Oh, the Places You'll Go! is Dr. Seuss' last published book in his lifetime. It tells the story of a young boy who experiences many things and is eventually successful after lots of good and bad adventures. Why do we bring this up on our blog? Meet Alex Maggs:
Alex is a 23 years old office manager who grew up and still works in Centre Wellington. She is mostly like every other 23 year old: she is moving forward with her job, enjoys hanging out with friends, and watches Netflix when she relaxes. What separates her from the crowd though is she competed as part of team Canada at the 2017 ICF Freestyle Kayak World Championships in San Juan Argentina in November.
Now you may be wondering: what is freestyle kayaking? The short answer is, it is doing tricks in a kayak in a recirculating rapid. These tricks are then scored by judges who then will determine the winner. Now if doing tricks while keeping your boat upright in rushing water seems difficult to you, that's because it is. However, Alex has worked hard and earned the right to represent team Canada.
Unfortunately Alex didn't win but in talking with her she still said she had tons of fun and it would be a trip she wouldn't forget. Here are some of her reasons why:
1) The people:
The kayak community is a close knit group. Even before going, Alex was given an outpouring of support from the Guelph Kayak Club, her local club. When she got to Argentina, her teammates were just as supportive. They connected over having similar goals and journeys. Experienced competitors were helpful and gave great advice and everyone cheered excited when another teammate was competing. Even other countries, despite being competitors, made the event enjoyable, whether it was a kind word of encouragement, a helpful ride from the river, or loud cheers from the stands. Everyone bonded over their one shared interest: kayaking.
There was a lot to learn from the trip to Argentina. For many competitors, including Alex, it was their first time in Argentina. There was a new language to learn, new food to try, and new customs to learn. One of the first days in San Juan, the Canadian team decided that they would skip lunch to have lots of time on the river and have an early dinner after. When the team got back into town ready to eat, they were shocked to find that all the restaurants were closed and would not open until 8pm at the earliest. This was a hard lesson to learn that in Argentina most restaurants and shops close at around 1pm and do not open until the evening due to ciesta. To Alex, one of the most important lessons of the trip was one that she was able to give to others. Alex and other members of team Canada were given the opportunity to teach a local school about Canada and kayaking. Alex would later say that to her this was the most important part of the trip. Overall, whether given or received, the lessons really made the trip worth it.
Probably the most rewarding part of the trip was the experiences. Not only did Alex get to experience the thrill of world class competition, she got to do so while exploring a different country. This meant that she got to:
Eat great food
Enjoy great wine
Explore new places
Explore a different culture
Take in great sights
Alex has described her time in Argentina as the trip of a life time. It's these experiences that are the reason why.
Now you may be reading this and saying to yourself:"That's great for Alex, but what does this have to do with me?" Good question. Obviously we all can't compete at a world class level in a sport. However, we can all try something new to gain experience. When Alex started kayaking she never dreamed that it would be anything more than paddling trips at the local river. Fast forward to today and kayaking has given her one of the best experiences of her life. You'll never know the places you'll go...unless you try something new.
If you'd like to experience something new with us feel free to get in contact or follow us on social media.