Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From out of left field: Natalie Fasano

"We sometimes meet people and they plant a wee seed in ones mind. It may not come to fruition immediately, but one day those ideas, thoughts or advice sprout and come into full bloom."

Natalie Fasano, a recent alumni, wrote to Sarah Wiley last week about her recent experience with Outward Bound Canada.

June 4, 2012

Hi Sarah, 

I'm not sure if you will remember me. It was about one year ago exactly that I met you at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers Market and Outward Bound Open House. We met again at your office and we spoke of Outward Bound. You so kindly gave me an OB book. I think we both got busy with life and have not had the chance to catch up. 

I must say, I am a cheesy believer in the concept of planting seeds, kind of like the Van Gogh painting. We sometimes meet people and they plant a wee seed in ones mind. It may not come to fruition immediately, but one day those ideas, thoughts or advice sprout and come into full bloom. I think that is what you may have done for me. 

When I met you I had just recently moved to Toronto, and had taken on a marketing agency role. I knew that it was not for me but with the attractive salary and security it offered at the time, it was suitable. One day at the office I saw on your Facebook an advert for the West Coast Life Compass Course which was to be running May 14 - 27th. I read the description and immediately phoned my mother. 

I told her I was going to be leaving my job and going on this adventure. I told her that, for some reason, I knew I had to go there at this time. It felt very natural. It felt on purpose. 

Then I looked at my finances. With a large student debt and the cost of Toronto rent, I was not in a place to spend that kind of money on a trip. I called Angela Benoliel to ask if the scholarships and grants were only available for youth, or if adults could also apply. 

She was so friendly and helpful through the entire enrolment process. I was given support through Outward Bound for a portion of the course cost. I also dug into my Airmiles to help with the flight and soon enough, I was booked. I was a confirmed OB participant.

I decided that this was the perfect time to transition into something I was truly passionate about. When I had confirmed I was going on this trip, I put in my 3-weeks notice and chose to resign from my role at the agency. I was heading West and knew things would fall into place when I got home. 

Funnily, whilst I was on this course, I did not think about the uncertainty of life back home. I did not think that I needed a plan, a job. I just trusted that I was there for a reason. I absolutely loved and appreciated the way that Outward Bound courses keep you in the moment, present to what you are working on, the activity you are doing, or the conversation you are having. This kept the mind where the feet were. 

I have to extend the utmost gratitude and respect to the facilitators of this course, Kat McGlynn and Tim Ross. Words are so not enough to explain how passionate and dedicated these two instructors are. Their work ethic and commitment to each participant was beyond what I could have expected from this course. Their balance of humour, education, compassion, and expanding consciousness was done with such grace. I never felt as though they were forcing any of it either -- they were so natural in their role. I know I can speak for myself and my fellow participants that they were always going above and beyond to ensure we had the best experience. 

I cannot hold them up next to any other OB instructors because this was my first experience with OB. But if your other staff are anything like these two amazing people then I will definitely be signing up for another course in the future. They really live and breath the four pillars of Outward Bound. You cannot pay for that kind of passion. 

I just had to write to you to express my appreciation for planting the seed I needed in my life. 

I came home on Monday of last week and serendipitously was having lunch at a friend's restaurant in Burlington. By chance the owner of the restaurant's adjacent yoga studio came by to join us. I was talking about my latest adventure with Outward Bound and how I had left my job. The owner of the yoga studio began to speak of how just this past weekend her studio manager had finished up and left for a corporate job. Before I knew it I was on an interview, and that evening she sent over a job offer! 

I love how life comes together and gives you exactly what you need when you need it. I know that this Outward Bound course was exactly what I needed to do to switch gears once more and keep true to my life's journey. 

So, thank you. For you may not have realized it but meeting you set off a chain reaction of events that have left me with a smile on my face and in my heart. I will forever be grateful that I crossed paths with you.

I hope you are having an amazing Monday morning and that your week will be a fantastic one.

Best always, 


Natalie and her course crew pose in the forest of Vancouver Island.

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