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Come As You Are

I am not Bear Grylls.

I am not a crag master.

I am not a mountaineer.

I am an Adventure Mama.

I thrive outdoors. I breathe easier. I notice more. I feel more deeply. Time slows down. I stand taller. And that’s just walking along a paved trail through some trees at the local park.

I don’t own an entire REI store worth of gear. My tent is more than 20 years old. My sleeping bag is a Coleman rectangle that doesn’t pack down worth shit. I have exactly one of anything useful – base layer, rain layer, winter coat, fleece – and that’s just because I live in climate where winter is a thing for which I need to be prepared. And most of this “gear” was acquired before I ever even thought of having kids.

I am not a backcountry dirtbag legend.

I am an Adventure Mama.

My adventure fails are delightful. I got lost on the trails of a nature center. True story. I attempted to boil water in a regular old copper bottom saucepan on my portable propane grill because I was too lazy to borrow a camp stove for a one-night trip. The water got hot enough for my instant oatmeal and french press coffee, but it never boiled. I ripped my only pair of hiking pants straight up the crotch before I even stepped foot on the trailhead.

I don’t have mad skillz at any of this “adventure stuff”. I went indoor rock climbing for the first time this year. I am afraid to try mountain biking. I backpacked in the backcountry a handful of times. I have more experience with car camping because it involves a cooler fully-stocked with beverages, snacks, and grillables (plus proximity to running water and a bath house).

The only things separating me from a backcountry wilderness survival icon is training and experience. What bonds us together is our love of the outdoors, our willingness to try and learn new things, and our desire to challenge ourselves.

Photos of Adventure Mamas on mountain peaks, or scaling cliff faces, or free-diving the depths of the ocean are inspiring and intimidating. However, no one bagged a peak or dived the depths without first walking through the forested valleys or snorkeling the sandy shallows. And none of those rad, inspiring, expert-level adventurers started alone. Like me, they learned from people who knew more than they did. They got lost. They broke their gear. They made dip-shit decisions. They dared to try.

I am an Adventure Mama. Because I thrive in the outdoors, I breathe easier, and I feel more alive – I dare to try. But, I don’t have to do it alone. There are thousands of Adventure Mamas across the country and here in my own small town supporting me, teaching me, and laughing WITH me as I try new things – and thrive. And that priceless support is something for which I am truly grateful.

4 thoughts on “Come As You Are

  1. I absolutely love your words, so candid and incredibly relatable to soooooooooo many fellow adventure mamas who don’t even know that they are! There’s so much focus on the big, grand, sexy, branded stories and images that truly cater to only a small percentage of outdoor enthusiast. What you write speaks to the general population of Americans, and has the ability to truly inspire the hearts of so many mamas! Thank you for sharing!


  2. I’ve been rock climbing since I was 7 years old and I still don’t have all of the right gear and definitely lack fundamental organisational skills haha, and that was before having a baby, now it’s chaos! Keep at it Adventure Mamma, maybe one day we’ll both have an adventure that goes smoothly? But where would be the fun in that!


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