. He seemed discouraged that we were planning to leave so soon—he had made a friend, and we felt the same way.
When he left a little while later, after an exchange of phone numbers, Terence and I both knew what we were going to do. We were going to stay an extra day, and see what fruit this connection bears. We had to. It honestly felt like the universe was reaching out a hand to guide us to where we really needed to be. I felt a relaxation in my body after this exchange, as though I were calmly floating in the current of a cool stream. I’m so grateful that something had shifted in Terence and I a few days earlier, after we missed the ferry—our sensitivities heightened and our barriers softened, to feel such a delicate and delightful gesture from the unknown.
The next day we enjoyed the sunshine, we ate delicious food from this friggen amazing and teeny tiny market that had all of my favorite things (cacao nibs, avocado chips, free-range meat, coconut bliss, organic fruits and vegetables, bulk nuts and seeds, yummmmmm), we met up with Pierre and met his kids and his wife, we biked (and I fell and got a really impressive bruise but hey, I’m alive!), we talked while lazing on comfy couches about couples therapy, yoga, and experiences with medicines, and then had a deep and long nights rest.
When we left the next morning, after saying goodbye to our new friends and promising to let them know when we would be coming back through, we didn’t know exactly where we would be by that night. It was the Summer Solstice, and after all our ideas, excitements, and plans of being in our fantasy land of Big Wild Alaska, celebrating in Anchorage or Juneau or Girdwood, instead we were on the road, on our way to a place called Dawson City. A place which Pierre had told us was a worthwhile place to visit…little did we know what we were in for as the cool current of the universe ushered us forward…
Dawson City, for those that haven’t visited, is a tiny town that was established during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896. It’s a really fun and quirky town, with frontier-style buildings that have been preserved, and roads kept naturally un-paved, keeping the feeling of being in the early 1900s while living modern lives. We rolled into the town around 11:30pm. The sun was still so high and it was fascinating and discombobulating to our senses. There weren’t any Solstice celebrations happening in Dawson that we could see other than bars that were open and people drinking in the streets, which really isn’t our scene. So we used our iOverlander app to find a wild-camping spot, and decided to call it a night.
As we drove up this mountain range right behind Dawson, we began seeing cars, big rigs, people, dogs. Then instruments, beers, cameras, and 360 views of Dawson and beyond. We drove straight ahead and into a parking spot perfectly suited for the van, with shocked looks on our faces. Within minutes of arriving, somebody says to Terence g-day mate, how-ya-goin? in that quintessential Auzzie way which T and I know so well. T swings his head around to respond with well g-day, how you goin? His name was Donald, his friend was Mark, their friend was Jess, and their friends were now us.
What followed was nothing short of the best and most unexpected adventure of our van trip so far. We had found ourselves on top of a mountain, with live music, new friends, and a full panoramic view of the Solstice Sun only dipping below the horizon for a total of 2 hours, leaving the sky bright all night with pink and yellow hues. We snuggled in with these kind and rambunctious few on the roof-deck of Delilah, with pillows and the comforter from our bed, sipping on hot drinks, eating cherries, and laughing all through the night (or shall I say, day), radiating in the strange beauty of this deep night sun.
We're in Anchorage now. Yes, we made it to Alaska, and are about to go for a four day hike and camp journey. But we got here when we were supposed to. And I'm so glad we didn't get here a moment sooner.
I was told at a recent workshop/deep-dive/ceremony that if you spend just a few minutes alone in nature, you become your true self again.
As Terence and I have been traveling, much of our time has been spent in the wilderness. We have gone hiking, backpacking, biking, and strolling through forests and meadows, by lakes and waterfalls. I keep falling in love with the earth over and over again. Experiencing her in her many faces and moods, always learning more but also knowing there are lifetimes to be discovered.
And lately I have been reminding myself that time alone is a healer. Is a perspective bringer. Is an alchemic space. If I claim it, if I embrace it, if I allow it.
So there have been a few times so far in our explorings of the outdoors, where I have been by myself. These have been the most healing times for me on our journeys so far.
I find myself both in awe in sync with the trees, the dirt, the flowers, the waters trickling through rock beds. I am reminded that there are no mistakes in nature. That everything has its place, its purpose, even if it appears accidental. And that I am made of nature. I am natural, in all of my flaws, and quirks, and my twigs seemingly out of place. And I sigh. And wonder how I could have ever forgotten this.
