There’s something dangerously serene about canoeing, and as a group we fell in love with it. We realized this not during those few days spent paddling until our muscles were worn, but after. After was when we saw that four days can quickly begin to feel like one, with the perfect mesh of relaxed and focused mindsets.
The first day had some fleeting discouragement as some of us realized that our canoeing experience may have slipped away through the years. Needless to say, the beginning hours of paddling felt torturous. We truly wondered if we would make it through the full four days. It took all our strength, focus, and vast array of grimaced faces to hold our own.
Seemingly, a lot of us were out of our element. But by the absolute grace of God, four or five km started to just whisper by. It soon became obvious why Outtatown chose this to be the first activity. It was the perfect place to slow down and to grow as a community. It was a natural conversation piece, and out of it, some nice light hearted talks emerged alongside deeper “get-to-know-you” moments. It was also awesome to just work through the many emotions and thoughts a lot of us wouldn’t normally have time to process.
Vulnerability was a word that we talked about often in our group. It ended up encapsulating the beautiful part of tripping. The lack of showers, mirrors, and any sense of time brought simplicity to our normally complicated lives. Nobody was guarded anymore. When adjusting to any new group, you want to put your best foot forward. We took that mindset to heart as we talked about our theme of barriers, and it triggered deeper conversations with strangers that were quickly becoming friends.
As we broke down our own barriers, we became vulnerable and our respect for each other grew. We saw that persevering and being willing to seal our comforts away in a ziplock bag gave us a gratification like no other. So while it was tough, it was still the perfect palate cleanser to prepare us for all that Outtatown has in store for us. Worship and community can happen wherever your heart is placed, and I think we were better for allowing it to be placed on the open water.
Written by: Kelsey Bonney