I am in essence a navigator. My first sailing instructor brought this to my attention one morning on the ocean while I was learning to find my way around the ocean. "You're a natural navigator, you have an instinct for wanting to see what's going on in the surroundings before you brush you're teeth. You should pursue that." With those words I realised that I had been navigating my whole life, collecting maps, watching the sky and stars since I was a child, fascinated by all of it. I had a vivid imagination as a child and grew up on quad bikes and horses roaming around and camping in unusual places on our family property. It was the perfect childhood. I had intended to become a Park Ranger working in the great outdoors and environment but the short of it is that I ended up in a Radiology department in dark rooms looking at MRI images for 12 hours a day ... that's another story. My world became, over the years smaller, much smaller - through things that I didn't need, life clutter. Things that I thought would make me happy, things that other people had, things that I was expected to have, things that made me feel protected with comfort. I had stopped growing, searching and exploring. I'd stopped navigating and had become a collector. I was lost ... and navigators aren't supposed to get lost.
In May 2015 my life almost ended, twice. In May 2015 I was given an opportunity to evolve. The following 12 months would be the most difficult, testing and uncertain times I had ever faced - to navigate back to my place, where I was performing my best. I knew one thing. I would not go back to the place where I had come from. This meant challenging every aspect of my perceptions about myself, my potential and personal performance. I had a big goal and to achieve it would mean giving up everything I had ever worked for and start from the beginning. My journey of a thousand miles had started with a single step. Create a new horizon for myself. Become and outdoor leader and live with simplicity and integrity. It started with an application for an invitational internship with leading outdoor education company, leaving my house full of belongings in a shipping container, buying a $29 Aldi tent and living on the banks of the Coxs River in the Blue Mountains without water or electricity. I’ve opened that container twice since May 2015. The beginning of the importance of myself again had started. I had almost no money, no car and at the time no ability to drive due to medical restrictions. It was also the most exciting time of my life - the walls were down and I could see again, everything with much more clarity.
What I hadn't planned on was what I would do when I got to that horizon. Late last year after working in the field for 12 months, sleeping on the ground and under a tarp for almost 300 days I celebrated all of my achievements with a month long explore of Tasmania, a holiday. It started with a big bang ... that's another story.
Tasmania is stunning and being out there in the wilderness by myself, more than qualified and prepared to take care of myself was something that I doubted I could have ever done before. To solo hike these remote regions carries it's own set of risks and to be able to make sound judgements about your own survival in extreme and remote places is something I've become very proud of. Yet, I was really uncomfortable out here and being comfortable with being uncomfortable is something I always encourage of myself and my participants in the adventure activities I run. This time it was different, unsettling. Looking at the stunning mountains on the horizons in the Southwest National Park I realised that I had reached my horizon. That journey had taken me to places that I'd never dreamed I be capable of going as far as my potential, but I was there and now I needed a new horizon. I also realised that while on that journey a lot of my personal exploration had been things I needed to do to get here, and this time the horizon would need to shift as I walked towards it. I actually for the first time in almost 3 years felt lost again with nowhere to go …. And navigators hate getting lost.
So the journey begins again, to see what I find next.
A friend in Tasmania with some insightful knowledge suggested a website, a place to store my things. My important things like what I find when I go out exploring, my knowledge – I don’t have any other conventional home. A place to negotiate where my horizon might be, depending on where I might be. A place to furnish with photographs of extraordinary places. A place to throw out my waypoints, stepping stones to new opportunities and directions. I live and work with a compass in my pocket but I have a tattoo on my wrist “TRUE NORTH”. Magnetic north changes depending on where you are in the world, but there is only one true north. This site and blog is about my continuous navigation towards my true north through personal variation, challenge and seeking new perspectives.
@chasinrainbowz via Instagram