10 Life Lessons Learned while Rafting


Have you ever been rafting? What an amazing adventure! I went last weekend for the first time, along with my husband and two of our children. We all loved it, and afterward I couldn’t help but reflect on the important lessons we learned…

  1. Listen to your guide.

The water was high so only guided raft trips were offered on what is usually a river filled with tubes (the Guadalupe in New Braunfels, TX). We learned that the guides LOVE it when the water is flowing at 5000 cubic feet per second or more, which it was. They have a lot of experience in these conditions and you need to listen to their instructions and warnings. As with any new terrain you’ve ever tackled, an experienced guide can prevent troubles you didn’t even know might be lurking around the bend.


(normally tubes and rafts can go under this bridge)

  1. Choose a leader and then follow him.

Before we even left the shore our guide instructed us to choose a leader. This way, he could direct his instructions to that one person, and the rest of us knew whom to follow. The leader sits front left.  As he rowed, so did we.  We chose my husband, a natural-born leader.


  1. Row together

In order to work as a team, everybody has to row together. If one person isn’t in sync, you won’t go in the direction intended or as fast as needed to avoid trouble spots. The rapids are coming. Sync up your rowing while the waters are still.

  1. If you fall overboard, don’t swim for the shore. Your goal is to get back to the boat.

This may go against your instinct, but remember, you don’t know where the current is strongest or the water gets deep. Everyone in the boat is focused on getting you back to safety. Reach for them.


  1. Don’t backpaddle.

When you paddle against nature, you risk throwing the whole balance off-kilter. Backpaddling is usually a response to fear. Don’t let your fear topple the whole group. Trust your guide and your leader.

  1. Rest when you can so that you’ll be ready to paddle when necessary.

Again, the rapids are coming. Be ready.


  1. If you’re approaching a tree, don’t stick your paddle out to push off.

You are going faster than you think, and will end up smacking someone with your paddle. People don’t appreciate being smacked, even when your intentions are good.

  1. If you let go of your fear, the rapids will be the fun part.

Oh yes they will!

  1. A little rain doesn’t spoil the trip.

We almost didn’t see out our adventure because of a rainy forecast. Sometimes you’ve just gotta take a chance and get a little wet in the process.

  1. When the sun comes out, soak it in.

Pay attention. This is the stuff that makes memories.


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