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Inspiring Sustainable Adventures: One Family’s World Travels

As a mama who loves the outdoors, I am very concerned about protecting the environment and the natural places where we love to play and where I am rejuvenated. I am also worried about the future of the planet for my daughter’s generation and all those that will follow. I often feel at a loss for how to make a difference when I see so much that needs to change to make our world more sustainable. Thinking about the impacts of climate change and the urgency with which we need to act can be overwhelming. So what is a mama to do?

In our family we take individual actions to minimize our environmental impact and carbon footprint when we can. We recycle and take public transportation. We are vegetarians and we compost.

But what does this look like when we are traveling or on an adventure?

Inspiring Sustainable Adventures: One Family's World Travels by Meaghann Beer for Adventure Mamas (image is a row of garbage and recycling cans in Barcelona)
Sorted recycling and composting bins line the streets in Barcelona, Spain.

It can be much harder, for example, to avoid single-use plastics on the road. How do we make sure that we are leaving no trace in the backcountry, and reducing, reusing, and recycling in the front country? What about our gear? What do we really need? How do we make sure we are responsible consumers? Where can we stay that operates sustainably? These questions and more have come up for me as my family and I have embarked on our latest adventure.

Inspiring Sustainable Adventures: One Family's World Travels by Meaghann Beer for Adventure Mamas (image is a woman and young girl standing by the tide pools in Scotland)
AMI board president Meghann Beer and her daughter exploring waterways in Scotland as they travel the globe for a year, documenting sustainability efforts abroad.

In June, my husband, four-year-old daughter, and I packed up our house into storage and left on a year-long adventure around the world. Our last five months have included running on the beach in Scotland, hiking in the Dolomites, exploring museums in Spain, wandering through markets in Morocco, and feeding giraffes in Kenya. It has been amazing and exhausting, beautiful and challenging, all at once.

One thing we have noticed while talking to people in every country we have traveled to is that people are feeling the impacts of climate change. Even if they don’t know the science behind what is causing it, they are seeing changes in  weather patterns, droughts, melting glaciers, loss of wildlife, and an increase in environmental activism. This journey has made me reflect on my own environmental impact. It has also given me the opportunity to see many amazing natural places that we need to protect, and to witness sustainability efforts trying to have a positive impact around the world.

Inspiring Sustainable Adventures: One Family's World Travels by Meaghann Beer for Adventure Mamas (image is a woman and young girl crouching by an alpine lake)
Meghann and her daughter hiking in Italy as they travel the globe for a year, documenting sustainability efforts abroad.

Downsizing from our two-bedroom apartment to two pieces of luggage for a year has made us realize what we can live without, and how little we actually need. Traveling light has also made us very conscious of how much we consume and has limited how much we buy. Now we all know that we need to buy things for our adventures and our daily lives, but how do we make responsible choices?

Sustainable Ideas to Consider Prior to Purchase

  • Do I really need it?
  • Can I borrow it or get it second hand?
  • How were the materials sourced?
  • How is it packaged?
  • Can it be repaired?
  • What will happen to it once I am finished with it? Can it be reused, upcycled, or recycled?
Inspiring Sustainable Adventures: One Family's World Travels by Meaghann Beer for Adventure Mamas (image is a mother and daughter feeing a reindeer)
Meghann and her daughter feeding reindeer in Scotland.

Sometimes the Choices are Overwhelming

I know that is a lot to consider and it can be overwhelming especially if you just realized your daughter’s rain coat doesn’t fit anymore and you are leaving for an around-the-world trip next week! Being busy moms, it can be hard to research every product to make the most sustainable choice. Sometimes the most eco-friendly option can be cost prohibitive.

I have found it really helpful to identify companies that prioritize environmental sustainability in their operations and to purchase what I need from them so that I don’t get lost in hours of Google searching for the best option every time I need something. Finding companies that are transparent about their environmental impact and sustainability efforts, like B-Corps or those that pledge 1% for the Planet, can help you make better choices more easily. AMI’s sustainable holiday gift guide compiles a bunch of companies that prioritize sustainability and woman-owned.

Let’s face it though, even if you buy the most environmentally sustainable gear, minimizing your environmental impact while traveling can be hard. At home it is easier to know where to go to get our favorite eco-friendly products and we have our routines for where to recycle and compost our waste. But, when we are traveling, disposable cups and take away containers abound. Even when we try to avoid them sometimes we are given them anyway. Some places around the world are better at having easily accessible recycling than others.

Inspiring Sustainable Adventures: One Family's World Travels by Meaghann Beer for Adventure Mamas (image is a mother and daughter reading a book together in a hotel bed)

Gear We Love that Reduces Waste

  • We have a super easy to use SteriPen Ultra water purifier and metal water bottles to avoid buying single use plastic water bottles. This works in both the backcountry and where it isn’t safe to drink the tap water.
  • We each also have a kit that includes reusable bamboo utensils, a metal straw, and a cloth napkin.
  • We have a few reusable snack bags too.
  • We also travel with shampoo and soap bars from REDBUDSUDS that work great, are biodegradable, and have no plastic packaging.
  • One of our favorite pieces of gear is our LuminAID solar lantern. We charge it in the sun during the day and inflate it at night. The lantern makes a great night light for a tent or a hotel room and uses renewable energy.
Meghann’s daughter makes new friends while they stay in Morocco.

Sustainable travel options

One of the biggest challenges for us of traveling or setting out on any adventure is the use of fossil fuels every time we fly or drive. We try to take trains and buses or other public transportation, but that isn’t always possible. We really value cross-cultural connections and experiencing other parts of the world. So, what do we do?

Meghann and her family seek out environmentally friendly accommodations as they travel. When staying in Agra, India, they choose an LEED certified hotel.

It is not the perfect solution, and until there are more renewable energy options for travel, we choose to offset our carbon emissions by supporting sustainable development projects. After doing our research we decided to use Gold Standard to financially support projects that do things like planting trees in the Amazon and supporting solar power projects in India. Organizations like this make it easy to calculate your carbon footprint and select projects that have been shown to have positive impacts on the environment and communities. We also try to connect with local environmental organizations and initiatives in the places we visit. Recently during our time in Nairobi, Kenya, we visited Karura Forest and helped plant native trees.

Meghann’s daughter helps plant trees in Karura Forest, an urban forest in Nairobi, Kenya.

Sustainable Holiday Giving

As the holidays approach we are also faced with the question on what to do about presents. This year as we travel around the world our family is really focusing on experiences over things. But you can focus on sharing experiences outdoors with your friends and family wherever you are. If you are looking for a gift that is not another thing and that will help positively contribute to the planet you can support nonprofits like One Tree Planted and plant trees in honor of your friends and family. You can also support environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace. You could offset your friends’ and family’s carbon emissions. Or you could support AMI in honor of your favorite badass mama and help promote maternal wellness in the outdoors, because let’s be real, this all can be overwhelming and getting outside and taking care of ourselves is mission critical!

Meghann and her daughter create signs for the Global Climate Strike in Barcelona, Spain.

At the end of the day our individual choices, no matter how intentionally sustainable, can only make so much of a difference. We know we need systemic change to bring about a more sustainable and just world. Our family takes actions to help change the systems that perpetuate climate change and environmental destruction like participating in climate change protests around the world, supporting environmental organizations, and voting for candidates who prioritize environmental issues.

