2016: Looking forward, looking back
My 2015 didn’t go anything like how I had planned it, but somehow, it all worked out OK…
I kicked off the year raft guiding on the Barron River in Cairns, Queensland. In my free time I was lucky enough to get out scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and to kayak the Russel River with friends.
After leaving tropical Cairns, I flew south to the Penrith white water course near Sydney, before heading to Canberra to paddle the Murrumbidgee river.
Moving on from Australia, I headed to New Zealand, to catch up with friends and paddle the Wairoa and Kaituna rivers. I finally had a chance to paddle the famous Tutea falls, with… some success. My first lap saw me missing the boof and getting away with it…
However, the second attempt went even worse, getting my 2015 swim out of the way early on in the year.
From New Zealand I flew to Switzerland and tried my hand at skiing. It turns out that I’m not a natural…
On my return to the UK I spent a few lazy weeks at home, whilst getting ready for the summer season. As much as I enjoy adventure travel, time spent at home with family and old friends is always welcome. A long weekend in North Wales with Hinckley Canoe Club was enough to scratch my paddling itch.
Whilst home I finally admitted to myself that I don’t climb as much as I used to. I always said that I would climb El Capitan in Yosemite for my 30th birthday, but the paddling bug has bitten me hard. Vague plans to paddle the paddle the Grand Canyon are starting to form instead and so I sold off the remainder of my climbing equipment. Sad times, but I feel like I’ll climb again one day.
Whilst home I had a job offer come through and had just enough time to get to my brother’s wedding before flying out again. I don’t get home often and so to see so many friends and family in one place was amazing.
I spent the summer season from May to November raft guiding in Japan, in the Hokkaido prefecture.
After six solid months of safety kayaking and rafting, my shoulder needed a rest and my mind needed a change. After a quick trip home to the UK to catch up with everyone, I started work as a snowmobile guide in Finnish Lapland, where I’ll stay until April. It’s been tough, but now in January the madness of the Christmas season is over and the sunlight will return soon. A perfect end to the year.
So what does 2016 hold in store?
April should bring a trip back to Nepal to sit the IRF raft instructor course on the Marsyangdi River, with the chance to get some personal paddling in South East Asia afterwards. Then my fate is in the hands of the Canadian government. If I get my working holiday visa, I hope to spend the summer rafting and kayaking on the Ottawa river. If not, plans B and C would be rafting in Thailand or Austria, but fingers crossed that the Canada visa comes through…
Hopefully, an Africa paddling trip is on the cards too. I have put off paddling the Nile for far too long now and so hope to get out to Uganda in the autumn, with a possible Zambezi trip tagged on as well.
Here’s to your 2016!