"Who are you?" a smiling 40-ish woman asks us. We are having breakfast in a quaint teahouse on the water on Haida Gwaii, a remote BC island west of Prince Rupert, BC.Ten of us, all talking at once, about our next adventure, stop and smile. This woman's curiousity has gotten the better of her. She has left her table to join us. I can't quite remember our reply. Probably something like, "We're just a bunch of women who like to travel and have adventures.
I'm glad that as a group we appear approachable to this woman. We have spent five days sea kayaking around pristine waters and camping amongst ancient totems, so our bonding as a group is pretty tight. Still we remain open and friendly to anyone who would like to join us. She leaves me her name and address and I promise to contact her about upcoming adventures.
As usual, at the end of a wonderful experience, we begin to dream about our next escape. "How about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?" Mary Jane suggests. "Yes!" we all agree, our eyes sparkling with anticipation. I know that some of these women will be there next March. We know how to do this now. We know how to make things happen at this stage of our lives. And what an exciting time of life it is. We range in age from 35 to 65 and we are beginning to know who we are and what we want. We want the simplicity and solitude of nature, the camaraderie and support of other women and the challenge of leaving our comfort zone in order to grow. This week we have laughed and cried with each other, learned from each other, and we've had a chance to be alone. "The great thing about traveling with other women is we don't have to explain how we feel," exclaims Gail.
We finish breakfast and an entire glorious day stretches before us before we have to board a ferry for home. We set out alone or in twos and threes. We need down time to reflect on our last week and just be in the moment before we get back to our busy and sometimes complicated lives.
Yes, I think one week a year for just ourselves is a minimum requirement for happiness and health. It's good for the body and good for the soul.