Blazing a Trail to Impact Millions

Blazing a Trail to Impact Millions

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

— Edgar Allan Poe

On July 20th of this past year, I wrote the following:

My dreams are laughable. Seriously, laughable. ⠀⠀

I am going to be the much (much) smaller, female version of Tony Robbins for people who love the mountains and adventure. I am going to write a NY Times best seller about my experiences in the mountains and how they have translated into massive success in my life (NOTE: I almost deleted this sentence out of fear of failure, but I caught myself and am admitting it to be vulnerable). I am going to design an entire line of women’s technical clothing/gear for hiking, backpacking and mountaineering. I am leading a 32 day trek next year through the Himalayas of Bhutan. I am going to create a Gear Library so that I can provide education and loaner gear to aspiring adventurers. With the success of my business, I am going to make a massive impact in the cause for stewardship education and protecting natural spaces in our country. ⠀

I don’t know every little detail of how I’m going to do this, but I can see it so clearly in my mind that when I close my eyes, I know it is real. This isn’t just a dream – it’s my new reality. It is my mission in life, my obsession. I have a hunger for this vision so strong that each day, I wake with an insatiable burning in my heart – an unshakeable desire to climb higher, to a place I’ve never been, but one that I know exists.⠀

It exists, because I’m creating it. I started on this path long before I was born. When the stardust swirled around to create me, this seed was planted in my heart. It lay dormant for many years, hoping to be discovered. Every time it tried to surface, I told it to go away – I was so afraid of failing that I hid it, even from myself. ⠀

But, no more. Every mountain, every trail, every climb, every stumble, every summit, every valley has prepared me for this: a climb to a mountain with no defined path – a path that I will build as I go. Herman Melville wrote, “It’s not down in any map; true places never are.” I often wondered what he meant by that, and now I know. That place you are wanting to find, that place that you are looking for – it’s in you.

Me, at a fire lookout (my husband and I spent the night in the lookout!). This photo has nothing to do with the story, it just makes me happy.

I wanted to give an update on my own progress. I do this, not to feed my own ego, but rather to share the magic of what happens when you simply let go and allow the magic of the universe to unfold.

Since July 20th, 2017, I have completed the following items:

  • I am a trail scout and a gear tester for Backpacker Magazine
  • I have been in touch with the owner of a clothing company, and I am working to design my first, small outdoor product (I need to focus more efforts on this endeavor)
  • In a flash of inspiration, and through a curious series of events, I played my violin on the summit of a mountain, which has morphed into a lifelong dream for me of combining the two things I love the most – music and nature. I have been contacted by a few production/filmmakers and would love the opportunity to perform more in the backcountry and/or secure more adventure-musical gigs around the world – possibly a documentary about Rose (pianist) and I travelling the country, performing on peaks?
  • I had the opportunity to perform on the summit of a peak, while artists Claire Giordano and Nikki Frumkin created watercolor masterpieces, inspired by my music.
  • I am being featured in a documentary in conjunction with Working Against Gravity in November.
  • Rose and I were featured on King 5 Evening Magazine in a beautiful piece by Diane Torre
  • Rose and I were also featured on the front page of the Sunday Everett Herald in a stunning article, written by the extremely talented Caleb Hutton and photographed by Ian Terry
  • Rose and I were additionally featured on KOMO 1000 News Radio in a short story about our musical mountaineering
  • I launched my podcast, The Inspired Adventurepreneur
  • My Facebook Group, Toward the Mountaintop Inch by Inch has nearly 700 adventure-inspired members
  • I launched The Inspired Adventurepreneur Academy on Facebook to provide coaching and a collective for aspiring adventurepreneurs
  • I was featured on the Cascade Hiker Podcast (amazing podcast, you should listen!)
  • Held an in-person meetup for my Toward the Mountaintop group
  • Taught two, 2.5 day backpacking basics courses
  • I have been in contact with a guide in Bhutan and I am actively working to plan for guiding the Snowman Trek in 2018 or 2019
  • I went on A LOT of my own, personal backpacking trips with my husband (this is very important to me – my adventure lifestyle must allow for trips with my husband and friends)
  • Wrote several chapters in my book

Musical mountaineering with Rose Freeman on piano (photo by Ian Terry, Everett Herald)

One of my biggest goals was to, “impact millions”, which at the time seemed somewhat ludicrous to me. I mean, seriously – how does one even go about STARTING to figure out how to inspire millions of people? I had no clue, only that I truly wanted to do it. Well, the violin-on-a-mountain idea that came to me in a flash of inspiration as resulted in upwards of 50k views/shares just on Facebook alone. The King 5 story reached hundreds of thousands of viewers. The story from the Everett Herald ended up getting picked up by the Associated Press, and it was featured around the country – I even saw it in the Miami Herald! So, by my estimation, at least a million people have, very likely, seen my story – even if it was just a snippet.

