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Rachel Bertsch

On the search for my next favourite adventure. Tour Leader | Travel Writer | Mom #Yukon | #Canada [email protected]

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Postpartum life is such an odd mix of immense joy and slight tribulation. I spent so much of my pregnancy nervously watching my belly swell and planning for how life would be once the baby was out. I figured my body would quickly return to normal and I'd easily introduce the baby to my active lifestyle. Since I had so much 'time off to enjoy', I was going to be productive and accomplish a long list of goals. In so many ways, what I believed would happen in postpartum was wrong. That belief of snapping back into my old shape (because of course it would, I worked out all pregnancy!) just wasn't true. Three months on, if my clothes aren't made of lycra they still won't fit. Getting active takes way more effort now than ever before. Family walks in January were few and far between as exteme cold weather and frost bite warnings meant we couldn't take our daughter outside. In an attempt to get some exercise, I signed up for mom and me workout classes. Some days I worked up a sweat but most days ended up essentially being me breastfeeding for half the class to calm my screaming child while others worked out around me. Productivity wise, it is a constant challenge. Whatever sleep I get, never seems enough. I'm not exactly a walking zombie but some days I feel close. I have forgotten what alone time feels like but I have mastered completing tasks one handed while cuddling or in a mad dash during the brief nap times throughout the day. The last three months has me realizing that motherhood has a bigger learning curve than I could have ever imagined. It is an odd time in my life. But overall is good as there are plenty of moments of joy and I know that the best times are on their way. The never ending snuggles right now that hurt my back and arms will be the part I look back on and smile about. I won't care that for three months my hair was always messy, my clothes usually had spit up stains on them and I was nearly late to every meeting I had. This is motherhood. A messy and strange journey that I could have never began to understood until I became a mother. And a journey that likely will continue to baffle me every single day to come. at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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Isn't it strange how two people can grow up in the same house, be so utterly different, yet get along so well. I've always looked up to my sister. With four years between us, she has always done everything first. Graduation, marriage, babies - I admired her all the while she was building herself a life to be proud of. Even though I'm more of a traveller and she's more of a homebody, and most of our interests aren't really shared, any time I need advice - she's one of the first people I ask. She was visiting me in the North this week, and during our long chats we chuckled about how different we were and all the times we've been in different stages of our lives. Her idea of a good time might be eating a killer meal before an interesting show in a cosmopolitan city while mine is to drag her out into the cold, driving an hour into the wilderness with a crying baby who hates her car seat and bundle up in an absurd amount of layers to protect us against the frost bite risk. She might not understand why someone would want to live in minus 30, where cabin fever and lack of vitamin D are some of the biggest concerns one can face over winter, but I'm ever so thankful she will make the journey to visit. Who here also has a sister who is the same - completely different but always there whenever you need them? at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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In the summer, we get lost for hours just staring out at views like this. In the winter we get cabin fever, finally start re looking at drone footage and dream of what basking in the sunshine will feel like again. I've always thought the winter was prettier in the north, but sitting on a rock staring at the view in comfort just isn't the same when it is minus 30. Only a few months till moments like this are how we spend our whole days. Song: Trail by Nobara Hayakawa at Atlin, British Columbia

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How to make any winter hike better: bring a crazy carpet for the way down. It's been a while since we've managed some good outdoor activities and with the forecast predicting minus 30 again, it looks like I will have to wait a bit longer to break out that crazy carpet. at Yukon

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This is joy. It's a break from the chores that seem endless... the feeding, working, crying, cooking, changing, emailing, cleaning, and all the other un-fun things that don't make the highlight reel. Recently our trips outside have been too short. But moments like this, attempting to make snow angels with our daughter... well those sweet moments are what I hope to remember instead. at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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Walking in a winter wonderland.... at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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Some of my first memories are from the ski slopes. For a long time, it was the only way for me to survive a winter. Chilly chair lift rides and warm poutine (French fries with cheese curds and gravey) were the hallmark of my childhood winter weekends. But I get that skiing is not everyone's jam. It's fast and adrenaline filled. In the beginning there are more bruises than with almost any other sport I've tried. And although I always thought that there was no way to have more fun than skiing on a mountain during winter, I was wrong. A trip to Quebec showed me how to enjoy all things snow related without ever touching skis. From sledding down an entire mountain, to snowshoeing amongst snow ghosts, and getting around by dog sled and snow machine... it was hard to wipe the smile off my face. Didn't hurt either that the locals were kind and the food incredible. There's a link in my bio about how best to enjoy a winter wonderland in Quebec if you're keen. at Quebec

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"Motherhood is messy. And challenging. And crazy. And sleepless. And giving. And still unbelievably beautiful." R. Martin at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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Finding our own island to call home. at Atlin, British Columbia

