Walls are meant for climbing.

Walls are meant for climbing.

If you haven’t seen The North Face’s new campaign, click on the link above.

“SOME PEOPLE BUILD WALLS.
OTHER PEOPLE CLIMB THEM.
WE’RE DOING BOTH.

We’ve spent 50 years searching for walls to climb because, to us, they offer both challenge and opportunity and they fan the flames of our curiosity. Climbing has taught us to trust, to work together, to create safety in partnership and meaning out of hardship. We see walls as a place to unite our community, so we’re building walls that reflect the world we want to see.”

When I saw this campaign on social media this morning, it impacted me hard enough to write a blog post for two reasons.

As I scrolled through the page dedicated to this new campaign, it struck me that no matter who we are, we have walls in our lives. Sometimes they’re little garden walls, other times they’re maximum security prison type walls, but walls of all kinds exist in our lives. These walls are built by society, by our haters and sometimes even those that love us. These walls are more often than not, built by us (or if not built entirely, then heightened, razor-wire-added as our self-doubts pile on.)

I’m sure if you thought about it, there’s several walls present in your life right now. Maybe its the color of your skin or your gender making you feel like you can’t chase a job opportunity. Maybe its the number in your bank account or the people who depend on you making you feel like you can’t chase a dream. Hell, maybe its even the people in Washington D.C. making you feel like there’s something you can’t do.

As a climber, I look at a rock, a mountain or a fence keeping me out of a superb photo shoot location and think, “I should climb that.” If you’re not a climber, you might not get these crazy urges, but crazy as they may be, the views from the top, the feeling of accomplishment, the other side is always worth it.

If I’m willing to climb the physical walls that try to keep me on the ground, then what’s stopping me from climbing those metaphorical walls?

Walls, my friends, are meant to be climbed. It will be hard. You might bleed, or fall. There might be moves that have you screaming in frustration. But the top? The top is so worth it.

Once I pulled myself back on track and started scrolling farther down the page, I got this warm feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am so freakin’ proud of the outdoor community. Brands like The North Face could opt out of politics, of current events, and just sell outdoor gear and nobody would care. They have chosen instead to take a risk and stand for what they believe in. They are standing for inclusiveness, for protecting the environment and have spoken out against the current administration when its actions have challenged their beliefs. Working in Marketing, I see these stances and campaigns and I see the dollars that I am sure they have lost because of it.

I have so much admiration for The North Face for this campaign and sponsoring Protect Our Public Lands – An Open Letter. REI works hard to include women in the outdoor community and support public lands. Outdoor Research, Prana, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Backcountry, Columbia, Dakine and so many more have actively taken a stand to protect public lands and promote inclusiveness in the outdoor world. In 2017, that has meant taking a stand against our government.

These brands have won my heart and my business. The North Face Walls campaign is donating a million dollars to the Trust for Public Lands, sponsoring a free global day of climbing on August 19 and donating $50K to Paradox Sports to make climbing accessible to those with disabilities.

The great outdoors is a place where walls should be climbed, whether they are literal or figurative.

I want to hear what your walls are! Comment below and pledge to climb them with me and stop building new ones.

Thank you North Face, for inspiring people everywhere.

A cup of camp coffee.

I love camping because it’s a lot of work.

I know that sounds crazy, but I do. Camping is life in the most basic, primitive state and there is something so simply satisfying about the work that it takes to survive.

In a world where everything we need is at our fingertips, it’s incredibly refreshing to not have every little detail of life be so easy.

Continue reading “A cup of camp coffee.”

Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Muddy, exhausted and with sore feet I gazed up at Mt. Bierstadt from the passenger seat of our Subaru this last weekend and thought,

Wow.

Our bodies are pretty freaking amazing.

I find myself continually in awe of the places our own two feet can take us. I love having my own car and all but swore off public transportation on my college graduation day. Because I love driving and I love the freedom to get anywhere I want fairly quickly, the concept that our bodies were designed to transport us long distances continually awes me.

Looking up at that huge mountain that I had just hauled my sorry butt up and back down, I found a new appreciation for my own two feet, for my lungs and heart, for my body.

I work out a few times a week and hike on the weekends, but my no means am I in excellent shape. Yet my body, which is very comfortable sitting on the couch watching Netflix with a bowl of mac n’ cheese, was able to carry me 14,000 feet into the sky.

Continue reading “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”

Adventure is a Choice

While planning a wedding may not scream adventure to most, I’ve decided that the next fifteen months are going to be just that – an adventure.

We got engaged two months ago and having procrastinated for as long as humanly possibly, we’ve been begrudgingly starting to work on plans little by little. This week we found ourselves in the paint aisle at Home Depot, staring at a rainbow of chips and having a small meltdown. He was holding a fistful of navy blues and grays while I was picking out shades of wine and rose.

