The Adventure-preneur Diaries, Episode 1: How I am going to get paid to hike (and, in general, have adventures).

If you dare nothing,
then when the day is over,
nothing is all you will have gained.
— Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

I have a confession to make:  I've been playing it safe.  All along, I've known that I wasn't living up to my true potential, and I was too afraid to change my situation.  I was too afraid to leave my job: my fear of poverty and of being "irresponsible" was oppressively restricting.  I was worried about what people would say - that I'm being silly, ridiculous and reckless.  I was terrified of failure.  These fears kept me trapped in a very small, personal prison for nearly two decades. 

Two decades. 

Twenty years of wanting more, but not knowing how to get it.  Twenty years of wishing and dreaming, but believing that I was, "not lucky", and not destined for greatness - even though I felt within my soul that I could accomplish so much more.  Twenty years of believing that my dreams were foolish.  Twenty years of believing that I couldn't earn a living doing what I truly loved. 

Almost dying in a car accident woke me up.  It happened in a flash - one moment we were driving down the highway, the next second we were spinning across the road on a direct trajectory with a semi-tractor trailer.  In those few helpless seconds I felt three things:  disappointment, shame and sadness.  I wasn't done living yet, and I couldn't believe that my entire life was about to be snuffed out in the blink of an eye.  Suddenly, our vehicle came to a screeching halt, missing the truck by merely inches as it sped by going 60mph.  To this day, I have no idea how we didn't die - other than the incident itself was meant as a wake up call.  A message sent to me from the universe: Life is short ... are you doing your best?  Are you making the biggest difference that you can in this world?  Are you fulfilled?  That night, I cried - not only because of how scared I was, but because I knew that the answer to those questions was, "no". 

That's me. 

That's me. 

It was in that moment that I made a decision.  It didn't come easily - I had to claw, fight and climb my way through a thick bushwhack of limiting beliefs, fears and self-doubt.  Everyday was a struggle - in fact, it still is a struggle, but I felt a deep calling that this was my path.  I knew that I had to jump in with both feet - if I tried to dip my toe in the water, the universe would know that my faith in myself was not strong enough.  I became obsessed with my mission - absolutely driven, determined and hungry to make my dream a reality.  I had to be bold:  after nearly 15 years serving as both a Park Ranger and a Police Officer, I quit my job.  I invested money in myself and devoured personal development and training for my mindset.  In short, I created a new me.  It was not impulsive or easy, and yes, I am absolutely still terrified.  But I am more terrified of living a life below my potential.  I am more terrified of waking up in 10 years and wondering what I could have accomplished or how many lives I could have changed. 

New and improved version of me looks shockingly similar to the other version of me.

New and improved version of me looks shockingly similar to the other version of me.

I am an adventure-preneur.  That title didn't exist until I invented it, but it is my new job.  I am on a mission to change as many lives as possible using experiences in the wilderness as my guide and as a teacher for others.  I have massive dreams and a massive vision - so massive, in fact, that people have laughed at me.  People have rolled their eyes at me.  People think I'm crazy, and you know what?  That's awesome.  Because it means I'm on the right track. 

What's my mission?  I want to change lives - not just a few lives, but millions of lives.  I want to write a NY Times Best Selling book.  I want to be the Tony Robbins of the outdoor community.  I want to design a women's specific line of technical outdoor clothing and products.  I want to inspire people to incorporate adventure and the wilderness into their lives on a regular basis ... I want them to become stewards of the natural spaces that we have on this amazing planet ... and I want them to use those experiences in order to achieve a deeper sense of fulfillment in their own lives.  I want to create a Gear Library so that I can loan gear to aspiring hikers and backpackers, in order to pay homage to the people who helped me when I started on my journey.  I want to plan and host outdoor events so that people from around the world can not only experience the adventure of a lifetime, but also learn how to apply those lessons to, "normal life".  And finally (and most importantly), I want to be a good wife to my husband and a good sister and daughter to my two sisters and parents, and a good friend to my friends. 

I'm writing these Adventure-preneur Diaries to document my progress: my triumphs, my success, my joys, my failures, my sadness, my struggles, my worries.  I want to share the good and the bad.  I want to show exactly what this path of entrepreneurship means and what it looks like.  Along the way, the mountains will be my guide:  reminding me of my strength, urging me to walk towards my fears, challenging me to push myself and humbling me at all times. 

As I sit and write this post, I am overwhelmed by the gratitude that I feel towards the people who have supported me, encouraged me, and cheered me on thus far in my journey.  I am about to embark on what will likely be one of the most exciting adventures of my life.  I don't know exactly how to get where I'm going, but I can see the summit of the peak in my mind - I've been dreaming about this my entire life, and for the first time, I know that it is real.  For nearly two decades, the theme of my life has been, "Toward the Mountaintop Inch by Inch".  Each moment in my life, each lesson, each stumble has been guiding me on this path.  It's time to leave the comfort of the trailhead and do what I do best: start climbing. 

Whereby I introduce myself to the world as an adventure-preneur. And, of course, cry like a baby.