“Things just keep working out! It must mean we’re doing something right!” Sound familiar? Well, what about the alternative, “Whenever you decide to make a big change in your life for the positive, than you had better brace yourself for some crazy opposition!” I would imagine you’ve probably experienced both scenarios! If you think too much about it, it can make it kind of confusing to know when you really are on the right track. But that’s the thing, we just can’t overthink it! We can’t let the natural flow of life, the ups and downs make us waver in what we know in our hearts to be the course we need to take! Whether it’s in relationships, career goals, or religious beliefs, we need to find that constant, steady power within each of us that holds true to the course we know to be right, despite life’s often unpredictable events.
This is a lesson Ryan and I are most definitely still learning, but our very first course in it came not too long after we made the decision to move to Alaska and start a business!
Things that worked out better than we could have imagined: We found a couple to sublet our apartment to for just the months of May-September; we found the perfect 15 passenger van, with decent mileage and at a good price; we got all the necessary guiding and commercial insurance we needed for our business; we found parts and resources to build our own epic roof rack to hold 10 mountain bikes; and we received incredible support from friends and family that helped us out in so many ways.
Those were a lot of major things that really worked out well for us, and definitely fueled our positive momentum. To be honest, the only set back we really experienced while preparing for the move to Alaska was the fact that the Chugach National Forest on the Kenai Peninsula said that they were not authorizing any more guiding permits for commercial recreation for about 2 years. Although this was a major aspect of being able to successfully operate a ‘mountain bike guiding business,’ we were not disheartened. With an almost inordinate amount of optimism, we pressed forward, determined we could convince them to give us a permit when we spoke with them in person, and if not we figured we could adapt our business until we got a permit.
The day we started the long road trip to Alaska, was the day ‘crazy opposition’ really began to confirm the validity of our course of action. We had made it to Washington and had stopped to visit a friend. I remember how excited I was as a talked with her about the changes we had made and how great it felt to be taking action to make our dreams become a reality! As we were driving to her house for the night, a police officer pulled us over because he could not see our temporary license plate in the back window. As he ran Ryan’s information, he discovered that Ryan’s licence was not valid (due to the fact that he had a CDL and his medical paperwork needed to be updated). I guess even if you’re not driving a vehicle that requires a CDL they don’t consider the license valid. Well, with a $500 ticket, and the realization that now I would be driving the rest of the 2,395 miles/45 hours to Alaska by myself, our experiential learning course had begun! Naturally, it’s never just one, isolated bit of opposition that occurs to test your will power to maintain the focus and optimism in your course of action. As we parked the van for the night, Ryan and I both felt that there was something off, and that we better take it in to a mechanic before heading up into Canada where it really wouldn’t be ideal to break down. The next morning, more good news! The van needed some pricey repairs, about $1,200 worth, and it wouldn’t be done until maybe Monday or Tuesday; it was currently Friday. By this point, my internal dialogue was rapidly tearing down the optimism that had powered us through so many other moments of fear, doubt, and discouragement. We had literally put everything into creating our business and making this move. We weren’t exactly in a situation that allowed major, unexpected financial setbacks like these. Were we stressed? Unbelievably! But as we stood outside the car repair shop, embracing each other, and letting the recent turn of events sink in, we decided that although we could not change what had happened, and we didn’t know exactly how it would affect our future, the only thing we could do was to enjoy the present and make the most of the unexpected extension of our stay in WA.
Looking back, I know without a doubt that it was a blessing we were able to repair our van in WA before driving on roads with limited phone reception and resources. Being ‘stranded’ in WA was a much more enjoyable experience, with friends and family around and amazing mountain bike parks, than the alternative of potentially being stranded in the middle of Canada! And the ticket? Well, Ryan believes if he would have been driving, he might have pushed the van too hard, with it being loaded down and what not, and we potentially could have had more expensive repairs, or never made it to Alaska. We’ll never know, but we both have learned that it’s best to just trust the flow of life! The very things that seem to be going ‘all wrong’ could be saving us from a worse situation, or preparing us to be in an exact moment and place that will have eternal consequences. It’s just life! So let’s enjoy the ride!
Ryan & Courtney Bringhurst, we are a happily married power couple! Our purpose together is to inspire and uplift others to live the life they were meant to live, as well as to find true joy and satisfaction in their life's journey.