In the last two years of traveling we really haven’t made an effort to attend any conferences or workshops. Pre-travel I would attend at least one photography workshop a year, and Sam would often have 2-3 tech conferences he attended. All part of keeping up our skills, networking, and getting inspiration for new projects or ideas. Conferences were also a way to get some dedicated “me time” in and I’ve missed that a lot!
This year we’ve decided to remedy our imbalance. I’m feeling a little stagnant and definitely ready for a weekend away where I can focus on my needs and projects without guilt or interruption. There’s just something about have at least 24 quiet, magnificent hours all to myself that lends itself to increased satisfaction and productivity when I get home. Sam already has a few tech conferences he’s been missing so we’ve added those to the calendar, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted.
As I searched around for blogger conferences or something along those lines (since photography isn’t my main focus at this point) a friend mentioned REI’s Outessa Summit. I knew instantly I wanted to attend. After some discussion with Sam about logistics, travel schedules, and plans for the rest of the year we both agreed that this would be really good for me. Even better, through some other connections I was able to talk with the co-founder, Julia Stamps Mallon, and volunteer as a photographer/blogger for the event in exchange for discounted admission. I’m looking forward to an awesome weekend of outdoor recreation and sharing it with all of you!
Outessa Summit is a women’s only weekend getaway at either Kirkwood, CA or Powder Mountain, UT. With over 200 activities to choose from, professional guides and mentors, plenty of healthy, fulfilling food, and beautiful mountain scenery I’m completely stoked for this event! I’ve signed up for the Powder Mountain event that will take place from September 9 -11, 2016 in Eden, UT. They are also setting up “Camp Outessa” where you can bring your own camping gear to sleep, but they provide showers (most appreciated!) & bathrooms.
After registering, you’ll be able to log in and sign up for classes. While I would love to mountain bike ALL day, each type of sport is limited to one class so that everyone gets a chance to participate. I think this limitation also encourages women to sign up for activities they normally wouldn’t try. Have you always wanted to try rock climbing but don’t know how? What about trail running? Nervous about backpacking, kayaking, or even just how to cook around a campfire? They seriously have classes for all of the above!
I’ve signed up for an intermediate rock climbing class, intermediate mountain biking, GRID foam rolling, making healthy granola bars and snacks, a night trail run (Hello! NOT a runner!) as well as an ElliptoGO class. My goals are to hone and develop my skills for activities I already love while trying out some new sports as well.
After breaking into classes for most of the day, everyone comes back for a family-style dinner in the evening, campfire chats, and s’mores.
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant at first about the “women only” designation. I’ve never been one to need a girl’s night out, or feel more comfortable hanging out with my girlfriends rather than my family. Sam is, and always will be, my favorite choice for an outdoor adventure partner, even if it sometimes is logistically inconvenient for both of us to be away. However, recently I was able to go on a ride with a friend from Lehi who loves to mountain bike, as well as hike with Alyssa from Kidproject.org (and all of ours kids!). I’m learning there’s something powerful and comforting in finding like-minded girlfriends who love to be outdoors as much as I do. So even though it may be a little outside my comfort zone, I’m looking forward to making connections with other women like me – those who love and live in the outdoors as much as they possibly can.
REI Outessa Summit: Powder Mountain, Utah
Friday September 9 @ 8am – Sunday September 11 @ 5pm
REI Outessa Summit: Kirkwood, CA
Friday August 19 @ 8am – Sunday, August 21 @ 5pm