Author: Cristin Whetten
Wow, where do I even begin? I guess I can start by saying that the Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10 weekend met zero of my initial expectations but exceeded so many more. It was a whirlwind of an experience with a lifetime of memories to keep. Life-long friendships were made, dreams were inspired, valuable lessons and skills were learned. I don’t think any one of us ten ladies will ever quite be the same.
We went into this weekend completely blind. We were sent a packing list, a time for arrival, and that was it! We had absolutely no idea what was in store for us in the days ahead. Unless of course, it was anything like the previous Top 10 weekends. Oddly enough, this ‘not knowing’ business was quite the challenge for me to overcome. I have a “planning” personality; I need to know what exactly to pack for (what activities will be done for the day), timeframes, how fast (or slow) I can drink this bottle of water with the assurance a restroom will be available down the road, etc. The downside attached with that sort of personality, however, is that I will set expectations. I will expect things to go a certain way and could very easily be disappointed if they do not meet those expectations. The fact that the weekends’ plans were entirely unknown to us was such a headache for me on the days leading up to, and even into the first day of the weekend. I was creating unnecessary stress for myself, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t the only one. Many of the other ladies felt the same way. It was hard not knowing what exactly to wear or what to pack/bring for the day – what if we forgot something back at the house that we would end up needing? After some pestering from us to Charlene about what we were doing on the first evening, Charlene finally told us that we should just stop asking, stop expecting, and start enjoying every moment as it comes.
This was exactly what I needed to hear because after that point the mentality I had towards the weekend suddenly shifted. Rather than trying to anticipate everything, I decided to follow Charlene’s advice and just… Live! I was just as in the dark about the day-to-day plans as everyone else, but I was going to enjoy every moment for what it was worth for that reason. You know what? I can confidently say that the weekend exceeded what I had expected. This was a very valuable lesson that I will carry on, not just for Top 10 weekends, but for all opportunities of life. Just live each moment as it comes.
My day-to-day life has a friend base that consists mainly of males. I have very few female friends and I am not one to do "girly" things that female friends typically like to do. Therefore, you can imagine that I may have been a little bit nervous at the idea of fourteen women (total) spending four days together under one roof. I wasn’t entirely sure if we would end up with drama on our hands or if this weekend could actually be pulled off smoothly. I’m elated to report that it was in fact, the later of the two, even with just two bathrooms to share! Every personality seemed to work well together, there wasn’t any tension or strange energy about anyone, and there was zero drama. Again, this exceeded any preconceived expectation that I had created in my own mind. I believe that the reason we all meshed well together was because of the one passion that brought us all together: Offroading. Every lady this weekend had some sort of experience in this arena – whether that be amateur or as intense as Rebelle Rally and TV shows. We each had that spark and yearning for dirt roads and the by-products that come with it: from vehicle mechanics, trail recovery, and skill building - all with a flair for adventure. This, I believe, is what sets us apart from “typical” ladies of the world, and is the reason that we got along. It was such a great realization that I was truly surrounded by very like-minded women – many of which will probably become life-long friends and will continue to inspire me in the years ahead.
This weekend was definitely not all rainbows and butterflies and it definitely wasn’t some relaxing vacation. It consisted of busy, intense days, going from sunrise until long after the sun had set. It was “hustle mode” for nearly everything. Our expected behavior was one of participating in all activities, asking as many questions as possible, engaging 100% with each and every opportunity, a constant state of go! go! go!, but most importantly was to have fun. We had earned our right to be at this weekend. This was about us. This was about ME. I had to experience this unique privilege for all that it was worth. If that meant getting completely out of my comfort zone a few times, silencing insecurities, forcing down any expectations, and finally falling asleep each night completely and undeniably exhausted… whatever it took, I was onboard to make this weekend the best experience that it could be for ME. As I drove home afterwards, I had felt like I had accomplished just that. I gave the Top 10 weekend everything I had and, in turn, the weekend rewarded me the same.
The Top 10 weekend taught me so many valuable lessons both mentally, emotionally and physically. There were hands-on lessons taught in shops and mental lessons learned in the confines of my own headspace. This newfound knowledge is what made this experience worth it for me. I had no idea what to expect for those three days, but the final outcome was far above what I had anticipated. I am beyond grateful that I was able to be a part of the 2018 Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10 weekend. It was an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I felt like I grew from it in so many ways. With my new skills, knowledge, resources, and friendships, I cannot wait to see what the future holds in my offroad world.
Photo Credit: Rachel Speir - RS Marqueting
Author: Cristin Whetten