As a mother, runner, fitness coach, freelancer, spouse, family member, employee and student - I am faced with barriers everyday. We all are. There are the barriers we create ourselves due to poor choices or weak excuses, and there are the barriers beyond our control - the ones that really set us back. Rather than be discouraged over what I cannot control, I find a way to rise above, and am always inspired and motivated by those who have overcome so much more than me. Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer is one of those people. He has used a barrier as a means to live more fully and inspire others in the process. I recently partnered with Nature Valley to share his story with you.
Since losing his vision at the young age of 13, Erik has felt deeply connected to the positive energies in nature, which have guided him on amazing journeys. In fact, he has climbed the summits of the world’s seven highest peaks. Via No Barriers USA, an organization he co-founded, he’s helped others achieve their own dreams as well.
On September 7, Erik and fellow blind adventurer Lonnie Bedwell, began a whitewater kayaking expedition along 277 miles of the Colorado River. Together, they will be the first blind team to kayak through the Grand Canyon. Nature Valley is joining Erik Weihenmayer in inviting people to pledge to get out there and live a No Barriers Life.
· The “No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition” is a 21-day, 277 mile journey through some of the world’s most challenging whitewater terrain in the Colorado River.
· Erik Weihenmayer will be supported by an experienced paddling team, and joined by accomplished kayaker and Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell. Together, Erik and Lonnie will demonstrate the power of harnessing inner strength to overcome challenging barriers.
· Preparation for the Expedition has been extensive, with both Weihenmayer and Bedwell spending the last several years training and developing innovative systems for kayaking rapids with support from high-tech radios and verbal commands from river guides.
· The trip began on September 7 at Lees Ferry, nine miles south of the Arizona-Utah border. Erik and his team expect to complete the expedition on or around September 28 at Pearce Ferry, which marks the boundary between Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.
I've been following Erik on this incredible journey on his Nature Valley Tumblr, where the spectacular photos and videos are both inspiring and stunning.
Are you looking to join a community of curious, brave and collaborative explorers and make your own personal commitment to live the No Barriers Life? If you are ready to live life to the fullest, it’s time to take the pledge. With your pledge, you’ll join a community of individuals who will support and inspire each other on their journey.
Most recently, in my own life, the decision to become a runner was how I overcame I barrier I set for myself as a little girl. Since I suffered from asthma as a child, I could not run. I was always on medication and always carried an inhaler. Years later, as an adult, I could not run because it was too hard for me. I wasn't good at it. I wasn't capable. I hated it. Running seemed like something younger, thinner, faster people did - not soft, squishy slow people like me. Then I challenged myself. What I learned is that I am capable of anything. Running has taken me on so many amazing adventures! From Disneyland to Diamond Head to Walt Disney World.
What barriers have you overcome? Share your stories in the comments below or online using the hashtags #GetOUTThere and #MyAdventure. I look forward to reading about your adventures!
About Nature Valley
· Nature Valley has a long history of commitment to nature, outdoor activities and the national parks.
· The brand finds inspiration from the beauty of nature and the way people connect with nature – whether that’s from a fearless adventure like those undertaken by Weihenmayer or an everyday hike.
· It’s Nature Valley’s belief that experiencing nature enables people to feel most alive and Weihenmayer is a great demonstration of our belief.