Last year was the first time in six years we did not have an International Beachcombing Conference. This was because I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (resulting from an inherited BRCA1 gene) in January. Seven months of operations and weekly chemotherapy, and four more months spent regaining my strength, took up all of 2014. But I emerged tumor free, thanks to an amazing medical team, a good attitude, luck, and infinite prayers and love from family and friends.
A cancer diagnosis can be chilling, but modern medicine and healthier life-styles render it less effective as an immediate death sentence. Many people go on to live full lives for five, ten, twenty years or longer. I hope to be one of those people.
A cancer diagnosis also makes us confront – very swiftly, in fact – our mortality, and reminds us that life is finite and precious. Facing death enabled me to consider and then reaffirm what was truly important to me in life. To honor those I love. Share. Do things that lift my spirits and the spirits of others. Continue to expand my horizons and keep in close contact with my first Mother, Nature.
I know this now: Life doesn’t wait for us to catch up with it. Each day is another day gone. So seize the moment with gusto. If great memories are to be made and adventures to be had, now is the time to do it.
I chose the Washington Coast just below the Olympic Peninsula for IBC ’15 because it thrills me. Its remote, raw wildness; long sweeps of pristine beaches; and eerie, moss-soaked primordial forests are unforgettable and I know it will thrill you, too. This is a mysterious land, with an isolated, ‘end of the world’ rustic charm and a long, rich history of American Indian traditions, resilient homesteaders, and seasoned beachcombers.
It matters not if you are a consummate beachcomber or new to the game. The people who attend these beachcomb conferences are warm, curious, big-hearted and lots of fun. You will make friendships that last a lifetime and gather tips, techniques and insights into one of the most resourceful, affordable and spiritually rewarding hobbies there is.
So come join me in this year or in years to follow. It’s a great way to see a new slice of our world, lift your spirits and grow your knowledge base all at the same time. And if you can’t make these conferences, still, do yourself a favor, and take the time to get outside and play, today!