The last time I was on a date with nature, I was very closed and disconnected from my body. There were anxiety thoughts swirling through my mind, pulling all of my energy up into my head. But nature was kind and patient, and knew that by being completely herself, I would eventually return to my body, the space where I would see her clearly.
I felt a trickle on my face... Then another... And another. It was mist falling from the sky. Making my face soft and damp. I felt my footsteps connecting with the dirt and the mud. Making my shoes and ankles playfully muddy. I heard the whisper of the breeze through the trees overhead, almost like a crowd cheering on low volume. There was a chill on my chest. And I realized that although I was shivering, I was feeling. That my mind was taking a break, and coming back into its natural equalibrium with my body. And that these are those moments that can be as orgasmic as I want them to be. That I can choose to feel more, or feel less. So I opened my jacket to the air, allowing the short moment of discomfort, in exchange for many moments of bliss, in being absorbed by the feeling of nature’s gently cold tingling kisses.
Within a few minutes, I found myself skipping through the forest. Jumping and running and spinning. Then I was singing, my own made up hymns but also a song from Disney’s Pocahontas.. “what I love most about rivers is you can’t step in the same river twice...” And then I sat on the trunk of a large old redwood, closed my eyes, and was overcome with the sounds, smells and presence of life around me and within me. Completely at peace with doing nothing, and completely trusting of the impulse to do anything.
It’s actually quite an intimate experience, connecting with the earth. As I explore deeper into her, the universe is revealed to me. She is a transformational place, when I allow her to be.
WE'RE IN CANADA!
And oh my…this place is so beautiful. It’s slightly strange to me that one side of a ferry ride to the other could feel so different. But it does. And I’m loving the vibes so far.
We are of course traveling through Canada on our way to Alaska. BUT it just so happened that Terence’s sister, Mirinda, was racing in an Iron Man in Victoria as we were passing through, so we got to go watch her race! I’m still a bit stunned at the perfection of the timing, especially since it wasn’t planned months in advance.
Mirinda is a gorgeous athlete to watch. I'm sure many people know this about her already, but I know her first and foremost as the sister of my partner, and this was the first time I'd ever seen her race. Her form is ridiculously stunning, and her mental craftsmanship while she is racing is inspiring. She keeps clear, calm, and focused, and her dedication ripples through her whole being. And I really only know this because Terence and I got to experience the triathlon from the ultimate perspective. Alongside the athletes.
When we got to the racing grounds we met Rinny’s media guy, Talbot—who is such a fun, talented and excited spirit. Because the race was more open and accessible, Talbot was going to ride along the path of the race with his car to get footage. He invited Terence and I to come along. And I am so damn glad.
It wasn’t just seeing the start, then the finish, or watching it on tv. We were driving right by Rinny and her competitors as Talbot got his footage. And he just click click click’s away so casually and quickly, there is hardly any time to realize that a photo has been taken. All while he’s chatting with us, finding the next vantage point on his map, and switching between cameras. He’s directing us through these back alley short cuts, and then we’re running down a dirt road by some horses and a tractor, and then hopping over freeway barricades, all with these massive cameras in hand, to make it to a point to get a shot of these amazing athletes. It was SO MUCH FUN.
You know those nature shows, like with Bear Grylls? The one’s where these people are doing insane things like leaping from trees or swimming across rivers to demonstrate survival techniques? I’ve always been in awe of the cinematographers. And so curious about how the hell do they get that footage? Well, I got to experience a bit of that. And there aren’t really any sneaky tricks, actually. The “trick” is that these camera-men/women are committed, good at what they do, and have so much fun doing it. Talbot literally ran alongside Mirinda for a few minutes to get footage of her. And she is a professional triathlete. So if she was running, he must have been booking it. And when he would return, he had a beaming smile on his face.
And that’s really the thing about all of these people who are exceptional at their craft, isn’t it? Whether they’re a triathlete, cinematographer, dancer, painter, professional bubble blower, etc., they are committed, good at what they do, and have so much fun doing it. Maybe not all the time. Getting exceptional at anything requires days that are hard and grueling and monotonous and not very fun at all. But a light shines through them when they’re in it. You can see it. You can feel it.
And best of all, we got to watch Rinny come in first place! She runs in, so happy and bright, her light shining through, going under the blue arch and giving her daughter a big squeeze after she crosses the finish line. Her light shines as a mother too.