Hello guys. As I promised I started a series of interviews in an effort to bring to you insight from great people, adventurers, bloggers, travellers, outdoors and gear addicts and life lovers. In my last interview we the occasion to meet Warrick Kernes.
Today I have the honor to introduce Katie Levy from adventure-inspired.com. She is an amazing human being and her story is amazing. Enough said. Follow the interview below and be amazed by the experiences she shares with us all.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Philadelphia-based outdoor addict with a passion for playing outside and sharing that passion with others. After 13 years as a competitive swimmer, I found myself with a lot more free time to explore my love of the outdoors! I discovered backpacking halfway through college, and once I was hooked, I did it as much as I could. I’ve been on backpacking trips in the Adirondacks, Virginia, and Ontario, the Sierras, the Pacific Northwest, Banff and Jasper National Parks, and more. As a weekend warrior now, I work to balance everything I love, specifically my professional, personal, athletic, and outdoor lives.
2. How did your passion for the outdoors start and how did adventure-inspired.com came to be?
I grew up in beautiful Ithaca, New York, a town with gorges and waterfalls aplenty, all playing a part in kindling my relationship with the outdoors at a young age. I remember pretending to be a professional cross-country bike racer and “live off the land” by making fires I never lit and “meals” of berries in old Fancy Feast cat food cans. Visits to places like Joshua Tree, Bryce Canyon, Mount Rainier, Denali and some of the beautiful places in my own Pennsylvania backyard solidified my passion for testing my limits outdoors.
The name “Adventure-Inspired” evolved from the idea that adventure can take many forms. We don’t have to travel far and wide to experience adventure if we know where to look, and if we keep an open mind. I’ve always enjoyed writing and love sharing my adventures and passion for playing outside with other people. There are so many outdoor athletes doing so many incredible things and writing about them, but I think it’s important for us normal people to share our stories. We’re not doing first ascents in Patagonia, but we are tackling things that are difficult and exciting! Adventure-Inspired is like a refuge for me – a place I can go to just be myself, like I can outside. I want to inspire other people like to test their limits outdoors and help build awareness of outdoor activities.
3. What is your preferred backpacking gear?
Though what I take on trips completely depends on the situation, and exclusive of the essentials, there are several things I know I’ll always have with me. I love my Therm-a-rest NeoAir All Season sleeping pad because it’s so comfortable and lightweight. Of course, if you’re going on a long trip, you need a backpack you can rely on. Right now, my backpack of choice is the Gregory Deva 60. MSR stoves are my favorite for cooking in the backcountry, specifically the MicroRocket and Dragonfly. There’s so much great gear out these days and it’s only getting better as companies continue to innovate. We’ve seen that with Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-Freeze Zero and Omni-Heat, two of my favorite materials to wear on adventures.
4. If you were in a survival situation what is the one item that you wish you had close?
Luckily, I’ve never found myself in a real survival situation before. (*knocks on wood*) I did, however, make a few silly mistakes when I first started exploring outdoors that almost got me very, very lost in the woods in a place I’d never been. Though essentials like water, food, shelter, fire building tools and more are ideal to have around in any survival situation, I think the one “item” I always want to have available is a well-functioning, reasoning mind! I got lost in the woods in Maryland because I wasn’t thinking clearly or reasonably, or thinking ahead. When we get into tough spots on adventures, being able to think through our actions and reactions is so important.
5. What is the environment you feel most comfortable in and what is the gear item you use the most?
I think as outdoorspeople, it’s important for us to be flexible and comfortable in a variety of situations. In term of my favorite places to visit, I tend to prefer temperate climates and usually stick to overnight camping in the fall and spring months. Summer in the northeast can be incredibly humid, but the spring and fall are just beautiful around here! But I love day trips in the winter, too. Spending time in the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park this past January made me realize just how much I love being outdoors in the cold. It’s a completely different world and it’s so peaceful! I love skiing, too, so that makes getting outside in winter a lot more fun.
6. What is your favourite outdoor climbing spot?
Though I don’t get out climbing much these days, especially given it’s the tail end of winter, I definitely have a few spots that hold a special place in my heart. I completed my first sport lead at Birdsboro, an hour outside of Philadelphia, and competed in my first outdoor bouldering competition at Governor Stable. I went to Joshua Tree National Park to climb for the first-ever #jtreetweetup and man was that an adventure. The Gunks are a well-know, popular and beautiful collection of spots to climb a few hours from home, and I love it there even though my first trip there essentially got rained out. I’ve been to the Adirondacks for ice climbing a few times, and just love that part of the northeast. It’s tough to choose a favorite, without a doubt.
7. What tips would you offer to someone aspiring to become an adventurer.
Sometimes, finding classes to take or groups to go out with is the easy part – doing it is another story! The best piece of advice I have is not to be intimidated, just to get out there and go for it. Read stories about other people who inspire you by trying new things. Find your motivation for wanting to start playing outside more, and use it to get you going. See if you can find a friend willing to take you out with them. I’ve learned so much from friends and am grateful for the patient people in my life; the best way to learn the skills you need to hike, backpack, bike, climb, mountaineer and more is to find someone willing to teach you. Also, take advantage of the fact that some outdoor sports, especially climbing, foster a tight knit community of like-minded people.
8. What is the most appreciated post on your blog and where else can your fans enjoy your work?
I’m not sure I can speak to the most appreciated post; that’s for readers to decide! But in terms of the most popular posts on Adventure-Inspired, there are a few that seem to have resonated with readers. I wrote about behaviors to avoid in public campgrounds, and a number of people could relate to the behaviors I mentioned. My beginner’s guide to choosing climbing shoes has been popular too; it’s a great feeling to know that I can help people. I shared my reverse bucket list last year; I absolutely love the concept and it seems readers do too. My most popular trip report so far is the one I published after a trip to Havasu Falls, Havasupai and the Grand Canyon as part of my participation in Columbia Sportswear’s #OmniTen program.
In addition to Adventure-Inspired, I’m a member of the team at Trek Tech, regularly contribute to the Pocket Ranger Blog and am a part of Sierra Trading Post’s #TeamSierra blogger network. I’ve also written for Liftopia, my CrossFit gym’s blog and more.
9. A message to your readers and fans.
“Grateful” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel when I think about how far Adventure-Inspired has come over the past few years, and how far I’ve come as a writer thanks to so many people who’ve had faith in me and believed in what I have to say. To all who read Adventure-Inspired and the other pieces I’ve written for incredible websites like Trek Tech, thank you so much for your support! I hope I’m always able to contribute stories, musing, gear reviews and more that keep folks coming back for more. And I’m always glad to hear from readers if they have topics they’d like to hear more about. Find me on twitter, instagram, facebook, or send an email to Katie at Adventure-Inspired.com.
Katie, thank you so much for getting involved and with this occasion sharing your experiences with us all. I have learned a lot and got a lot of useful insight that will surely help me in my future camping trips and outdoor time. You rock!
Images source: www.adventure-inspired.com
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