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From Source to Sea

Saying Traci Martin, RN likes an adventure is like saying a snowman likes cold. Or better yet, a fish likes water.

Martin, a mother of three, has been a registered nurse for more than twenty years. She cares for residents at Lakewood’s Long Term Care. Martin grew up listening to her father’s stories of exploration, exhaustion, and survival. But if you thought that being a frontline healthcare worker during a global pandemic would be enough excitement for Martin—you thought wrong.

Just this week, at 6:00am exactly on Monday, May 17, 2021, Martin and her kayak hit the water. “Good luck, paddle on,” shouted a friend. Martin is attempting to paddle the Mississippi River, from source to sea (Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico). Yes, more than 2,300 miles. Alone, except for flesh-biting flies up north and alligators that creep through the bayou’s murky waters.

“My boat is designed for speed, it’s designed for racing. So I don’t have the luxury of carrying a lot of stuff. I’ll be carrying about 24 to 48 hours worth of food and water,” Martin said. She plans to camp at night and refuel on food that won’t attract bears to her campsite. Martin isn’t just doing this to set a Guinness speed record for solo female kayaker, she wants to encourage you to live your best life.

Martin lives with chronic pain. She has rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma, which means the morning walk to the bathroom is, “like stepping on hot glass.” The pain decreases throughout the day, but is never less than a three or four on the pain scale. “I just keep moving,” Martin says.

And that’s exactly why she is kayaking. She knows her extreme adventure causes a splash, gets people’s attention. And she’s using that attention to inspire other to not let chronic pain get in the way of the things they love to do. “Just because you hurt, just because you feel bad doesn’t mean your life has to be over. You can still do incredible, amazing things.”

You can get updates on Martin’s adventures by searching for the “Just Around the Pointe” page on Facebook.