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We:30 Share & Tell: Monique brings her backpacking pack

Every Wednesday at 3:30 we get together to celebrate an employee who exemplifies our core values to inspire, share, evolve, exceed and be 100% jerk-free. Our Share and Tell edition invites an employee to share something that inspires them and has a unique story. This week Monique shared her backpacking pack.
For today’s Share and Tell, I have brought in my backpacking pack along with some of the gear we use. 

Over the last few years, my love for the outdoors, camping, and hiking has grown immensely. As I spend more and more time in front of computer screens and being caught up in the busy and noisy rituals of everyday life, hiking has become a daily and necessary part of my life. It is a way to stay active and a way to clear my head at the end of the day. It hasn’t always been this way though.

A few years ago, my husband and I began hiking on whim. Although we had both gone camping before and always liked being outdoors, we were pretty new to hiking and didn’t know what to expect. We went on several hikes that first year and to be completely honest, I hated it. Completely unprepared and inexperienced, we were constantly running out of food and water, getting caught in the rain, hiking distances we had no business hiking and getting so sore we limped around for days. Even so, every time we made it to the top of a peak or summit, we were compelled to keep walking. And as we continued to hike, we made fewer mistakes and learned what did and didn’t work for us- both physically and emotionally. Eventually our hiking adventures turned into overnight weekend adventures and today I am a better person because of that. 

Over the years I have realized that what I thought was my best, wasn’t and that believing in myself was half the battle. I have gone distances I never thought I could go and pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could. This July, I will go the farthest I have ever gone and push myself harder than ever before backpacking through the Sierra Nevada on the John Muir trail. It will take my husband and I three weeks to finish for a total of 220 miles. To put it into perspective, it would be like hiking from San Diego to Santa Barbara carrying about 30-40 pounds on your back—your food and water, your clothes, and your home. And while I am so excited to do this, I am also completely terrified—mostly because of the bears!  



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