It may not always appear that I have, what I consider, a regular life... but I do. When you look at my Instagram page, you'll see picture after picture of mountain landscapes, as well as images of my friends and I in our element. A little over a year ago, I decided to dedicate my Instagram feed solely to photos from my hiking and backpacking excursions. Pictures of family functions, my niece and nephew, holiday parties, karaoke night, etc., that was what Facebook was for. However, the continuous stream of outdoor photos on my Instagram account seems to confuse some people. They think I'm out in the mountains all the time, because that's all I post. I've received many comments, direct messages and emails from people telling me they want to change their life and live like I do. They ask what I do for work, how I'm able to make a living hiking, how I afford to travel so much, etc. They want to know how they can say goodbye to a standard job and bounce around from mountain to mountain and make a living at it. I get it. Who doesn't want to find a way to turn their passion into their profession? I know I do, and I'm still trying to figure out how to blend the two.
To clear up some confusion though... I live in a studio apartment in Seattle, about 10 minutes from downtown. I work as an executive assistant for an advertising agency and I am lucky enough to get to walk to work... and we all know I love walking. I work Monday through Friday, and most of my vacation time is used to extend weekends during the hiking season, but that's just it... weekends. Saturday and Sunday are the two days I am able to devote to my outdoor addiction. My family lives in the state, so I have obligations from time to time... and if you've read my previous blog post, you'll know that rainy forecasts keep me indoors. Aside from that though, I'm a weekend trail girl, and most of my adventures take place in my home state of Washington.
The other thing to admit is, I am not a badass, in any way. I'm a regular hiker. I groan when I throw my overnight pack on. My legs burn when hiking uphill, my knees ache when hiking downhill, and my feet are destroyed from the many miles I've put on them. I definitely wouldn't call myself "sure footed" and I get scared and feel uncomfortable on exposed peak scrambles. I've turned around from a summit as well as pushed through and made it to the top. I have no idea how many hikes I've been on this year, nor how many miles I've covered and I have nothing to prove. I don't need to bag a specific number of peaks, sleep outside a certain amount of nights (go Jason go!) or trek any set amount of miles. It's not about that for me. I hike. I backpack. That's all. I won't fool you into thinking I'm out "climbing" mountains, because I'm not. I don't even properly know how to use an ice axe, but I can assure you that you won't see me posing with one in a photo until I do.
I'm just a regular city girl with a love for the outdoors, but even that love only goes so far. After hiking all day in the Wind Rivers, with about 3 miles to go I said to Aaron "Alright! I've reached my nature limit! If I don't see a rock for a WEEK, I'll be the happiest girl in the world." ...and it was the truth, at the time. So there she is, that's the real me... but to be fair that girl is also accompanied by the girl that squeals with excitement when she sees a mountain. I absolutely love the outdoors, but I have the same aches and pains that most others do. I crave a hot shower just as much after being outdoors for two days as I do being out for five. I have a fairly standard job during the week, and I like to offset city living and cubical life with fresh air and mountains on the weekends. Sadly, I do not have the means, nor enough paid vacation to travel the world yet, but I hope to change that soon... and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, only that I never want to stop trying to figure it out.