A Love Note to Summer in Saint Anna

Justine sunset

The kayaking season may be over but the memories are still fresh

I’m back in London now. Back in a desk. Back at work. And I can’t help thinking about the season that has just passed. I’m going to use this last blog post as an opportunity to say my thank you’s to all the rad people I met this summer (that includes you). From the guests - to the crew – to the locals of Saint Anna, I truly feel lucky to have been involved in the Do The North kayaking season.

As the title implies this is a love note to my summer in Saint Anna, so here it goes:

I had high hopes of writing the blog regularly and getting out on the water as much as possible, however just like any other job the work got in the way. Regardless, I had a blast learning about how to improve my paddling technique (though I sometimes begrudgingly took criticism), introducing mac n’ cheese (homemade of course!) for a captivated Swedish, Finnish and British dinner audience, and unintentionally building my biceps from transporting double kayaks to and from Mon (using a van for most of it, but I had to lift them on to it). Above all else I loved learning to drive a standard transmission because it meant I got to meet 95% of all the guests this season. It was during those drives that I learnt about the different ways couples meet, how many of you have ended up in your jobs, and the different adventures you can go on around the world. I was endlessly impressed at the places people have travelled, the adventures they have experienced, and the life they have lived that all amounted to them sitting in seat next to me. I now have bucket list that will probably take my whole life to complete (this is in no way a bad thing) and a much greater understanding of the cultures that exist in this world.

Justine portait in sunset

So what’s next for me: I’m not sure, but I’m making mood boards because as a designer I know it’s a good place to start. Visually organising thoughts – check. I’m not sure if I ever told you but I had very little kayaking experience (besides being Canadian and having done it in school) before starting this job and there were quite a few other skills I lacked. Although I went through countless moments of self-doubt and feeling stupid, I learnt more this summer than I have in last 7 years, which includes my university education. I really believe in the over-used slogan “do something that scares you” (I think I saw it first on a Lululemon bag) because we are meant to be silly! And although we live in a world where confidence is currency, laughing at our mistakes is what makes everyday fun.

I hope to return next year for a visit, as Helena (DTN’s better half ;) will be returning to the business and she’s well cool. Keep an eye on this space because she’ll be bringing her Swedish upbringing, culinary genius, and charismatic voice out of the guide book and into the blog. If you need me, hit me up on instagram @janweile where I’ll be pursuing the outdoors as often as I can. Hej då,

Justine :D