First Mate Lauren

I was born straight into a life of adventure in Portland, Oregon. Incredibly lucky that my dads family owns a fly fishing and horseback riding lodge in BC. And my moms family owning a big ranch outside of Portland. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that nature was where I wanted to be. 

My passion for exploring and traveling developed early. I left Oregon in 2006 for Missoula to attend the University of Montana. In school, I spent my time interning for several non-profit organizations, like Montana’s Watershed Education Network and was responsible for taking local school kids to rivers around Missoula and teaching them about the biological inhabitants of the local waters. I also loved working at Missoula’s community farm, and in the small Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop. When I had free time, you could find me climbing the steep granite walls around Missoula, backcountry skiing, mountain biking or takin’ it easy rafting down a river. While in university, I had a very memorable teacher that inspired me to join the Peace Corps. After I graduated, I applied and over the long application process I worked as a wilderness guide for a small company in Jackson, Wyoming. There, I lead month long wilderness trips for teens focused on cultivating a love for exploration, wilderness and community. In 2011 I was accepted into the Peace Corps and looking forward to doing my service in Africa.  

After an adventurous summer leading trips through the Olympic Cascades and Central Oregon, I returned to Wyoming. When my job ended, I had my heart set on climbing in the Tetons and had my eyes set on climbing the Grand Teton itself. A few days into my climbing trip on a 9-pitch climb, 1,000ft up the side of a mountain face, my partner accidentally lost control of the rope and I fell 30 feet, where luckily I was caught by a small protruding rock.  Due to the remoteness of the climb and the extreme technicality of the rescue, I waited for three long hours and the amazing helicopter rescue is something I will never forget. ( Thankful for my recent training as a Wilderness First Responder, the personal knowledge of trauma skills soothed my mind as I waited on the ledge. My injuries were extensive. I broke both my lower legs (tibia/fibula and ankles), my left foot being so severe the doctors originally thought they might have to amputate. I also broke my pelvis in three places and three vertebrae in my lower back, making for a painful and long recovery. Tragically, I lost my mom to cancer the year before, making this an incredibly difficult year for my family and I. Naturally, I greatly missed her during my recovery, but my dad did an excellent job. Forced to slow down for a few months, I helplessly moved in with my dad in Portland. The doctors told me I would be in a wheel chair for the next three months. I was motivated by their questionable outlook, which had scared me into thinking I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the wilderness I had grown to love. My persistent, never-give-up attitude prevailed through the use of my road bike and bike stand. Once my pelvis had a chance to heal, but still in casts, my dad would help me onto the bike and I rode as long as I could. Thankful for my time on the bike, I didn’t lose all my muscle memory which made physical therapy easier than expected. 

Understandably, this derailed my dreams of going to the Peace Corps, but I still had a deep desire to travel. I met some incredible people while living in Portland and one of my best friends, Liz, an avid traveler, had spent years living in New Zealand. After hearing her stories I was sold and decided that the day after my physical therapy ended I would fly to New Zealand.  Liz made me one of the best presents I have ever received, a homemade map of the South Island and all her favorite places creatively marked. After the recovery I had just been through, not many people, friends, or family thought I was ready for such an adventure. Thankfully I listened to my intuition, because It turned out to be one of the best choices I have ever made. I ended up buying a van, which turned into my home as I explored New Zealand for the next six months. I found myself not limited by the familiar and eager to explore. I even spent a few weeks picking apples, which was unexpected, and I thoroughly enjoyed. I returned back to Wyoming to work another season leading youth trips, this time assigned for two months in Fiji. That was it, I had the travel bug. 

I decided to pursue wilderness education companies in other countries and was thrilled to land a great job in Australia, working for the Outdoor Education Group. I had a great experience in Australia, enjoying my job, which also allowed enough free time to travel a bit of Australia. I was able to volunteer at the famous five day, Bryon Bay Blues Festival, and fly to Alice Springs with three other ladies I had worked with for a 10 day backpacking trip on the Lara Pinta trail. Afterward, I spent a month trekking and traveling in Tasmania.  When I returned to Australia, my aunt and owner of the family fishing lodge called and needed a chef for the upcoming season. Since my university days I loved cooking and spending a season working as a chef had always been a dream of mine. I gladly accepted. 

I spent the next five years working as the chef for small, remote fishing lodges around British Columbia. Responsible for everything food related, I placed all the food orders, planned the menus, and cooked almost everything that came out of the kitchen. I love being organized and I thrived with the responsibility. I continued to feel incredibly lucky, having found a small niche where I could work incredible jobs in wild and beautiful areas with great people and then spend the other half of the year traveling, able to volunteer, work, and explore different countries and cultures. During my time off and subsequent travels I’ve always preferred to take the road less traveled, packing my backpack and getting into the mountains, living in tune with the sun and the moon’s schedule. 

I volunteered in remote Patagonia, Argentina, working as a farmer in an area only accessible by horses for three months. I loved traveling through Bolivia, exploring Lake Titicaca into Peru. I hiked into Machu Picchu and a slew of other isolated Inca trails throughout Peru and even got to explore the Amazon River in a small dugout canoe. From there, I left a small Amazonian village on a week long barge trip, sleeping in hammocks by night and enjoying the absolute beauty and remoteness of the Amazon and its people during the day. I loved South America and I can’t wait to go back. 

After one of my seasons working in BC, with help from my wonderful Uncle Gary, I bought a 1973 Ford Econoline to travel down the Baja of Mexico in for a few months. Living in the van and fishing my way down the Sea of Cortez and surfing back up the Pacific, I fell in love with the Baja. I have also had the privilege of traveling for a few months through Central America, where I spent a lot of time diving. On one occasion, I thoroughly enjoyed a long adventure east through Nicaragua, as usual, choosing destinations few travelers embark on. Arriving at a small village where I got on an old boat, completely packed with locals and livestock for a slow and cramped 9 hour trip to the remote Corn Islands. Trading in the warm temperatures one season for a completely different experience, I traveled north to Sweden and Norway. I joined my Swedish friend for an unforgettable month of dogsledding and a week long ski touring trip with dogs and toboggans. 

In 2016, I was visiting my dad who lives in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. We had a blast snorkeling almost everyday together. One night, after pulling his small boat into a slip, I walked over to a marina-side restaurant to get us some take out. There I met Captain Bob, a happy go lucky, well seasoned captain, with 18 years of experience and owner of a 47’ Catamaran, Viva. Bob, living in San Carlos for the last 8 years, was about to set sail on an amazing adventure and was looking for crew to help him out. He asked if I would be interested in joining. As luck would have it, his departure time lined up perfectly with my working season. At the end of my working season I joined him and four other crew members for an unforgettable four month trip from San Carlos, Mexico to Costa Rica. Yet another life changing event for me. I was always interested in sailing as a sustainable way to travel but never thought it would be possible for me. I thought it was for the super wealthy and retired, but during my trip I met all different types of people who showed this life style was possible. While on Viva I was happy to report back to Brian and thrilled to hear that he shared an interest in the sailing life as well.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have already had a life packed with so much beauty and adventure. I have always dreamed of a partner to adventure with me, and I found everything I was looking for and more with Brian.