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Shauna Gayle Sharing my life's pleasures with you as I explore this beautiful world.

Muskoka 2014

CANADA | Wednesday, 29 October 2014 | Views [330]

What an experience...

Never have I ever...loved and hated a travel experience equally as much as I have this one. Spending the summer in Muskoka was supposed to be all fires, boat rides, sunshine and all things amazing! In reality, for three out of the five months I was not "happy" with the situation I was in. I attended five bonfires and went on a total of three boat rides. It rained EVERY SINGLE DAY for the month of July and every other day in June and August.  In fact, every time I called home, or visited, my grandmother expected that I would tell her I was coming home. Why I stayed...I honestly have no idea.

Typically, my travel experiences have had a pattern. Once I arrive in a new place, I instantly connect with amazing people and the geographic location. For the remainder of my trip, I am either head over heals for the place, a person/people, or a newly adopted activity. Upon departure, I am a hot blubbering mess due to the difficult good byes. This experience however, has not followed this pattern.

I ate, breathed, and played with work. It was all encompassing. Living on the property of my place of employment was truly a challenge for me. At first, I thought I would enjoy the two minute commute. I quickly realized that it would feel like I never left. I thought it would give me more time to play in the wilderness and to be one with nature. However, the reality of our rainy, cold summer, in combination with working 12-14 hour bar tending shifts resulted in completely losing my personal/work life balance. Every day blended into one, and one experience into the next. Working left me feeling drained and anti social, where by I then hibernated in my room.

Though I make it seem that for three months I didn't smile; this is not true. Throughout the discomfort of self-growth this summer, I found the beauty in the simplicity that Muskoka offers. The calming effect of living on a big beautiful lake, the nostalgia of hearing a loon call, the peacefulness that quiet offers, the changing of seasons, the changing colours of the leaves and of course, the invigorating effects that beautiful landscapes has on my soul. Throughout my hibernation I learned to play the Ukulele, which has completely fed my soul in a way that I have been longing for my whole life, cheesy I know...but it's true. This trip, I hosted more friends than I ever had in previous travel experiences, which helped to keep my grounded and sane in this work bubble I was living.

In month four, something happened... I started to surrender. I surrendered to my location, my employment, and myself. This meant that I let go of the expectations that I may previously had. It also meant that I stopped trying to fight how I felt about the experience I was having by accepting it.  Of course, naturally, once I did this, my whole experience shifted. My perspective on my daily life changed. My interactions with people became different, more meaningful, and fulfilling.

As this experience comes to an end, I find myself feeling grateful and reflective on the lessons learned. Here is what Muskoka has taught me:

-Music is one of the biggest parts of my life, sharing my admiration and love for it with someone is really special and important to me.
-Making music alone, or jamming with other people can be a transcending experience.
-The most beautiful connections come from the most unexpected places.
-Beer pong and flip cup, is not the sport for me.
-Perspective is EVERYTHING, it can be changed, and can make or break your experience.
-The people who you butt heads with the most, are most likely the people who you are most like, and in tern are pretty awesome, because you are awesome.
 -A good roommate is a gift from the universe. A good roommate who you become real friends with, is almost like winning the lottery.
- It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission (Take that as you will...I am still processing this one)

The amount of self growth that this summer has allowed, is quite remarkable. As you may know, self growth is not an easy process. It often feels uncomfortable and weird at first, but once you reach the other side, it all makes perfect sense and it totally worth it. I leave Muskoka, feeling grateful and ready to embark on a new journey; Central America.

Tags: canada, muskoka, ontario, work vacations


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