On the Water

I’ve never been too afraid to do things alone.

I went to South Korea to teach ESL for a year, not knowing anyone. After that, I backpacked around Southeast Asia for three months, of two months where I was alone. I’ve been to the theatre by myself and even eaten in restaurants without a date. And I’m comfortable going to the climbing gym alone now. Frankly, there are things I want to do, learn or try and if I were to wait around for someone else to do it with me, it would never happen.

On Monday, I signed up for the class, Evening Introduction to Sea Kayaking at the Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre. The prices downtown are definitely pretty steep, considering it’s $94 for a 3-hour session.

Why kayaking now?

Well, J. is purchasing a kayak for Waskaganish and wants me to paddle out with him (there’s not much to do in the north anyway). The only issue is that I’ve only kayaked once in my life … 15 years ago. Rather than having J. teach me and the two of us wind up in a screaming match, I figured that a class would give me a good foundation to start from.

When learning a new skill, I prefer explicit instructions, being aware of what I need to do and repeating an instruction in my head to help me focus. I like taking classes and having a trained and experienced teacher. Being a teacher myself, it’s understandable! So before I took my surfing class in Hawai’i, I curled up with my Mac and watched 2 full hours of YouTube videos. Knowing the proper techniques gave me confidence and allowed me to stand up on the second try. I would visualize the process and say to myself, Push up with your arms, on your knees, right foot back, swivel and stand! 

Monday night was no different, as my instructor explained how to learned the proper techniques for paddling forward and backwards. He also taught me how to do a sidestroke and stop suddenly. We moved around the lakeshore, despite a code blue, which is normally not recommended for beginners. My instructor said that I was a strong paddler and did not worry about me going up to the James Bay.

And I left with a smile and confidence that I learned, yet another new skill!*

WIth this, I’m glad that I’m no longer going through a quarter-life crisis. I’m feeling more financially independent. I like to spend money, so I need to earn it first – work to play.** I can learn anything, if I put my mind to it.***

As I was paddling back to the harbour, the sun was setting. The sky was just absolutely stunning. I forget about beautiful Toronto can be.

paddleABOVE: A shot of the Toronto skyline and some paddlers.

*Been seriously rockin’ it this year! I learned to snorkel, surf, snowshoe and kayak! Both snorkling and kayaking I’d done once on a field trip as a teenager, but otherwise, it felt like it was practically the first time.

**My friend R., who owns his own company, is constantly traveling around to go skydiving. He’s amalgamated more than 600 jumps and says he ‘checks work emails between jumps’.

***And as Mackelmore raps, maybe another 10,000 hours?


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