I was brought up in a house without running water or toilets in rural Northern Minnesota. My parents were/are of the 60’s generation and I think their way of protesting was to find a remote place then live life their way. Liberal and free thinkers.
The result was we had over 3000 volumes of books in the house. We read everything as children. My mother read to us J.B. White, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and London. We then went on to read the books that captured our interests. I am sure people would not be surprised that I read history and adventure novels.
On dark rainy days, or in the dead of winter huddled next to the old wood burning stove, I would thumb through one or more of the encyclopedia’s we owned and dreamed of far away places. The journey’s I took on those days were imagined, in my limited youthful view, from the wood floor of the turn of the century farm house. Never would I have dreamed as an adult, I would lead the adventurous life I have today.
Behind the covers of those books, I found adventure, dreamed of being in magical castles, learned lessons about evil step mother’s (although I never had a step mom, I did become one). I learned how light, love and hope will always win over evil. I took those lessons and applied them in my life as I moved through my journey. In my struggles, I grew older. I hope I became wiser due to the lessons I learned within those pages as a kid. I do know that when I encountered situations as an adult, I used those lessons in deciding which direction should be taken. Sometimes I failed to really see or pay attention to all the signs and went way off course, but I always made it through.
Now, back safely in The Netherlands, after my latest quest to Northern Minnesota I have to say, just the last few weeks of my life could fill one of those books. I have experienced some pretty strange things in the last few weeks/months and still I am here (alive) to tell about it.
I struggled as I sat down to write this, will my readers really want or like to read about just my kayaking and canoeing adventures or should I add the the very personal pain that I have experienced in the last few years and months. This is sometimes a very fine line when posting online. Sharing my personal journey means I open doors to my readers that can’t be shut once opened. Will it help ? Will it hurt those who have taken part in my story? Will it inspire other women to take a step forward when they feel they have no hope or options in their lives? All these questions have been running through my head as I travelled back to Holland to recover from these last few weeks.
I can’t hide what was my journey, I lived it! I experienced it! Maybe, how I handle things will inspire others to do things differently or provide some tools they can use. I have found by reading other blogs sometimes those tidbits of information collected at random can help when things get really rough. Like how to start a campfire when all the tinder is wet, there is always a solution just out there around the next bend in the river.
I recently had several people push me in the direction I am about to take. Including you, my readers.
Those suggestions have given me and my hubby (my true North, my rock and also occasional proof reader) strength to move forward and to show that strength exists in difficult situations. There is hope around every corner, and love will always win over evil or stubbornness. But, that struggle is never easy or/and sometimes rarely fun.
I would not be kayaking or canoeing if I didn’t experience my life exactly the way I have.
The three failed marriages, losing custody of my children when I deployed to Iraq, my struggle with my PTSD from the three combat zones. The good things like finding my Dutch partner/hubby, moving to The Netherlands, traveling the world, and being a mother (the best way I knew how, when I had them with me), and a step mom to three kids (hopefully, not evil?).
As a military officer, a military spouse, a friend, and a combat buddy to many I was constantly inspired to be better and to do the right thing even when it was extremely unpopular with my bosses or the very conservative views of an economy based on a war machine and not on an economy based on educating and putting our youth into good jobs. Helping them to achieve great things while advancing our nation of the United States into the global future.
My views are my own, and I do take responsibility for those views and respect those who differ with respect. It is now very hard being an American living outside the country. I love my home and my adopted land of The Netherlands.
I wash recently told while I was in Minnesota by a fellow American that I should give up my citizenship and that I am a disgrace to the uniform. They told me that because I now live in a liberal country that is more social than conservative. I have isolated myself when those type of attacks have been directed at me and I have had my kayaking as a way to cope with the ridicule to keep myself sane and centered.
I hope you the reader will continue to follow my site as I dig deeper into my kayak and canoe paddles. I plan to bring you some stories that have inspired me over the last few weeks, including a very painful and personal story of my situation.
I do understand if some of you decide that maybe my content will not meet your needs and will seek guidance in in other blogs. I am ok with that, as I believe in the freedom of expression, press and of choice.
Safe travels and I hope you find what you are looking for in some other blog site. Maybe you even find your way back here someday.
For those who continue to follow, I welcome your comments and encouragement. If very personal please contact via my contact page as I would love to respond but in a more private forum.
Please remember that I have walked this path and I am only here to explain the way I walked it. I am not here to make it the way you should walk your own journey.
We each have a journey, we all have to walk it in our own way, pace, and time. The people we cross along that path are meant to be there to help to provide comfort or make us find the correct direction.
Like a river, there are many ways to run it and only we can choose to run it the way we want, once we are in the boat, heading in a direction. There is no wrong way to paddle, only that you continue once you reach the water. Watch and listen for the signs that will make your path easier or harder and then continue one step at a time or one paddle stroke at a time.
Safe paddles and hope to see you as a return customer.