We met as teenagers working at the same grocery store and began dating in 1997. We both loved camping and being on the water. We had the good fortune of growing up in the Pennsylvania Wilds – a breathtakingly beautiful place where the water and fresh air are crisp, cool and clean. A place where you can wake to the bellowing call of a colossal bull elk bugling out over the mountains. Seth’s father served as a waterways conversation officer for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for 20+ years. Our early family lives revolved around the first day of spring trout and the opening day of fall buck season. We were raised to appreciate and respect the outdoors.
After Alycia graduated with her Master’s we tried to move away, literally and figuratively, from that backwoods life we’d known. Having been taught to look for jobs rather than opportunity, we worked six days a week because we’d convinced ourselves there was value in things rather than experiences. Well, we amassed things: boats, Jeeps and a gigantic house! All things we couldn’t enjoy because we were busy working. Eventually, our lifestyles, combined with genetics, would result in Seth suffering a mild heart attack followed by Alycia being diagnosed with progressive psoriatic arthritis (PsA). The turning point came while Alycia sat steadfast at her brother’s hospital bed as he fought to recover after removal of a brain tumor.
The error of our ways was as painfully obvious to us as those obnoxious, infelicitous zits every seventeen-year-old dreads waking up with the morning of PROM. The solution to our problems was equal to that of a blemish: DETOXIFY! When we reflected over the past two decades, the answer was right in front of us. Our lives together in photographs showed the happiest, healthiest, most peaceful moments of our union. Hikes to waterfalls with our dogs, camping with Seth’s dad and Alycia’s brother, catching a lunker of a largemouth bass and soul-warming cast iron meals served up over the glowing embers of a campfire.
Detoxification for us was two-fold: 1) Downsizing and purging excess and 2) Saying NO to toxic relationships and habits. We wish we could tell you our return to the basics was smooth sailing, but that would be a lie. Anytime you commit yourself to changing your lifestyle for the better, you’re going to experience rough waters and plenty of wake. Bear in mind, no storm lasts forever and that by lightening the load in your vessel, you’ll experience calm waters sooner than you might imagine.
It is our sincere hope that you’ll follow our outdoor therapy adventures, laugh with us as we learn from our mistakes and be encouraged to return to the community we all share – The Great Outdoors.
Love many, trust few and always paddle your own canoe.
-19th Century American Proverb