Adventure Story – It’s all about the experiences

Greg Spooner – Adventure Story – Let experiences become the by-products of your venture.

In 2012, one of the trips we did to prepare for a tour across the Atlantic was to go around Vancouver Island which is about a 700 mile circumnavigation of this island on the west side of Canada and this is the reason why I think I really love adventuring; less so on the ocean and more actually it’s more about the interplay between the ocean and the land is that as we rode around the top side of Vancouver Island and passed Cape Scott, we’re in the ocean again and you feel vulnerable to the power of the sea but it’s early enough in the season when the fishermen are out yet it’s still very quiet, it’s you and the humpback whales that are coming out of nowhere and slapping the water with their fins and their tails and this is one of the wonderful bi-products of adventure is we row into this cove that’s literally called Hot Springs cove because of the hot spring and it’s called that because the water is literally bubbles out of the land and you get to watch it cascade as you get in it and have your own personal spa day after rowing for three weeks out on the ocean.

And then after you go through this wonderful experience in the water, you hop in your boat and you row across the harbor and you get to meet people that you would otherwise never ever get to interact with; and this was the Hesquiaht First Nation Tribe upon Vancouver Island and we didn’t tell them we were coming ahead of time, we honestly didn’t know who they were or who was there and so we just rode over and got out of our boat and walked up the old dirt path and opened up the door to the community center and said, “Hey, we’re just passin’ through!” and what was really wonderful about this is they opened up not just their community center, not just themselves but their entire community to these four guys just passing through.

We shared a meal with them, the principal of the local school put us up for a couple nights as we enjoyed the town. The local young kids, they play basketball every single night in a brand new, little gym and the call will go out on the VHF because that’s what everybody’s listening in on in this secluded community that has generators for power and like, “Volleyball tonight or basketball?” and somebody chimes in “Basketball”, “Alright, see everybody there at 7 o’clock.” We don’t even have any shoes and we’re invited onto the court and we get to play a mean game of five on five and these folks are all about up to here on us (expresses height difference) you know, we’re all giants compared to them but they are schooling us and shooting threes and burying them like nobody’s business, quite an experience! This is something that we’d never expected; that was a bi-product of adventure that I don’t think you could plan for and you couldn’t call ahead and say, “Hey, looking forward to meeting some new people who show us a good time,” that doesn’t happen.

I think like-minded people always end up finding like-minded people and that can make for probably most of life’s great pursuits.

Marzena Kmiecik: How many of these adventures have you been on?

Rowed the North Atlantic in 2006, we circumnavigated Washington state’s Olympic peninsula in 2008, rowed around Vancouver Island in 2012, rowed across the mid-Atlantic most of the way in 2013, rowed down the Mississippi River last fall, 2014 and we’re planning more Mississippi expeditions, a new expedition from Seattle up to Ketchikan through the inside passage and we’ll launch out across the Pacific for Hawaii and then Australia in the next four to five years.

Marzena Kmiecik: When you look back at all these trips, when you look back on all those experiences, what have you gotten out of them on a personal level?

Their great stories (laughs).

Marzena Kmiecik: What did you learn about life, about yourself?

By doing these types of adventures I learned that.., I think I learned actually how much I love to disconnect as connected as we are on these trips. I learned how much I appreciate disconnecting from the usual pace of life and engaging life at a different cadence. It’s an opportunity I think to kind of change up routine from time to time, to help keep life fresh and what I found is that by doing this for the last 10 years, I’m seeing actual changes in how I approach my life as a physical therapist and then also as a public speaker and motivational speaker. I continue to find ways in my everyday work life to change the cadence and try something new and it’s really turned into a life that I couldn’t have imagined I’d be experiencing by my mid 30’s. I honestly feel really lucky.