Two people can cover a lot of ground on a six hour run through the wilderness. Miles of trails, mountains climbed, sweat lost, stories gained, values shared. We began here, in the mountain heart of Vancouver Island, amidst just such a run. Somewhere along forty kilometres of trail in Strathcona Provincial Park we reached a resonance that made us more than friends, and a partnership was born.
It’s a partnership that centres around our shared beliefs in the connective and transformative powers of movement, stories, wild places, and communities. Together, we work to express those beliefs through our personal actions and our professional projects.
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” - Lewis Carroll
We spend as much time as possible moving through and sharing stories about wild places close to our home on Vancouver Island, exploring - as it was described in respect of late British author Roger Deakin - our “undiscovered country of the nearby.” We do this for our individual physical health. We do this because we have found that going out together leads us to going into deeper places as a couple and as a family. We do this because we have experienced first-hand and acutely the benefits of time outside.
“What you teach is what you are. You don’t teach by telling people things.” - Milton Glaser
Our experiences with change and loss have illuminated the therapeutic powers of time spent outside, in both motion and stillness. Those experiences find alignment with George Eliot’s observation that “adventure is not outside [wo]man; it is within.” And it is within all of us. Adventure is a subjectively defined thing - it needn’t be far-flung or attach adjectives like epic - but its desire and its drive can be found within all of our bodies and minds. Often we just need a little help in finding our adventure’s way - our way - outside. It’s not easy, the challenges are real, but the lasting benefits are bigger than the barriers. The two of us have been fortunate to provide that help to one another, together continuing to seek and find, outside, our health, connection and growth. Through our various pursuits we hope to pay a little of that help forward to others.
“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than [s]he seeks.” - John Muir
We also hope to pay back some small part of what our experiences on the land and in the sea have given to us. While contemporary eco-psychology has expanded our public consciousness of the myriad benefits we derive from time in nature, there is nothing new in this understanding, which dates back to naturalists such Leopold, Muir and beyond. Similarly, those same pioneers of conservation observed that it is only through building human relationships with the land (and, for we coastal dwellers, the sea), that we will develop a sense of stewardship and responsibility for these places and for their conservation. Doing so, building such relationships of familiarity and understanding, comes only through time in the wild (as opposed to on it, as Muir described). And, if we’re going to get into Nature, if we’re going to build relationships with it, doesn’t it make the most sense to get into and connected with our nearby wild? That’s our approach; and, for us, that’s Vancouver Island - a place we hold dear, and for which we hope to be the best possible ambassadors and advocates.
“Storytelling is a very old human skill that gives us an evolutionary advantage. If you can tell young people how you kill an emu, acted out in song or dance, or that Uncle George was eaten by a croc over there, don't go there to swim, then those young people don't have to find out by trial and error.” - Margaret Atwood
The power of connection and transformation that can be found in stories well told is without question. Through our stories, and the living of them, we hope first to connect our children to the world around them, and to raise them to be both self- and other-aware within this wide and wild world. We hope also, as we continue our own process of learning and development, to play some small role in helping others connect to their wild places outside, to the wild spaces that exist within each of us, and to the community of people who share our values and the experiences we treasure. Experiences, ultimately, that have the power to change the world.
“Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will [change] the world is ultimately a personal one.” - Marianne Williamson
This is ours. This is a State of Wild. We’re glad you stopped by for a visit.