The other thing that I have started to do on my travels is to document inspiring sustainability efforts and things that inspire me to live more sustainably. I know this alone won’t solve the environmental problems we face, but it helps me keep educating myself about the issues and focus on the positive actions I see. Hopefully it will be a positive resource for you and others also. Check it out on Instagram @inspiringsustainabilty and follow our adventure @go_the_long_way_around.

Vacation Done Right: Building Community Off-Trail

At the start of this project, my goal was to create community with people on the trail in an effort to bring the world just a little bit closer together. To be honest, that hasn’t really happened: partly because we don’t see a lot of people on most of our hikes, and partly because the demands of making sure two toddlers stay safe, fed, and hydrated while outdoors can make it hard to even notice when anyone else is around.

Though we’re almost 10 months into the year and we still haven’t made an on-the-trail connection, this project has not been a loss. My goal of hiking 10 trails in 10 different countries over the course of the year has brought us to some amazing places, and delivered us to some wonderful people.

Vacation Done Right: Building Community Off-Trail [image is a man and a boy- boy is sitting on mans shoulders. the pair faces away from the camera. the background is a pine forest with a mountain in the far background- Dolomite mountains]
Leah’s family enjoying the view during their short time in the Dolomites.
This summer my family and I embarked on a month-long road trip through Italy, France, Andorra and Spain. It was the trip of a lifetime, and we were pumped to have the opportunity to share so many lovely places with our children. After crossing through Austria, we began our trip in the Dolomites in Italy. Though we only had one night there, we had high hopes for spending the first afternoon and most of the second day on the trail.

Unfortunately the winding mountain roads were too much for my two-year-old’s stomach and our plans were squashed by quite a bit of vomit cleaning, consoling, and clothes changing. We still managed to get in a quick hike near our Airbnb and both boys came out of the forest with grins on their faces after getting to let loose and run wild in their comfort zone.

Vacation Done Right: Building Community Off-Trail [image is a African woman in the foreground wearing a blue and white striped summer dress- she is glancing off to her left. background is a fields in Matera, Italy, the field is mostly golden grass with cows in the distance]
Leah exploring the fields of Matera, a city in southern Italy.

Home Stays During Vacation Make a Huge Impact

We spent several days driving south to the heel of Italy. The ride had highlights like Venice, the Ferrari museum, and Alberobello. But the real highlight of this portion of the trip was the family with whom we stayed in Villa Castelli. I cannot say enough good things about them. They were open and friendly and loved the children who made themselves right at home. We were even invited to the homeowner’s birthday where we were warmly welcomed by their large family. Everyone was so kind and loving. They treated us like we belonged there and not like strangers who booked a room on Airbnb. This was the first time during our travels through Europe where we really felt pulled into a community, and all of the logistics it took to get us to that tiny town were more than worth it.

Vacation Done Right: Building Community Off-Trail [image is at nighttime, two men are holding onto a string of balloons and it looks like there is a candle to lift up the balloons]
Leah’s family joining in the birthday festivities in Villa Castelli.
We proceeded to cross to the west side of Italy, and travel north to Naples. We booked a room in Pompeii simply because it was close to the historic ruins. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was immediately stressed by the traffic. Crossing every intersection felt like a game of Russian roulette – we saw five accidents in four days. I was grateful that my husband had lived in this part of the world before and was used to driving here.

Taking Time to Build Community in Pompeii

Nestled in the midst of the chaos was a home that was a calm reprieve from its surroundings. From the outside, you would never know that around the corner was a garden that had been planted by the woman who ran the property and her late husband years ago.

Vacation Done Right: Building Community Off-Trail [image is a Aftican woman wearing a black tank top and jeans, standing in an Italian home garden. lush green trees with citrus are in the background]
Leah enjoying the garden at the Airbnb in Pompeii, Italy.
We formed a special relationship with this lovely person almost immediately. Despite a seemingly insurmountable language barrier, we communicated. It took some extra time having to translate everything, but the conversation was worth the effort. We learned about each other and bonded deeply. This woman gifted us a book of poems written by her late husband and was brought to tears when we immediately started reading and translating the poems. We talked about how much she missed him and the amazing times they had. Family was at the center of every story, and she made us a part of hers.

Leah’s family making connections with the woman who owned the Airbnb they stayed at in Pompeii.

When it came time to leave, it was hard to say goodbye. There were lots of hugs, and both boys cried. We sent her photos of the kids playing in her garden and eating the fruits she showered us with daily. I couldn’t help but cry when her daughter sent us a message saying what a light we were to her mother, and that she would wait for us to return to Pompeii.

Leah and her family on their hike up Vesuvio (Mount Vesuvius), near Naples, Italy.

After leaving Pompeii we had about two weeks left of our trip. We spent a few more days making stops in Italy before crossing through France. I fell in love with Andorra – a true gem of a country. We had some of the best meals of our lives in Spain, and I finally got to see Gaudi’s grand architecture in person in Barcelona.

Reconnecting with an Old Mentor

The last four days of our trip were spent in Sorède, a tiny village in south western France. For eight years I had stayed in touch with my high school French teacher. We just so happened to be passing by her hometown while she was there. We had the opportunity to spend the remaining four days of our travels with her, and it was lovely.

Again we were warmly welcomed and brought into a community. We learned about the local dance and food and saw beautiful places. Each day brought something new and filled us with immense gratitude for the people who went above and beyond for us to make sure we left with an understanding of their culture and home.

Leah’s family hiking in Andorra.

We managed to hike a few times on our trip, and the trails were fantastic. Each ascent felt like an emotional reset when the demands of traveling with two young children were making us antsy. We each have a favorite hike, a favorite town, and a favorite meal. However, there is no debate that the highlight of our travels was the people who made our time special, and who made us feel at home in an unfamiliar place. We formed community on our vacation, even if we hadn’t planned to.

All Asses Deserve Spandex: The Argument for More Plus Size Athletic Clothes for Women

In June, Nike released plus size mannequins in many of their stores, including their London flagship store. Amongst much praise, there was also a bunch of bullshit. 

What really stood out to me was the Telegraph, a traditionally solid source of news, publishing an article by one Tanya Gold who wrote: “The new mannequin is obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement. What terrible cynicism is this on the part of Nike?”

To Tanya, and anyone else shaming and judging women based on their size, I respond:

  1. Choice profanities and a HARD EYE ROLL 
  2. You actually are incorrect on several fronts. There are plenty of plus size women who are active, healthy, and need some spandex to cover their bums as they engage in rigorous exercise. 

If you need some examples, let me provide you with a few of the many I find inspiring.

Plus Sized Inspirational Women

Jessamyn Stanley: a world-renowned yoga instructor and author. You can find her, and the 400,000+ other people who appreciate her at @mynameisjessamyn. She is also one of 10 women who represent Amazon’s brand Core 10, their exclusive athletic wear line that carries sizes xs – 3x.