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Everyone needs someone in their life they're willing to run away with. Even if it's only running 15 minutes from your home. at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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When we took this photo, I was feeling on top of the world. We had only a few weeks left before meeting our tiny human. We plotted about what life would be like, and what qualities we would try to bring out in our new child. Bravery, kindness, curiosity, and a lust for life were what we hoped for. I'm 10 weeks into motherhood and realized while I plotted for all the things I wanted for the little one, I forgot to plot what I wanted for myself. By the sounds of it, most new moms just want to survive. I want to survive, of course, but I also want to set a good example of those qualities of bravery, kindness and curiosity in action. We plan to go travel international in two months before our road trip begins and I can't decide where to go. Somewhere familiar so I feel the safety of my comfort zone? Or somewhere new to us, where we will be exposed to new cultures, new ideas, new ways of life that will fuel our curiosity of the world. Normally, it would always be somewhere new and I'd have a master plan of what we were going to do all set up by now. Yes, I'm a planner. While I feel going somewhere new is better for all of us and stepping out of my comfort zone has never been a problem in the past, now am I so hesitant. I think if I make a goal, it's not to *just* survive, but to continually create a life that we will look back on and proudly say, "yeah we did that". Can any other moms out there relate to so much hesitation on what to do with yourself, whether it is in terms of travel or just day to day life? And if you have any suggestions on where to go, I'd love to hear em. ;) at Yukon

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For a long time in my pregnancy I battled with the idea of how much my life would be disrupted. I spent my first trimester bummed out that I could no longer eat blue cheese, drink coffee or sip red wine. My second trimester, I gained weight rapidly and was worried my body would never be the same. My third trimester had me anxiously wondering about the future. I was able to get out hiking lots, but was growing more uncomfortable every day and impatient to meet the person growing inside me. Out she came and I realized how trivial some of my worries were. I still don't drink caffeine or wine, and don't even miss soft cheeses anymore. My body is certainly not the same. I gave birth to a human and have the scars to prove it. I thought it would return to its shape quickly, but it's a slower process than I expected and that's fine. I'm still uncomfortable, lack of sleep and caring for a little person has frazzled my brain some days more than others. Time for myself does not yet exist and getting even the littlest of tasks done seems like a major accomplishment these days. Life feels completely different in so many ways I've lost count. Even in small ways, like photos. Before I had her, I would only post photos of grand settings or views we worked hard to get to. These days, getting out of the house is the accomplishment we feel proud about. It's a strange journey, this thing called parenthood. I won't deny that my regular life has been disrupted. But at least it's been disrupted for the best reason possible. at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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The wind was howling at 50km this day and the wind chill brought down the temps to minus 27. Didn't think twice about going outside though. at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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Change is constant in our house. It's almost a craving we have to continually indulge. It's why we are always willing to try new things. It's why we travel. It's why we go outside on cloud filled days that look perfect for doing nothing more than drinking tea inside the house. 2019 will be a year with a great deal of change. Kieran is taking 13 months of parental leave and I'm limiting myself to only a few weeks of work so that we can experience an open schedule with unlimited opportunities as a family. We have a few details nailed down. For six months we will live in our van and explore areas of Western Canada we haven't seen before. For seven of those months, we will go wherever calls to us. Mountains, oceans, jungles, the open road, the beaten path, city centers or the middle of nowhere, wherever works for us at that time. We want to raise a brave and adventurous child who looks at the world with wonder and understands how connected we are to each other and the earth itself. What a better way to teach this than by going out to explore. We have had some incredible years behind us, but I must say I'm quite looking forward to all the changes ahead in 2019. at Yukon

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In looking back on the last year, it's been an usual one for me in terms of travel. I haven't left the country since April and I haven't left the Yukon since August. Stange, since most years I have been travelling more than I've been home. My goals each year include venturing to places I've never been, so even if I wasn't going to a new country, I made sure to get to nearby areas that were new to me. This fall we were weekend warriors, each weekend finding a new ridgeline of gold to wander around while spying on mountain vistas that almost always looked perfect. It's easy to never get bored when your backyard looks like this. at Yukon

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Some years have a theme, and this year for us was mostly about 'adulting'. In January we bought a house and in February we found out we were pregnant. Most of the year was spent preparing to have our kid. I worked like crazy between March and July, leading six tours across BC, Alberta, and one in Argentina and Chile (which I left for the day after discovering I was preggo). Somewhere in between that time, I slowed down, nervous about being too active and over cautious about a pinched nerve that had left my legs numb. We had friends arrive at the end of July and Kieran had an active week planned with them. For a while, we thought I wouldn't join, but that fear of missing out hit me hard. This was the week I figured out that being preggo didn't mean I had to stop doing the things I loved. I had to take it slower, but after this week in July I only got more active despite entering my third trimester. My most memorable adventure from the year was probably this one. It was a 100km kayak with a 12km hike at the end of a lake to a glacial viewpoint. On that trip we survived massive waves and a bear raiding our camp while we slept, but best of all, we set the wheels in motion for an adventurous few months ahead. at Atlin Lake

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Reason #119 I love the Yukon: lift pass for $15 today on a ski hill 15 minutes from home and never had more than 4 people in front of me in the lineup. And two grandparents taking care of the babes in the ski chalet. Life is pretty darn good right now. at Mt. Sima

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What is your family's holiday tradition? Normally, we travelled for our holiday season. But this year will be our first as a family and our main priorities for the holidays were that they should be full of laughter, too much food, and memories that will last a lifetime. Went to walk, ski and snowshoe across a winter wonderland before returning home to a baking contest that might be just a little too competitive (but darn tasty). A successful start to the holidays in my opinion. at Yukon

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