When my girlfriend came back from the Chilcotin Holiday Guest Ranch in late 2015 and showed me all the picture she took from the breath-taking nature and wild-life of Canada, I was amazed and stunned. It quickly became clear that I wanted to experience this myself. Unfortunately, it took us until summer 2017 to find time to go back to the place that I didn’t know, but she had totally fallen in love with. Although, she has told me a lot of things, I have to admit that when we finally arrived, I was not even prepared for the three weeks of new experiences that lied ahead of me.
Already on our way to the ranch, I was sitting in the car with my eyes wide open, staring into the beautiful sights of nature that I could already see. We arrived at the ranch and basically directly dived into saddling the horses and preparing for a ride in the afternoon. I’ve never been a horse person before, although I always admired them as beautiful and majestic animals. This ride was my first encounter of being outside my comfort zone and that with only being there for a couple of hours. I was nervous, but also very interested about how this would turn out.
During those first days at the ranch, I noticed something that I’ve never experienced before: I was just there in the moment and it was enlightening. In my daily routines working as in the IT sector, I am very much focused on what is upcoming and to plan the days and weeks ahead. I immediately felt re-connected with myself. Another thing I experienced, especially during those first days, was that I felt slowed down, relaxed not matter what I was participating in, like shooing the horses for the upcoming trip.
My girlfriend and I were happy to go a 6-day pack trip. During this time, I was absolutely stunned by the beauty of the meadows and the power of the mountain creeks while riding to an alpine lake which we would be using as a base for further exploration of nature and wild-life. Being in the saddle for several hours a day and being responsible to take care of my gorgeous horse Nadila, who I believe was able to form a bond with, was again something totally out of my comfort zone. The fact that actually do like to work with horses is something I never thought would be true for me – although I probably never will become a good rider myself.
Regardless, I learned that being out of your comfort zone can be actually one of the greatest things to experience. For me, this trip actually showed me that taking a little risk in your life can actually strengthen your personal development. Interestingly enough for me, my risk was stepping out the door and re-connect to the nature.
After being back, I actually started striving to change on a professional level. I had been thinking about developing into a slightly different direction, but before my drive to do so was limited by the fear of getting out of my comfort zone. This has changed and actually, I managed to achieve that goal within one year after leaving the ranch, as I had no fear anymore blocking me.
So, looking back at the trip, I discovered that being out in the wild and free re-connecting with nature is exactly what I need in order to relax and ground myself again and also to have the time to reflect on myself, my goals and wishes.
Before our trip to the ranch, I thought that this would be a once in a life-time experience and that I actually might not want to do it again. However, I was so wrong, but acknowledging this to myself is one of the most important lessons learned within the past years of my life, as it provides me with the chance to develop and grow as a person without letting me being blocked by prejudices.
Oliver, 30, Germany