I came across this photo that a friend had posted on social media. It’s a Christmas card I had sent two years ago to the amazing folks at the Surfrider West LA/Malibu chapter. I found it humbling that they showed it as an example of how being an activist and getting involved for a cause can change a person’s life. And now it reminds me of how the start of my own journey began down the road to simple living, sustainability, volunteering, travel, art, and the outdoors. Here we go…
I am a surfer, climber, backpacker, foodie, happy camper, tree hugging hippie, hiker, activist, artist, yogi, skier, and currently evolving with my spirituality and divine feminine. So I do lots of things. Well, I really would not have described myself this way four years ago. Because four years ago I was fresh out of college ready to conquer the world. Or rather conquer something because I realized college was just stalling time before we have to figure out what adult pants we are going to wear. For some of us, there is this thought after we graduate college when we ask ourselves, “Oh shit, now what do I do?”
So before I could ask myself this, (because I saw it coming and I had no idea what my answer was) I jumped on an airplane the day after graduation on a solo trip around Europe. Seven countries, three weeks, two thousand photos, and a handful of new best friends. It was a blast being on a different continent for the first time and enjoying it with fun-loving people traveling around just like me. This marked the beginning of my global family which would only get bigger once I got bit by the travel bug. With no time for the travel blues, I returned back to the States and moved to Los Angeles, CA. Here is where things got riled and mixed up. Originally I intended to pursue the film industry, building movie sets as a production designer, but as soon as I got a couple of gigs it was incredibly… HORRIBLE. The work was alright, but it was the attitude and lifestyle that irked and rubbed me the wrong way. The city with big movie posters and bright lights turned into a two-year love-hate relationship as it crushed my hopes and dreams. Deep down I knew this lifestyle was not what I really wanted and I had been forcing myself to love it. But it was like trying to swallow something with a foul smell. I couldn’t do it. So I didn’t and I was ok with that. It was finally time to ask, “Now what do I do?’
As I spent most of my time trying to escape the concrete jungle, I found my niche in two places: working retail at Adventure 16 and volunteering with the Surfrider Foundation’s WLAM chapter. The travel outfitters job (A16 is what we call it) introduced me to surfing, climbing, and everything outdoors. Surfrider showed me the lifestyle I was meant to live. Doing many events with Patagonia Santa Monica, I was seeing the benefits to “Live Simply” and sustainably. My goodness what an eye-opener! To learn about environmental issues, such as trash pollution on our beaches, was like taking a filter off my eyes. It forced me to evaluate the habits of my daily life and improve myself towards a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. I knew that I was gradually changing and for the better.
Then I traded film work to pursue the outdoors and be an ambassador of the Earth! (cheesy but true). I moved to San Diego, continued my artwork while still making time to play outside. My style in art blossomed thanks to my struggle in LA and since then I’ve created “Art With A Purpose” in combination with volunteering and travel. They say some of a singer’s best songs are inspired from breakups and similarly I found difficult times were inspiration to some of my best pieces. Last year I auctioned off three paintings to help fund The Look Out’s mission: Making Waves in Nicaragua. We raised $1250 for water filters to deliver to rural families in need of clean water. As The Look Out ambassador, I was happy to make the journey south. Now my travels have come full circle with creating art to fundraise, using experiences as inspiration for new drawings, choosing sustainable products as I trek the globe, and playing outside as an adventure junkie.
My days aim to bring travel, art, sustainability, and the outdoors into my life in a cohesive union. As much as it is difficult and sometimes discouraged, I walk this path proudly. With new surges of energy and empowerment through meditation and feminine spirituality, I can see my passions are beginning to blend together seamlessly.
So what kind of pants do I wear? They look like hiking pants, but stretch like yoga leggings, are made of recyclable materials, have a crazy colorful pattern, feel soft and durable for fumbling through rough terrain, and they are probably always dirty. I found the right fit for me.