I had a professor in law school who loved oxymorons. Oxymorons are a figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side. Some of his favorites were “old-news”, “icy-hot” and “student-teacher”. Now, thanks to the global pandemic, my professor can add terms like “social-distancing” and “alone-together” to his list of favorites.
Many of us spent our time isolated and alone during the pandemic. We distanced ourselves from others, and became less social in the process. Airports became ghost towns. Posts of airplanes carrying single digit passengers appeared in our social media feeds. Our idea of traveling became a trip to Target across town.
For most, the pandemic did anything but inspire dreams. For some, however, including myself, it did just that. Maybe it was the idea of carpe diem, life is short, if not now, when? Or maybe, it provided me with some hope, that life, eventually would regain some normalcy. Whatever the reason, my desire to bring my dream to fruition, climaxed smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic describes how the universe buries jewels deep inside us and it’s our mission, during our lifetime, to unearth these treasures. Through this creative process we will, hopefully, find our purpose.
Recovery Run Adventures was my hidden jewel.
My vision for the company was born from the three things I am most passionate about; travel, running and connection. If we learned anything from the pandemic it’s that we are social beings. We are not meant to be alone. Now, more than ever, we need to connect with others. Technology has perhaps given us a false sense of connection. You can only stare at a screen for so long, before you realize that it’s actual in-person connection you crave. Another human being sitting across from you; sharing a meal; going on a run together. Things we may have taken for granted a couple years ago, we now absorb like dry sponges.
Our first adventure would be to Iceland during the summer of 2021. The Icelandic landscapes are shaped by the forces of nature. From black sand beaches, to snow-capped mountains, to vast volcanic deserts. Its nature remains unspoiled. Widely known as the “Land of Fire and Ice” the extreme contrasts in its terrain are perhaps what make it so captivating.
The women who registered for this first adventure were as diverse as the Icelandic landscape itself. One thing we all had in common was the desire for adventure. Although many of us had never met in person, an incredible thing happens when you share an experience as great as travel. Strangers become friends. Within moments of meeting, we had already bonded by stripping down to enjoy the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. Nothing cements a friendship quite like this.
Throughout the week we visited jaw dropping waterfalls, spouting geysers, untouched golden beaches, rubbed noses with Icelandic horses, and ate more chocolate than we thought humanly possible. When I close my eyes, however, and think back to our time in Iceland, it’s the sounds I recall the most. Early morning runs sprinkled with conversation. Waterfalls cascading over moss covered mountains. Awestruck silence at the beauty we were witnessing. Back of the bus whispers after a day spent exploring. Applause after completing a half marathon, even after it was canceled. And through it all…laughter…always laughter.
Yes, the landscape was beyond what any Instagram post can portray or even any artist could capture, but it’s these women’s voices that I’ll remember the most. Nine women who took a chance to rediscover themselves, the world around us, and fulfill our pandemic dreams.