Hear Me Roar
March 2021 Issue
Photos provided by Taylor Smith
Hometown: Rice Lake, Wisconsin
Current Town: Hilton Head Island
Career: Supervisor for the Beach Patrol; Shore Beach Service
[Pictured above] Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. 7 day trek to summit.
What was your very first adventure?
Growing up in Northwest Wisconsin we were outside all the time. A trip we often took as a family was a canoe trip up in the Boundary Water Canoe Area (BWCA) in Ontario, Canada. We would first find our way to our cabin, which could only be accessed by snowmobile, 4-wheeler, or boat. The cabin used a generator for electricity, and of course, the bathroom was an outhouse—not exactly glamping. We would pack the canoe and our hiking packs for a few days and take off. We would canoe and portage from lake to lake and camp overnight—rain or shine!
What is your favorite place in the world, so far?
Croatia—absolutely beautiful country and people. My time there was short but memorable. I went skydiving, explored the islands and fell in love with the coastline...oh and the wine.
So, favorite place in the States?
The Grand Canyon! I made my first trip to the GC during a hurricane evacuation. A friend I used to run into often on the beach recommended I “do” the Grand Canyon. I’ll never forget him saying, “Where else in the world can you go down first?” He encouraged me to run down and hike up in a day. Of course this isn’t exactly recommended when you research which route to take. Well, that was all I needed to hear. Game on! It changed me. It’s a humbling place—puts a lot into perspective. It’s one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I ran down, and hiked up in a day, and it was AMAZING. The views are incredible; no picture will ever do that place justice.
You’ve also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tell us more.
The route my crew and I took was a seven day trek. On the summit day, we were woken up at 11:00 p.m. to begin our climb to the summit. We were under a full moon, and all the stars, it was cold but we knew we were so close to accomplish touching the rooftop of Africa, which has been a forever dream of mine. We walked for hours with headlamps on, in layers and layers of clothes. Our guides sang traditional Swahili songs and continued to encourage us. I don’t know how they did it at that elevation. We got to Stella Point, nearly the top of the mountain, and could see the final destination. At that very moment, the sun rose. It was the most beautiful sunrise and morning any of us had ever experienced. Exhausted and overwhelmed with joy, we laughed, cried and hugged and made our way to the final summit point. Just six days prior we were all strangers, and at that moment, we were a family forever connected.
When did you decide to live out your adventuring goals?
I don’t think I ever decided to start adventuring. It’s always been part of me. I grew up in an environment where we enjoyed being outside all times of the year, and my family loved and encouraged my love for life and seeing the world. I love trying new things and meeting people from all over. When I ask myself what brings me joy, it is nature and connection to others.
When you’re not out exploring the world, what’s on your to do list?
My to do list is never ending! Of course, like everyone, the normal errands and what not, but I work out and enjoy the people around me. Working on myself is next. I am super excited to always be learning and developing new hobbies and passions. I always have the planning for the next adventure in the works, too!
Favorite Book? Favorite movie? Favorite music genre?
Harry Potter Books! My favorite movie is Miracle; I love inspiring sports movies. Favorite music? Anything live! I can bop to anything.
Three things you never leave the house without?
Water, workout clothes and a sense of humor.
What helps you wind down after a busy day?
I love to “wine" down with a book. Sometimes a phone call to share some laughs with someone, too. On some of my busiest days, making sure I take time to reflect on my day, even for a couple minutes, is helpful. I try to still practice gratitude on challenging and frustrating days.
Describe yourself in three words.
Positive, spontaneous and hungry.
#Goals? 5-year plan?
I’m excited to keep exploring and knock off more bucket list items! A lot of self work, too. I want to establish a career in health and wellness of some sort. I’m really excited to find my next chapters. Oh! I also really want to grow a vegetable garden!
What are you currently roaring about?
I have really dove into cooking and learning my way around the kitchen. It's been fun and mostly edible. This has been another humbling and rewarding experience.