Browsing Tag

Tourist

General travel, North America, soul searching

Redefining Sexy by Brooke Edwards, Wild World Wanderings

September 15, 2017 • By

This is the first post as part of a new series featuring strong and determined women travelers and guides. Today’s guest author is Brooke Edwards of Wild World Wanderings on “redefining sexy”.

Fantasy aisle, Brooke Edwards in deep snow redefining sexy

Redefining Sexy

Alaska Girls Kick Ass reads the hot pink bumper sticker donning many a vehicle in the 49th State and beyond.  And it’s actually true, Alaska girls DO kick ass.  I truly feel honored to be a woman amongst some of the strongest, most athletic, interesting, hard-core, sexy, feminine, beautiful, talented Renaissance women of Alaska.

Being sexy here is not the curve of your breasts, nor is it what ridiculous amount of money you spent on designer jeans. Alaska Sexy is how a woman skis a more jaw-dropping line than most dudes. It’s how she rows the rapid and pulls over to catch, fillet and cook her salmon over a fire.  It’s how she owns the dance floor with wild confidence, secure in her own skin and extra tufts.  Alaska Sexy is a goggle tan and sunburned lips.

Alaskan women are wilderness guides, hunters, fisherwomen, carpenters, adventurers, endurance athletes and more. They build their own homes, catch their own fish, chainsaw their own firewood and fix their own trucks.

Fantasy Aisle, redefining sexy by Brooke Edwards, Brooke with skis on a mountainside

Photo Courtesy of Heather Thamm. Brooke

In 1998, life presented me a quandary: move to Montana to chase a boy, or embrace the wild unknown of my lifelong dream to go to Alaska and guide.  I chose the wild unknown, and, with what little savings I had, managed to purchase my first home: a small hippie shack dry cabin in a bog on railroad ties with the address Toadstool Turnpike, Girdwood.  Hearing that I would have to heat my cabin with wood and haul my own water, my dad gifted me his 25-year-old Stihl chainsaw with a big red bow on it as an early Christmas that year.  He wanted to provide me with the gift that heats you twice: gathering your own wood and burning it later.

Fantasy Aisle, redefining sexy, The Girls Gone Girwood logo on a t shirt

The Logo as part of Girls Gone Girwood

When I first moved to Girdwood, Alaska, I was expecting to find a bunch of dudes who fit the state saying “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.”  I steeled my resolve to keep my independent status while I survived being the fresh meat in town.  Instead, I found an incredible group of inspiring women, from boat captains to bush pilots, heli-ski guides to firefighters.  They took me in, taught me real skills that in 20 years of wilderness guiding in Alaska have proved invaluable.  Namely, skills that are hard to define, such as perseverance, tolerance for adversity and following your passion over money.

Fantasy Aisle, redefining sexy, girls of Girls Gone Girwood in skis on a mountainside, photo courtesy of Ralph Kristopher

Photo courtesy of Ralph Kristopher. Girls Gone Girwood

I am grateful for my Girls Gone Girdwood, the funny name we called ourselves back in the day.  Without the GGG, and other phenomenal women getting after it, I would still be struggling to redefine sexy from what society has stuffed down our throats–the airbrushed, manufactured, far-too-skinny magazine model female–to the different vision I embrace today; of strength, power and inner beauty shining from inside out.

To get a sense of what I’m talking about, check out this short 9 minute film highlighting two of my favorite girlfriends and mentors: Leighan Falley and Kirsten Kremer.

The last two summers, I was lucky enough to guide Colton Smith and Jack Steward with the TV show Rock The Park on ABC Saturday mornings.  One year, I took them on a remote river trip on the Aniakchak River where you fly into a lake in the crater of a volcano and raft it out to the ocean.  The next year, they asked me [to join them] for another adventure and this time we ventured on foot deep into the heart of the brutally rugged Arrigetch Peaks in Gates of The Arctic.

Their show is an educational TV show aimed at families with the mission of inspiring more folks to get out and enjoy our National Parks.  Their motto is “If we can do it, so can you!”  To me, this couldn’t have rung more true as I pondered the impact on little girls nationwide watching me, a woman, guide these young fit men in some of the wildest corners of our planet.  I thought to myself, “pay attention, girls: If I can do it, so can you.”

Here’s to redefining sexy and owning our power in the wilderness and at home, ladies.  Let’s Do This!

