Pursuing a business loan is like searching for a secret beach. You know it’s there. No one will tell you how to get there, exactly. You spend days, weeks pacing up and down a well-trod path, looking for the bent branches, the softly indented moss, anything that indicates there’s a path beyond the thick walls of brush.
Weeks pass, then months. You’ve followed dozens of footpaths that peeter out or put you right back where you started. You’re frustrated, you worry as you watch your supplies dwindle.
And then, one day, you find a path that doesn’t disappear or double-back. It’s going somewhere. Hope lifts your head and fuels your muscles as you pick up that damn canoe and trudge through the woods. Over slippery rocks. Under fallen trees. Through a freezing creek and you even have to rapel down a sheer cliff. You’re tired but determined. The forest is thick and claustrophobic. You can’t see much of what’s in front of you, but you get a little further every day.
Finally, unexpectedly, the forest opens up. The sunlight hits your muddy boots, the salty breeze kisses your cheeks. You set the canoe down and gaze in awe; there it is, in front of you. The beach you’ve been looking for. The perfect put-in. You made it. The thousand-mile portage is actually behind you, and in front of you is the adventure you’ve been looking for all these months.
It’s hard to believe that Kat & I really are out of the woods. We’re sitting on the sandy beach, reflecting on our six-month long portage, wrapping our minds around how far we’ve truly come, how completely our lives have changed.
It’s a moment to be savoured.
It’s tempting to launch into plans for the future. Our palms itch for a paddle, our ears ache for the sound of our canoe sliding off the sandy beach and into the water. But we are tired, dead tired from the journey. We are lucky, so lucky to have each other. Neither one of us could have made it this far alone.
We are grateful and humbled by all the help we’ve received along the way:
To David, whose Christmas gift changed our lives, and whose advise has become a song we sing to ourselves when the going gets tough.
To our parents, for getting us on our way and helping us stay the course.
To our brothers and sister, for your encouragement and humour.
To our friends back in Ontario, for cheering us on.
To our friends on the Island, for welcoming us, for trusting us, for your generosity, help and encouragement.
Thank you so much.