My second inspirational woman is one who used adventure in the face of adversity. I’m so honored that she would be willing to share a story so raw and personal with me and my blog. I find her willingness to use adventure to heal inspiring. I also love how she’s willing to reexamine her life and restructure it to what works for her.

So I ask all of my interviewees to pat themselves on the back (or I’ll do it for them).  Andrea has some serious career and personal accolades but it’s her passion for the outdoors and adventure that really make me excited to share her story:

 

The stunningly beautiful Andrea Dodd offers her story about family, marriage, surviving and thriving.

The stunningly beautiful Andrea Dodd offers her story about family, marriage, surviving and thriving.

Jami – “What are your recent accolades that you’re proud of?”

Andrea –  “Professionally, my recent accomplishments include completing the UBC Award of Achievement in Social Media and realizing a dream to pursue consulting work that’s more accommodating to my lifestyle.

Physically, my recent accomplishments would be running the BMO half marathon two years in a row and allowing myself explore my adventurous side by crossing skydiving and bungee jumping off my bucket list.

Personally, there’s no trophy or certificate to commemorate what I’m most proud of. I made a recent commitment to get outdoors, to invest in my well-being and re-connect with nature. My personal growth has accelerated as part of this journey.”

 

 

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. Always"

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. Always”

Jami – “The tough stuff… tell us your story… what did you learn? What would you say to others in the same situation? What about others with friends or family who are going through it? Do you have any regrets? Wishes?”

Andrea – “The last few years have been a struggle. My husband and I have fertility issues, and we desperately want to have a family. It’s been an ongoing battle since 2009 that has nearly broken our marriage and our spirits. After years of moving mountains, we finally conceived last spring – I was on cloud 9! Unfortunately though, our miracle turned into a nightmare at 21 weeks when we lost our baby to Down Syndrome. I delivered our son, Evan last October. The days following have been the darkest of my life.

There’s a quote that goes “It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars”, and I truly believe this. The easy route in our situation would have been to let the sadness overcome us, to take control of our life, and for several months after, it did. Eventually the pieces of our broken hearts started to mold back together and it didn’t take long to appreciate how our angel baby had actually enriched our lives.

Since losing Evan, I’m more self-aware, compassionate and grateful. I’ve learned how to put myself first. My work and career no longer define me. I make time for nurturing my soul, and healing my heart. My husband and I have committed to healing through nature and simpler living. It took losing my son to learn to all of these things about myself, about life.”

 

 

Andrea Dodd gets real and shares her story about how Adventure and a little Angel changed her life.

Andrea Dodd gets real and shares her story about how Adventure and a little Angel changed her life.

 

Jami – “After the loss of Evan you quit your job and took on some big adventures… one being a trip to Patagonia? Tell me more about that trip? Why was it special? How did it help you heel? What was the biggest challenge of that trip?”

Andrea – “My husband and I travelled to Argentina and Chile for three weeks over the holidays. Trekking through Patagonia was our trip highlight. I’ve only done it once, but I’d go back in a heartbeat if it weren’t halfway across the world. We encountered granite peaks, lakes, meadows, waterfalls and glaciers – all in a day. One minute I’d be putting on sunscreen and the next minute I’d be putting on my waterproof pants. The wildlife was incredible too – flamingos, guanacos, condors, fox, nandus. We’ll definitely take our future family back to explore more of Chile someday.”

 

Checking out Patagonia, lakes and tshirts and sunshine (For now)

Checking out Patagonia, lakes and tshirts and sunshine (For now)

 

Jami – “Who inspires you? Why?”

Andrea – “My husband. He’s had more than his fair share of heartache in life and because of those experiences, he’s the most grounded person I know. It’s him that has introduced me to the healing effects of nature. He grew up as a Boy Scout with a deep connection to the outdoors.”

 

Andrea's husband inspires her and keeps her going.

Andrea’s husband inspires her and keeps her going.

What a beautiful bride! Had to share this amazing photo.

What a beautiful bride! Had to share this amazing photo.

 

Jami – Can you finish this sentence, “ I think it’s important for children to connect with nature because…”

Andrea, “… they need to learn to love the earth before they can save it. Nowadays, life is so structured and complicated. The outdoors is a place to stimulate their imaginations and for their curiosity to roam free.”

 

Jami, “Can you tell us about a time that you were scared?”

Andrea, “My girlfriend and I were pickpocketed in Panama a few years ago. They took my SLR camera, our ID, credit cards, cash and worst of all, our passports. In the middle of a dark street and with the help of some very generous new friends, we managed to negotiate, in Spanish, with a shady guy with gold plated teeth on a bicycle to get a few of our items back in exchange for $500 cash. (Unfortunately, that didn’t include my friend’s passport and the rest of the trip was ruined trying to get a new one with the Canadian Embassy.) It was one of the scariest situations I’ve ever been in but now, I can’t tell the story without laughing.”

 

Jami – Another sentence to finish, “One song that always makes you get up and dance…”

Andrea – “‘I Remember’ by Kaskade will always be a favourite.”

 

Jami, “What is your favorite solo adventure”

Andrea – “It’s nothing really that adventurous, but my favourite solo activity is to walk around Buntzen Lake. It’s an easy trail, about two hours, and it’s beautiful in all four seasons. There’s no better way to clear my head and shake off stress. Lucky for me, it’s only a ten-minute drive from where I live.”

Jami – Andrea and Hayley (Our first inspirational story) both have the same favorite solo adventure. I wonder if they ever see each other on the trails! Maybe I should connect them and they can be running buddies!

 

Jami “What is your favorite inspirational quote?”

Andrea – “Live the life you have always imagined”. It’s so simple!

 

Jami – “What do you have planned for 2015?”

Andrea – “2015 has the potential to be a very exciting year. Now that I’ve wrapped my head around social media consulting, I’ll be working towards a more structured business model with my soon-to-be partner. My husband and I are on the verge of making a big move that we’ve been dreaming about for awhile – somewhere we can escape the rat race, reduce our cost of living, grow a garden and spend more time outdoors. Over and above all that, we won’t give up on our dream of having a family.”

 

Jami – Looks like you’re taking your inspirational quote quite literally and transforming your life into something you always dreamed of. Congratulations. I think too often the pressure of life and the routine of every day sometimes leave our dreams on the back burner. I love seeing people take the bull by the horns and make a life that they are inspired by.

 

Andrea checking out Buenos Aires!

Andrea checking out Buenos Aires!

Jami – “Official Business – Girl Guide Cookie Talk –  Do you like the chocolate or vanilla ones best?”

Andrea – “Vanilla! But my gluten-free diet has stopped me from indulging for the past few years. I’ll never forget how tasty they are though.”

I can’t thank Andrea enough for being willing to share her story. Not too many people would allow themselves to be vulnerable and put themselves out there. I hope you find her tory inspiring and take a few lessons that Andrea has shared with us.