I still have no idea how the forces that be managed to bring me and Becca together. You can call it serendipity, fate, kismet, destiny, a fluke, or just plain luck. We were simply two women taking brave steps to live fulfilling lives. She: a full time nomad living with her husband and puppy in a van committed to a life of outdoor adventure and sharing their story on their blog, Roam Wild and Free. Me: a woman who walked away from the traditional life to launch an adventure travel company for women with a philosophy of getting outside to play. Our paths, although not intersecting, were being forged with the same vision, calling, and values: the need to be free from conformity and the passion to share our love affair with the outdoors. We were trekking two somewhat parallel and different paths, but then found each other in the most surprising of ways.
Once upon a time, January of 2016 to be exact, I accepted a side position to direct an adventure travel digital publication for a revamped website. I knew my travel experience was not enough to provide readers a far-reaching glimpse into our world, so I began a search for talented contributors to compliment my experience. It was during this search that I first met Becca. I had somehow managed to stumble across her and her husband’s blog, Roam Wild and Free. I spent time reading her posts, enjoying her writing style, and drooling over her Instagram feed. I shot over an introduction and an invitation to write with my team. Fortunately, she enthusiastically agreed.
Valentine’s day was fast approaching, and I suggested a piece on how her and her husband met. A post along the lines of “Love and Adventure.” She sent the completed post to me and I cried. I had my roommate, Jamie, read it. She cried. We were both filled with hope, awe, and all the gushy feels. It was an unbelievable love story that Disney couldn’t even dream up! (Is it time for a Dirtbag Disney Princess?). Becca’s energy simply radiated from her two-dimensional words sprinkled across my computer screen. I didn’t know Becca per say, but I knew in that moment that I liked her. I felt an undeniable connection to this woman who I met merely through social media and email exchanges.
Unfortunately, the side project fizzled out and our need to collaborate ended. That was it. We still followed each other on Instagram, but our need to communicate ceased.
Then, I took a month long road trip to the southwest last spring. My original plans of traveling with a friend from Texas to Canada fell apart days before my departure. My new plans were not much of a plan since I lacked the time to create any kind of an itinerary. I reached out to a friend that I met through social media. I was to meet her in Tucson for a few days to crash on her couch, rock climb, and play in the desert. From there, I was meeting another friend in Nevada to climb Boundary Peak and spend a few days road tripping through Nevada and Southern California together. That was it. Every other destination was selected at whim with the aid of my Rand McNally Atlas, stars on my Google Map, and tips from friends. I drove wherever I desired, crashed my parent’s Vegas vacation, and took a few zero days here and there to spend time in coffee shops with WiFi.
My winging it naturally brought me to Zion National Park. I drove into the park early to hike the Canyon Overlook trail. I fell madly in love with Zion the moment I reached the top of the trail and spent a solid hour scrambling along the boulders and playing with my GoPro. With plenty of daylight left, I decided to add the famous Angel’s Landing hike to the day’s adventures since the Narrows were closed. I marched happily along enjoying every step of the 21 switchbacks that lead to the real fun: a “sketchy” scramble to the top. There was a line to start the “Sketchy” portion of the hike, so I paused a bit to just enjoy the stunning cliffs surrounding me.
And, that was when it happened. I looked up and saw this chick with a beaming smile and crazy, untamed dreads.
I pulled a total creeper and stared her down. With an exhausted body and mind, I fought to figure out how I knew her. Then, she looked at me.
“Hey, I know you!”, I yelled. She looked at me all crazy. I mean, can you blame her? A near perfect stranger yelling at you randomly in the middle of the wilderness.
“I know you too!”
I introduced myself as Nicki and mentioned the website. Light bulb!
We finished the hike together with her friend from Chicago chatting the entire time about the outdoors, our lives, and the choices we made that led to that moment on the trail. Becca shared wisdom her mother gave her before she embarked on her first road trip, “Nature is not to be defeated or conquered, but appreciated and respected.” Becca’s mom is a wise woman. We quickly discovered we were kindred spirits somehow brought together through a series of unpredictable events to meet on one of the most famous hikes in the world.
But, then again, how else could the two of us meet?
When the Universe deals a doozie like this, you know it’s something special. Hollywood often reserves these spectacular, serendipitous plots for young love and romance.
Yet, sometimes these crazy, surprising, unbelievable stories can end in a lasting friendship and an adventure partnership.
I am beyond stoked to welcome Becca Foss to the Explorer Chick team. The Wilderness is literally her home. She is a rock climber, an avid hiker, an outstanding backcountry chef, a self taught photographer, a radiator of positive energy, a true female nomad, and an Explorer Chick in all sense of the word. It is an absolute privilege to have her on the Explorer Chick team!
Becca will be traveling with the Explorer Chicks as my co-leader on all of our adventures out west. I think you’ll find her experience, passion, and stories of the outdoors are unmatched by any other guide. She spends days, if not months, living and playing in different areas of the world awarding her familiarity of the parts unknown to guide books and blogs. For Explorer Chicks, it means a truly unique experience as she shares her knowledge and secret spots on our upcoming adventures.
So, please, let’s all welcome Becca to the Explorer Chick team! We cannot wait to adventure with you next year and beyond!