Mountain Mama: What is a Soul Boater?

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Dear Mountain Mama,

Recently, I’ve heard people refer to themselves as soul boaters. What is a soul boater and why are people classifying themselves?




Dear Curious,

Some boaters go to the river to escape the treadmill of office life. The noise of 401ks, bank accounts, emails, phone calls, and to-do lists can distract us from the important stuff in life. Rivers provide a chance to connect with nature and the people we love.

The current doesn’t care about promotions or what degrees hang framed behind your desk. But the idea of measuring success against a yardstick is so ingrained in us that sometimes we try to quantify paddling. We determine whether a river day was good by the difficulty of rapids paddled or the lines taken.

Soul boaters wanted to redefine what it meant to be a boater. Their boating has nothing to do with first descents or hucking off a huge waterfall for a camera. Everyone loves an epic story about the crew that hacked their way down to a never-before-paddled river with a machete. But soul boaters aren’t impressed when those missions become more about bragging rights than the opportunity to live fully engaged in the present moment.

When boaters come to the river to get back to nature, all the rest of the noise surrounding kayaking falls away. Calling oneself a soul boater is a reminder to take full advantage of the present moment. The river provides us with the opportunity to live that moment well by becoming part of Mother Nature’s current. For soul boaters, paddling is a sacred dance with the divine.

Curious, get on the river and find your way back to the true meaning of kayaking. Give the best gift of all this season by connecting with nature with your loved ones.

Paddle on,
Mountain Mama

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