500 Days in the Wild | Catching up with Dianne Whelan

Dianne Whelan is a Canadian author, filmmaker and adventurer hailing from the Sunshine Coast, BC.

Dianne spent 40 days at the base camp of Mount Everest back in 2010 and then shared her incredible experience, lessons learned, challenges overcome and demons encountered in the documentary and book, Base Camp, 40 Days on Everest.

On July 1, 2015, Dianne began a new adventure, 500 Days in the Wild, setting out to hike, bike, and paddle the 24,000 km Trans Canada Trail. This self-propelled journey will take her to all corners of our vast country as she explores the themes of Art, Story, Ecology, and Spirit.   Every step of the way, Dianne is filming, writing, and blogging about her experiences.  PowHERhouse is pleased to share this update from Dianne as she hikes and bikes through Quebec.

Catching up with Dianne Whelan | 500 Days in the Wild

The most sacred place that I have ever been is when I am in nature.  Ever since I was a kid, when I am out here I feel a sense of being part of the whole.  I talk to the animals, I talk to the birds and if I am really honest, I obviously talk to myself.”  (Global TV interview)

Catching up with Dianne Whelan | 500 Days in the Wild

Back in  May, Dianne paddled the St John river, also known as the Wolastoq river to the local Mi’kmaq and Maliseet people.  She reported that journey has been going much slower than planned.  A totem worn around her neck reminds her that she is the turtle, not the hare.

“So much emphasis in our culture around speed and efficiency, and most of the frustrations for me are around taming my spirit, to remind myself constantly this isn’t a race, it is a journey, an ecological pilgrimage.”

Whelan experienced some rough conditions earlier in the year when paddling on Bras d’Or Lake in Cape Breton. Strong winds forced her out into open water.

By some good fortune or prayers, I managed to make it to the other side.

It’s a good, gentle reminder that at the end of the day… there are a lot of forces around us that are a lot more powerful than we are.”

Catching up with Dianne Whelan | 500 Days in the Wild

“There is a tradition in Canada of the artist going into vast empty spaces of wilderness to capture the essence of this land. The poetry, the drumbeats, the smell of cedar, and the big sky, our identity has been bound to the idea of wilderness and nature.

This journey is in part an homage to this spirit to understand our art and ourselves as it ties into our relationship with the landscape of the Canadian wilderness.”

This summer, Dianne continues her journey in Quebec, recently hiking over 180 km in the Charlevoix region.  All along the way, she encounters many kind people who offer food and support and share the unique stories of their communities.

500 Days in the Wild

Follow Dianne’s journey on Facebook.

Donate to Dianne’s indie film project.

 

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1 Comment

  1. […] In July 2016, we caught up with Dianne for a follow-up interview.  View it here. […]

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