Guest Athlete Post: Angie Marie
Why do YOU adventure?
Tough question, I know.
From the “Because it’s there” of climber George Mallory to the insatiable itch for someone to see just how far they can physically (or mentally) push themselves, there are infinite reasons to chase outdoor dreams.
Sometimes, the “why” behind an adventure is to make an impact on something greater than the self. Adventuring adds joy and meaning to life. So does giving back to the community and world. With an average of just 4,000 weeks to experience in one lifetime, why not combine the two for maximum impact?
Here are three ways to make your next adventure improve the world:
1. Complement your adventure with a volunteer role suited to you.
After completing a big goal, it’s easy to wonder, “What now?” Volunteering can help you find closure post-adventure while benefiting a community you care about. Don’t overlook short-term volunteer opportunities! One-off gigs can leave a lasting impact. Consider what low-commitment yet meaningful tasks could use your unique strengths:
- Did you just run your first trail marathon? Spread your positive mindset as an aid station race volunteer.
- Are you at your strongest after completing a thru hike? Use those muscles at a trail work event to restore your favorite local trails.
- Can’t give back in person, but have tech skills? Offer to revamp the website of a nonprofit involved with the land you adventured on. If you have more time and commitment to share, more intensive volunteer roles can bring meaning to your adventure for months or years.
- Contact your local Girl Scouts council to plan a series of workshops where you can teach youth the outdoor skills you finessed.
- Become a Girls On The Run coach at a local school to help kids work towards their first 5k as they build emotional intelligence.
- Ask local parks and land agencies about opportunities to assist with park events so you can teach others about stewardship.
Whatever your set of talents and passions are, a mission out there needs them to make a positive difference. Find it.
2. Share the story of your adventure.
"It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” As Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us, the lead-up, execution and reflection of an adventure are the juicy parts that people want to hear. After (and even during) your adventure, build in time to sit down and reflect on the experience. Whether it’s pen-and-paper journaling, typing up a blog post or using a voice transcription app, get your words out!
A few projects you could craft to share the stoke:
- Design a beautiful slideshow presentation with photos of your adventure, then give a presentation at a local school, library or bar.
- Write a blog post for an organization that protects the area of your adventure so they can use it on their website.
- Create a YouTube video or set of Instagram Reels to show others the processes and meaning behind the adventure.
- Self-publish a short book detailing your adventure so others have resources to do the same thing in the future.
- Write a thorough trip report on your favorite trails app or website so others have great beta.
There’s a fantastic story inside of you post-adventure. Sharing it will inspire others to get after their own goals while being stewards of the planet. Plus, having a polished story in your pocket is handy for parties and networking. It’s a win-win!
3.Make your adventure double as an epic fundraiser.
It might sound intimidating, but fundraising can be a blast–and there are people at The Cairn Project to help your project be a success.
The Cairn Project melds adventure and activism to expand outdoor access to women, girls and nonbinary youth. In their words, they’re “bringing together a community that is inspired to catalyze outdoor passion into a force for good, share learning and stories, and raise the profile of women and girls in outdoor adventure.” Sweet, huh?!
Through their Adventure Fundraiser program, you can turn your own outdoor adventure into a community-supporting fundraiser that will expand access to youth wilderness and outdoor education programs.
In my experience, climbing five volcanoes went from being an ordinary, individual goal to an impact-driven mission supported by The Cairn Project’s whole community that I knew would leave a lasting legacy. I raised over $3,000 to get more girls outdoors, and met incredible people along the way!
(By the way, LOWA was a valuable part of my team. I wore the LOWA Alpine Expert GTX throughout my whole Adventure Fundraiser, and my feet were the happiest they’ve ever been in the alpine! They felt cushiony without being too rigid, gave me excellent traction both with and without crampons, and kept my feet perfectly warm and dry.)
How will you make your next adventure extra memorable?
Whether you donate your time and talent, spread your story or meld your adventure into a fundraising opportunity to benefit others, you can give back to the people and places you value. By seeking to leave a positive impact through adventure, you’re not just a steward of the environment, but a voice that can inspire future generations of adventurers. Get out there!
Photo courtesy of Angie Marie and the Cairns Project