Who, when younger, thought she'd only ever live in a city the size of New York, San Francisco, or larger. 

And would turn into a nature-peddler that enjoys more time observing wildlife & hiking than going shopping.

(well, unless it's gear for an outdoorsy adventure, but that would be categorized as “safety equipment”, not shopping — just to be clear).

Other than a few stints at a 2-week summer camp, summers spent in Michigan, and being a regular (I mean regular) at the neighborhood pet store...

So regular, I essentially *worked* there.

The proof (allow me to go way off on a tangent):

Even just this week, pulled from the depths of my childhood brain, I let my husband know (he didn’t ask, nor have any followup questions) that the fish in the Thai restaurant fish tank was an "Oscar'', because by age 8 I somehow also became a small-tanked animal expert by osmosis (force??), of which my brain has deemed the information gleaned important enough to keep, and regurgitate, at a moments notice. 

Sunrise, my happy place :)

Needless to say, my upbringing was pretty removed from nature.

And for better or worse, my exposure to true wildlife (the tankless and roaming kind) was the Lincoln Park Zoo – African Elephants, Pygmy Hippos, Gorillas, Giraffes, and Grey Wolves lived on my same street (literally), just down the block.

Close in proximity, yes, but far from wild.

It seems odd that my love of nature and wildlife was inspired by experiences that are truly so unnatural. 

But I argue that those experiences were enough to trigger curiosity. Enough to bring me joy. And enough, that when I encountered the opportunity to immerse in those experiences in the future, I didn't take them for granted.

So now, as an adult who has the free will to do what I want, I find myself seeking nature whenever I can. 

What could have just remained "broke post-college kid vacations" for my husband and I –

Canoeing miles and miles down the Edisto River in South Carolina to a Tree House marked only by sharpie on a white printer papered map for a Thanksgiving sojourn that felt very Apocalypse Now, 

Or eloping in Vermont at an off-grid cabin with no electricity or running water, and no one but the two of us to watch the fall foliage glow in the valley as the sun set over the ridge on our wedding night, 

Or waking up in the middle of the night (well, Nick does) to stoke the wood-burning stove that is the only source of heat for our tiny cabin that we XC skied into, with our dog, in Northern Maine, in February, for a third year in a row, 

— are experiences I still seek & hold in the highest value today.

Because they hit my trigger point of curiosity, fill my bucket of joy, and ground me with gratitude... every time.

I won't grow out of these types of nature-focused experiences, at least I hope not.  

In fact, I hope to grow into them – by layering wisdom of experience & lessons learned along the way to every new adventure ahead.

Whether you choose to listen to my Walking Meditation while commuting by foot to your corporate job in a big city, or join me on an immersive hiking adventure somewhere in the world’s wilderness – 

My hope is that while you're with me, you feel guided towards what makes you curious, brings you joy, and fills you with gratitude, too.

And truly, that’s all I could ask for.

2010 Treehouse Canoe Trip

Spring bloom in Chicago

Sunrise, my happy place :)