Last week’s stay at Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia, marked more than 60 days on this summer’s road trip. It was the first stop where we took time to relax. We used the next two weeks to blossom a bud that was really tight. There were no major events scheduled at Cranbrook, British Columbia or Seattle and Long Beach, Washington. Relaxation came slowly at first, but finally one afternoon on isolated Long Beach, we blossomed. Deborah declared “I am totally relaxed.” And I absolutely agreed.
Cranbrook, British Columbia
From Fairmont Hot Springs, we headed south for about an hour to Cranbrook, British Columbia and the St. Eugene Resort. As we drove, we quickly left the Columbia River Valley at Canal Flats to follow the Kootenay River. Here, the two river systems are less than a mile apart, separated by a flat piece of land. Somehow, they flow in opposite directions for nearly 1,000 combined miles before finally joining at Castlegar British Columbia.
St. Eugene Casino and Golf Resort
St. Eugene is a casino, golf, and RV resort on the banks of the St. Mary River, a large tributary of the Kootenay. It is a peaceful place in the river valley about five miles north of Cranbrook. There aren’t railroads with train noise, and you need to be going there to get there. We began to relax while playing two rounds of golf and spending one short and successful visit at the casino.
Crossing the Border
Crossing the border and returning to the US proved more difficult than entering Canada. Canada provided a simple list of rules on the internet. Follow that and you whiz through. Approaching the US border at Roosville, there were no other vehicles. I slowly eased BAM through the narrow lane between large steel posts and mounted cameras. I was pleasantly greeted and informed we had been randomly selected for a search. How random can it be when there are no other vehicles in sight? I think they were bored and happy to have a chance to exercise authority. BAM is a house on wheels. I was worried this could take hours.
We were instructed to pull into a staging area and wait for a border agent. At least there weren’t any other cars, trucks, or motorhomes to maneuver around. It is very awkward when a stranger enters BAM. It is magnified when he has a badge and a gun and is giving orders. When I started to stand up, I was immediately commanded to sit down. This encounter was not friendly at the get-go, and it quickly took a turn for the worse.
What Do You Have to Declare?
After a couple of questions from the border patrol officer, Deborah pointed out that she had not been able to find a list of dos and don’ts on the internet for entering the US. He said that’s because he has the list and he would conduct the questions. The first question was, “Do you have any fruit?”
“One or two apples,” I replied.
“OK,” he said as he opened the refrigerator, “Which is it? 1 or 2? You have to be specific. If you are wrong, there will be a $300 fine, and I will be required to confiscate the apples.”
We got through the refrigerator test and next, he commanded that one of BAM’s slides be moved out so he could look into the pantry. He wanted to inspect the two boxes of Rice-A-Roni we had declared. I certainly would not want to bring down the US rice industry by bringing in less than 14 ounces of the stuff—still sealed and packaged in the original boxes we had placed in our cart at a Safeway in Boise, Idaho six weeks prior.
Last year, it was in search for dill. This year, it was rice. I seem to have trouble getting from Canada back into the US. Responding to the agent, I raised my hands and declared, “I’m going to reach down and start the engine (required to move the slides). Then I am going to get up and walk toward you to the switches for the slide-outs which you are standing next to. Is that Okay?”
Back in the US
This guy had an edge. It didn’t feel like we were from the same country. Apparently on this day, he didn’t just need something to do, he needed serious recognition of his authority. I would like to think he could have properly judged us and easily done his job without the intimidation. Ultimately, there were no fines, nothing was confiscated, and we were back in the US.
Long Beach, Washington
Seattle gave us four days of big-city amenities and time with our daughters and grandsons before heading to the Washington coast for a week at Long Beach, Washington. This peninsula is called Long Beach because it is located on the longest continuous beach in the world. Unlike almost all other beaches in the US, Long Beach has no houses. It is so flat that the tide that goes out more than a quarter mile. There are large grass-covered dunes on the inland side the entire length of the beach. After a hike, it is difficult to find the correct path back through the dunes. We had a distinctive marker. Other markers were equally creative.
The beach starts at Cape Disappointment, where the Columbia River enters the Pacific Ocean. It runs north for 24 miles with a 100,000-year mixture of Pacific sand and Columbia River silt. It creates a firm substance that retains moisture and allows cars to freely drive on it. We took an 18-mile cruise one evening without reaching either end.
Our home for the week was Pacific Holiday RV Resort. BAM was parked just steps from a quarter-mile path through the dunes leading to the beach. It was early August, and we heard our hometown, Phoenix Arizona, reached 115 degrees one day.
For the week in Long Beach, it never exceeded 67 degrees. Perfect motorcoach weather. We caught up on work and slowly wound down. Twice each day we walked the beach and only once left BAM or the beach the entire week, for a dinner at the Bridgeview Bistro in Astoria.
Living a Risk Blossoming Life
Risk Blossoming is about breaking out of the bud and blossoming into something new and beautiful. During this week in Long Beach, we realized that the tightest bud we had, the one we had not allowed to blossom, was the one leading to rest and true relaxation. But somehow we had broken through this barrier. I knew I was there the afternoon Deborah made her declaration. It is an euphoric relaxation, and I’m enjoying it so much I’m having trouble going back.
And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom. — Anais Nin
During these past weeks, I selected a book to read from the seven books I brought with me. Prior to this, I had felt that I had been too busy or had too much to do to read. I chose Dr. Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection (buy on Amazon).In this book, Brown defines 10 “guideposts” for wholehearted living. These guideposts define what the “wholehearted” focus is to cultivate a wholehearted life and what they need to “let go.”
As I analyzed Brown’s 10 guideposts for wholehearted living, I quickly realized that I had only about 2 or 3 of the 10 guidelines in my own life. I truly have some work to do and things to “let go” before I can experience a wholehearted life!
However, the one guidepost that smacked me in the face was Guidepost #7: Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth.
According to Brown, the main barrier for adults in North America is being able to rest and play, that exhaustion has become a status symbol, and productivity has become a symbol of self-worth.
I totally get that. Being a driven and motivated person, I often feel the need to be doing something that “provides value.” For me, it is hard to sit and relax when there are things I know that I could or should be doing. In fact, there have been times that I viewed the need to sleep as a waste of time. Obviously, I have some work to do!
Letting go of these ideas and old values is not going to be easy. For me, it is going to take an intentional and focused effort. However, the last few weeks of play and rest have filled me with a new feeling. It’s what I declared to Tim that afternoon in Long Beach: I am totally relaxed. Now that I have felt it, I need to remember and embrace how I got there.
I need to remember that play and rest do not mean that I am lazy, weak, or unproductive; they mean that I value my health and well-being and want to fully experience the present.
Play and Rest
The opportunity to play and rest took many forms these past weeks. Now I understand that play and truly rejuvenating rest require that we are fully present and actively engaged. Personally, play for me involves some goofing around; it involves silly conversation and humor. Your own enjoyable, playful activities are subjective and are as unique as you and the person with whom you play and relax.
The activities that have led to my feeling of being so relaxed have included lots of play and rest. Tim and I have been able to play with our grandkids, we have laughed together at the silly games at a casino, we have put down our cell phones and had some wonderful conversations as we traveled in BAM down the road, and we have walked, talked, and laughed on the world’s longest beach. And right now, at this very moment, I am totally relaxed.
“Wholeheartedness is like a North Star.
You can never get there.
But you know when you’re heading the right way.”
– Brene Brown