Yesterday, my friend Jacquie asked me how I was surviving spending so much time with my husband. Many of her friends were starting gardens, just so they could bury parts of their husbands after cutting them up into small pieces.
Without hesitation, I said we were fine. Because we really are fine. Being with my husband 24/7 is not hard, and it’s not new. Nor is being with my two teenage daughters day in and day out a problem. I realized I have been training for a pandemic isolation for the last 20 years. It’s called adventuring!
If you can spend five days on a glacier, literally tied together by a rope, in high-stress situations, then you can do self-isolation with your partner.
My husband Mike and I have been tied up for days, over several different trips. We’ve tackled such multi-day classic ski trips as the Wapta Ski Traverse, the Bow to Yoho Ski traverse, and most recently, the Bonnington Traverse. We spend anywhere from 5 to 7 days together in cramped conditions. We are tightly packed together from driving to the location, roping up, crossing the glacier, and then cooking, cleaning and sleeping together in a tiny one room hut.
Add to this the stress of route finding, and the natural hazards. If you and your hubby fight over the best route to get downtown, imagine trying to find the best route in a blizzard or white out. If avoiding construction on the highway stresses you out, that’s nothing compared to picking a route that avoids a giant crevasse on the left, yet keeps you away from the overhanging glaciers threatening to break off on top of you on the right.
Right now, I am not tied to my husband. I can leave the room, and even go into the garden to escape. The biggest navigational issue is where to plant the potatoes. I can do this self-isolation.
If you can live together in a VW Vanagon for two weeks straight, in the pouring rain, with two toddlers being potty trained, you can do self-isolation.
Long, long LONG before VanLife was a thing, I would live this lifestyle for weeks at a time with our young family. When my daughters were about three years old, we went on a trip to visit as many lakes as possible in southern British Columbia. We have a handmade wooden canoe and it’s a great way to travel with kids. Unfortunately, it rained – hard! Every. Single. Day. For weeks. We could have turned for home at any time, but my stubborn husband would not hear of it.
Instead, we would bundle the kids up in rain gear and rubber boots (which we had to buy en route) and go for a short walk. The kids would inevitably fall in a big muddy puddle, or wander into the lake, flooding their boots.
Then the four of us would spend hours (!!!) in the 20 square foot Vanagon Westfalia, smelling like wet dog. I tried to wash out the mud, and hang our clothes around the van to dry. “Dry” being the key word, because in the constant mist and 100% humidity, nothing was ever really going to dry.
That I did not kill everyone and then drive my camper van off the edge of the Grand Canyon is beyond me. However, it has made self-isolating and home-schooling two hormonal and bored teens an absolute breeze!
If you can fly across Canada in stormy weather in a Cessna, then you can do self-isolation.
The problem with being married to a pilot and owning a Cessna Cardinal is the pressure to use them. What is an easy 30 minute flight over the mountains on WestJet, turns into an epic in a small plane. I was attending a course in Kelowna, and my husband offered to fly me there. How sweet of him.
And it would have been, except for the 50-60 knot winds that bounced us around like a leaf in the breeze. The mountains topped out around 10,000′, and we were flying at around 13,000′. The turbulence was so drastic, that our plane would be slammed down several thousand feet with no warning. I was worried it would carry us straight into the side of a mountain.
Mike eventually admitted defeat and we turned around. What took us about an hour and a half to fly out, with the intense tail wind we covered that same distance in less than 30 minutes. Mike then drove me to the Calgary International Airport and I took that WestJet flight to Kelowna.
The most dangerous trip I will make today is navigating the stairs filled with objects that need to be brought up to my kids’ rooms. I can do this self-isolation.
If you can scuba dive off the coast of British Columbia and use most of your advance dive techniques to stay alive, then you can do self-isolation.
Do you have this problem? Whenever I learn a new skill, the universe creates opportunities for me to actually use these skills. This is partly why I’m avoiding the Advance Wilderness First Aid course, because I really don’t want to deal with some of that crap.
Anyhoo, Mike and I headed out to dive the west coast after doing our Paddy Advanced Dive course. The first skill we put into practice was buddy breathing. My rented tank had a leak. At first I thought I was just sucking air too much. As this was a shore dive, we decided to turn back. The less air in the tank, the faster it leaked out. Soon, I was sucking fumes. No problem. I stayed calm, gave the “no air’ signal, and buddy-breathed off Mike’s tank. We did the safety stop, came to the surface, and then had a long swim back to shore.
While on a boat dive, we hit an algae bloom. This not only blocked the sun, but reduced our visibility to about 6-8 inches. Mike and I had to stay within touching distance at all times. Navigation was based on compass points, which we had to “discuss” using limited hand gestures. Mike thought I had the next point, so he turned and swam away. Within two seconds, he was gone. Not knowing the exact compass bearing, I waiting the required two minutes. I was just about to start my ascent, when out of the murk I saw him return. He was just as scared of losing me as I was of losing him.
Right now, the biggest procedure I have to follow is unloading the dishwasher and clearing the counter before Mike will even think about starting dinner.
How about you?
What have you done that makes surviving self-isolation a pure breeze? Please tell me all about it in the comments section below.
Remember – you CAN do this. You can sit at home, relax, and catch up on all those things you’ve always wanted to do.
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