My stay and experience was hosted by Club Med Les Arcs Panorama as part of a press trip. All opinions are my own.
When I’m busy trying to stay alive while jumping out of an airplane or scuba diving in the ocean, I kind of forget about the other stuff. You know, the mundane home activities? If I can focus on a task at hand, like paddling through the next set of rapids, my head clears and I can be satisfied with life again. Call this “adventure self care.”
I’m not sure if “self care” is the current buzzword or if it’s always been there for women once they reach a certain age or position in life. Whatever the cause, self care is something that’s been all over my social feeds for awhile. Ads for spas with cucumbers on eyes, champagne flutes clinking in front of a sunset, a woman in a wispy dress with long dark blonde hair blowing while staring at a lake.
I can almost predict the text before I read it, “Hey Mom, you deserve a break. Come to us and we will take care of you.”
Adventure Self Care Is More My Speed
Some moms like to visit a day spa or have a girl’s night at a hotel or stare at the sunset on a dock. It is nice to have a break from wiping noses, of not preparing snacks every hour on the hour, managing the household, paying bills, going to work…but for me to really fill my cup and at least pretend that I am investing in the phenomenon of self care, I have to seek out an adventure that pushes me to my physical limits. Something that could really make me weak in the knees.
Before anyone wants to “mom shame” me or send me a note about being careless, to you I say: “My version of self care is not your version of self care and that’s okay.” Needless to say, I would not embark on any activity that I deemed unsafe.
This Brings Us To The Van Ride
This is how I found myself in the back of a van on route to the Isère River in France. I headed out with Arc Aventures—an adventure experience company based out of Bourg Saint Maurice. This has been set up by the activities desk at the Club Med Les Arcs Panorama, the resort where I was staying. I was on a self care mission. Yes, solo all the way from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Relax, I’ve done this solo travel thing before.
Now that my kids have moved out of the needy toddler years and I have personal freedom, I’m reclaiming a bit of who I was before my kids. Motherhood is an amazing gift, however, I cannot function as a good mother and be present for them in life if I am not taking care of myself.
I didn’t fly all the way to France just for the rafting though. I came for the French wine, the regional Savoie cheese, sleeping alone, as well as hiking and adventure. I had never rafted or hiked in the Alps before and so begs the question, why not?
The Isère River
Cue this trip. After a quick orientation on to how to hold the paddles, how to fish each other out of the water when we fall in and most importantly, how to sit on the inflatable raft, we took off.
It was so hot on shore in our full neoprene wetsuit and boots, helmet, and life jacket. The water, running from the glaciers in Vanoise National Park, was a cool 8 degrees celsius or so.
A full two hours of forward paddling, pausing, backward paddling, pulling in swimmers, laughing, smiling and screaming in half terror, half delight. We passed farmers fields, campers, fishermen. One gentleman yelled at us that we were about to “go through hell.” We were heading into the toughest section of the river.
I reached in a couple times and let my hand linger. I got soaked, fingernails bent back, water in my eyes. It was exhilarating. I loved every minute of it. We came out wet, but relatively unscathed.
A Much Needed Jolt Of Adventure
The afternoon spent on the river was the jolt of adventure I needed to put my head back on straight. The Isère River was never too rough or ever placed us into extreme danger that we knew of. When our time was up, I felt like I could have continued on that river and followed it to Grenoble. But I’ll save that for my next jail break. For this trip, my cup was full.