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Interview with #GlyderGirl @vagabondhearts

27 Feb 2020
Interview with #GlyderGirl @vagabondhearts

“After graduating from university on the east coast of Canada I moved home... the only issue is that I didn't know what home was anymore, I don't think I had any idea who I was at that point in time. I have spent the past several years picking up pieces of myself from all of the places that they seem to have been scattered. On the tops of mountains I didn't think I would ever climb, the bottom of alpine lakes that are more glacier than water, small high altitude villages on the other side of the planet whose names I cannot pronounce... somehow bits and pieces of myself ended up everywhere I didn't know I needed to go.”

Andrea, you grew up in Alberta just outside of the Rocky Mountains. Did growing up in such a unique place help you discover your passion for adventure at a young age, or did that come later on?
On the nature vs. nurture debate I don’t think it has anything to do with where I live, it is something that has always been a part of me. When I meet my relatives living in Austria I see it in them as well but my brothers don’t have the same affinity for the outdoors as I do.

You’ve given up a “normal life” to pursue your passion of adventure and discovery. How did you decide to take the final plunge?
I went to university, finished with a few degrees, found a job that I turned into my dream career, but my passions were always outside of the confines of four walls though. So I started spending my weekends in the mountains and when that was not enough I would show up to my office at 5am and leave just after lunch, catching sunset from a summit as often as somebody wanted to go! I posted photos of my adventures online and the more I did it the more that I learned about photography until one day I looked in my bank account, crossed my fingers and handed in my resignation. That is not to say that I am not making some money currently - I have been really lucky and had some amazing companies believe in what I do and work with me. But the long and the short of it is that as nice as it would be to have an easy answer to this question, it's all (to me) about taking risks and working really hard to get where you want to be. For a more detailed story of the day Andrea decided to quit her job, read her blog post here.



What has your life of adventure taught you about yourself?
Probably a ton… but the first thing that comes to mind is that I used to be really competitive, and then I realized that the things I was competing with other people about/for I didn’t actually enjoy. Ice climbing for example, I would see photos of it and it looked so awesome and so badass, so I tried it… and there is nothing that I have disliked more. It is cold and miserable to me. So just to trust myself, my gut reaction will always tell me what I should/should not be doing.

Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin when you want to get into hiking. Do you have any advice for beginners?
It depends on what your goals are, all that hiking is its purest form is walking outdoors. Everyone can do that! I think that the more technical aspects, I dug deeper by going on a guided backpacking trip. There are also a million resources online for groups that you can join and people who can teach you. It is more than worth the financial investment in the long run. The more technical you get the more continuing education you need in terms of safety courses.

Do you have any must-have items you bring with you on adventures?
A good attitude and plenty of snacks, water and coffee are my general go-to’s and then everything else is all so dependent on what I am doing. Anything I would need for a hike in the mountains of Kauai would be useless on a mountaineering expedition. You can check out some of Andrea's packing lists from past adventures on her blog here.

At Glyder, we believe there are no limits to what you can do. Do you have any advice for other girls about how to live limitlessly?
I would say that we all have limits actually, it is knowing what ours are and being respectful of them. This is one of the most important lessons that I have learned over the years. That it is okay to be vocal and say that you are not okay, to ask to turn around or say that you are uncomfortable. Finding your voice in the outdoors is so so important.

Do you have anything big planned for 2018?
I do- but also don’t want to ruin any surprises.

For more information about Andrea and her adventures, check out her website
www.andreaference.com or follow along with her on Instagram @vagabondhearts

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