Some advice

Dear Canoe Trippers of 2020:

  • Wear a life jacket. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, life jacket would be it. The long-term benefits of life jackets have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now
  • Don’t worry about age; some take the trip in their twenties. However, the most interesting people do it in their thirties and forties. There is no age limit on this thing.
  • Be kind to your shoulders, they’ll really start hurting after the third day.

Be careful of your materials, you have a long way to go. Taking care of those materials, is taking care of your holiday. Take a plastic foil, to wrap your materials to be safe from water.

  • Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. Everybody does this on their own pace.
  • Try and build fires but be careful how you collect your wood. Respect your surroundings and enjoy what nature brings. Help those building fires, the warmth it brings in the evenings is priceless. Don’t be reckless, you don’t want to end up with an axe in your foot. Always respect Prometheus.
  • Drink from the lakes (not Svensby).

Enjoy the sunny mornings, you never know when you’ll have the chance to glide through the fog on a crystal-clear lake with your canoe. That type of peace and quiet isn’t something to be taken lightly. Forget the rat race.

  • Sing.
  • Be nice to your canoer in crime; they are your best bet in making it over a stormy, windy and wavy lake. Yes, those waves can be tricky, and no you don’t always know upfront if the weather is going to allow you for a safe passing. Use your common sense.

Always take your rubbish with you, never loiter and be wary of hungry mice.

  • Accept certain inalienable truths: some will see wildlife, some don’t. And when you do see wildlife, leave them in their peace. You will get wet, no matter how you fight it, water will splash and soak up your things.
  • Swim, the surroundings make you forget the ice-cold water. Don’t swim in 4° degrees temperatures, your toes, and lips will remain blue for a while.
  • Hot pot mince beef is the best.
  • Understand that canoe trippers come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Welcome all.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

  • Embrace the nights, when your muscles are aching and the fire is warm, the shelter or tent are your best friends. You’ll accept the rhythm of the day, rise with sunshine and turn in when night fall. Your body is very much tired, don’t fight it but accept it.
  • Water is patient.
  • Enjoy the laughter and conversations of others or choose to stay on your own island. You are in control of your day. The choice is completely yours. You have the power to organize your Canoetrip however you like.

But trust me on the life jackets.

Hanne Duys Fien Van den Dries, Kaat Antheunis, Jade Van Den Bonne, Andy Bisschops and Sven Verhoeven
The Canoe Trip – 2020