How to stay sane planning for a long expedition

At some point, between our kayaking trip from Vancouver up to Ketchikan, Alaska in 2010 and now, sea kayaking in BC has really exploded.

This is amazing that there is such a vibrant community out there doing such amazing things like the BC Marine Trails map, which shows campsites dotting across the whole BC coastline. This has taken so much work of dedicated individuals who have collected campsite data, organized a verification process and developed an information rich online platform. If you love kayaking, you need to check out the site – https://www.bcmarinetrails.org/  There are now lots of books, many by the knowledgeable Mr. John Kimantas, an editor at Coast & Kayak Magazine.

I have spent the last two weeks pouring over all the details, checking each campsite listed on the BC Marine Trails website and last night, I couldn’t fall asleep with all the information swirling around my head. I just couldn’t make it all fit in one plan!

In my folly, I had planned out each day of this massive expedition. I cross referenced the books and the website and used this little piece of scrap paper folded to the maps scales to measure out distance. I now have a 13 page single spaced document charting out campsite to campsite, each with GPS coordinates and an approximate (very approximate considering my extremely “accurate” measuring system) distance between them.

This research will be handy but I realized it’s a mistake to make such defined a schedule on an expedition that celebrates flexibility and exploration. Creating a list of campsite to campsite, a number of set paddling days and a number of set rest days, becomes a checklist where the journey quickly becomes a chore rather than a journey of discovery. Instead of goals to reach for, we put out expectations on the world and that only serves to disappoint. Expectations are a dangerous thing because if you achieve it, it’s not a joyous event because that’s what you expected to happen. If you don’t achieve it, then you’re disappointed. It’s a trap where there’s a glass-ceiling on happiness.

Goals instead represent a passion to accomplish something. It is an alignment of fierce determination, the desire to achieve something and creativity and background planning to get there. It is a striving for something bigger and personal growth.  Having goals is having dreams.

Instead of a day-by-day schedule, our aim is simply going to paddle about 20-25km a day and see if there’s a campsite around or we’ll make our own. Like the water itself rushing onto one of Vancouver Island’s beautiful beaches or swirling around with the currents and the tides, we will go with the flow and see where it takes us.

The next post will detail some of the places we will visit and more info on our departure and returning dates 🙂

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