To say that Tamara Maxwell loves the outdoors would be a massive understatement.
Perhaps her thirst for solitude stems in part from growing up in a home on Syer Line surrounded by six siblings. Her quiet, independent nature continues to drive her life in a unique direction as she carves her path in the modern world, finding peace and joy in nature.
Tamara has embarked on a personal journey that involves camping in the wilderness on her own which she shares on her own YouTube channel called CanaCanoe. Camping is really not that far out of her comfort zone. Full disclosure: she lives off-grid in a cabin on 60 acres east of Peterborough with her husband and two daughters which is accessed by an ATV trail. In other words, she lives in the woods. Over the last few years, she has pushed her outdoor experiences with solo camping trips, usually in provincial parks, recording her trips for display on a YouTube channel called CanaCanoe. Through this medium she hopes to inspire others to embrace the outdoors to find peace and joy in nature in adventures of their own.
She began her camping adventures in response to Covid. Her approach rather bare-boned; the antithesis of the current trend known as “glamping”, where enthusiasts bring mattresses, BBQ’s and electrical apparatus to enhance the physical comforts of their journey.
There is no tent in Tamara’s backpack, but there is a handsaw, some basic cooking tools, a stick stove for heat and cooking, a headlamp, a hammock and a tarp which covers her sleeping hammock and of course a Swiss Army knife. While there is no tent, her hammock is equipped with a bug net to protect her from pesky insects which provides a small bit of creature comfort in the night. Her cell phone is taken to record her adventures, but could also come in handy should she find herself in trouble, that is if cell reception allows it to connect with the outside world.
An important element in her journey is to travel solo: that’s empowering. Spending time on her own gave her the opportunity to find peace and calm and some well-needed “me time”. Any parent can relate to that!
To satisfy her family’s safety concerns, she always gives her husband a map and timeline of her plans which are also provided to provincial park staff. Sometimes she brings someone a companion. If her trip is somewhere on the property, her dog is able to join her. Both her daughters and her mother Sherry have also participated on some of her trips which can take as long as eight days to complete.
When selecting a campsite, she looks for a lake that is at least one portage away from a main access lake. This makes for a more quiet experience with few motor boats. New locations are more interesting than ones she has seen before. Sturdy trees on which to mount her sleeping hammock and a ready source of dry firewood are also helpful. In the hot weather, a west side location is cooler because the afternoon sun is blocked. Bonus features include beaches, lookouts and places with historical features but often the sites that seem less promising offer the best surprises.
Tamara is passionate about canoeing, camping, and exploring the great outdoors and is eager to encourage others to give it a try. It has been a real boost to her mental health, and believes it could do the same for others. She hopes to inspire others to find themselves while getting “lost” in nature and embark on their own camping adventures.
With a minimal expense, inexperienced campers can take baby steps to spend time in nature with a minimum of equipment. The experience offers the potential for a significant boost to self-esteem, independence and a belief in oneself. Taking that first step and spending a night outdoors with a few precautions can inspire a new confidence and personal value that Tamara believes will make you wonder why you didn’t start sooner! KG