Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Journey to an Ambassador

Journey to an Ambassador

      I have always been a "Tomboy", growing up in the rural countryside of Southern Illinois with no other girls around it was all I knew. Where ever the boys went, I went and oh boy did we go. We were always outside playing and having our own adventures across the countryside, sometimes from dawn til dusk. We would swim, fish, play and camp almost anywhere we wanted it seemed. There were creeks, woods, hills, and fields to be explored. Mother Nature was our play ground, it was our backyard.
    Another big part of my childhood was hiking and exploring the Shawnee National Forest. Just a short drive could land us deep into it's interior, winding down gravel roads looking for the trail head parking, a campground, or the perfect picnic spot. When family visited it was a tradition, it seemed, for us to hit the trail somewhere. There were an untold number of trips, excursion, and adventures we had as a family and when we were old enough, on our own.
    We also had plenty of misadventures along the way, from injuries to bad decisions to poor equipment. Of course we survived these misadventures and with the guidance of my amazing mother we learned how to overcome, endure, and laugh along the way.
   My mother to me is a pioneer, taking two small children into the wilderness without the technological advances of the modern age. Even if it had been available I doubt very much we would have been able to afford any of for ourselves,  my mother taught us to make do with what we had which came in very handy outdoors. I learned to think "outside of the box" at a very early age, out of necessity primarily.
    These aspects of my youth fostered a sense of adventure and exploring in me so much so that when I married my outdoor loving husband we honeymooned in the Cave Country of Kentucky. We have since explored and hiked from South Eastern Oklahoma to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I'm was, and still am, always coming up with some idea to venture off into areas unknown or to explore an old favorite. One day my husband turns to me in the middle of one of my schemes for outdoor exploration and says, "Annie and her Adventures".
    Suddenly it came to me to start a Facebook page where I could put my adventures, maybe inspire someone else to get outdoors or maybe bring a little of the outdoors to someone who couldn't get there themselves. I have back issues that keep from exploring at times or as much as I would like, my mother also has issues of her own that now limit her and my mother in law loves my photos but her health issues keep her from attempting any such thing. My mother and mother in law both are handicapped by their issues severely, as far as outdoor activities, but my mother with some help from modern medicine and her love for the outdoors, she still manages to enjoy nature with me on certain trips.
   Annie's Adventures was born and as time went on it turned to include a little more educational material.  In recent years I added the blog which not only satisfies my urge to write, it serves to inform readers of trails, camping, canoeing, handicap accessible locations, environmental issues, and any of the misadventures I have along the way. What's life if we can't laugh at ourselves?  The teachings of my mother still come in very handy almost daily let alone when I happen into a bit of misadventure.
     I've been trying for several years to work in conjunction with another site or page to get my point of view on the outdoors out there. I had tried sites/pages within my own state and even tried working with local radio but everything always seemed to fall through for one reason or another. No big deal, I just kept doing my own thing; getting outdoors as I always do and sharing my adventures on my page and blog. Then a few weeks back I noticed that one of my favorite hiking sites was having a little contest. I have been following this site for some time and had a huge desire to work with them.
    Hike Like A Woman, founded by Rebecca Walsh,  was looking for Ambassadors to her page, people to help with product, book, trip reviews and to help basically make a community of outdoor enthusiasts. I jumped at the chance, hurriedly filling out the entry form as some how I had missed the fact the contest was even happening until almost a week before it ended. 
   My urge to work with Rebecca at Hike Like A Woman came from her amazing ability to connect with people through her site and I found her to be truly inspiring. The more I followed her page and saw the amazing things she was accomplishing through it the more I wanted to do the same.  I wanted to reach out to people, get them out there, no matter how they do it and enjoy the great outdoors and I to do so in a manner that is not only safe but respectful of others and the environment.
  Once I filled out the application and hit submit, I continued, as always, to follow the site and keep up with what Rebecca was into. Life keeps us busy as it did me the day the winners were notified. I had completely lost track of the date and just finished running some errands when I hear an email notification from phone. I finished up what I was doing and thought about ignoring it for awhile so I could start some housework but decided to take a little break instead.
   I fully expected to open my email and find some promotion from Dish Network, Jamberry or some other deal I couldn't miss out on. When I read who the email was from I it didn't register immediately. I scanned the subject line thinking "Now, what's this?" The subject line glared back at me saying "HLAW Ambassador: You're in!" It hit me, I WAS IN!! I hurriedly opened the email and began eagerly reading the details it contained. It started with the traditional "Thank you for applying" then when into a few details about how many applicants there had been. Even though I read the subject line I was still expecting a big let down so as I read I kept waiting for it but after the first paragraph there it was in bold lettering "I'm excited to announce that I selected you as an Ambassador!" It was real!! I had been chosen! I became so excited I let out a scream sending the dog into a little barking hysteria.
   I had done it, I was finally hitting that goal I had been reaching towards for years. Rebecca had been thorough in her preparations and I found links in the email waiting for me to click and take me on what is probably to be the biggest adventure of my life.
  The journey has just begun for me this past week but there's a part I hadn't bargained for in the slightest fashion. I have met some amazing women that have been selected to take this journey with me, as  Ambassadors also. I'm glad I'm not going solo on this adventure and that I have stumbled upon some of the most inspiring women. I find despite all our differences of age, location, back ground, home life; they are like me, fun, outgoing, adventurous and little crazy too but who couldn't use a little crazy in their life, right?
   I've become friends with many of these wonderful women in the past week and the more I learn about them, the more I love them & being apart of the #HLAWATeam. As I sat down to type this one of these lovely ladies shared a post on their page and I felt it applied in some way to myself, "You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved." So whatever struggle you have, whatever mountain you have to move, keep going, something has to give, just don't let it be you.
   If you are interested in finding out more about the Ambassadors for Hike Like A Woman you can find us on the webpage here, HLAW Ambassadors or there are links to many of the other Ambassadors pages right here on my blog under Check out these Pages. Stayed tuned for more from Annie's Adventures and Hike Like a Woman!

Adventure Awaits!



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