LET­TER FROM THE EDI­TOR

Dolly - - Letter From The Editor -

SEALS SAVED MY LIFE THIS YEAR.

OK, that might be stretch­ing the truth a bit, but let’s just say these adorable sea crea­tures were def­i­nitely there for me in my time of need. See, I’m not the most ac­tive or ~out­doorsy~ per­son, but when I was on hol­i­days in Van­cou­ver, Canada, I was con­vinced by my far more ad­ven­tur­ous boyfriend Julien to go bike rid­ing. Since I hadn’t rid­den a bi­cy­cle in, like, 15 years, this was a much big­ger deal than it sounds. Af­ter a few hours of rid­ing around the Stan­ley Park sea­wall, my butt was killing me and I was well and truly over it. ‘How do I go on?’ I thought dra­mat­i­cally as my tired legs strug­gled to pedal. Then I saw it: a lit­tle seal sud­denly popped his head up out of the wa­ter right near where I had stopped for my mil­lionth break. He stayed there, bob­bing on the sur­face for a while, be­fore swim­ming off. He was so cute that my eyes started to wa­ter and I had the big­gest grin on my face. It sounds stupid, but see­ing him re­ally cheered me up and gave me the kick in the pants I needed to keep go­ing. A few weeks later, I was once again forced into the great out­doors and found my­self hik­ing the Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii. It is one of the most dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous hikes in the world, so it was no great sur­prise that I was cry­ing just 400 me­tres into this ex­pe­di­tion (did I men­tion I am the world’s big­gest baby?). “I can’t do this!” I wailed to the ex­tremely pa­tient Julien, who prob­a­bly used ev­ery ounce of his self-con­trol to not chuck me off the cliff. I agreed to a com­pro­mise: hike up to the 800-me­tre point and see how I felt. It was a steep, rocky and sweaty as­cent, and as I gazed down the cliffs at the clear­est blue wa­ter I have ever seen, I was still de­bat­ing whether to keep go­ing or not – we still had more than six kilo­me­tres to go! And then I saw some­thing in the ocean. Was it a per­son swim­ming? No – too big and too far out from the shore. Was it a shark? No – this thing was way too chill. Then I re­alised it was an enor­mous seal! I like to think his Cana­dian mate had told him to find me at my low­est point and en­cour­age me to go on, which I did. I com­pleted the seven kilo­me­tre round trip to Hanakapiai Beach, I didn’t cry again and also I did not fall over *holds for ap­plause*. My spe­cial seal pals got me think­ing about spirit an­i­mals, so I did some re­search. Ac­cord­ing to Na­tive Amer­i­can folk­lore, seals bring pro­tec­tion from dan­ger (which I needed on that trail) and also en­cour­age us to tap into our cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion (which I do at DOLLY HQ ev­ery day). When I told our fea­tures and en­ter­tain­ment writer Matt – or, as we like to call him, Mys­tic Matt – my hol­i­day tales, he be­came in­spired to write about spirit an­i­mals for DOLLY Des­tiny in this is­sue. Head to page 38 to fig­ure out which crea­ture has your back. And if you ever hap­pen to lose your cool on a bike or hike, I hope your spirit an­i­mal is there for you too.

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