Well, I never imagined I'd someday appear in the pages of VOGUE––in Germany no less! I'm profiled in VOGUE Germany's semi-annual special edition on "Business" (October 2014) as part of a feature about Wings WorldQuest, an amazing organization that supports women in exploration. Please "like" Wings Worldquest on Facebook, and if you can read German, check out VOGUE on European newsstands now...and let me know what I've said!!
"In some ways getting lost was my goal from the start. Growing up in small-town Ontario, where the tallest mountain was a haystack and the broadest horizon a field of corn, I’d felt wilder than the world in all directions. It wasn’t until university that I finally stepped beyond the borders of my home country, finally saw a mountain and a desert in more than pixels or words on a page, and there was no looking back. From then on my greatest joy has been wandering the planet’s rough peripheries with a tent and a backpack full of books. My greatest fear is having to work, heaven forbid, in a cubicle. To avoid this I mostly subsist on instant noodles, and I travel whenever possible by my own two legs, enabling a vagabond life rich in every currency but money."
This is essentially my life's mission statement as excerpted from Lands of Lost Borders, a new essay of mine about wildness, borders, and cycling the Silk Road. I'm thrilled to have this piece of writing published in The Georgia Review, one of my very favourite literary magazines. You can read it online or, better yet, support this wonderful small press by purchasing a copy of the Fall 2014 issue here.
Maybe because I grew up vicariously exploring the world through books, until the Morehead-Cain launched me into the wilds and overseas myself at the age of 19, I'm deeply committed to sharing my wanderings and misadventures with others, whether through words, photography, or video––or, in the case of keynote talks, some (hopefully) entertaining fusion of all three. And when I'm speaking to high school or middle school kids in particular, I try to tell them what I most longed to hear at their age: that the world is wide, it is wild, and you don't need to own a bank to get out and explore it––only a bike. You never know how your words will hit people, but once in a while you get a hint that makes the whole effort worthwhile. Such as this email from Shelley Chen, a student at Charlotte Country Day School, where I gave three talks in two busy days last week. (Posted here with Shelley's permission.)
"I am a international student who is from China. After your speech on Tuesday, I am thrilled to learn about traveling to see things that people don't normally see. Thank you for bring back your experience and talk to us about it. I grew up in a city and barely saw the nature. And I've never been to Tibet, the roof of the world. The mysterious myth about it attracts me for a long time and hopefully one day I will get to see it with my own eyes. One thing that gave me a deep impression from your presentation is that the those pilgrims kneel down and pray to the sky. Their determination and persistence are so remarkable and strong. And I agree there should be no "walls" or "barriers" among countries and people. There is a connection among us, no matter how small the connection is. Intercultural Communication will bring us together. Even though we sometimes don't speak the same language, a smile and a nice gesture can really change a lot."
Here's to smiles and other gestures that break down walls big and small. Thanks to Charlotte Country Day School for bringing me in to speak, and to The World Affairs Council of Charlotte/Magellan Society for co-hosting my visit.
It's official...the Borderski expedition has won the $10,000 Scott Pearlman Field Award, an Explorers Club grant program in honour of the late Scott Pearlman, a photographer who at 22 became one of the youngest members of The Explorers Club. Sadly, he died of liver failure due to hepatitis C at the age of 38, "still looking for the perfect picture."
It's a tremendous privilege to carry his name into the Pamir mountains through Borderski, and we'll strive to do everything we can to make the Pearlmans proud.For more details, check out the news update on the Facebook page for the Scott Pearlman Field Award.
Check out the teaser trailer for "The Art of Wild," a six-part documentary film series by the superlatively talented Lindsay Marie Stewart that explores the connections between athletics, art, and wild landscapes. I'm the gal on the bike, and you'll also meet my sweet dog Daniel, the star of the whole show.