–Brooke

Brooke Edwards of Wild World Wanderings hails from the Great Pacific Northwest, where her passion for all things outdoors was born. Alaska has been her home for the last 20 years. You can find her year-round exploring mountains and rivers in both the vast wilderness of Alaska and international wild locales.  Brooke has an M.S. in Environmental Education with a primary focus on Ecotourism from The Audubon Expedition Institute. She’s spent over 2 decades incorporating these principles in her guiding.  Brooke would love to share her passion for all things travel by custom designing the perfect itinerary for you.

 


Do's and Don'ts, South America

Travel fail day in Bogotá

December 12, 2015 • By

Arriving in Bogotá, Colombia after a mere six hour flight from New York City, I should have felt refreshed and ready to hit the streets but what ensued after Colombianos partied all night celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows what happens when travelers visit a place unprepared.

In reality, I broke every rule in my self-proclaimed Travel 101 Guide.

1.) Blend in with the locals. It is obvious I have blonde hair and already stick out in most countries but I normally pack demure outfits as to not draw attention.  With colors blazing on my first day in Bogotá, I donned my purple vest and pink fleece to attract even more gawkers.  If that wasn’t enough, I let the sun scorch my face and now I am certainly not blending.

Fantasy Aisle

Soaring over Bogotá, Cerro de Montserrate

2.) Check for environmental limitations: When I was huffing and puffing up Cerro de Montserrate, I blamed lack of exercise the last few weeks but then my mouth begged for water and it dawned on me I was suffering from altitude. Ding ding..that would be the right answer as Bogota sits at 8,660 feet (2,640 meters). Oh and I am susceptible to altitude sickness.  No bueño!

 

Fantasy Aisle

Pint size Taxis in Bogotá

3.) Ask a local: When in doubt, ask a local they are typically keen to assist. What I did was plain wrong. I asked every local I passed by if it was safe to walk down this block. Even though many locals commented on my poor Spanish or prompted that I take the bus, I convinced myself the exercise seemed more important than my safety, which brings me to my next point.

4.) Safety: Former Colombianos living in the United States told me safety concerns were definitely exaggerated. Articles online referenced petty theft so I mentally prepared myself to be mugged (It’s a common thing for me). After spending a few hours walking around and dodging many of the roughly 8 million people who live here, I am now bracing to be killed at the hands of a daredevil motorcyclists or an everyday bicycler rather than a mugger but I am open to that as well.

5.) Vulgar language: A tourist should never raise her voice when talking to locals. It’s a sign of respect and privilege to be visiting another country. That lasted for all of 45 minutes once I missed two buses, toured four different blocks looking for another bus and returned to the hotel exasperated. I highly recommend having a breakdown in English when the hotel staff only speak Spanish.  They are convinced I am deranged.  I am confident my performance was effective.

6.) Hire a local guide: When my first attempt at public transportation and touring failed, I hired Gustavo, an English speaking driver who lived in NYC for 20 years. He promised me a three-hour scenic tour, which turned into five hours because we sat in traffic much of the loop.  If learning is a priority, book tours in advance or figure out an agency to visit right when you arrive.  I paid by the hour.

 

Fantasy Aisle

Juan Valdez does Coffee in Colombia

7.) Eat local: It’s early. I am in a new country and I see a Starbucks like a mirage in a desert. I pause and even go inside but I depart wiftly and walk to MY girl’s favorite neighbor Juan Valdez because 1.) Juan has a bathroom I desperately crave and 2.) this Starbucks is not selling my prized collector mugs.   I only ended up at Juan Valdez because my patience got the best of me and I abandoned dunkin donuts after a 10 minute wait (in fairness my seatmate told me their dulce de leche donuts called Arequipe.

8.) Shop ’til you drop: Markets and I are like salt and pepper or Baileys and coffee or maybe eggs and bacon. When the driver pointed out the gold and emerald jewelry shops, the skin on my arms stood alert and my heart started to beat a little faster but then he described how the area area used to be controlled by the cartel and the thought of being ripped off and finding myself followed by thieves curved my appetite.

9.) Don’t ask Stupid questions: I maintain I am very respectful of my host country but in this instance I claim utter stupidity. Bogotá is divided by a social class system, 1 being the very poor and 6 being rich, after about 2 hours with my driver I thought it would be a smart idea to ask him which class he considered himself.  He answered 4.  I thought that sounded pretty good until he pointed out typical 4 housing and I realized the middle class in Bogotá get by but nothing more.

 

Fantasy Aisle

Christmas Lights Plaza de Lourdes in Chapinero

10.) Trust yourself: My driver gave me a second cell phone and at first I thought it was strange but then I realized he cared for my safety and didn’t want me to get lost. I smiled. I felt welcomed and I confirmed this will be a great trip.

Up Next a Historical look at Bogotá

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