When I started on my path as an adventurepreneur I had NO IDEA how to do this. I had a vision, and I have clung to that vision like a bar of gold. That vision is what wakes me up in the morning and it is the last thing I think about before I go to bed. I want to inspire people to follow their heart. I want to show people the good and the hope and the beauty in this world. I want to leave a lasting impact and a legacy on this planet – I want to prove that one tiny girl with a dream of inspiring millions is not silly – that my adventures and my dreams are beautiful things, and that your dreams and adventures and beautiful and real too. I want to create a world where people are excited to wake up in the morning because they love their life more and more every single day, because THEY are blazing their own trail and creating their own reality. This is my purpose in life, it is my calling, it is who I am. The only guide I have had along the way is simply listening to my heart – that’s it. There hasn’t been a secret sauce or magic recipe. I don’t have a wand, just a dream to make a difference in the lives of as many people as I can.

I know that this reality exists for me, I know that it is coming to me, and I am in the process of stepping into it as the world around me shifts and aligns to bring my ideas to fruition. My next MAJOR goal is “retiring” my husband from his current job – he works a 9-5 position (although it is more like 14 hour days), but I have created a reality where he and I can work side by side, full time. He is my biggest supporter and believes in me, very often, more than I believe in myself. The day when he will be able to join this adventure full time is very near – I can sense it – and I am so grateful for the moment when we can truly give everything that we have to inspiring others to follow their own adventure-inspired life.

Things that I am actively working to create moving forward (intentionally writing these in the present tense):

  • I am launching a coaching course for aspiring adventurepreneurs
  • I am putting more effort into my outdoor clothing/product line
  • Creating a wilderness-inspired retreat for women
  • I am going to be featured on a nationally syndicated television show (i.e. Ellen, The Today Show, etc…)
  • I am seeking more public speaking engagements
  • I am working on my book and need to determine whether or not to self-publish or to seek a publisher
  • Continue work on creating a “Gear Library” to loan gear to aspiring adventurers
  • I am going to facilitate a mastermind for wilderness-inspired creative arts
  • I am purchasing a new vehicle (I currently drive a tiny Honda), which will be more conducive to 4×4 in the desert, since Aaron and I want to go to Canyonlands again in February

Dresses and mountains just belong together.

Blazing your own trail is not easy. It is rewarding, fulfilling, emotional, beautiful, challenging, terrifying, joyful, discouraging, frustrating, rocky, winding, tumultuous, inspiring, breathtaking, surreal and magical. Just when I feel like I’m not making progress, the universe sends me a message that I am following the right path. In the moments where I simply, “let go” and trust the process, I can feel it happening around me. I trust that things are happening at the moment when they are supposed to be happening – at the timing that is right for my life.

I share these updates not to discourage, but rather to encourage. It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey – anything you want to create is possible. I started with simply an idea – a formless dream, held tightly in my heart. This dream has blossomed into something so beautiful that, at times, I find myself weeping in gratitude. To see it take shape around me… to feel each step as I walk into this new life… to look at the lives I have impacted so far, and to imagine what else could be possible – these things are so overwhelming to think about that I can feel the joy rushing through my veins. I have never worked so hard in my life, but I have also never loved my work so hard. This isn’t work – it is my mission, my calling. My love. It is what I want to give to the world – it is, quite simply, who I am.

The wilderness has given me the space to be me. In the moments where I have not felt strong, the mountains have lifted me and carried me to heights that I did not know were possible. At the lowest points in my life – the points where I thought that I was complete failure – the wilderness has cradled me and loved me for who I am, even with all my flaws and imperfections. Along the way, I have listened to the lessons that are hidden in the crevasses, creeks and valleys. I have heard the messages in the peaks and I have felt them calling me, beckoning me to blaze my own trail. All along they have known where I was meant to go, and so have I.

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