A little over a year ago, my husband and I started discussing the prospect of a big move, a move that would entail leaving our families, friends, and the life we’d built in warm, sunny Phoenix, AZ. Reflecting and praying in the car while driving home from a ladies climbing sesh one night, I got chills and felt my heart telling me it was time–my heart was tugging me towards Salt Lake City and the life we needed to begin building there. We needed to move away in order to continue to grow.
Tytus turned one, Hubert found a job and a place to rent, and we packed it all up and drove north to face the bitter and cold reality of a big move away from everything familiar, warm, and comforting. It was my first real winter since college and it was everything I could have dreaded it to be: I was cold; I was lonely. It tasted like warm, salty tears, it felt like pants too tight from inactivity, and sounded like a baby crying constantly all hours of the morning due to regressions brought on from the move.
I didn’t know what to do with myself. Tytus hated sledding. How does a child hate sledding? It was the only outdoor activity I was comfortable doing and we couldn’t even do that! I dove into searching for a new mommy tribe like it was a full-time job. I was searching for women I could bond with over coffee, wine, and hopefully some hikes and adventures; someone who would watch Tytus for me and trust me to watch their own little ones in return…. some women I could be my whole self with, holding nothing back. I tried Book Baby and La Leche League at the library, I scoured Facebook groups, and I joined some Meet Ups. Nothing fit. There were lots of cool moms, but none who I could envision finding a kindred spirited-ness with. A couple of months passed and I had begun to feel like I’d exhausted my resources already. I even got a job at the local climbing gym in the daycare because, what better place to meet other cool families, right? It turns out that making new friends in that setting is beyond awkward for me. It’s like dating only worse.
A friend told me about a friend who was starting up a group for moms who liked to adventure. I decided to check it out. I didn’t have grand expectations, and I didn’t feel like I’d done much of anything adventurous since Tytus was born; however, I dove in. That first informal and intimate pow-wow at the climbing gym, sitting in a circle, hearing there were other moms out there who had similar interests, and didn’t want to give up on them, immediately built up my confidence. The passion and excitement in the room gave me goosebumps. The desire to support other mothers to continue to climb, ski, canyoneer, hike, backpack and whatever else it is that feeds your soul was exciting and refreshing. Yeah, I think refreshing is the best word for my first taste of Adventure Mamas. I felt refreshed just by the concept and the dream that this would succeed in connecting mothers into a sisterhood that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Maybe among these badass women I would find a few that I could build a deep and meaningful friendship with… then I wouldn’t feel so alone in this new city.
A small group trip to a hot spring kicked it all off for me. I got a reprieve from my duties as wife and mother for one night– the first night in a long time (thanks to my gracious and supportive husband, I must add). I carpooled with an amazing woman. I think we talked just about the entire way there. That was exciting enough. We hiked in to meet up with some other rad ladies where we drank wine, built a fire, and made burritos. We soaked in an overcrowded hot spring filled with teenagers. The water was either freezing cold or burning hot. We shared experiences and stories of womanhood and motherhood alike. I hiked back out, very late at night, with my carpool buddy. It was dark and quiet and peaceful. It was glorious and fed my soul, leaving me desperate for more.
Now, nearly one year later, I have to say there are many areas of my life that have blossomed due to the move. However, finding this group is a huge piece of it all for me. I have found some amazing adventure partners who are also moms.
They get that sometimes you just have to bring your toddler to the crag. They get that it’s totally natural to be about 30 minutes late. They get me, my passions, and my need for adventure. I’ve been introduced to the freedom and grandeur of trail running with some of these women. I ran a distance I didn’t think was possible, and had doors in my mind and heart opened to new possibilities. I signed up to ski to a remote yurt and have a wild ladies sleepover later this winter. I don’t ski– I’m going to need to learn. God bless these women for pushing me and encouraging me.
It’s so much more than a mom’s group. It’s also so much more than badass women doing badass shit together. There’s something that feels deeper. It’s like most of us have been braving this new world of being an outdoorswoman and a mom all alone. It’s not natural. It’s hard. It’s easy to give up and say it’s too difficult; that makes it a constant battle– but it shouldn’t be!
When we come together, it’s magical. It truly is a sisterhood. There are women who will, in fact, find that they are kindred spirits among us.
Adventure Mamas is a group of women who, in my experience, are bold, daring, courageous, patient, kind, nurturing and supportive. This is unlike anything else.
This is my tribe. I am home.