Don’t get caught up in the plan.

Another day on Erith Island. One of three islands that make up the Kent Group, approximately half way between Tasmania and Victoria, Australia’s mainland. The only way to get here is to charter a yacht or sea kayak, which we were doing on our expedition to paddle across Bass Strait.

I hadn’t slept much last night. The walls of my tent were thin and the weather was awful. Crazy winds whipped around the island all night and the waves were loud. The sand my tent was pitched on was uneven and it was hard to get comfortable. Today was another day too windy for us to paddle, approximately 70km of Open Ocean to Flinders Island. Making this our fifth day on this island, something we hadn’t really planned for.

Whist having a plan can be crucial in most areas of our lives, not being attached to it is just as important. Why? Because we are not in control of the universe. Situations can happen that guide us off course, lead us down a different paths and open doors that we have not planned for. Sometimes ‘the right way’ doesn’t look exactly how we had imagined or the way we think it should. The plan will not always unfold how we expect, but we must trust the process, give up control, lean in and allow the universe to show us the way.

That’s not to say we don’t need to plan. Planning is imperative in most situations. Essentially it’s a road map that will take us from where we are to where we want to be. Without one, things could get pretty difficult. Think about this…

…You decided to go on a holiday, you have a destination in mind and places along the way that you will visit. You can’t just get in the car and start driving and hope that you get to your destination. Well you could, it would make for a pretty great trip but most of us are on a schedule or have a budget. You would need to consider what roads to take. Where might you stop along the way to get fuel, food and rest. What type of weather will you incur? What clothes will you need? How much money will you spend and how long will you be gone for?

Planning helps to create peace of mind and prepare for risks. Since our mind wants to be in control, planning can help us feel at ease. To know that we have thought about what has to happen and how might we handle it. Plan to think about what you might encounter. What will you need to do, or take. Who would be good to talk to about what your hoping to achieve that may already have achieved this themselves? Whats the broader picture on what you are hoping to achieve and what might look like along the way?

There was a lot of planning that went into our sea kayaking expedition. Far more than Id imagined. When I first decided to paddle Bass Strait I knew it would be a complete adventure, one that I couldn’t imagine. From the moment I sat in the kayak to learn how to paddle, I knew there would be things that would not go as we had planned.

The question had come up a few times in the group — “what if we don’t make it.” I didn’t want to think too much about this because it meant we wouldn’t have achieved what we set out to do. But I let my mind dwell there for a little while. I was becoming attached to the plan, the goal and the outcome.

I sort perspective and realized I wasn’t as attached as I first thought when I spoke to one of my fellow paddlers. I asked him why he was doing the paddle. He told me, “I just want to stand on the Shore at Little Musslerow Bay so I can say that I have paddled across Bass Strait, I’m a completion type of guy.” I imagined myself in that moment too but I also thought to myself, wouldn’t that feeling only last a moment? Maybe it could be relived through reminiscing and praise from others but that’s no the real adventure. All the juice comes from what lies between.

Day 5 on Erith was Day 10 of the expedition.  According to the plan we should have been somewhere close to paddling into the shores of Tasmania. This was not to be. Before leaving, a friend of mine who had paddled the stretch told me this place was the jewel in the crown. The highlight of his trip and a place he would have loved to have spent a week at exploring. Well we did just that!

On Christmas Eve we sailed out the Kent group with our kayaks stacked on a 60ft yacht. This was not how any of us had wanted this adventure to end. Mother nature had other ideas and we just had to roll with it. I look back and remember the pristine untouched places we visited. The time we spent at sea, surrounded by abundant nature. An expedition full of lessons and a plan far greater than us!

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