I’m outrageously fortunate to marry above my station, to love my craft, and to be in the healthiest 10% of my age. Recently, the bride of my youth and I spent a week on the Salmon River in individual, inflatable kayaks. Our guides were less than half our age, but their kayaking skills dramatically exceeded ours.

We’ve rafted and kayaked white water trips before. We survived the laughable rookie stage but aren’t yet competent or seasoned. I’ve learned that it’s best to listen to the guide and repeat what they say, carefully and fully. Know and visualize what to do before you face the need for instant action.

On the river I celebrated another Social Security birthday. This trip was more intense, and we learned that our bodies were not as nimble or strong as our previous river trips. We were both exhilarated and almost exhausted when we finished.

Time away from the everyday gives time to think. Reflection often provides perspective. Sometimes wisdom comes. Here are some thoughts from our week on the river. Perhaps they will spark some wisdom you can apply to your life. 

* Adventure means you don’t know the outcome. We choose nature trips to gain far more adventure than a cruise or a visit to a theme park.
* More people ride the raft than paddle the kayaks. It’s safer and drier.
* When somebody else directs the raft, you’re a passenger and less of an adventurer.
* Falling out of the boat (“going swimming”) involves refreshing water and appropriate amount of humility. It is rarely fatal.
* When, not if, you “go swimming,” let go of the paddle – it can take you places you don’t want to go. Relax and enjoy Mr. Toad’s wild ride. Your friends will pick you, your paddle, your kayak, and most of your floating belongings up within 100 yards or so.
* When kayaking rapids, lean toward trouble, paddle strong and fast, plunge your paddle into the vampire’s heart of the wave. 
* Smooth water flowing over the top of a rock looks gentle. But it can lure you into an almost impossible wave behind the rock. If you’re theologically minded that may sound like temptation’s invitation and sin’s consequences.
* Be a good guest. Help more than others expect. Somewhere in the trip others will do you a favor when you need help.

More than once on the river, I reflected on the contrast between authentic wildlife sounds and background traffic noise. I thought about the difference between living under night’s diamond stars and under cold fluorescent lights.

May you enjoy your next time away with people you love, regardless of your mixture of adventure, comfort, and safety. What reflections do you have from your most recent travel?


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.