All Asses Deserve Spandex by Megan Puhl [Image is a red haired plus size woman with climbing ropes draped around her neck standing in a forest]

There’s also Megan Banker (@pdxoutdoorchiro), a chiropractor and climber/mountaineer. This woman knows bodies, health, and the outdoors. While also carving out room for “otherness” while ascending mountains. (AKA: goddess)

And of course, there is Latoya Shauntay Snell (@iamlshauntay), an ultra runner. In 2018 alone she ran 30 endurance events. Including the NYC and Chicago marathons, and a 30-mile Spartan Ultra Beast. She’s currently prepping for the Javelina Jundred 100K, meaning she averages running at least 40 miles per week. But even amazing women like Snell get heckled. In an article on Gear Junkie she recalls having a spectator throw negative comments at her while she was on mile 21. MILE 21.

All Asses Deserve Spandex by Megan Puhl for Adventure Mamas [Image is a African american plus size woman wearing red tights and blue sneakers lounging on a mountain top with snow covered mountains in the background]

The Irony of Working Out while “Fat”

Look, this piece isn’t just about telling Tanya Gold that her viewpoint is … I’ll say skewed to put it politely. A society that tells fat women they need to be working out so they can get “healthy” is the same society who makes fun of fat people when they take strides to make themselves healthier. Remember the playboy model who sent snap chats of an elderly, heavier woman showering after her gym session? Or when Lululemon shunned plus sizes as a key piece in their brand strategy.  

Hypocritical situations like these are not only mean, but hugely discouraging, even mortifying, to us curvy ladies. Now I’m looking over my shoulder every time I’m showering in the gym, wrapping two towels around my waist because one doesn’t fit to make sure no one is seeing the parts that offend them. How are we supposed to conform to your ideas of fitness if you’re enraged that people are making clothing for us to do so?

Obviously, there are a couple of inherent issues here. First, this is classic societal fatphobia. Which implies that overweight people should strive to be thin, while people simultaneously ridicule them when they decide to exercise. 

Second, conversations like these reinforce the assumption that fat people are not interested in exercise or outdoor activities. That they should just sit at home being ashamed of being fat. These arguments also blatantly ignore the fact that people gain weight for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their interests change.

All Asses Deserve Spandex by Megan Puhl for Adventure Mamas [Image is a brunette plus size woman facing away from the camera. The background is a mountain rimmed lake with pine trees}

What Plus Size Availability Means to Me

Take me, for example. I was coaching CrossFit, hitting home runs on an adult softball team, and backpacking through all of the national parks in Washington with my husband when a gargantuan health issue took over. I gained over 100 pounds in one year, due to multiple medication changes and depression and anxiety that accompanied it. As soon as I started to heal mentally and physically, I got pregnant and then lost that baby. Luckily, I was able to get pregnant again a few months later, but that meant I was even more afraid to do physical activity with the personal trauma of wondering if I did something wrong the first time. (I now know for certain it was not my fault. But it was honestly a big scare for me when I was carrying my daughter Skadi.) 

I’m not writing the above to be a sob story. I am simply outlining the facts that led to the physical position I am in today, and have been in for four years. Just because I gained weight does not mean I enjoy hiking or CrossFit or Muay Thai any less. I appreciate nature and all of its benefits probably more as a size 14 than a size 4. What the weight gain does, in fact, is make me feel more uncomfortable going to the gym or on a hike. It does challenge me with negative internal dialogue for “letting myself go”. It does make me feel more self-conscious in spandex that clings to my every curve. 

All Asses Deserve Spandex by Megan Puhl for Adventure Mamas [Image is a plus sized mama in a swimsuit leaning over a paddleboard to kiss her kiddo, whos seated on the paddleboard. Background is a lake with mountains behind]

So in truth, I don’t need someone adding to the uncomfortable feelings I already have. Especially when taking the courageous step everyday to prioritize my physical health. What I need are clothes that fit my body, not just clothes originally made for skinny people and with a few more inches added on.

What I need are companies that not only provide these clothes, but feature these models and slowly build up my confidence that

1) damn those girls are beautiful. I guess I can actually be beautiful at this size too, and

2) remind me that I can certainly work out and be of good health but never end up with the same body type as Kendall Jenner.

All Asses Deserve Spandex by Megan Puhl for Adventure Mamas [image is five plus size mannequins wearing outdoor and active wear clothing]

How Can We Change This Narrative?

I think we can all agree that society has a seriously broken compass when it comes to assessing women’s bodies. (Why are we assessing them anyway?) Fortunately, many companies are coming around. They’re realizing that plus size women do, in fact, care about their aesthetic, desire cute clothes that fit their body type, and want proper exercise gear that can stand up to tough conditions. And to Nike, REI, ASOS, Fabletics, and others, I commend you. Thank you for not only clothing me, and other curvy goddesses, for everyday life and our physical pursuits, but also helping to normalize that people of all body sizes – apparently unbeknownst to Tanya Gold and the Telegraph – actually exercise.

So what can we, as Adventure Mamas, do about this? To be frank, I don’t think I am ever going to get that bitchy voice completely out of my head. But what I strive to do is not arm my daughter with the same miscalibration of beauty standards that are ingrained in my mind from a lifetime of societal fatphobia. I try to show her through my actions to love what she chooses to do with her life, no matter if society thinks she fits in to that “box”. I’ve made it a priority to positively comment on women and men of all shapes, sizes, and colors about the value they bring to life, way beyond their physical attributes. I read her stories about badass women, and make sure she sees Greta Thunberg’s speeches and Serena Williams’ fashion show

I’m not preaching, nor do I have the answers. But I say, let us celebrate badass for all ass sizes.

Finding Mindfulness in Motherhood

As I sit at the top of Multnomah Falls I follow the stretch of the soft green moss across the rocks, taking in the texture and the trueness of the green that I will never find in the home décor section of Target. I watch as the water runs swiftly over the rocks in the stream and reach my hand down to test its iciness. The chill feels like relief on the tips of my fingers. I lower both hands to the surface before bringing them back up to splash my face and enjoy the beauty and peace of making it to the top. It has been months since I’ve gone for a hike. It feels like coming home. 

I never thought of myself as an outdoors person. I spent a good deal of my life curled in the corner with a book or enjoying hours of afternoon TV in a dim living room with a bowl of Doritos. Sure, I spent time outside – we would walk through the cow pastures on my Grandpa’s land in the country a few times a year. I tromped through the woods getting from one place to another at summer camp. I even tried my hand at rock climbing with the church youth group. But it always felt like something to do, not a part of who I was.

Slowly and surely over time, the outdoors grew on me.

Whether it was age, overcoming my fear of bugs (mostly), or the prodding of the people around me, I started to realize how much more at peace I felt outside. Not (just) the “ohm” kind of peace, but the general sense of relaxing into myself and my surroundings kind of peace. Riding my bike along the Austin greenbelt, I felt adventurous and exhilarated. Canoeing in the lake with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, I learned how to stop and talk instead of letting fear and control take over. Hiking to the top of Enchanted Rock I learned that focus and patience – not just bravery – were essential for success.

When I first became a mother eight years ago, the outdoors once again took a back seat. We went on occasional walks and explored the local arboretum now and then, but my days were spent inside a windowless office at work and my nights were a strict routine of breastfeeding on the couch, making dinner, bath time, bedtime routine, put the baby to sleep, then zone out to Netflix until 9 p.m. when I couldn’t keep my eyes open a second longer. I’m struggling to even remember what those weekends looked like now but in my memory there is a marked absence of time outside, time alone, and times when I felt like I could relax into myself and my surroundings.

