A few weeks ago, Yukon and I attended the the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Mills River, NC and watched a film called Mile for Mile.
Twelve films were on the agenda and we’d seen a few of them already. By the end of the night, four films that stuck with me. This film – Mile for Mile – about conserving a special place in Patagonia (and a few brave runners raising awareness for that idea), stuck with me because of something Kris Tompkins (the Founder and President of the Conservacion Patagonica project) said:
We want for people to get out and fall in love. Because you will not protect something unless you love it. Unless you go out into these hills and the wind is in your face and things hurt. It’s raining and it stings your face. That’s when you fall in love.”
Of course, she was talking about her project and the lands they are working to preserve.
I want you to apply this idea to a place where you live.
“You will not protect something unless you love it.”
One day during our French Broad River trip, we’d stopped for a quick bite to eat and Yukon ran up to the store to grab some ice. As we scrambled back into the boat, we looked upstream and saw really dark, menacing clouds gathering. We started downstream, thinking we might be able to miss or outrun the storm.
The thunder began rumbling. Rain began falling. And then more rain came with wind.
Suddenly, there was a HUGE crack of thunder and a brilliant flash of lightening. Sheets of rain began pummeling us.
We tied off to a tree nearby, popped up our umbrella, and put on rain jackets. We were prepared to just wait out the storm right there on the river (because there wasn’t anywhere to get out and it seemed a bit safer to stay put).
In that moment, I loved being on the river. To use a terrible cliche – I felt completely ALIVE.
And I’ve had this feeling with so many other trips I’ve done, where I’ve been freezing cold, or burning hot, or even a bit terrified. I was completely in the moment, completely in my surroundings, and feeling every single feeling.
It was love.
And it’s why I go out and let the rain sting my face. It’s why I go out and suffer when everything hurts. It’s why Yukon and I are so passionate about traveling.
WE LOVE THESE PLACES.
And it you haven’t visited them yet, we want to introduce you to them. We want YOU to fall in love with them the same way we do.
Because the truth is, we are losing our wild places. We are losing our wild things. And in order to protect what’s left, we desperately need more people to get out there.
You will not protect something unless you love it.”