A collection of raw, gritty, honest stories of my adventures through life, love, and loss.
GRIEF, TRAIL RUNNING, AND ADVENTURE WRITER
Hey, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Maddie—and I show others the power of healing outdoors and out loud. Growing up as an avid ocean kayaker, I became enthralled by the outdoors’ crisp, salty ocean air and rugged, unforgiving mountain peaks. As I now learn to live without my beloved little sister, the outdoors has transformed into my place of reflection, refuge, and release.
This online space is all about sharing my outdoor adventure reflections and equipping you with the know-how and courage to get out there yourself—through resources like trip itineraries, outdoor gear guides, and beginner’s guides. Welcome to my journey. I hope you stay awhile.
This is where you’ll find the raw, gritty, honest accounts of my outdoor adventures. Each adventure has its own tumultuous arcs that are meant to be shared, revisited, savoured, and reflected upon. These stories are the reason why the outdoors beckon me back, time and time again. They include the glorious ups, the gut-wrenching downs, and everything in between. You can check out some of my favourites below or–if you’re hooked already–you can read them all.
This is where you’ll find the raw, gritty, honest accounts of my outdoor adventures. Each adventure has its own tumultuous arc that is meant to be shared, revisited, savoured, and reflected upon. These stories are the reason why the outdoors beckon me back, time and time again. They include the glorious ups, the gut-wrenching downs, and everything in between.
There are hundreds of moments spent evaluating risk in the outdoors: bears, cougars, rising tides, slippery ladders, kelp-covered rocks, hand-pulled cable cars, strangers, nights alone, inclement weather. As a soloist, there are no second opinions. Your choices are yours, alone, to own. But to me,…Read More
We grabbed our backpacks from the carousel and headed out of the Keflavik International Airport. At this time in 2015, Iceland had not yet emerged on top tourism destination lists. It was an entrancing, winter wonderland that promised to engulf us into its mystic, Nordic…Read More
Preparing for our first trek after my sister’s death, I was under the romanticized impression that whisking myself into the Sunshine Coast’s mountainous solitude would resolve my grief. I was naively embarking on the search for a single ‘moment’ where I would begin to accept…Read More
Frugality became my best friend on our international exchange semester, leading myself (and Marshall) to encounter some pretty ridiculous scenarios. Despite this, we just couldn’t shake it off! After working six jobs between the two of us the summer before exchange, there was nothing quite…Read More
Trip Itineraries & Outdoors Guides
Multi-day itineraries and outdoor guides for trail running, fastpacking, motorcycling, and bikepacking that you can use as inspiration for your own wild adventures! Each itinerary includes route highlights, places to stay and eat, and things to see and do that are “off-the-beaten-path”—these are the perfect kick-start to your trip planning! Check out the latest, below:
In March 2019, my 21-year-old little sister, Rachel, took her life after her courageous, hard-fought battle learning to live with Bipolar Type I. If our family can label any piece of our horrific tragedy as ‘fortunate’, it is that my sister left behind 15 journals from her 5-year battle. These poetry-, observation-, and insight-filled journals contain a depth of candid creativity that makes you pause.
I am now trudging forward, learning to live within my new reality and beginning to dabble my toes into the ‘making meaning’ phase of my grief journey. In this, Rachel has taught me that when we leave, all that remains is our finite collection of stories. The stories that will make our loved ones full-stomach-laugh and wailing-cry. The ones they will cherish and desperately hold on to.
She’s also taught me that our stories—no matter how painful—are better shared than silenced: “I believe that our weaknesses and our vulnerabilities are what can connect us the most. And in doing so, they become our greatest assets. The moral of our own personal stories.”
Below you’ll find some of my reflections on learning how to live, after loss.
It’s as bad as it can be. It’s Over. It’s Over. My Dad’s tear-filled words shook me to my core. Between shallow breaths of traumatic, shocking despair, I let out a string of dilapidated I-can’t-do-this’s. With his words, our life imploded, crashing down in horrific slow motion. In a single moment the world became grey.…Read More
My Sister once told my Dad the reason why she was uncomfortable with people reading her journals: “My journals represent who I was and how I thought at a specific moment in time. I may have changed since then” For me, I consider my writings about grief, loss, and adventure as “guarded vulnerability”. My words…Read More
Before you read onward, I know what you’re thinking. Maybe you’ve already decided to stop reading, overwhelmed by the shock of my confession. Maybe you are curious because you had not considered where a loved one’s possessions would go, after death. Or maybe, you have your own stowaway of items, once cherished by your loved…Read More
“Maddie you and I should get matching tattoos,” Rachel said. “Mmmmm no thank you,” I responded. Tattoos weren’t my thing. “We could get yin-and-yang. One side of it on each of us—because we are entirely opposites in every way, yet together, we are so well-matched, both so necessary. Together we are beautifully full,” she explained.…Read More
“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
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