How to Become a Traveler and Adventurer
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
A three-act story detailing our background, the beginnings of Bekenyn and the wonder of adventure travel.
Act I: The Encounter
I’ve never been an athlete. I grew up as an artsy bookworm and city-ish girl who never climbed mountains other than in her head. I exercised a bit, on and off, but never made a lifestyle of it. In all honesty, I was too busy daydreaming and playing make-believe to think much about exercise.
Once I was older, I sometimes was curious about certain activities or sports. Could I see myself doing them? Only in my wildest dreams. Other times, if I dared to share my thoughts with people, many would emphasize how hard "x" was or how much training would be required to do it. I allowed them to convince me that because they couldn’t see me doing it, I couldn’t. You may know what I mean.
Self-Worth and Body Image
Let’s get something out of the way. As a teenager, I read, I painted, I smoked and I had a sweet tooth (I still do). I loved my teenage years except for the weight I gained and how I saw myself. In this new era of body positivity, I look back at my old photos and I genuinely can’t see why I was so self-conscious. I wish I could go back and upload these new notions to my teenage brain, Matrix-like...
What really happened is that once I turned 19, life changed dramatically. I moved abroad alone for two years to work as an Au Pair in the US (a live-in nanny, part of a cultural exchange program). Once I began traveling alone and seeing what I could do, my confidence grew. It took me a while, but in by early 20s I had learned to not tie my self-worth to my body. But is a topic for another post.
Dexter's Teachings and My First Outdoor Sports
I met Dexter over a decade ago. He came from an athletic and competitive family from a rural area in the UK. Our upbringings couldn’t have been more different. As an ultra-runner, he had experienced the outdoors in a way I never had.
Things aligned so that I moved to Europe a year after meeting him to work as an Au Pair in France. I left France after nine months and traveled to the UK to volunteer in farms and gardens. That’s when I tried trail running and open water swimming for the first time.
I had occasionally shuffled along short trails in Rock Creek Park when I lived in Washington, D.C., but this was different. I jogged local trails in each location I stayed in and participated in my first organized 5K and 10K runs. Before then, I didn’t know how accessible short races were and how welcoming the running community was.
As for open water swimming, I squeezed myself into a wetsuit and swam in a crystal clear lake for the first time in my life.
ACT II: The Awakening
How We Started Weaving Our Life
After four years of long-distance relationship (tell me about it), Dexter moved to Mexico and we started a life together. I missed the landscapes and safety of Europe and the US, so we set out to find places in Mexico where we could be in nature, explore and feel safe... There weren’t many.
A New Beginning
Once Dexter’s Spanish reached an intermediate level we enrolled in a basic mountaineering course at my university. We had two goals:
1) To learn about safe and accessible outdoor locations near Mexico City
2) To prepare for a hiking trip to Canada scheduled a year later.
Unfortunately, we soon learned that the rule of thumb in Mexico is that outdoors locations are rarely 100% free of crime... As for the hiking trip, neither of us had ever done something like that before and I refused to go without an inkling of basic survival skills. After all, if I learned something from Hunger Games is that exposure can kill as easily as a knife.
Act III: The Beckoning
The Complications of Adventuring
The mountaineering course opened our eyes to a new world and possible milestones. However, we also witnessed the difficulties of starting from scratch in a new line of sports. Finding concise, useful and inclusive information for absolute beginners was much harder than we thought. That’s how I first thought of compiling everything we were learning into a guide of sorts.
As Dexter and I began exploring more, we traveled to Canada for that month-long hiking trip (Bruce Trail, Ontario). A year later we traveled to Patagonia to hike the W Trek in Chile. Once again, we found limited information and a chance to fill the gaps.
We began researching future adventure trips and outdoors courses we could take abroad. It seemed like a new lifestyle was beginning to take shape. A lifestyle in which we would take advantage of the flexibility of my freelance writer career and Dexter's long school holidays to adventure around the world...
When Life Says "No"
Then, the year 2020 arrived...
... And 2021.
The highlight of those two years was finding our young Padawan hiding under a car on a cold, winter night.
As we transition into this new and bizarre post-pandemic era, the world seems to have regained an appreciation for the outdoors. But not everyone has been preparing for those adventures for years and hardly anyone wants to go on extreme and life-threatening expeditions. This is where Bekenyn comes in.
I want Bekenyn to be your beginner-friendly adventure travel guide. I want everyone to feel welcomed, valued and respected, regardless of their goals, limitations or fitness level. I believe that adventure is inclusive. If camping for the first time in a resort is something you would’ve never dreamed of doing, it’s your adventure and no one can say otherwise.
Regardless of the adventure, having as much knowledge as possible and being prepared in advance is vital to me. That’s why I’m sharing the courses we’re taking, channels we follow, and literature that’s been helpful. The resources will expand as our experiences do.
By sharing our growth, travels, and lessons, I hope you realize how accessible adventure travel is. If you do, this guide will fulfill its purpose of being your beckoning to a life of adventure.
Join me on this journey!