Canadian Jillian Brown, 30, is on 7,600-kilometre, seven-month expedition from Oregon to Florida, despite having a broken foot.
The Squamish-based paddler is about three months into the trip with partner Martin Trahan.
Beginning training for our 7 month journey today. With the sun beaming down upon me and a cool breeze gusting off the ocean, nipping at my ears, any possible worry I may have had, quickly floats alway. I am instantly reminded of why I love this, and why I must explore further, push harder and connect deeper. I laugh as the curious seals follow along, snorting and disappearing to pop up again on a different side of the boat. The king fisher dives from branch to branch and his blue feathers glisten as he passes through rays of the sun. I pull into shore and look back. Excitement comes over me as I try to envision each mornings new view, impossible beauty is all that comes to mind. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” #heraclitus • • • #coursingthroughamerica #stohlquist #vsslvoyager #happyplace #explorecanada #explorebc #exploresquamish #paddlecanada #canada150 #canadian #canadiantraveller #unrulydreamers #selfie #photooftheday #mec_nation #mec #valhallakingdom #otvadventures #hitcase #waterflowpaddling #kayaking #canoekayakmag #kayakadventures #adventuretime
The two adventurers are battling upstream currents, long portages and hope to arrive in November at some point.
On their second day of portaging, Brown suffered a serious fracture to her foot and couldn’t wear her boots anymore.
A few days ago, her feet were almost too injured to go on. “It was the hardest moment,” she said. “I held back the tears as best I could as I turned to Martin, ‘I can’t, I can’t do the walk today. My boots, I can’t get them on.’
“My feet too swollen and in too much pain my boots would know longer go on. I was devastated. I knew I couldn’t get away with wearing my crocs to portage. The fracture in my right foot had caused me to compensate with my left. They both swelled with the force and began to rub. The blisters huge and now oozed with infection. Two toes, black and felt as though hammers had come down upon them.
“Each morning step I told myself, ‘I can do this, keep going, it will all heal once back in the canoe.’ It was the painful truth at that moment, though, my body, my feet could no longer keep going, no matter what I told myself.”
Hours spent paddling each day opens up my mind to a world of thought. Everything from future goals, day dreaming of where I see my life not in years but at the end of this journey. I reflect back upon my past. The experiences that created this person, the failures that opened my eyes to a world of sharing, and motivating. I think often on hearing PTSD for the first time and I change my mind from focusing on the hurt to what it has instilled in me since. Perseverance, Trust, Strength, and Determination, this is my PTSD, this is the beaming light that came from the darkness. “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” #shakespeare • • • Official partners @canoekayakmag and @nrsweb Captured with @gopro #hero6 #mec #nrs #canoe #canoeing #canoecamping #womenwhoexplore #womenempowerment #womenempoweringwomen #selfmagazine #bendingbranches #novacraftcanoe #otvadventures #redbulladventure #natgeoadventure #missouririver #paddlinglife #rain #tetrakey #womenwhopaddle #outdoorwomen #explorer #outsidemagazine #outdoorliving #mydiscovery
Brown had intended to do the trip alone, but met Trahan a few days before leaving after his trip fell apart.
“Since I was young I found solace in nature,” said Brown. “On hot summer days I would wander, barefooted, over to the marsh by our cabin. Smiling alone as I watched the turtles plop off their perches into the waters.
“I’d run gleefully chasing toads and frogs pouncing to hold them and say hi. Many rainy evenings I’d be found at the end of our dock with my fishing pool casting for hours quietly enjoying.
“I’ve shared space and time with the tiniest of critters to biggest of creatures, finding nothing but pure love, curiosity, and peace. And I’ve let many winds blow my hair wildly and carry my laughter away upon it.”
Their trip will end on the shores of the Florida Keys in the Atlantic Ocean over 7,500 kilometres from the starting point.
Follow the journey with the pair’s words and photos here.
Maybe we are just crazy. We hear it so often when we share our story of the expedition and our goals. But to me, it’s the ones sitting behind a desk, watching others follow their passions on social media, wishing they were able to do the same. Following in the footsteps and allowing societies pressures to make money, to have a family, to go to work each day and go home each night overwhelm them. To some this is happiness and passion and love. To me though these things come from, fulfilling our innate craving to explore, to show off this world, to show off a passion, and to teach others to have courage to go after it. Leave one side of crazy behind to accept another. Life is full of a whole lot of silliness really, and we may as well be creating our own. “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” #alberteinstein • • • Official partners @canoekayakmag and @nrsweb #coursingthroughamerica #silliness #fjallraven #theweatherchannel #vssl #valhallakingdom #neverstopexploring #hitcase #laugh #explorers #neverstopexploring #unrulydreamers #expedition #exped #mec #outside_project #otvadventures #outdoorwomen #outdooradventures #campinglife #campingcollective #fun #crazies #instagood #adventureculture #mec_nation #rain #womenwhoexplore #womenempowerment #mydiscovery