A break in the journey

by Jul 29, 20201 comment

After a few days of resting and contemplation by the river, I had some big decisions to make. With a broken canoe and stage three restrictions coming into place (to prevent the spread of COVID-19) the potential to continue my paddle journey down the rivers was dwindling. Borders were closing, communities were locking down, schools had shut, panic buying was present throughout the nation, begging the question of whether my journey was socially responsible? In my mind, I could easily still continue, canoeing is a great form of social distancing, the closest human contact I experienced was waving to fishermen and other river users. As an outdoor educator, I had no work to return to, no permanent home and no reason to cancel my dream.

All great adventures have their hurdles and challenges, and here I was facing this decision which would end my attempt to paddle to the ocean. The more I thought about and tried to rationalise my choices I came to some realisations:


  • Deciding not to continue isn’t failing, and does not mean I can’t continue in the future.


  • With schools being shut and communities in lockdown, this means that many of the reasons for undertaking the trip had already become obsolete. I could no longer connect to communities and young people to share my journey and the importance of rivers.


  • What other opportunities would come from this obstacle?

Since April and returning back to Yea, Covid-19 has continued to generate uncertainty throughout our country and the world. However, the rivers are still flowing and my desire to paddle from my backyard to the sea still fills my soul. In the absence of being able to continue on my journey, I have been paddling other rivers recreationally and putting my energy in projects centered around local waterways. I am excited to start sharing these projects in the near future and I have begun working on making a video of the journey thus far.

So stay tuned! 


1 Comment

  1. Adam Dennis

    Hi Leigh, I belatedly wondered what had happened to your trip in the light of the pandemic. I’m glad you decided to put it on hiatus, as I agree that the connections you can make – with schoolchildren especially – along the way would have been the key benefit (aside from your pure enjoyment of the journey). As it turns out, the situation with COVID just got worse, so your call was a good one. I look forward to hearing of you departing on the journey again when times are better.


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