Meet first term Wild Keeper, Angela! She travels full time across the U.S. in her converted van and is so excited to give back to nature along the way.
Angela shared that her family is what got her into the outdoors from an early age. "I was born in bustling Lima, Peru. During Summer vacations, I would travel with my family to the mountains where my dad was born, in a little town called, Matucana. While all the teenagers were hanging out together, my cousin and I (the tweens no one wanted to hang with) would grab snacks and head into the nearby hills to see the cattle, watch the river, cross the train tracks (back then it looked so long -- they aren’t) and all-around play until we were hungry. Since childhood, the outdoors has had a pull on me. I could go on! Ha!," she reflects. Angela also shared that her favorite way to get outside is by going hiking. "I could never get tired of going on a hike, a short hike, or a long hike. As long as I am walking admiring nature," she gushes.
When we asked Angela if she's faced any challenges in regards to the outdoor industry or space she thought about it and said, "I think that because I got to experience the outdoors at a young age, I’ve always felt that nature is for anyone who wants to be part of it, which is probably a little naive of me because underrepresented people have real struggles.
There have been times when I am the only woman, and tbh, I don’t give a crap, and I don’t think twice about it. I’ve heard things like “You’re like a tomboy” (and other variations) or, “Angela had to come”, I never let it bother me because I am who I am, and I will do what makes me happy. The only place where I’ve felt intimidated in was at REI! Especially the first few times I went to it, it was like going to a gym for the first time!"
She expressed that one her most pivotal experiences that has deepened her relationship with nature has been a 9-mile hike in Olympic National Park. "It was a forest and coastal hike. What I didn't expect was how much harder the coastal beach part of the hike would be. Harder because, sure, walking on sand is hard, but also because when most people think of beaches, they think of beautiful sandy beaches, crisp ocean breezes, etc. This was the opposite. Soft sand, boulders, fallen trees, dead seaweed with thousands of tiny flies, hot, humid, smelly, and a rising tide. At one point, I was ready to turn around, but then I thought, this IS NATURE; this is how it's supposed to be - rugged, wild, and full of life, even if it looks/is dead. We are just visitors to these places, a passing glimpse doesn't tell the whole story of a landscape, and we shouldn't judge it because it's habitat to so many animals. It was eye-opening; not everything has to look "pretty" to be worthy of admiration."
Learn more about Angela and her Wild Keeping below!
Keep Nature Wild: If you had to choose between mountains, desert, or the forest, what would you choose?
KNW: What is your favorite adventure snack?
A: Larabar cashew cookie! or grapes
KNW: What is one thing you'd love to bring more awareness to in the outdoor space?
A: Two things! One is campground cleanliness - I still consider this an outdoor space. Two is trailhead cleanliness, including parking lots, trailhead bathrooms, and outhouses. I spend a lot of time parked, so I've witnessed how some people can be careless towards community spaces.
KNW: What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?
A: So far, the community has been very welcoming and friendly. Even on Instagram, I get "hellos" from Wild Keepers, and it’s heart-warming. However, all of us being united to spread the word about Keeping Nature Wild gets me the most excited!
KNW: What has picking up trash outdoors done for you?
A: This might sound selfish, but it makes me feel like a good person. Ha! I don't do it to call attention to myself, but when people see me picking up trash, they respond positively to it, and I hope that by seeing me, they start making their own positive change.
KNW: Roughly how many pounds do you think you've picked up since you became a Wild Keeper?
A: I can't be exact, I've never weighed the trash. This week (I just started being a Wild Keeper for the Fall) probably 1-2 lbs just by walking on the beach
KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)
A: Keep traveling, continue exploring, and helping clean the spaces I visit across the USA