It doesn’t help that I was hit hard by perinatal anxiety during and following each of my pregnancies. The outdoors was not longer a place of respite, but a scary place full of potential dangers. What if he overheats? What if he gets bitten by a snake? What if he toddles right off the side of the play structure? Screw the play structure – if we go anywhere adventurous he is sure to toddle right off the side of a cliff! Baby-proofed spaces seemed like the only way to stay safe and quell my anxiety. (You will realize a few paragraphs down that I am a therapist and have been for the better part of 10 years. Even we are not immune to irrational thinking!)

I finally began to awaken from survival mode when youngest son was born just over four years ago. At the time I had a two-year-old and a four-year-old at home and being cooped up in the house all day every day during my maternity leave was just not an option. I forced myself to finally figure out the whole baby carrier thing, splurged on an off-road double stroller, and we hit the road. I had another child in tow, but suddenly it just felt easier.

I realized that adventuring with my kids didn’t have to be what it was for the people around me or what I saw as the ideal. I didn’t have to be this carefree mom who innately followed her child’s lead in the outdoors. The visions of my four-year-old running too far down the trail without me and coming face to face with an alligator were still too real in my thoughts. Feeling carefree and allowing my children to safely explore outside of my reach would take time. For now, I could look at what I did and did not have control of in the outdoors, take the measures I needed to take to feel reasonably safe, and just go. With a newborn strapped to my chest and the toddlers strapped into their stroller, we began to fall back in love with the outdoors together.

These days we hit the trail behind our house most evenings before bedtime. We take family camping trips in 100 degree Texas heat and freezing (for us) 25 degree winter cold fronts. As a family we have played in rivers, hiked up mountains, and explored canyons and caves and crustations alike. I went from barely being able to let my kids go on a slide at the playground to getting them a bouldering membership at a local rock gym.

I have done my own work around my anxiety, but I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the outdoors. In those first days of hitting the trail with all three boys, I finally felt like I could relax into my surroundings again. I was breathing evenly and taking in the scent of the trees around me. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. I noticed the soft pink of the flowers on the trees and how beautiful they looked falling gently in front of me. My mind moved from ruminating on the dangers of the world to noticing the beauty of the world. The more I hiked, the more that mindfulness followed me into other aspects of my life, the better I felt. I wasn’t just present in the outdoors again – I was present with my kids again, present with my husband again, and present in my work again. 

As a therapist, I often teach mindfulness techniques to my clients to cope with day-to-day stress as well as the impact of behavioral health disorders. It took me time and practice to figure out what worked for me and what I found most helpful to pass along to others. Mindfulness practices like visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and diaphragmatic breathing are invaluable skills that you can use almost anywhere. I practiced these regularly but few things help me to be present and at peace like the outdoors.

As I have continued to grow as an adventure mama and as a therapist, I have been more intentional about incorporating mindfulness into my outdoor life and the outdoors into my therapist life. Whether you are climbing a mountain, taking a walk with your kids around the neighborhood park, or sitting in the school pick-up line, you can use the outdoors to meditate, find peace, and keep yourself present in your own life.


About Kimberly

Kimberly is a mama and a psychotherapist in Houston, Texas. This fall she is hosting a Women in Nature Retreat in the Texas Hill Country from October 11-13. This retreat is not just a camping trip, but a chance to engage in mindfulness, learn more about yourself, and practice how to implement tools to de-stress into life back at home. 

Learn more about the retreat here!

Nominate Yourself Or Another Mama To Attend The Women in Nature Retreat!

Adventure Mamas and Kimberly are teaming up to cover the registration fee for this event for one rad mama (a $400 value). To nominate someone (or yourself!) use the form below. All nominations must be received by Sept. 1st. The winner will be announced Sept. 5th via Facebook and Instagram. 



Bonus Mindfulness Tool – Fireside Senses:

Watch the flames of a fire build and diminish. Notice how the color of the flame changes with its heat. See the embers flicker – sparkling and glowing until they dim to black.

Listen to the fire catch and then roar. Hear it crackle and pop.

Smell the wood burning. Notice the distinctness of the scent the tree used to make the logs.

Feel the warmth of the flames. Notice how the closer you are the more concentrated the heat from the flame feels on your legs or hands or cheeks.

Taste the drink in your hand. Notice the crispness of the water and the chill down your throat, or the sweetness of the hot cocoa, the burn down your throat, and the warmth in your chest.


Leave the Shit Behind: Lessons from a Pelvic Physical Therapist

Editor Note: This post is part of our pelvic health series (post 1 here). In this post, we hear from Dr. Tamra Wroblesky, PT, co-founder of Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy.

Ahh, the great outdoors! An escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, where you can surround yourself in nature, and listen to the call of the wild. Chances are you’ve been out in the wilderness when a different nature calls. Next time you find yourself squatting in the woods, I want you to turn around and look at the finished product. Your poop is the single biggest indicator of your pelvic health.

My workdays are spent teaching my patients how pelvic health can change their lives. As a pelvic physical therapist and a former pelvic pain sufferer, I have a profound respect for the human body and how each part and system is interconnected. When I am not at work, I am an avid hiker, mountaineer, and highpointer, finding my happiness on top of a mountain. I was thrilled to collaborate with AMI because the outdoors and pelvic health are my two passions in life. I have learned a lot over the years and most recently have realized the importance of healthy bowel movements for our pelvic floor. My practice treats many women who have incontinence, pelvic prolapse, hip and groin pain as well as pain with sex. Although these areas involve small muscles surrounding the pelvis, I always look above to make sure there is no additional pressure pushing down.

 This means taking a close look at the abdomen (the cylindrical portion from below your ribcage to the top of your pelvis) and making sure it moves the way it should. If it doesn’t- which can be from C-section scars, hysterectomy, poor back or rib cage mobility, improper breathing, etc. then this typically leads to constipation and (quite literally)- shitty bowel movements. More than half of my pelvic patients suffer from constipation or IBS symptoms, which means they are not going to the bathroom the way they should.

Leave the Shit Behind: Lessons from a PHPT on Pooping in the wild (image is a woman standing on an icy mountain path_

What is a good healthy bowel movement?

It means you are pooping 1-2x daily, you don’t strain while you’re on the toilet, it doesn’t take more than 1 minute to completely evacuate, it is a firm solid stool in the shape of a log,there is no blood or pain during the process, and you feel completely empty when you are done. If you are having any of these problems, check out the list below to start eliminating effectively!

Five Healthy Habits for Great Bowel Movements

The list below reviews the five most important components of bowel health, which can also be applied to your general health. Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. Your GI system is like a crotchety old man- it’s resistant to change and needs some TLC slowly overtime to warm up. You must make small consistent changes and have patience as you try and change what has been dubbed as your body’s second nervous system. Just like you cannot change your personality overnight, you cannot change your bowels. (Unless you chug a whole bottle of sriracha). (Please don’t chug a whole bottle of sriracha.) Slow and steady will win your bowels over. Go down the list below to see which categories you need the most work in, and slowly start to change your habits to incorporate better choices.


A good diet comes from whole foods, rather than processed. Fiber is particularly important to improve bowel health as it bulks up stool. It also absorbs water which will then soften the stool and make it pass more easily. Try and get 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat every day. Read the label on every food package to find out how much fiber a serving of food will provide. Foods containing more than 20% of the daily value of fiber per serving are considered high in fiber. My favorites are leafy spinach, oats, lentils, raw cacao powder, and chia seeds.