We ended up discarding everything in our hands and going to look at power tools, him fed-up and myself overwhelmed. It occurred to me while looking at belt sanders that it was sort of funny. I pointed out how the guy behind the paint counter must be witness to countless divorces and we both laughed and headed back to the paint aisle.

We settled on a joint color scheme (red wine, heather grey, cream, coral and sage for you curious few!) and right then and there I decided that this whole process is going to be an adventure. No matter how many things go wrong, how many stressful plans there are to make I am going to choose to laugh instead of let it affect me. Our feelings are choices each and every day and I choose to live in a spirit of adventure.

Its easy to get caught up in the mindset that adventure is relegated to the weekends, to hikes and camp trips and plane rides to exotic destinations. That adventure can’t occur every day. But to me, adventure is a mindset.

Adventure is choosing a new brand of protein bar at the grocery store. Adventure is stopping on the way home to take a picture of the sunset. Adventure is midnight milkshakes.

Continue reading “Adventure is a Choice”

How to Be a Tourist in Your Hometown

A step-by-step guide to avoid cabin fever

If you’re a wanderluster at heart like me, you start getting cabin fever within two weeks of getting home from your last trip.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be a permanent adventurer, your heart will never be truly satisfied with the ho-hum of every day life. I can’t take off and travel whenever I get a wild hair and although we do a good job of planning day trips and road trips, sometimes I need a closer-to-home solution.

I give you; how to be a tourist in your hometown, a step-by-step guide to fighting cabin fever.

Step 1: Find adventure buddies. Like your family. They may not be up for driving all night to Moab, but they will certainly be up for a two hour adventure across town.

Step 2: Calendar it so nobody has any excuses. Text your dad the day before because he never accepts calendar appointments.

Step 3: Choose a part of your city or town that you’re not familiar with and do some research (if you live in a small town, find another nearby town)

Step 4: Pick a food venue and an activity that will simultaneously satisfy your wild sister and not send your parents rolling their eyes (your parents are probably up for being more adventurous than you think; mine were surprisingly up for black light yoga and wandering alleys to look at graffiti)

Make sure you pick a really good restaurant or coffee shop so that if your activity totally flops, at least the food will be good.

Step 6: Dress up, take lots of pictures. Let your fiance insult you for being the cause of gentrification when you insult alley stank.

Step 7: Leave as soon as everybody feels over-enlightened and starts to get grumpy. The great thing about stay-cations is that you can go back to your own house and avoid drama that always comes with being too close to your relations for too long!

My current favorite place to be a tourist in Denver is the River North District, aka, RiNO. Last year’s Colorado Crush festival released tons of street artists on the former warehouse district to turn every wall and alley into a masterpiece. Check out RiNO Yoga Social for the coolest black light yoga and Stowaway Coffee and Kitchen for breakfast/brunch that will make you go all heart-eyes emoji.

The Curse of Being a Millennial

Insights from DesertX on why Millennials need to break their stereotypes (expect millennial pink, that one can stay!)

I love being a millennial.

Ask anybody and they’ll roll their eyes and agree.

#vanlife?

Millenial Pink?

Hipster coffee shops?

Twenty somethings making a living BLOGGING AND POSTING PICTURES ON SOCIAL MEDIA!?

When the whole millennial term really started popping up a few years ago, I finally found a stereotype of people I can identify with and, it feels pretty cool.

Like any young generation, millennials are re-defining the world. Our generation is eating healthier and consuming less and traveling more. We’re informed, we’re passionate and I really, truly believe that we have a shot at changing the world.

But, to every coin there are two sides.

Stereotypes don’t pop up from unicorn emojis and kombucha startups.

Continue reading “The Curse of Being a Millennial”

Get Out and Experience Life.

There’s something almost counter intuitive about it, but I think that the best chance we have of preserving the beautiful, natural places on our planet is to get people out to truly experience them; to really care about them.

In this age of extreme connectivity, we’re exposed to some of the most amazing places on Earth from the comfort of our beds. We can open Instagram waiting for food at a restaurant, on a conference call, in the drive-thru at Starbucks, anywhere and immediately get a glimpse of the wilds of this world.

When we’re faced with the stark beauty of the Arctic or the remote beaches and rain forests of Asia, its easy to fall in love in a passive way. Nobody wants to see the ice caps melt, nobody wants to see forests bulldozed to grow crops or build homes for our exploding population. Its easy to pretend we care.

Its a passive care, though. Its like seeing a shooting on the news. Its horrifying. Its sad. We feel sympathy, but do we really care? Does it really, deeply affect us? What about when that shooting happens at your neighborhood theater, or in your kids’ school? Suddenly it becomes very, very real. Suddenly you really, really care. Because you’re truly experiencing it.

Continue reading “Get Out and Experience Life.”