Thoughts on Adventure + a $100 Sierra Trading Post Giveaway!

The other morning, I woke up to a rather long message from one of my oldest friends in Florida, Josh. I read it, felt really flattered, then stepped back and realized that he wasn’t talking about me, he was talking about so many other adventurers I know. He was talking about me, and he was talking about you too. With his permission, I thought I’d share what he said:

Niko and I enjoying the view from the top of a climb appropriated called "It's a Wonderful Life"Here are my philosophical thoughts for the night:

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ That’s pretty much a widely accepted universal truth.

But it got me thinking. I started thinking about what DOES kill you. And when you really break it down, the only thing certain to kill you… is life. Statistically speaking, the more time you spend alive, the closer you are to death.

Then it hit me. The way to really get stronger, the way to beat death, would be to challenge it. Go through life looking for a test. Pass it or fail it, it doesn’t matter – all you have to do is get through it.

So, then I think of you. All the stereotypes you’ve broken; All the doubt you’ve overcome. You’re strong because you’ve had your heart broken. You’re strong because you’ve beaten the odds. You’re strong because you chose to explore, to discover, to go on an adventure. It wasn’t a safe choice… In fact it was the opposite.

It was dangerous. It was a risk. And risks are what separate you from the weak.

So please just remember this: every mile that you travel away from home; every night you spend in van or a tent; every strain in your fingers as they grasp the top of whatever boulder, crag, or mountain that you just climbed – that is what makes you stronger.

You are the strongest person I know. And that’s why I love you.”

Whoa – pretty awesome stuff, right? It’s really great that someone thinks those things about me, but what’s even better is that I instantly associated all those words about strength, taking risks, and adventure with all of YOU. I am constantly surrounded by such strong spirited adventurers – from the climbers I hang out with in southeastern boulder fields and the always-trying-stuff Omniten crew to my fellow #TeamSierra members. You embody everything Josh said. We challenge life on a daily basis, never fearing the consequences – the only thing to be afraid of is a life not lived to the fullest. Keep doing that, keep getting out there, and keep living those words.

To celebrate the spirit of adventure, I’m partnering with Sierra Trading Post to host a $100 giftcard giveaway for one lucky explorer. As you know, I’ve joined the Team Sierra blogging team, writing monthly content for the Sierra Social Hub (like this sweet guide to climbing at Red River Gorge).Team Sierra Crew

How to Enter the $100 Sierra Trading Post Giveaway:

I want you to reflect on that wonderful message about challenging life and being strong and getting out there – and leave a comment on this post telling me how winning a $100 Sierra Trading Post giftcard will help you become the best adventurer you can be. For a bonus entry, tweet about the giveaway (tagging @themorningfresh and @Sierratp) or share this giveaway on your Facebook – then leave a second comment so I know you did that!

The winner will be chosen on November 27th – so check back on the blog for the announcement.

Can’t wait to order a new pair of climbing shoes or a cozy winter sleeping bag? Sierra Trading Post is offering my readers a special 30% discount from today until November 26th by clicking here to shop for outdoor gear, or using the code SHUBTS0413 when checking out.

Now get out there and explore, y’all!

UPDATE: And the winner is: Melissa Martin!

I was torn between three potential winners, one who wanted to use the gift card for his children, one who vowed to spend the money on dog gear, and one who was inspired by a climbing trip to get outdoors more – so I randomized the number using, and Melissa was chosen as the winner! Melissa, send me an e-mail at katieboue(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize!

Didn’t win this giveaway? No worries, I’ll have another giveaway coming up soon – stay tuned!

Follow, like, share, spread the love!

48 thoughts on “Thoughts on Adventure + a $100 Sierra Trading Post Giveaway!

  1. Sarah Z says:

    Wow. Giveaway or no giveaway, I’d have to respond. I’ve been really struggling with an uphill climb on some personal adventures lately. Just the run of the mill, living a normal life type adventures, but they’ve been kicking my butt all the same. This post really hit home in an incredibly positive way. It’s such a good reminder, that just getting out there and actually *doing* something different is half the battle. Success or failure, that’s just icing on the cake of a lesson learned. Thank you and tell Josh, that a random stranger on the internet thanks him too. I needed this.

    As for $100 at STP… I’d update my winter gear, so I could face more adventures all year-round. I get cabin-fever in the winter and feel like I’m not challenging myself enough, but I’m simply being responsible about the limitations of the gear I’ve got.

    • Katie Boué says:

      Oh man, I love everything about this comment! I’m glad it all connected with you as deeply as I connected with me. Whether you’re on the trail or trudging through daily life, it’s always an adventure. Good luck with the giveaway!

    • Josh says:

      @Sarah Z,

      Thank you for those kind words, it means a lot. I can’t tell you how happy I am that something I said actually affected someone, and in a positive way nonetheless. I really do stand by my thoughts on life and adventure in general. I too am stuck on a personal adventure which seems to be much the uphill climb myself. How fulfilled I thought my “dream job” would make me feel, yet I find myself constantly lusting for some falling rust-colored leaves, or a deep breath of cool mountain air.

      I am eternally jealous of those who are out there living their dreams, adventuring outdoors or in; and to know that adventure-blogs like Katie’s and the posts/comments by users exist and capture the real moment adventure in all of us… For that I will always be grateful.

      Keep living the dream, I say. Yours and mine.

      And on a personal note, a quote I saw the other day and wrote down really affected me, so I figure if share that as well:

      “To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”

      • Sarah Z says:


        You’re so very welcome and thank you again! I can really identify with that “dream job” conundrum. I spent two years as a public high school teacher. I loved it. I really did. But it was tearing me apart (for all the reasons that teachers always talk about). I had to walk away and now I’m two years further into trying to find a new purpose to throw my heart into. Voluntarily taking a hard look at what you’ve chosen to do with your time on this earth is one of the hardest things anyone can do. Accepting the truth you walk away with afterwards, can be even harder.

