Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A to Z Blog Challenge -- A is for 'A For Adventure'

Welcome to A Piece of My Mind!

I'm a longtime blogger, having launched this blog in 2007.

I'm also a fan of taking part in challenges. This is my 5th year doing the A to Z Challenge, and I'm so glad to be along for the ride again this year.

I'll take a moment to introduce myself.

I'm an indie author with two self-published books which I'll present  for 'B' and 'D' days. I write in the dark fantasy and vampire genre.

I've recently served on the executive of my writers' group, and have co-presented panels alongside fellow paranormal author Shawna Romkey at our local sci-fi/fantasy convention Hal-Con.

It's fairly safe to say that I've been more inclined to be an indoors sort of person, even though my childhood was happily spent camping, roaming the rocky eastern coastline while my dad went scuba diving, and going for walks in the woods.

As an aspect of his rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, my husband also suffers from agoraphobia. For Brad, this means that he has always struggled to cross the threshhold in order to leave the house.

Being outside can shoot his anxiety levels up into full-blown panic mode. Over the years, we've developed coping mechanisms including timing his Atavan dosage to about half an hour before leaving the house, in order to make that threshhold easier to cross. The only time it ever becomes 'okay' is when he's in a mania stage.

Fast-forward to last spring.

I read an article in my local paper about a challenge to go on 100 days of adventure in a row. Any sort of adventure, big or small, as long as it took place outside in a quest to reconnect people with the natural world.

The pace of that challenge was too much for my husband, but when I suggested stretching the 100 days over a year, he felt that was doable. Because we couldn't do the 100-days-in-a-row, we added an extra challenge element of going for 100 walks in 100 different places. We signed up for the challenge on the A for Adventure website and began our adventures on June 1st, 2014.

As requested by the two men who began the challenge, Jan Sebastian LaPierre and Chris Surette, we posted our adventures on social media with the hashtag #AForAdventure. Soon we had a loyal following on Facebook and Twitter as we posted photos of our walks hither and yon.

To say that this past year has been transformative is putting it mildly.

Brad has managed to actually enjoy himself on all of these outside adventures, even though -- depending on his cycling bipolar disorder -- he continues to struggle to get outside, at times. Besides Brad's health issues, I have my own chronic pain problems. Our walks have helped me increase my stamina gradually as we've explored our home province in a way we hadn't done before.

I just want to thank Jan and Chris for launching this challenge. You've sparked an amazing year for Brad and me.

The great thing about A for Adventure? You can do it wherever you are and at any fitness level. Do you love to spend time outside, kayaking and cross-country skiing? This challenge was made for you. Do you spend most of your time at a desk? Is your idea of the great outdoors something you see within a game screen? A for Adventure is still for you -- if two hobbling couch potatoes like Brad and me could greet New Year's Day with a walk in the snow, then absolutely anything is possible.

Here's a taste of our year so far. We're just about to hit the 3/4 mark, having completed our 74th adventure on Monday.

Day 1 -- Lawrencetown Beach

Day 4 -- heading out on the bus

Day 10 -- heading out on the ferry

Day 16 -- heading out in our very first car!
Bought it two months into our challenge at a car auction.

Day 19 -- We've gone on urban walks

Day 73 -- Rural walks

Day 31 -- Walks in the woods

Day 24 -- Walks by the sea

Day 17 -- Walks beside lakes

Day 21 -- Walks in the summer

Day 47 -- Walks in the winter


Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger (大哥) said...

This sounds awesome! It is so good to get out there and explore..

Dan Brown A-Z

LiveBetterChris said...

You are both awesome! This is what A for Adventure is all about :) Thank you for sharing and inspiring others!

Maria Catalina Vergara Egan said...

I love to be adventuresome and to travel so I just LOVED your post! Thanks for dropping by to A-Z @ Defining Ways and 4covert2overt

Claire Annette said...

Hi Julia,
Thanks for sharing your story. I love how you have added adventure to your days.

Mary Hill said...

Such a sweet and hopeful story. I am so glad that the A is for Adventure helped your husband so much. I enjoyed reading your post!

Club Creative Studio said...

Thank you for sharing an insight to your struggles and triumphs. You are lucky to have a great support system within each other.