Mallory over at youradventurecoach.com is FAB! Your Adventure Coach is Mallory’s blog dedicated to helping you tackle your first long-distance hike. Mallory is a Certified Professional Coach who loves backpacking and helping others. She is dedicated to helping others experience the wonder of living and travelling in the great outdoors. My kinda gal. Head on over to Your Adventure Coach to find out more about Mallory, hiking and tackle that first long-distance hike.
June Travel Blogger Spotlight | Your Adventure Coach
I’m an avid hiker and backpacker turned blogger. After hiking over half of the Appalachian Trail, in the summer of 2013, I started Your Adventure Coach, LLC to help provide resources that give hikers the skills and confidence they need to tackle their first long-distance hike. Blogging has definitely tied me to my computer way more than I’d like, but I still like to get out for short day hikes, short backpacking trips or car camping trips with my husband.
Why did you start a travel blog? What is the best thing about running a travel blog?
I started blogging over at Your Adventure Coach (visit her website here) because as a mostly solo female hiker I was, and still am, met with a lot questions, a lot of judgment, and a lot of shock from mostly anyone I talk to about my adventures. My mission is to start to break down those beliefs that have been drilled into too many of us that backpacking isn’t safe, backpacking alone isn’t safe, and backpacking alone as a woman is a recipe to be raped and murdered for sure! That is just silly.
By simply planning and preparing ahead of time, and knowing your own limits and capabilities, backpacking can be just as safe (or risky) as walking down the street or driving on the road by yourself. I really love a lot of things about running a blog, but by far the best thing is hearing back from my readers!
Do you have any tips for other travel bloggers?
You can’t just start a travel blog because you love travelling, you have to also really love writing, and editing, and taking photos, and social media, and sitting at the computer for hours on end. Ok, I guess you don’t have to *love* all of those things, but it will making blogging much more enjoyable for you! And if you don’t enjoy it, then why even bother?
But I made that mistake, of thinking ‘Oh I love hiking and I want to teach others about hiking!’ and then I had to learn how to use WordPress, and social media platforms, and constantly try to improve my writing, and create image and graphics, and research keywords, and on and on… none of those things have to do with hiking! It was also the best mistake I’ve made because I’m not sure I would have started blogging if I realized how intense it is, and now I can honestly say I get so excited when I insert some and it works! Or my Pinterest traffic grows! Or I write a piece and get some great engagement on it! Those things make it all worth it.
Why do you love to travel?
While I love travelling in general, long-distance hiking as opened my eyes to a completely new way to travel and visit multiple destinations. I wish more people considered travelling by foot a valid means of transportation! It’s phenomenal to literally watch the forest and earth change around you as you hike on, it’s different every single day. All along the way you get to meet other travellers on the trail and mingle with locals in awesome tiny towns when you resupply. I love being able to choose a new and beautiful spot to sleep each night. And stopping for resupplies on a long distance hike forced me to stop in and visit towns I would never have stopped in if I were just speeding by in a car, and they were all so worth it!
What have you learned about yourself or the world through travelling?
Long distance hiking and backpacking has taught me so much about myself, I gained a new sense of independence and self-sufficiency that I never got from simply living on my own. And when you learn to live out a backpack in the woods for months on end, not too much in the ‘real world’ scares you anymore, which has given my husband and I the freedom to embrace some alternative lifestyle choices, if you will, because we aren’t locked into the typical American dream mentality.
Who/what INSPIRES you?
Anyone who hikes the triple crown is a huge inspiration to me! (The triple crown is hiking the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.) As much as I hate to downplay my experience on the AT, hiking the PCT or CDT is way more intense in my mind – there are more extreme climates to walk through, fewer towns for support, and the CDT is barely even established which might make it tricky to follow at times, or at least in my mind, that is my impression of the other trails. So anybody who has thru-hiked them is intense!
What is one place you would LOVE to tick off from your bucket list?
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru! I actually don’t know too many details about it, but it’s always on my mind as being the next place I want to hike when I can afford the next big trip. I’m also a bit of a nature nerd and read once that Peru has the more species of birds per square mile than other country, so of course, I want to go backpacking there! May as well make it a hike to Machu Picchu while I’m there.
Where is the BEST place you have been to?
The Collegiate Peaks in Colorado. It’s easily become my favorite mountain range, with amazing day hikes, 14er’s, the Colorado Trail runs through them, the high alpine lakes are so amazing you never want to leave once get to them, and they are also lined with some of the best tiny mountain towns I’ve ever been to, as well. Salida, Buena Vista and Leadville all provide easy access to the mountains and the Arkansas River.
Where are you off to next?
I’m looking forward to knocking out some more section hikes of the Colorado Trail once the snow melts a bit more. The Colorado Trail runs from Denver to Durango and I’ve slowly been hiking sections of it a weekend at a time since we’ve moved to Colorado.
Do you have a story you want to share?
Sure! When I started hiking the AT in 2013, I had just gotten out of a pretty unhealthy relationship and I really wasn’t liking where I was living. If you’ve ever been through Limestone, ME you might understand why. I gave my job plenty of notice and started aggressively saving and planning to hike the Appalachian Trail. I was ecstatic! It had been on my wishlist for years and it was finally the perfect time to get out and do it.
I would finally have the chance to go on an epic adventure, all by myself, not have to consider anyone else or their plans or have them holding me back. It would just be me, myself and I alone in the woods. Well, turns out, lots of other people also had the same wish and the AT was actually a little bit crowded! But it was cool, I liked a lot of the hikers I met along the way, but many of them I only saw once or twice and then they hiked on faster than I did.
Except for one guy, Shenandoh, was his trail name. We kept bumping into each other, we were basically hiking the same pace, so would see each other at shelters, in trail towns, and at scenic lookouts to break for meals. He was very funny and always kind of flirty, and whenever it was just he and I somewhere, anywhere, he would ask ‘So is this a date?’ ‘This is like a date, right?’ ‘Wanna be my Shenandah?’ Every. Time. And every time I would say NO! Seriously, no. I wasn’t dating anybody, not him or any other guy after the last one.
But we kept on hiking and hiking and after about five or six weeks, we were out at a bar in town on a rest day, and he asked if it was a date, and I said yes. I realized at that point I was only saying no because I told myself I would say no, which was silly with such an awesome guy right in front of me!
We hiked from Georgia to New York together in 2013, and longer story short, we’ve been together ever since and are now happily married!
What travel blogs do you follow?
I actually don’t follow too many religiously. I love the blog from REI because they always are actively involved with or at least post about recent events affecting the outdoor industry. I also like the follow the blog at Leave No Trace because I am a Leave No Trace trainer and always like to read their updates and hear about issues across the country as well as progress being made on the conservation front. Lastly, I like to check in on the Take Them Outside blog, because every once in a while I will teach environmental education to middle schoolers for a season, so I like to see fresh ideas on outdoor activities and crafts for kids.
Add some final words of wisdom
Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t! Can’t go solo hiking, or solo travelling, can’t start a blog, can’t run a marathon, if you want to do something, just get started doing it and forget the rest! Seriously though, start something, anything, today and make a move.
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