Three Sister's Cypress Swamp

Three sisters swamp, NC

The glowing orange moon rose over the cypress swamp as we drove home with tired limbs, hungry bellies and full hearts after a long day of kayaking.  Truth be told I had almost bowed out of this trip before it even started. 

Maia called me on my last trip to DC before I left for Paris and said, “We’re camping at Carolina beach and taking a few of my students to kayak the three sisters swamp to visit some of the oldest cypress trees in the world.  Can you join us?”  Maia full of energy and excitement just isn’t someone you tell "no" even if I knew saying yes meant two days away from home after only 3 nights in my own bed.  That’s how I found myself in a swamp in the middle of nowhere NC somewhere near the coast yesterday. 

Sunlight streaked through the bare trees and flooded over us, floating on the water with two adventurous women I reflected that this time last week I had been in Paris running next to the Seine then eating a bistro dinner.  It’s now December and I’m in a swamp with muddy soaking wet shoes and socks because I just jumped out of a Kayak to see, touch and feel trees that were over 2500 years old (for context that's older than Jesus).  

Three sisters Cypress Swamp

This self proclaimed year of travel has been a wild ride.  The backs of my eyes sting with tears I'm holding back as I realize that this year of travel adventures has ended.  In addition to a touch of sadness there is also extreme relief that these adventures are over because I've been more spread thin than when I was working a full time job and running a yoga studio.  Reflecting on this through the cypress swamp I'm suddenly aware of the magnitude of everything I experienced in the last 12 months, and I’m emotional.  I've gained so much but also at a cost, I'm spent financially, relationships at home need tending and I'm ready to be giving my new business my full attention.  I'm not ready to sum up the year just yet, there's still too much to process and I need some space between the experience and writing about it.

That said one of the biggest lessons of the year of the travel has been “too much of a good thing is still too much” but if I had followed that lesson I could have said no to this camping trip and I would have got to rest at home maybe even getting work done, but I never would have got to car camped at the ocean, and connect deeply with these men and women in the absence of many words while floating down a river and visiting 2500 year old cypress trees in the middle of no-where.  

While we were floating on the river I realized that when you're on the right path it feels like you're being pulled and the current will carry you in the right direction.  Even if you do nothing you'll at least be ever so slowly pulled in the right direction.  When you get off the right path you might find that you've landed on a sand bar alone and getting back into the current can be really difficult. When I worked in corperate america I didn't feel like I was moving.  I was stuck in the mud.  I've had to claw and dig my way back to the current, to the right path and now I feel like I'm being physically pulled in the right direction.  Looking back over this whole year I realize that as soon as I made my mind up to leave what didn't serve me I've been pulled in the right direction.  Frankly it's not been a gentle process, it feels like I've been pulled through what feels like class 5 rapids over the last 12 months and I've been hanging on for dear life trying to keep it together but that's a much better feeling than being stuck in the mud alone.  

Alisha Wielfaert Kayaking