When you’re busy trying to stay alive when you’re jumping out of an airplane or scuba diving in the ocean, I kind of forget about the other stuff. You know, the mundane home activities? If I can focus on a task at hand like paddling through the next set of rapids, my head clears and I can be satisfied with life again. Call this adventure self care.
I’m not sure if “self care” is the current buzzword or it’s always been there for women once they reach a certain age or position in life. Whatever the cause or source of seeing it is, it’s something that’s been all over my social feeds for awhile. Ads for spas with cucumbers on eyes, champagne flutes clinking in front of a sunset, wispy dress and long dark blonde hair blowing in the wind while a woman stares at a lake.
I can almost predict the text before I read it “Hey Mom, you deserve a break. Come to us and we will take care of you”.
Adventure Self Care Is More My Speed
Some moms like to visit a day spa or have a girl’s night at a hotel or stare at the sunset on a dock. It is nice to have a break from wiping noses, of not preparing snacks every hour on the hour, managing the household, paying bills, going to work... But for me to really fill my cup and at least pretend that I am investing in the phenomenon of self care, I have to seek out an adventure that pushes me to my physical limits. Something that could potentially make me weak in the knees.
Before anyone wants to Mom shame me or send me a note about being careless in what I’m doing, to you I say: “My version of self care is not your version of self care and that’s okay”.
Needless to say, I would not embark on any activity that I deemed unsafe.
This Brings Us To The Van Ride
This is how I find myself in the back of a van on route to the Isère River in France. I am heading out with Arc Aventures - an adventure experience company based out of Bourg Saint Maurice. This has been set up by the activities desk at our resort, Club Med Les Arcs Panorama. I’m here on a self care mission. Yes, solo all the way from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Relax, I've done this solo travel thing before.
Now that my kids have moved out of the needy toddler years and I have personal freedom, I’m reclaiming a bit of who I was before my kids. Motherhood is an amazing gift, however, I cannot function as a good mother and be present for them in life if I am not taking care of myself.
I didn’t fly all the way here just for the rafting though. I came for the French wine, the regional Savoie cheese, sleeping alone, the hiking and adventure. I’ve never rafted or hiked in the Alps and so begs the question, why not?
The Isère River
Cue this trip. After a quick orientation on to how to hold the paddles, how to fish each other out of the water when we fall in and most importantly, how to sit on the inflatable raft, we take off.
It was so hot on shore in our full neoprene wetsuit, neoprene boots, helmet, and life jacket. The water, running from the glaciers in Vanoise National Park, a cool 8 degrees celsius or so.
A full two hours of forward paddling, pausing, backward paddling, pulling in swimmers, laughing, smiling and screaming in half terror, half delight. We passed farmers fields, campers, fishermen. One gentleman yelled that we were about to "go through hell" at us. We were heading into the toughest section of the river.
I reached in a couple times and let my hand linger. I got soaked, fingernails bent back, water in my eyes. It was exhilarating. I loved every minute of it. We came out wet, but relatively unscathed.
A Much Needed Jolt Of Adventure
The afternoon spent on the river was the jolt of adventure needed to put my head back on straight. The Isère River was never too rough or ever placed us into extreme danger that we knew of. When our time was up, I felt like I could have continued on that river and followed it to Grenoble. I’ll save that for my next jail break.
While my stay was hosted by Club Med Les Arcs Panorama, my opinions are all my own and I'm very honest and blunt.