Remember, it is important to gradually increase your fiber intake. Many people notice bloating, cramping, or gas when they add fiber to their diet. Making small changes in your diet over a period of time can help prevent this. Make a food diary and utilize fiber tables online to determine how many grams you currently consume a day and start to increase by 5-10g every two weeks until you hit your goal. It is also important to contact your gastroenterologist or nutritionist to make individualized dietary goals.


Water is a basic human need. It makes up 60% of our bodies and 80% of our stool. Water is how stool is transported through nearly 25 feet of intestines in our abdomen. It is especially important to drink more water as you increase your fiber intake. The experts are still debating how much daily water is truly necessary. But a good rule of thumb is starting at half your body weight in ounces. Many of my patients are nowhere close to this, so we take the same rule as fiber and slowly increase by 2 glasses every two weeks. For those with higher activity levels (especially when moving outdoors), you may need more than half your body weight in ounces. By slowly increasing every two weeks, you will be able to monitor what works best for your body.


We all know that activity and exercise are vital to our health. When they are incorporated into our daily habits, a lot of wonderful things happen. We get daily releases of endorphins and other feel-good neurotransmitters. We also increase our blood flow, heart rate, and breathing, which helps stimulate contractions along our gut. Intestinal muscles that squeeze better will move stools faster. The type of exercise is not as important as consistency. Move your body every day and your bowels will follow suit.

Leave the Shit Behind: Pelvic Health for Women, How to have a great poop in the wild


Your gut is made up of over 500 million neurons, which is the second-highest accumulation found in the body after the brain. That is over 5 times more neurons found in your spinal cord! This is why your gut has been deemed your “little brain” or your “second nervous system.” It is so highly advanced, it can run independently from your brain. However, your gut knows the importance of teamwork, so it communicates with your brain constantly about the state of your body. This state is akin to a dimmer switch from your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) to your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight.) Throughout our day we are constantly going back and forth on this dimmer switch between both of these useful states. Our brain, body, and gut changes depending on which end we find ourselves.

When we are closer to the sympathetic nervous system, our digestion slows down. You can imagine if a bear is charging at you on a hike, the last thing you want to do is squat down and have a poop. We need that blood flow and energy diverted to our limbs, so we can run away or confront the bear. In this example, it is very useful that digestion slows during an acute stressful episode. However, this very reaction becomes unfavorable when we deal with chronic stress. Chronic stress continues to grow with the modern world. We are finding ourselves stressed out at home and in our jobs. If we stay in this stressed-out state, our gut continues to be in shut down mode and never gets the message to start back up again.

I realize it is impossible to tell my patients to eliminate stress from their lives, but I do instruct on how to react to the stress. One of the simplest ways is to focus on your breathing, especially with your diaphragm. Focus on moving your rib cage outwards as you take a deep inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, then pause at the top for four seconds, then focus on moving your rib cage inwards as you exhale for four seconds, and then hold at the bottom for four seconds. This simple breathing exercise is called “box breathing” and is used by Navy seals to lower their heart rate and blood pressure right before a stressful mission. I do 4 rounds of it before I get into my car to head to work. You can practice this breathing anywhere, especially when you feel increased anxiety. 


The final component to bowel health is properly functioning abdominal and pelvic muscles. This is why an evaluation by a pelvic physical therapist is paramount. Every one of my patients requires a different protocol and plan of care based on their presentation. A good pelvic PT will look at your abdominal mobility and can perform an abdominal massage to move waste along the digestive tract. It sounds hokey but is incredibly effective. Take a look at our Youtube channel video on how to perform these “elimination manipulations” on yourself at home!

A good PT will also look at your pelvic muscle coordination. Your pelvic floor should relax when having a bowel movement. When it is too tight, or surrounding hip muscles are too tight, relaxation becomes more difficult and constipation can occur. One way to address this is to perform the opposite of a pelvic floor muscle contraction (Reverse Kegel). Here’s how to perform a Reverse Kegel:

  • Lay down in a comfortable position.
  • Inhale through your nose. Feel your rib cage expand outwards. Imagine your pelvic floor traveling downwards and opening up like an umbrella. Think of your pelvic floor muscles lengthening and widening with each inhalation.
  • Breathe out through your mouth and allow the pelvic floor to return to the resting state.
  • Practice this exercise 1 time per day for 5 minutes at a time. This way, the next time you are on the toilet, your pelvic floor will more naturally relax.
  • Avoid pushing outward as you perform the Reverse Kegels.


Leave the Shit Behind: Lessons from a PHPT on pooping in the wild. [image is a mountain summit with a lone woman on top]

Poop outside! 

My final poop advice is something every outdoor adventurer wants to hear. Answering nature’s call outside is the best thing for your pelvic health. Our bodies were designed to squat towards the ground because it straightens your “anorectal angle” and allows for a nice gravity-assisted poop. With modern advancements, our toilets have gotten taller, which is making that same anorectal angle closer to 90 degrees. This causes us to strain more to have a bowel movement, which is not good for our pelvic health. For times when you cannot squat in the woods, I suggest purchasing a Squatty Potty for home. Or getting your legs up on a stack of books in order to straighten out that angle and allow for easier passage of your stool.


Enjoy this post? Share with your fellow outdoorsy comrades and stay tuned for our next pelvic health lesson.


If you need to find a pelvic health specialist, come see me and my team at the Jersey Shore or head on over to the following links for physical therapists in your area.

Section on Women’s Health:

Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute:

all photos courtesty of Dr. Tamra Wroblesky.

Introduction to Pelvic Health

Editor Note: Here at AMI, it’s no secret that we are advocates for maternal health and wellness. In the next few weeks, we’ll be opening up a conversation about an important topic: pelvic and abdominal health. Often women are lead to believe that pelvic floor dysfunctions are part of the cost of motherhood.  However, while common, these challenges are not “normal” or “just part of being a woman.” Over the next few weeks, AMI will feature experts in their field who tackle this important aspect of maternal health. In our first feature, We’ll hear from Lacey Welch, Owner, and Physical Therapist at Under the Hood Physical Therapy located in Hurst, TexasWhat is pelvic health you ask? Let’s explore this topic together.

Pelvic health is a broad term that covers a multitude of bodily functions, processes, and movements, many of which are ignored, thought to be normal or cause us too much embarrassment to discuss when found they are not operating properly. However, when pelvic health impairments are left untreated, this can often lead to chronic conditions, the inability to participate in certain life events and activities, and later finding ourselves spending copious time, money and energy trying to find the answer to what our body is experiencing.

With that said, let’s spend some time getting to know Pelvic Health, shall we? Cause it’s pretty damn important.

