KAYAKING IS MY PASSION.
(but it's not all I do)
I’m blessed to live a life filled with adventure, as a writer, a paddler, a public speaker, an athletic ambassador, a mentor. My role is to expand people's beliefs about what is possible in all areas of their lives. I’m happiest with a paddle, a camera, a notepad, or a book in my hands.
Like most adventurous souls, I was born with an insatiable desire to discover what's around the next corner. This desire took me, lungs inflated, flip-flops pushing whirling pedals, spindly legs trying to keep up with the silver-sparkled 3-speed bicycle beneath me. Much to my parent’s exasperation, my carefree spirit often took me far from the 500-acre upstate New York dairy farm I grew up on, sometimes hitching rides with total strangers back to my doorstep. This was adventure!
My love of paddling would come much later, after years of land-based adventures: long-distance running, mountain biking, wilderness hiking, and ski-mountaineering. Along the way, I started writing about my experiences, and after graduating with a degree in photojournalism from Southern Oregon University, I set a course to become an "Adventurepreneur." Yes, it's a thing! That insatiable childhood curiosity has had a far-reaching influence on the course of my life—particularly on my writing. Writing has become a venue to share my passion of adventure in a colorful, soulful reality.
I’ll never forget the first time I slithered my hips into a long, skinny sea kayak. It was 1991—a beautiful, calm summer day—and four of us had set out to paddle across a large, glacially-carved lake in NW Montana. I transcended into a secret world, a magical world, a healing world with that first sea kayak experience. What immediately resonated with me was how “one with the boat” I felt. I was ensconced in a vessel that I literally wore, that suited my body type, my personality, my soul. And when I learned that you can pack all your camping gear in the watertight hatches and disappear for weeks at a time... a GAME CHANGER indeed! I thought, this is like backpacking on the water, without the heavy weight on my shoulders and the blisters on my feet!
From that point forward, I fell in love with the simple routine and day-to-day rhythm of traveling through a marine environment on multi-day trips, where everything I needed to survive was either on my person or in my kayak. Being on the water gives me a sublime feeling of centeredness, renewed perspective, and an interconnection with nature. Rarely is it about getting away, but rather a “getting to.
The JOURNEY that changed it all:
I believe we all strive to be better versions of ourselves. Expedition kayaking is my true love because it exposes me to adversity and that adversity makes me a better, stronger version of myself. That’s why in the summer of 2010 I completed a long-time goal of paddling the Inside Passage from Anacortes, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska. This solo, 1,100-mile journey changed my life—profoundly. I now use this expedition, and the resulting life transformation, as a springboard for all my work, focusing on inspiring people to reach their full potential and discovering that mindset is everything. I love sharing my fears, epiphanies, and lessons learned with others. And guess, what? You don’t need to paddle 1,100 miles to learn the lessons I did! My story is universal, with parallel issues I think we all experience at different times in our lives: fear, grief, pain, defiance, courage, acceptance, etc.
We are all infinitely capable of accomplishing anything we want to in life. The Inside Passage was my “Mount Everest.” What’s yours?