Share Your Journey: Meet Maddie!
“No matter how much you feed the wolf, he keeps looking at the forest.”
Summer days spent at The Buffalo River. Photo by BreAnna Bearden.
Kijaro is passionate about going on your journeys with you. For me, that’s constant. I keep two hammocks, a jungle net, and a tarp in my car at all times. Kijaro is truly always with me and ready for any adventure I come across. For the first part of our Share Your Journey, I thought that I would share mine.
Young and able, I’ve had some fortunate opportunities in my life. I grew up in Northwest Arkansas, with the hills of the Ozarks as my backyard. Weekends and summer days were spent jumping off rocks into the Buffalo, rock climbing at places as big as Horseshoe Canyon ranch and as little as Lake Atalanta. I have pursued the sport of slacklining for almost three years now, and though there are many others who exceed my talent, I still consider it my passion. My friends and I have aspirations to highline, and once that feat is tackled, I have hopes to rig a line in places no one has before, to walk on untouched air. My Saturday mornings are spent waking early for coffee on my porch, and bike rides into town for local produce at the farmer’s market and brunch with friends. Sometimes, I’ll trade my porch for coffee on a sunrise hike. I like to think that I fully embrace the outdoors that my lovely state has to offer, and never think twice about seizing its opportunities. My car is permanently stocked with my choices of adventure gear, and it gets used daily.
After graduating high school, I moved to Barcelona, Spain. There I studied Spanish, nannied adorable children, made lifelong memories, traveled across the whole continent, tasted the saltiness of new oceans, climbed new mountain tops, and there I left a piece of me. Spain will always hold me suspended in memories and pleasure, and it will forever have me returning. I find pieces of it everyday, especially when my Spanish accidently comes out instead of English.
I moved back to Northwest Arkansas, mourning the life I had left when I stepped foot in the plane, yet growing a grin realizing I get to spend another summer in the Ozarks, and nostalgic memories flooded my head along with the inevitable jet lag.
I’m continuing to pursue my education at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, with hopes to double major in Business and Spanish. I have aspirations to create an outdoor guiding business nestled in the mountains of someplace I love. For all I know, that could be the mountainous ranges of Catalonia, in Spain. For my education, I chose Colorado because of the opportunity for venture that it holds. Leaving Arkansas for the first time broke my heart, but it was mended by a new love for another country. I feel confident that when I leave again the same feeling will accompany me.
Through all my fortune, I found preparedness to be vital. And right below that, a good attitude for when I forget to be prepared. Everyone knows that things never go exactly how you want them even when you do prepare, and this is why attitude is key. My friend has a saying that took me some time to appreciate, but now I join him in saying it: “when you’re not happy, be happy.” There are valid times when anger and sadness are necessary, but all other times an awareness and capability to control your outlook yield better results than the latter. When the stove breaks and you’re stuck with raw potatoes, an apple, and a couple of granola bars for the rest of your two day camping trip, two choices are left. Getting angry and missing out on what fun the experience could be is a waste of a trip. Instead, embrace the loss, laugh it off, and push through. We ate our apple and granola bars and had one of my favorite trips to date, all because we chose to control our attitude. That excursion, my “preparedness” rule failed, but my attitude didn’t.
I’m the wolf who keeps looking at the forest, knowing it will always hold more offers and lessons, and I’ll forever be returning. My journey has many layers filled with many friends and stories, and I’m sure you’ll hear more of them by following the blog. The team at Kijaro is ready to hear your journey.
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Words by Madeleine Roberts | @raddiemoberts