When pelvic health goes wrong, it may look, feel, or smell like this:

  • Unwillingly passing gas (like during yoga, during a presentation, during sex)
  • Peeing our pants (any amount, any time)
  • Pooping our pants
  • Sharting (yes, sharting)
  • Peeing frequently (going more often than every 2 hours)
  • Constipation
  • Straining to poop
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Urinary and/or bowel urgency (panic mode: ON)
  • Pelvic pain conditions:
  • Pain with sex (before, during, after)
  • Pain with orgasm
  • Vulvar pain (with or without touch)
  • Pain with tampon use
  • Painful bladder syndrome
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Pain with urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Endometriosis/PCOS
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Tailbone pain
  • Pubic bone pain (symphysis pubis dysfunction)
  • Low back pain
  • Hip pain
  • SI joint (sacroiliac pain)
  • Unable to have an orgasm
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation)
  • Scar tissue issues (like after a tear with a vaginal delivery and/or cesarean delivery)
  • Queefing (vaginal flatulence)
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (feels like something might just fall right out of your vagina)
  • Waking at night to pee
  • Wetting the bed
  • Any of the above occurring during pregnancy

You can uncross your legs now.

 I know. It’s a hefty list and it’s not even completely comprehensive of everything pelvic health covers. Here’s the good news, y’all: most of these impairments can be treated conservatively, and oh so successfully, with the right team!

Your first point of contact for Pelvic Floor Care

  •  A primary care provider, Midwife, or OB/GYN
    •  This is usually our first point of contact when we experience any health issues, so you want to have someone who will take your concerns seriously, and attempt conservative measures to address those concerns first.
  • A Pelvic Health Physical Therapist (PHPT) 
    • A PHPT is a PT who has received extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic health conditions. We are educated on the intricacies of internal and external vaginal and rectal examinations in which we assess sensation, skin condition, scar tissue, pelvic floor muscle mobility, strength, coordination, tension, sensation, and pelvic organ positioning. We are also skilled in palpation of the abdomen, abdominal and pelvic viscera, along with a thorough understanding of the lumbopelvic complex and how it interacts with the rest of our body. All of this is to aid in determining the origin of dysfunction and effective treatment. Many times, seeing a PHPT is a one-stop shop where we are able to address and correct your pelvic health concerns, but there are times when we can’t do it all, so we phone a friend (aka other incredibly skilled experts) to join the team. 

Here are some of the other MVPs of Pelvic Health

  •  Psychologist/Counselor
  •   Naturopathic Doctor
  •   Pain Specialist
  •   Urogynecologist
  •   Colorectal Doctor
  •   Chiropractor
  •   Acupuncturist

 Many of us are still in the dark about the help that is out there to address these pelvic health conditions. There are many reasons for this, but here’s the thing, now we know. NOW we can continue to spread awareness to our friends, family, our providers/doctors so that more can have hope, receive treatment, and experience healing.

We are excited to dive into more detail with some of these conditions to empower us by gaining a better understanding of our body and to seek the treatment that is readily available for those who are in need.

Outdoors for Every Body: Ambassador Piece by Megan Puhl

“Shit. This is hard.”

I’m thinking to myself as I huff up a super gentle incline, sweat pouring between my breasts, my daughter babbling to herself in the pack on my back. Literally, only 500 feet elevation in over 2 miles. 

“This is embarrassing. How did you let yourself get like this?” That bitchy voice asks in my head. Ugh. She’s the worst. 

Was that hiker looking at me funny, or did I imagine that? Probably wondering why this 200+ pound woman is on the trail. “I PROMISE I’M AN OUTDOORS-WOMAN” I want to scream. Not sure who I am trying to prove that to at this point. 

Outdoors for Every Body: Ambassador Piece by Megan Puhl

How did I get here, you might ask. Well, let me take you back to the beginning. 

A lifetime ago in my teenage years, I self-medicated for ADHD, depression, and anxiety. A long and tangled story, I ended up in an outdoor “self-care” program which spent a month in the Monongahela National Forest hiking, canoeing, climbing, spelunking, and healing ourselves in nature. It rained 29 of the 31 days I was out there, and we slept under tarps. I wore Timberlands hiking. YES, RAPPER-STYLE TIMBERLANDS. I’m not sure how it actually made me fall in love with the outdoors, but it did. And it healed me. 

Fast forward past college, master’s degrees, marriage, a flourishing career, backpacking trips, summit attempts, a major medical issue leading to +150 pounds, followed by a baby, here I am re-healing myself in nature. But this time I am not healing teenage angst, I am *attempting* to heal my hatred for my body. Trying to parse together the conflicting feelings of disgust for my belly flab with my immense pride at growing a human and becoming a mother. Combining the alternating feelings of, “hell yeah I can do anything at any size!” with “you are too fat to do this, honestly you should just stay on the couch”. Figuring out where “plus-size” fits in the outdoors.

Trying to be brave when I feel completely out of place in a space that used to feel like home. 

It is always fascinating to me to think back on being a brand new “outdoors-person”. I had no idea what I was doing, and my Timberlands gave me blisters (face palm). I passed- aesthetically at least- because I physically met the mold of the outdoors. Long braid down my back, strong legs, size 6 pants. People just assumed I belonged there. Assumed I could tie a Figure 8. They assumed I could start a fire from scratch. Assumed I knew how to properly belay. Today, size 16, I can competently accomplish those tasks, but people ask me if it’s my first time climbing or camping outside. 

And look, these judgments don’t just come from the outside. They (probably primarily) come from the inside. I haven’t been rock climbing since 2017 because I’m afraid to ask anyone to belay me with the fear that it will make them feel uncomfortable holding my weight. (To be fair, I also threw my harness across the room after it wouldn’t go over my legs and then buried it under boxes in spite.) But this is part of the point. I now have to order a super-special sized harness to get over these gams, which really doesn’t make me feel like the outdoor industry actually wants me outdoors. REI just started carrying plus size clothing in stores this year. Slow. Clap. 

So, welcome to this series called Outdoors for Every Body.

During these next few months, I am going to discuss a lot of awkward body topics as they pertain to the outdoors. Everything from getting over your own mental barriers, to inclusivity (or lack-there-of) from the outdoor industry, to social media outdoor influencers, to learning to operate an entirely new body after birth. It will be raw and unfiltered. I am not an inspirational speaker. I don’t claim to have answers to body positivity or size-inclusivity for the outdoors. But I am a human. I am a mother.

I am an outdoors-woman.

And I belong here. 

all photos courtesy of Megan Puhl

Company Profile: Arctic Lynx Maternity

Today we meet up with Michelle Boyer, founder of Arctic Lynx, a maternity clothing company that designs activewear for pregnant women. This post is part of our company profile series. 

Arctic Lynx Maternity was an idea born out of my own personal experience. I was pregnant for the second time and newly living in Maine. There were so many outdoor activities I wanted to do; snowshoe, play outside with my older child, ski, sled, hike and I just was cold all the time. When I started looking for clothes, I couldn’t find anything to fit my growing body that was designed to work well and keep me warm. My husband offered me an old pair of his baselayers and that was the catalyst. I delved deep into figuring out how to design a product that women could wear that would work, but would also fit a growing body well to ensure women could continue to feel supported and beautiful.

My mission is to create exceptional products that support women in their outdoor pursuits. I strongly believe when Mamas can connect with nature it is an immensely nurturing connection.

I also use the company as a platform to talk about and support other Mama-focused issues or causes. We have a lot of work to do in medical care for women who are pregnant. Education in the areas of physical and mental care for pregnant women is so important. We need to teach women, before pregnancy, how their body works and how it will work during pregnancy. We need to focus on the Mama as much as we do the baby because, without a healthy and strong mom, the baby will suffer.

