The day started off slow, like most slow Sunday mornings do. Choosing which book I feel like reading because let’s face it, my flat might as well be a library and books are sacred adventures on their own. A third cup of coffee brewing on the stove top. The sun, now spilling into the living area, as a gentle breeze follows the light through the leaves of the lemon tree in front - we wouldn’t know the wind if it weren’t for the trees I think to myself.
Although happy at home with books and adventures of the imagination, my body gets restless and I can feel the days whispers luring me outside. I message a few fellow adventurers willing to head out. It’s time. Time to leave the confines of the comfort zone and go see what the day holds. A few minutes later the crew confirms - the Yogic Golf Pro, the Yogi herself, the Intrepid Traveler and me (the Pathfinder, why the pathfinder…because there really is no path, it’s about feeling your way through it all and that’s what I do best).
A ceremonial manner of packing commences, as if adventures won’t be adventures without certain things:
GoPro gets charged, memory cards get checked, always one extra…you know, for just in case you stumble upon something magnificent that you film for hours, David Attenborough voice over in your mind while underwater with fishes and debris from a previous flooded river, National Geographic type discoveries your convinced the world must see. Only to come home and realize you’ve filmed the sky half of the time and the sandy river bottom the next. It’s clearly not stopping me from keeping on trying.
Pieces of fabric for a driftwood shelter we’re going to build, because umbrellas make life too easy; the idea of following in our nomadic ancestors footsteps building shelters as they trekked along just seems more applicable to the word adventure and it’s a challenge…adventures and challenges go hand in hand.
A few things to snack on, plenty of water - in our minds, where we are going there is only desert and sea for kilometers ahead and water is crucial to our survival.
Sunnies, hat, sunscreen, bikini and a change of clothes - you never know where the adventure will end or how long you’ll be out there for.
Pocket knife and a mango, they’re best friends in my mind.
Headlamp…always a headlamp.
The sun sits high already. The wind has a slight chill. Anticipation of the unknown. Bags packed. Vehicle stashed. 20 minutes drive from home. Park on a sandy patch on the side of a road. On the right there’s a slight trail, it forks, we keep left. Pristine conservation unfolds in front of us. Our senses heighten. Kilometers of dunes, a river meandering in thick, deep red Fynbos infused swirling motions ending in ice blue pockets at the oceans edge in the distance. The sound of seagulls nesting on the riverbanks, the river rushing to reunite with the ocean and the consistent, comforting white noise from waves coming to rest on the shore.
We indeed live in a place like no other.
First things first, shelter from the sun. We all scatter in opposite directions to hunt and gather. We return with supplies, success. Building a shelter before anything else can happen is mandatory, it sets the tone for the type of adventure to be had and makes you feel like you’ve already achieved something even when the adventure amounts to nothing. Needless to say, the shelter kept us shaded from the sun for a full few minutes as our feet itched to venture further, to see what lay over the next dune and beneath the surface of the crystal clear pools of ocean captured by each river bend. Indigenous flora infused pockets of salty goodness.
We leave our adult pretenses on the banks of the river as we plunge into childhood wonder and allow the water to wash us of our stagnant ways. The river swallows me, I surrender to it’s ancient ways and allow my body to relax. The flow of the river takes over, I float to become light, to become new, to behold the stories of it’s wise ways. To listen. My mind wanders and perspectives change and I learn that to imitate the ways in which the river flows could hold valuable lessons for life. To flow without resistance but be persistent. I can’t help but ponder that we can not claim discovery because nature was there first. We can learn from what she has already discovered decades ago. We must learn.
She shows us her ecosystems protectively hidden in the depths of her form. Where the water becomes still, she provides shelter for the young. Fish not yet strong enough to hold their own in the force of the current swim just off the edge of its push downstream. From a previous flood, masses of debris washed up on sections of the river bends, half merged. We duck under. Algae grows on skeletal frames, hanging suspended in time like Old Mans Beard deep in the forests of the Garden Route. Schools of different size fish, feasting, visible only when they twist their bodies so that the sun catches a glimpse of silvery scale and reflects light back to us. Above the water, the wind has died, the sun has dipped low and it is still. The world on land oblivious to the teeming playground of festivities underneath.
Back to land we go. Warm up, mesmerized by our experience. Long discussions on life and love follow. Sharing, listening, reminiscing. We’ve shed some skin, reveling in our new ones. We underwent change, nature, like no other, is capable of this. The day is well on its way. Everything takes on a deep warm glow. Even the ocean tones down to give honor to the light show.
We dip under one last time. Taking it all in. The stillness that surrounds us, bring stillness within. We stand in awe as we realize the privilege of this moment, this moment that will only ever be within that bracket of time. What a privilege it is to share this moment with this crew. How this crew appreciates what I appreciate. How our appreciation, passion, desire for nature has brought us all together and created a family of adventurers. Standing there in that moment, we all belonged. A deep sense of belonging filled and spilled from the inside out.
Filled with things anew we set off, literally into the sunset.
We are living. We are alive and living life. Every day reminders cross our path to awaken us to a world outside the ways we think life should be lived. Every day has answers to a more fulfilling life. Opportunities lie in plain sight. The answer lies in how we choose to spend our time. We have a choice, however limiting or free ranged, we always have a choice to choose something less destructive and more constructive. Choose wisely. Choose life. It only ever comes around once.
Live wild, live free - choose the wild, it will set you free.