My background with outdoor adventuring roots from my early childhood - by the time I learned how to walk, I also knew how to ride a 4-wheeler all by myself.
My family and I went camping, hunting and 4-wheeling every season of the year when I was growing up. We would go with my grandparents and stay for a few days here and there, cooking and laughing by the campfire, identifying bugs in the creeks, going fishing, finding new trails on our quads and dirt bikes. Some of my most favorite memories belong in the woods that I grew familiar with as a kid out in Southern Washington. I was never interested in hunting, so instead I learned to use slingshots and binoculars properly, start fires and cook marshmallows to perfection. I loved paving new trails and seeing deer in their natural habitat, I loved frogs and the silent rustles of trees in the forest with no power lines for miles, guessing what kind of tracks were on the ground and jumping in cold rivers on hot summer days. The outdoors were always my safe haven.
As I got older, my family started to split their separate ways and I started exploring road trips, camping with friends and hiking. Hiking was a great escape from troubles at home, school and with myself. But I wanted more. I always wanted to see more and go further and stay longer.
And then I met OTA.
I started going on group hikes, indoor rock climbing and sea kayaking. I was introduced to queer inclusive, outdoor spaces where we could talk about really goofy or serious things while learning wilderness and leadership skills and having a blast navigating the water and the woods. I'm stoked for the opportunity to go to Australia this June because I'll be able to take my skills and excitement that I've built for adventuring over the course of my life and apply it to this trip, and also get to learn a variety of new things - wilderness skills, quirky facts and history of the places I'll be going, and most likely a bunch of things about myself, as well! This will be unlike anything I've ever experienced.