Company Profile: Arctic Lynx Maternity [image a pregnant woman in climbing harness, focus on her belly]

Where are the products made?

The products are made in Fall River, Mass. It is important to me that the product is made in the US for as long as possible. Because I want to commit to paying American people a wage and I also want to feel comfortable about working conditions and environmental requirements. Unfortunately, factories in the US are few and their production capabilities can be lower than factories in other countries. Americans have really lost the art of sewing, though I’m hopeful it is making a comeback. There are good production facilities in other countries that companies like Patagonia use, but I don’t have those financial resources to fly in and inspect factories and I would want to be able to do that. I am able to drive to Fall River in 3 hours and I’ve been to the factory 3 times now. I also only speak English ( and limited French) and I want to be able to communicate with the actual people sewing the garments. At this factory in Fall River, I can speak with the head seamstress and have multiple times.

How are they made?

The products are sewn somewhat by machine and somewhat by hand.

Company Profile: Arctic Lynx Maternity [pregnant woman climbing on a rock face wearing black maternity athletic gear]

How is Arctic Lynx a maternal ally?

I love this question! I see Arctic Lynx as a maternal ally in multiple ways:

  1. We encourage moms to stay active during pregnancy by providing products that are great quality and work so that women can continue doing the activities they love in supportive products. I also see the promotion of activity during pregnancy as normalizing activity versus women feeling like they have to give up the activities they enjoy during pregnancy.
  2. On Instagram and my website blog articles, I focus on issues that affect women generally during pregnancy or postpartum such as pelvic floor health, meditation, yoga, sleep, and taking time for yourself as a mom. I want to share whatever knowledge I have with everyone (specifically tied to the pelvic floor) because I think if we talk about it, it always helps someone.
  3. My focus is really on moms, not the baby. I think for a long time and even still to a large degree, when a woman gets pregnant the focus shifts solely to the baby (specifically in the western medical world) and I want to support and encourage women to be a mother, but not only a mother. As moms, we can have lots of different roles and we don’t have to lose ourselves totally in motherhood to be a good mom.

Tell us about your sustainability practices:

Sustainability for Arctic Lynx is multi-faceted.

  • We are producing small batches of garments at a time. We will produce more as there is a need for more.
  • Our garments are high quality and meant to be durable and last. A woman could wear our products for multiple pregnancies.
  • Our garments are versatile allowing women to wear them for multiple different uses and therefore buy less.
  • Our tunic top that is in design is made with a recycled polyester/spandex mix.
  • We use Eco Enclose shipping products which are recycled poly mailers.
  • We are members of 1% for the Planet- which means that we commit to donating 1% of revenue to organizations that are doing different things to protect our planet.

What’s next for Arctic Lynx Maternity?

I am busy! Yea! Right now I’m working on two new tops- both are designed- one is headed into production and one needs another sample round, but it’s close. The two products are 1. a short sleeve top similar to the long sleeve top we have now and 2. a tunic with nursing capabilities. We are a sponsor of the Norway Tri here in Maine which benefits the Western Foothills Land Trust. We are currently raising money for Rippleffect which is a program in Maine that provides outdoor youth programs.


Where you can find Arctic Lynx Maternity:


Adjust, Adapt, and Hike On

As someone who loves and puts a lot of energy into trip planning, letting go of my expectations can be hard to accept. The need to adapt is hard for me, but after traveling to Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, I realized that motherhood, and sometimes the weather, has different plans for my adventures. Two different experiences in two different countries have reminded me to go with the flow and embrace unforeseen circumstances. The joys brought from shifting the itinerary and my perspective are continuing to pay off.


In February, my family and I traveled to Liechtenstein, a small country (162sq. km/62.5sq. mi) nestled between Austria and Switzerland. We were instantly amazed by the grandeur of the Swiss and Austrian Alps that seemed to cradle this beautiful country. The weather was crisp and cool, and the sun was shining. Conditions for hiking looked perfect, and despite arriving much later than expected due to a hectic morning and our youngest getting carsick, we were eager to hit the trail.

Adjust, Adapt, and Hike On by Leah Hasse [image is a father and son walking along a mountain lane, mountains in background]

I was set on hiking Sassweg, a trail that begins in one of Liechtenstein’s mountain towns and reaches 1,725 meters. From the peak, one has the option to continue traversing the Alps or to hike to Bergrestaurant Sareiserjoch, a restaurant perched on the mountain with an incredible view of the Austrian Alps. Of everything on my list, it was what I was most looking forward to. The dream was shot down early when our Airbnb host informed us that the only way we could realistically traverse the trail with kids was with backcountry skis as there was still at least a meter of snow on most of the mountain trails.

Adjust, Adapt, and Hike On by Leah Kasse [image a tyoung boy walkind down a mountain meadow, mountains in background]

Handling disappointment

Not going to lie, I was VERY disappointed. Then I felt foolish for my miscalculation. Never in my life have I been around mountains as high. Since I came into my outdoorsy-own in Hawaii, I didn’t realize just how much snow would still be on the alpine peak despite the perfect conditions on the rest of the mountain. I didn’t want to adjust my plans, but since we’re not skiers (yet?), there wasn’t much choice. We needed to adapt to the circumstances.

Instead of hiking on the mountain, we went sledding. Our Airbnb host lent us her sleds, and we took our sons sledding in the fantastically charming ski town of Malbun. It was incredible. We had no real plan – we just went with it. Without a doubt, it is everyone’s fondest memory from the trip.

The next day we made the short trek through a vineyard to see Gutenberg Castle in Balzers, Liechtenstein. It was late in the day, so it was quite cold, but we still had a great time climbing the small hill and running through the field and courtyard. It wasn’t the grand, physically strenuous alpine trek I was hoping for, but it was perfect for us at the moment.

On to Luxembourg

Though our trip to Luxembourg was a month later and the weather leading up to the trip was perfect, our impromptu trip was hampered by rain, wind, and a random burst of snow. Luxembourg, another small country, sits between Germany, France, and Belgium. It is home to the Müllerthal Trail, which is affectionately referred to as “Little Switzerland”. The trail is dotted with fantastic rock structures and caves that seem to appear out of nowhere. The entire trek is over 100 km long, but I had my eye set on the 12 km (E1) portion starting in Echternach, Luxembourg’s oldest town.

Adjust, Adapt, and Hike On by Leah Hasse [image is a young boy hiking up stone steps]

Adjust and Adapt Again

I didn’t expect my four- and two-year-old to cross the entire 12 km on a cold, windy, and intermittently rainy day, but I was hoping to go farther than the two km we did manage. Though the boys were enthusiastic and ferociously conquered hundreds of stairs, the cold slowed them down. When we reached Wolfsschlucht, the first series of awe-inspiring gorges, it began to flurry. We had a snack, and I begrudgingly admitted that our day was done. After reaching the car, we tried to drive to some of the other sections of the trail so it would be a shorter walk to Hohllay Caves. It turned out that all of the connecting roads were closed due to downed trees from the storm. Instead of spending hours on the trail, we used the extra time to explore Echternach, which became one of my favorite European towns.

