What an epic surprise to recently receive news that National Geographic has selected me as one of ten nominees for this year’s ‘Adventurer of the Year’ award!?!
I’m deeply honored and grateful to be recognized for what I love most: LIVING ADVENTURE!!!
As far back as I can remember, I was always the one who got excited when the car broke down, or oddly pleased when I was stuck up a tree or lost without directions. Something about the unknown, with its the possibilities and surprises, never ceases to thrill me. No matter where you live or what you love, life is an open-ended adventure if you choose to see it that way. That I’ve been able to turn my voyaging dream into the backdrop for my inner and outer adventures is something I’m grateful for every single day. I never know quite where it will lead tomorrow, but in a way that’s what keeps me going. I remain open and do my best to heed the evolving calls of my heart.
To live on faith and passion has been a wild, wonderful, and often challenging ride, and the opportunities it’s afforded me to grow into a better and better version of myself have been worth every moment of difficulty, fear, and darkness. Like Patagonia Ambassador Steve House said so perfectly… “It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun.”
The nominees for this year’s award are truly extraordinary humans. They have each charted their own unique, fearless course and I am honored and humbled to be recognized alongside them. For the next two and a half months, you are invited to learn about each of our stories and vote every day for the People’s Choice award that they will announce in the end of January. Reading about all of the nominees filled me with pride for the tenacity and strength of the human spirit. One story struck me in particular.
A woman from Bangladesh named, Wasfia Nazreen, has been climbing the worlds highest mountains with a hula hoop strapped to her pack. Why? To raise awareness about women’s oppression and sex trade in her country. She wasn’t allowed to hula hoop as a child because it involved too much swinging of the hips. After working as part of an aid group to free 3,000 women from brothels a few years back, her organization lost its foreign funding leaving all those women in limbo and Wasfia feeling helpless. She decided to take the matter into her own hands, starting her own non-profit and learning how to climb mountains. Her story is an example of adventuring for something bigger than yourself. Against all odds–from a country where the majority of people have never even seen a mountain–Wasfia is bringing hope and pride for a new era for women in her country and around the world.
I opened my FaceBook a few days ago, after posting about her incredible story, only to receive a message from her, welcoming me to visit her in Bangladesh!! And that’s just it. For me, it’s about using this nomination to connect with more like-minded people like Wasfia and the other amazing nominees, to spread the world-bettering messages that this 9-year adventure has given me the opportunity to develop and refine.
A few moments from the many adventures…