311865_2461868151278_1389421133_2933718_1898007466_n_jpg_t285 (1)I was recently reminded of a favourite Mark Twain quote:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Throughout September I've been reassured that it's not only acceptable, but, really admirable to do just that--Explore. Dream. Discover.

I must say that I've been pretty lucky over the years. I've met some remarkable people as I've hiked the Rocky Mountain trails of Alberta, camped on the pebble beaches of Vancouver Island and navigated the lakes and rivers of Ontario.

Over the past few weeks, however, I've had the opportunity to work with a truly amazing group of outdoor enthusiasts. Brought together by ALIVE Outdoors, whose mission is to inspire personal growth, self-reliance, courage, cooperation, leadership and self-esteem through experiential outdoor education, the 100 or so instructors employed by ALIVE this fall were (are?) truly the cream of the crop when it comes to Ontario's outdoor educators. I felt truly blessed to not only meet, but to learn from these people.

I spent the last week in Algonquin Park guiding a group of young ladies from Branksome Hall in Toronto on a short autumn canoe trip. Under the expert guide of 27 instructors, groups of girls were taken from the comfort of their Rosedale homes and brought north to discover the wonders (and wondrous it was!) of autumn in Algonquin park.

Following the program, the ALIVE instructors facilitated a gratitude circle for the students. During this time, individual were asked to think about and to share what they are most grateful for in their lives.

I can, without the slightest of doubts, say that I am truly grateful for the people I have met over the past four weeks. Although we spent only a few short weeks (and some, only a few short days) together, I have kicked off the Fall of 2011 with more inspiration than I know what to do with. I'd like to take a moment to thank each and every one of the people who have touched my life throughout September.

As October looms, I have a new-found excitement for the life of unpredictability that I lead. To have met so many other people who believe that having a long term plan means until December, who aren't afraid to give up the security of a 9 to 5 job to follow their passions and who are living their lives wholeheartedly was much more than I had anticipated when I signed my four week contract with ALIVE.

It was always a goal of mine to use this blog to help share the stories of the extraordinary people I meet on my journeys. I look forward to sharing if but a few of those stories in the coming weeks.