I’ve been trying to find the right words to explain what happened when we got to Whistler. The right words to describe the moments leading up to us cancelling the #soulfindingcycle. But I doubt I will find the right words, so I’ll use these for now…
We left on a very long bus ride with plans to start our adventure across Canada in Whistler, BC. Excitement grew with each passing province, and became unbelievably real when we started to see mountains.
We made it to Whistler in one piece, still friends and very much ready to tackle our challenge. Whistler is absolutely breathtaking and felt like the perfect place to start. We planned to stay a day in the Village. We loaded up all out gear, ate some lunch and headed for the trails. Very early into the bike trip I felt this annoying pressure on my heart. I told myself it was likely from 2.5 days on a bus, with terrible food and lack of sleep, coupled with a major change in altitude. I pushed on, keeping the pain to myself.
After a full day of biking around and touring through the Village we decided to head out and find a campsite for the night, we picked up food and headed out into the forest. We were eaten alive by mosquitoes and trying desperately to set up an “easy” tent, all this put a massive strain on both of us, as we tried to decide what the best plan of attack was. But it was too much, the nagging pain on my heart had progressively gotten worse throughout the day and was now, almost unbearable.
I was overwhelmed with emotion as the reality of the situation set in. I knew before embarking that my undiagnosed hyperthyroid issues could potentially put a wrench in our epic plan as #soulfindinggingers.
As many of you know, I fainted at work on April 1, knocking out my favourite tooth and putting me in a hospital for almost a week. The early conclusion was that I had hyperthyroidism, a disease that runs in my family. It causes my heart to race, over works my metabolism and weakens my seemingly fragile immune system. A chain reaction of unfortunate events, lasting two months, caused me to wonder whether my dream might have to be put on hold.
But my mother taught me to be a fighter, to believe in what I wanted and to go for it with everything I had. Although to be fair this trip scared her half to death and she tried her darnedest to change my mind, thinking only of my health and well being. But despite her motherly instincts she knew I needed to do what I needed to do and supported me fully!
Well, she was right. In that moment just outside the mosquito infested forest as I clutched my chest, looking at the sad state of our campsite, I prepared myself for the worst and for the conversation I needed to have with Hayden.
I left home on a bus to the west with every intention and that feeling in my gut that we would be successful. But you can only push yourself so far before the pieces start to crumble and blur. I made way too many promises to family and loved ones that I would put my health first and be mindful of my body. That same ready-to-go feeling I had leaving Kitchener was the same something’s-not-right feeling the heart pain had caused.
So after much discussion and debate, weighing all of our options, we called off the trip, devastated, but sure that there was no other way. The sureness I felt was undeniable, it just wasn’t worth the risk of being somewhere in the middle of nowhere, up shits creek without a paddle. Luckily for us, Canada isn’t going anywhere, like my mama’s husband put it, “this is not one of those once in a lifetime experiences!”
It took me a day to come to terms with my decision as the fear of failure and the ridicule of those who already doubted our success set in. We were graciously put up in the amazing Blackcomb Lodge (thank you so so so much to Mr. Brett Allan) for a much needed night with a bed and warm shower, I work up feeling this new sense of clarity. I didn’t fail, or prove the naysayers right, I gave it my all and tried my hardest despite many reasons to not even start.
I left Whistler with no regrets, a new found respect for Mother Nature and a whole list of life lessons about beauty, people, love, friendship, vastness, the word HUGE, and myself! These six days we’ve spent riding a Greyhound were absolutely worth it (although, I will never do this again!)!
I want to THANK all of the amazing people who supported me from the very beginning, to everyone who showed concern and love, to my work family for making leaving very hard, to my friends and family for reminding me what unconditional means, to the people who opened their hearts and wallets to support me on this journey, and to the man with the biggest heart, Hayden’s dad - Brett Allan, for giving us the opportunity to fully enjoy where we were and allow us to come back home in one piece!
I have never felt so loved by so many, and I can’t wait to come home and share my experience with you all! But promise me you’ll keep the “I told you so’s” to yourself!
To getting healthy, getting answers, and trying again next year!
All my love and adoration,
Born and raised in New Orleans, Frank Relle takes us round his home town in these hauntingly atmospheric nightscapes. Frank uses long exposures and some serious lighting—mounted on stands sometimes three stories high—and works with city authorities to shut down street lights during his shoots.
Hayden and I have been planning an epic bike ride across Canada for the last 11 months, and a recent fainting spell at work left us wondering if we’d be able to take off on our adventure.
I spent almost a week in the hospital with an uncontrollably high heart-rate, pneumonia and two broken front teeth. I underwent a myriad of tests preparing for worst case answers: a blood clot in my heart or lungs.
Thankfully my high heart-rate was related by hyperthyroidism, a condition that runs in my family and something I never knew I had. The cause of my fainting remains to be unknown, and am still awaiting an actual diagnosis (getting in to see a specialist is no easy feat).
Most of my savings for this trip were unexpectedly spent on fixing my teeth: appointments, consultations, a root canal and a temporary bond to hide the “hillbilly-ness.”
Any help, support or donations would be be the most awesome thing to come out of 2014! Thank you for taking the time to read and assist however possible!
Want to help me raise some money for my epic bicycle across Canada? Check out my #gofundme page to see what’s it’s all about!
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