Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kayak Questing?

In olden days, knights were said to go out on quests. The search for the Grail, it was often called. In these stories, the hero would set off, usually by himself, leaving the known world and the old ways behind in search of renewal. There were monsters to fight, labyrinths to explore and endless ordeals to overcome before that missing something was found and the knight would be transfigured, finally bringing something of value back to both himself and ideally, to the known world as well.

Well, it seems that kayakers often go out on quests too. These are the adventurers who head out searching for something about themselves. They seek answers for the questions their lives have become. They hope to return with some new knowledge which will give them the peace and happiness they seem to be missing in their lives. In a way these people feel that to go out into the wilds is to find the answers to all the questions within themselves.

Does it work? Are these people more enlightened than the rest of us? Do they get their questions answered? Are their lives changed for the better? My guess is no, not really. Some may think so, but the ones I know seem to be troubled by the same questions they had before they left. A few were actually worse off, having returned embittered or even more confused by all their travels! None I've yet to meet have brought back much more for the rest of us than perhaps a good story.

Still, I recommend we all go on quests. You see, I'm wondering whether I've got enough good stories lined up to get me through the long winter up ahead! Besides, the answers to my questions and doubts are most likely locked up inside my head somewhere and that's where I ought to be searching if I really want the answers! That leaves me free to kayak, just for the shear joy of it.



clairesgarden said...

my quest would be 'a good nights sleep'
a good days paddle leads to a satisfying tiredness!

Silbs said...

Michael, you touch on the fundamental issue of whether some one on a "quest" is paddling toward or away from something. For many, an extended paddle (or, for that matter, a day paddle) is time away from the day to day...what ever that might be for them. Alas, the warm heap of woes is waiting ashore patiently for their return.

Richard Hayes said...

In terms of paddling, we decided a long time ago that the journey, and not the destination, is what it's all about. We've never done a major expedition, and probably won't; while we have the greatest respect for those who undertake epic voyages, we have no desire to emulate them.
There are, for us at least, no answers to life's major questions out on the water - just the sheer pleasure of being out there, feeling the water underneath us, seeing the critters, studying the shores. And for us, that's enough.