4 Things I Learned From My River Guides

3 Min. Read
4 Things I Learned From My River Guide

River trips offer many opportunities to get outside of our comfort zones and embrace nature in all of its wildness and glory.  The greatest teachers on these ventures into the great unknown are, logically, your guides. 

Here are four things I’ve learned from my river guides:

1) Everyone Has a Valuable and Unique Skill Set

Fortunately for most, you don’t have to know how to read water or row a boat to be an asset on the river.  Do you know an inordinate number of random facts about geology?  Or maybe you have mad hula hoop skills. The river is the perfect place to dust those off.  Can you play an instrument or hum a tune?  Campfires are richer with music. I once shared a raft with a twelve-year-old on the Snake River through Hells Canyon, and his knowledge of Greek Mythology kept me entertained for the better part of a morning. You don’t have to know how to cook with a Dutch oven to contribute to the tribe on the river.  Simple and common skills are appreciated in these groups, and your guides will encourage you to let them shine. 

4 Things I Learned From My River Guide | Photo: James Kaiser

2) Seeking Experiences Makes for a Richer Life 

It’s a known fact that river guides are some of the best story-tellers.  Multiple nights spent under the stars, miles logged rowing rivers in remote places, and meeting people from all over the world inspire colorful (if not slightly exaggerated) tales told to riveted audiences around the campfire.  Living a life rich in experiences instead of possessions leaves you freer to explore and soaked through with stories.   

3) You Can Overcome Your Fears

Many people wrestle with uncertainty and fear before embarking on an adventure.  There are plenty of things to be worried about ahead of your river trip; what will the food be like, can I handle the rapids on the Colorado River, will the other guests be friendly, will I really enjoy sleeping on the ground for five nights? Fortunately, your guides will be there to assuage your fears.  Having someone to hold our hand when we jump off the rock into the river, to tell us when to paddle, to lead us down the rapids, and give us the nod of approval when setting our sleeping pads under the stars can make all the difference. My guides taught me that embracing uncertainty and summoning the courage to step outside of my comfort zone is one of the greatest ways to live life to the fullest.


4) It IS possible to Love your Job

According to Business Insider, 80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. But is pursuing your passion as a career choice, doing something you would love to wake up and be present for every single day, possible in this day and age?  Living your passion is possible, and you will be inspired by people doing just that on the river. 

All photos courtesy of James Kaiser

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