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 preoccupied my childhood with long forays on my silver-sparkled, three-speed bicycle. Lungs inflated, flip-flops pushing whirling pedals, and spindly legs all keeping pace with my carefree spirit. Much to my parent’s exasperation, I'd wander far from our 500-acre dairy farm in upstate New York, 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.
May that curiosity to know what’s around the next corner be your moxie, as it was ultimately mine.
"...adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!
I can’t think what anybody sees in them."
Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit"
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!
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. Since that time, I've floated in a magical world among whales and icebergs in Southeast Alaska. I've felt the veil of protection surround me after out-paddling a storm in British Columbia. After my father's death, I turned to the ocean for solace, its aqua therapy enveloping me, transporting me into a restorative world, a healing world.
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 broken people, we all have our own struggles and demons, we all hate being out of control, not knowing what storm will roll in or what scary things we’ll encounter. We all long for the cessation of the tumultuous seas of everyday life, yet abandoning our kayak and taking the “easy path” is not who we are. Because we know that the hard things in life are worth working for. This is my message as I share my story of a deliberate passage from one place to another, from one life to another with honesty and vulnerability. I take this individual journey and make it relatable to readers and listeners on many levels, reminding them that we are all infinitely capable of accomplishing anything we want to in life.
The Inside Passage was my “Mount Everest.” What’s yours?