To me, September has always marked the beginning of another year; more than January 1st and more than a birthday. There is something about September that has always held the promise of the future; the start of a new school year, shopping for a new wardrobe, moving to a new place, and of course, the start of my favourite season. It’s the time of year when Mother Nature reminds us to evaluate what we have, let go of the past, and move forward.
This time last year, I was backpacking through South America and took that opportunity to contemplate what the ‘new year’ would bring and what my next chapter would entail. After climbing Machu Picchu, I sat down in my hostel courtyard, put in my headphones and wrote down the goals I wanted to achieve. It wasn’t until I was sitting at a hidden waterfall this past week reflecting on the last 365 days, that I realized I had reached, if not surpassed, each of those goals. What waterfall you ask? I should probably fill you in.
Let’s start with the setting. It’s a lovely late summer afternoon. The sun is shining and it’s a perfect day for a drive. Pasi and I meet up to embark on our fourth Unrehearsed Day at The Barn Chefs. I had passed their sign on Highway 62 multiple times this summer while driving to the cottage, but was always in too much of a rush to stop. Thinking back, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t visit while on a tight timeline, because I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to know Luca and Sara, delve into their story, or discuss travelling the world in such detail. This lovely couple really spoke to me and my desire to wander. Our conversations were invigorating and they got me to thinking,
“Why don’t we travel our own provinces and our own towns the way we travel abroad?”
We jet set across the world with a sense of anticipation to see new wonders, learn new skills, meet interesting people and immerse ourselves in a different way of life, when really we can have all of those experiences in our own backyard.
So that is what Pasi and I set out to do, right here in Ontario’s Highlands. It was Sara’s suggestion (shared during conversation while waiting for some of the best andouille I’ve ever had) that we hike into a hidden gem at Egan Chutes Provincial Park, just east of Bancroft, that brought us to this momentous waterfall. A waterfall so beautiful and an experience so profound, I was inspired to reflect on my past and move forward with new goals for my future.
The Wanderer’s 2016/17 Goals:
- More of this. More wandering. In both my professional and personal life.
- Bring my guitar on my travels more often.
- Write in my journal on a daily basis.
- Find the most epic Fall Colours vista viewpoint in Ontario’s Highlands.
- Embrace one moment with nature everyday, without my smart phone.
- Don’t hibernate this winter. Get out and enjoy it.
- Plant a garden.
- Get lost. Find myself.