Adjust, Adapt, and Hike On by Leah Hasse [Image is a gorge with stone steps, family hiking in the distance]

I was thankful for the section of the trail we were able to hike, but honestly, it was a bummer to not be able to continue. I knew that without littles in tow, the weather would have been no problem. Sometimes it’s hard for me to let go of my plans. I am extremely driven and goal-oriented. When I make a plan, I intend to stick to it, and if I can’t, I start feeling like I failed. Those characteristics have a tendency to billow over into parts of my life that are better handled with more grace and flexibility.

Adjust, Adapt, and Hike On by Leah Hasse

Hiking and motherhood both require the ability to adjust, adapt, and move on. Sometimes that means not completing a task you were set on, and sometimes that means accepting that what you want to do will take longer. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have a great adventure, it just means plans may change.

Celebrating our Shared Experiences

If we had hiked Sassweg, my kids wouldn’t have gotten to go sledding for the first time ever. We wouldn’t have the shared experience of billowing down the mountain on old, handmade Swiss sleighs. If we had hiked the rest of Müllerthal, I wouldn’t have discovered the magic that is Echternach. Sometimes having to adjust feels like accepting defeat. It can feel like a failure, or lack of hard work. When you mix in the responsibility of caring for little ones, it can feel like you’re constantly having to give up what you want and need for some obscure time in the future. But sometimes, adjusting is the doorway to an experience better than you could have imagined.


Show Up: Time to Take Action

“I’m not ____ enough.”  

We’ve all heard that voice and motherhood can provide it with a whole new vocabulary to pull from.  The Adventure Mamas community works to quiet that voice and to be successful, it takes a village of Mamas who are willing to show up, and that, takes courage. 

Showing up requires that we are vulnerable, that we assess our own intentions and values, and that we then take steps to shift from passivity to action.  As Mamas, we need to show up for all who help to quiet that voice because we’re all in it- like REALLY in it- most of the time. When Mamas show up, get real, and lean in, it makes this village a helluva lot stronger.  

Now there is no blueprint for how you must make your impact, but here are a few ways we can show up for ourselves, for each other, for Mother Nature, and for AMI- an organization that shows up for you, day in and day out.

Show Up: Time to Take Action [image is two women holding each other laughing, while sledding]
PC: Arika Bauer

Show up for Mamas, Yourself Included

When we show up for one another, we shift comparison to connection. There is no better defense against that voice than Mamas leading and sharing their journey with vulnerability, honesty, and boldness.  Showing up for motherhood is the ripple effect of showing up for one another. It’s what happens when there’s a collective shift from “I’m not ____ enough” to “we are more than _____ enough.”

  • Advocate.  Advocate on a large scale to dispel myths that motherhood is anything less than a powerful journey, a story that should be told in a million different forms.  It’s asking for help, not just for yourself but for the women who haven’t or can’t ask for themselves.
  • Share your story and encourage others to do the same.  Show up and lead with vulnerability. Put it out there.  Air the crazy out: the failed dinners, the crying over the kitchen sink, the time you forget your son’s shoes, or fell asleep nursing, or screamed into your pillow, or felt alone.  Show up for one another by being courageous in talking about the hard stuff. Be the first to share it and help create a shift from comparison to compassion to community.  We are better when we show up together.
  • Reach out. Send the text. Make the call. Let someone know that you’re thinking of them, that you’re checking in, that you’re there.  Just say ‘Hey, surviving over there?’ Motherhood is universally lonely at times. Be the “me too!” for another Mama.  
  • Send that invite.  Spend time with each other, whether it’s to clean and tackle laundry for the Mama of the newborn or to laugh till ya cry on the couch or to share a HOT coffee somewhere with real pants on. Set the date and make the time.  
  • Support the #BossMamas. Shop at Mama-run businesses.  Acknowledge the Mamas out there hustling and be there for them along the way (yep, Adventure Mamas definitely makes this list).
  • Normalize self-care.  Do the things you love and then invite others to do the same.  Change the language. Talk about maternal wellness. Have the hard conversations and reassure the Mamas around you that it is ok to want for yourself.  It is ok to need time alone, to adventure, to relax, to work toward your own goals.
  • Be the gentle push for those deafened by the “I’m not _____ enough” voice.  Be the guide to those places of growth that live right outside our comfort zone. Show up alongside them, be that clear and consistent voice that states that they are in fact strong enough, brave enough, bold enough.  
Show Up: Time to Take Action [Picture is a Nalgene bottle with adventure mamas stickers on it]
PC: Andrea Laughery

Show up for Mother Nature

Mama Nature is big business.  Sometimes it feels daunting and we might think, “how am I, one small person, going to make big change?”  But big change is born of small shifts in daily habits. Just like adjusting the self talk from “I’m not ____ enough” to “I am enough,” adjusting the mindset from “this isn’t enough” to “I’m making change” is a powerful tool.  

  • Shop Green.  Shop companies that support Mother Nature, not just in theory, but in practice (a lá RedBud Suds).  Buy used and buy ethical. Fast fashion is a huge cause of pollution and rising landfill waste. There are some great companies that are working hard to help fight fast fashion (looking at you Homefree Tees).
  • Purchase reusable food and drink storage.  Cutting down on plastic baggies in lunch boxes is an example of a small change that makes a big difference.  Refill a Nalgene bottle for water and stop purchasing bottled water. Use a thermos for your daily coffee, tea, or beverage of choice.  
  • Use reusable bags when shopping. And not just for groceries! If you forget the reusable bags at the grocery store, just re-load your cart without any bags and then load in and out of your car when you get home.  Yes, it’s  a bit more work but hey, big picture, small deal!
  • Teach the Why.  Teach Leave No Trace practices.  It doesn’t have to be a sit down lesson.  Lead with simple activities that encourage awareness. Leave an area looking better than you found it and recognize what impact your environmental footprint can have on a local area.  Teach where our plastics, paper, and other “throw-away” items come from and where they go when we’re done.
  • Participate.  Take part in grassroots and community events that support Mama Nature. If they don’t exist, create one. It doesn’t have to be massive effort! Grab a group of friends and head to a local park to pick up trash.  Engage in discussions about our impact. Share and listen.
Show Up: Time to Take Action [image is a group of 11 women at a snowy mountain summit holding the adventure mamas banner and celebrating]
PC: Ashley Scheider

Show up for AMI

Adventure Mamas Initiative is a non-profit organization run by Mamas who volunteer their post-bedtime, nap-time, lunch break, late night, early morning (and so on!) hours to make it all happen.  Passion runs deep in this org and every woman on board is dedicated to SHOWing up for Mamas everywhere.

  • Become a maternal wellness advocate.  Share the AMI message via social media, by word of mouth, with snail mail– however you get things done, Mama!  Speak out, show up, and be heard.
  • Make a donation.  Support AMI with a one-time or recurring donation to invest in a full-on grassroots, Mama-led organization that is on the scene to educate, support, and lead.
  • Show up…literally.  Check out your regional collab and show up to an event. Bring a friend, make one there (it’s inevitable), and experience the beauty of the village (because Mama, it takes one).
  • Become a grassroots leader in your community.  Sign up for a grassroots leadership training with AMI.  Gain confidence in how to bring Mamas together and support your local ladies.  

Let’s be brave, Mamas

It takes guts to care. It takes courage to show up, lean in, and take action.  Let’s be the voice that says, “We are _____ enough”: brave / strong / smart / confident / everything enough.  We’re Mamas, we’re a village, and when we SHOW UP, shit gets done.