I get a couple emails per week asking me very similar questions. I always get back to them, but figured maybe I should post some of those questions here! I've been running this blog for nearly two years and haven't done anything like this. And while I absolutely love sharing my adventures and photos, it might be nice for you, dear reader, to know more about me. Forgive me for being long-winded. It is my style.
What is your mission statement?
Inspire, empower, educate, get wild, always be real. Or something like that.
Why are you so drawn to the outdoors?
Wilderness is the only place I feel safe and completely myself. I grew up in it. I like to think about trees and rocks and wildlife. There is so much going on in "the real world" and most of it is pretty silly. Nature provides a break from all that. You see what really matters. You feel it.
When you decided to change your life, how did you do that? What were the first steps?
I've changed my life a few times. But with my commitment to living a wild and simple life, it was pretty straightforward. That by no means equates to easy. I fill out a packet twice a year (once in the summer and once at New Years) called a Year Compass. After the first couple years of doing this, I realized "OH SHIT!" All I wanted was to be free. I ended a dead-end relationship and cut a lot of negativity out of my life. From there on out, I made travel a priority and figured out how to get by on very little money. Most of the first steps were mental. A lot of journaling about goals and a lot of positive self talk!
How did you meet your husband?
Online. I suppose that's not weird anymore. What's weird is that I wasn't looking for a boyfriend/husband/anything. We both got really lucky. We met in person a week later and that was that!
If you could travel to one place, totally funded, where would it be and what would you do?
Norway. Norway is a huge goal on my bucket list. I want to trek, paddle and see everything. I want to eat the food and drink the water and look at the sky. I've always been totally mesmerized by Norway.
Where is the prettiest place you've been?
That's an impossible question, because every place is so vastly different. Or mildly different. No place is the same. I was stunned by the beauty of the North Dakota Badlands in TRNP. But the answer to this is probably the Tetons. They are pretty glorious. Obviously I think Colorado is drop dead lovely, it's where I moved to be inspired... but the Tetons are nuts.
What is the scariest time you've had in the wilderness?
On our honeymoon, Jon and I got lost in the Black Elk Wilderness of South Dakota. That was really shocking, eye opening and horrifying. The sun was starting to go down and we'd hiked and bushwhacked nearly 20 miles before we found our bearing. This may sound stupid, but I wish I had it on Strava. Because I think we made some very simple mistakes due to dehydration. We bought a GPS after that. And have since been way more careful about this.
What is your favorite photograph you've taken?
I don't know why. But this photo to me is perfect. The colors are. The mood is. And it captures that moment perfectly. This was taken on the North Country Trail in Minnesota. Everything was saturated in blues and golds. And everything was still. Jon and I were so excited to be there and the whole trail was ours. This was after we set up camp.
This second photo is of a pine marten. I took it at the boulder field on Longs Peak- nearly 13,000ft. It was a shitty day of weather- thunder, lightening and crazy amounts of hail. It was also Jon and I's 1st anniversary. Pine martens are incredibly rare and they came out for about 10 minutes to play. It was incredible. Two babies and a mama. Needless to say, it made my day. Or week. Or month. Or year.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to make hard and complicated choices. It's made a lot possible and has been a useful trait various times in the woods.
What is your very favorite piece of gear?
I really, really like my running vest. It's the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta. It holds all of my things and is really comfortable. Sometimes I use it on hikes too. It holds so much more than you'd think. Plus you can keep things you'll use most often up front. You don't have to take it off to get to most things in it. Pretty rad.
Do you have a motto or favorite quote?
"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over." It's an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote. I think it's important. So many things in life aren't about pushing and pressing on. Sometimes it's good to just start new. Start from scratch. This applies to so many things.
What is your favorite book?
"What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami. He's one of my favorite fiction writers, but this autobiographical quick read really changed me. It inspired me to be a little bolder in life. Murakami is such an amazing writer.
Who inspires you?
I like to think about the women and men who summited high peaks 100+ years ago. They didn't have clothing or gear as any of us know it. The men wore jeans and the women wore dresses. It seems completely nuts that they could do such amazing things with so little. Really, really inspirational.
Lots of adventure. In the next few months I have some big plans. And some not so big plans. But very little downtime. I need to stock up on memory cards.