        From one personal adventurer to another: Thanks and know that there are people out here in the ether rooting for you too (I feel a little presumptuous saying that, since I don’t really know you or your situation, but hey, it’s true!) Thanks for the great perspective and don’t forget to always keep some back for yourself!

        Cheers and best wishes!

  2. John says:

    I approach adventure as a way to find my limits. Can I hike five miles in an hour? How about 8,000 feet of gain in a day? Each time I succeed I know I’ve grown a little and I can push it a little more. When I “fail” it helps me remain humble and sets a new goal.

    $100 would go toward more gear for my growing kids. Or cigarettes to stunt their growth. Either would work.

  3. landonfaulkner says:

    What an amazing compliment of an email! I don’t know you and honesty just found your blog through this giveaway but I’m stoked I found it.

    My personal motto is that we must all “make adventure.” That motto has changed my life. After graduating college with a degree in psychology and plans to work as a social worker for a year before going to grad school to become a counseling psychologist all of that changed. I wanted to do what I really love and that wasn’t it. After being sidetracked with applying and almost attending law school I realized once again that to be happy I would have to start my own path, make my own adventure. 1 1/2 years after college I’m still a social worker, I’m married and have a 9 month old daughter. I have started. Blog and applied to countless jobs in the outdoor industry. I want to love my career and raise my children in the outdoors. My wife and I get outside with our daughter as often as possible and make adventure wherever we can! My life is a bit crazy and my life plans are nowhere near where I thought they would be, but I’m okay with that.

    All that in mind a $100 STP gift card would sure help out with me being able to purchase a new GORE-TEX shell to keep my dry on my family adventures, as well as my more seriously non-family winter climbs I have planne

    • Katie Boué says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Landon! I love “make adventure” as a personal motto – it’s perfect. It sounds like you’re really finding your path in life, and I wish you the best of luck with everything! The outdoor industry is really fantastic. 🙂

  4. mike bowsher says:

    The $100 gift card would make a nice softshell or hiking shoes gift for my wife! Without her my adventures wouldn’t be as meaningful or memorable, she makes the adventure an adventure! Great post!

  5. Katie @k8tlevy says:

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, but wow, I’m completely blown away by this post, Katie! It’s so true, every second we’re alive is a second closer to…not being alive. It’s so important to make every minute count, whatever that means to each and every one of us. I’m still learning to accept that it’s okay to make what might seem like selfish decisions that are my way of making every moment count. Also, I can’t WAIT to see you in less than two months 🙂

    • Katie Boué says:

      Haha I think being on #TeamSierra might automatically disqualify you anyways. 😉 I can’t take much credit for this post, that message my buddy sent me was so powerful and meaningful – I’m just glad he let me post it on my blog to share with everyone! Can’t wait to see you either lady, this reunion is long overdue.

  6. Hike Maryland (@hike_maryland) says:

    The Sierra Trading Post giftcard might help me become a greater adventure by just being able to acquire new gear. I believe that having new gear means using it. No matter what it is I get something I like to take it out and use it. I am out hiking or camping every weekend that I can and would like use the card towards the costs of a winter sleeping bag. Winter camping usually requires that I borrow a friend’s bag to go out.

  7. mclanek says:

    There is also something very therapeutic and restful about adventure (which in my definition involves being in nature). Whatever I would spend this on, a giftcard would enable me to have a better night’s sleep (sleeping pad), spend quality time with my family with the right equipment, or perhaps take me a little farther (new hiking boots).

  8. Hannah says:

    My mountain summits and many nights in a tent have evolved into the simple quest to get my kids outdoors each and every day. These little daily adventures are very simple, but totally worthwhile as I pass my love of the outdoors on to my kids. $100 gift card to STP would buy me a new pair of winter boots for our winter adventures.

  9. Katie says:

    I need backpacking gear, climbing gear. Everything! Broke grad students and just getting into serious climbing and want to try backpacking next year, but it is HARD To pay for when you are in school :/ So please let me win 🙂

  10. Melissa Martin says:

    I have really related to a lot of your post recently and to some of those commenting on your posts. I worked very hard the past few years because I believed having a good job, a nice house, and a white picket fence is what made people happy. I missed out on a lot of life’s little adventures because I was too busy doing what I thought would bring me happiness. Now that I am about a year out of college and approaching that quarter life crisis, I crave adventure! I think most people still think adventure as a destination, but I have found that adventure is all about sharing new experiences with people. While seeing new places and trying new things is great, it’s the memories you make with the people you share those adventures with that will get you through rough days.

    I recently went on my first outdoor climbing adventure with a great group of people. It was amazing! However, it quickly made me realize how expensive these adventures can be. The only gear I currently own are climbing shoes, a harness, chalk bag, and flashlights. Everything else had to be borrowed from a number of people. It would be nice to invest in some good quality equipment, like a tent or sleeping bag, to make these adventures a little more possible.

    • Katie Boué says:

      Hey Melissa,

      I love that you can make a strong personal connection to all of this, that’s why I write it! 🙂 I think it’s really easy for folks to miss out on life’s little adventures, but the important thing is that you realized it was happening, realized it’s not making you happy, and are now doing things to change it and explore. Keep it up, even the smallest step towards new adventures is a big one. Balancing life, work, and play is an ongoing process, and you’ll find your happy place in no time.

  11. Michelle says:

    Loved this post! Well written :). I would put the $100 towards a 4 season tent as I only have a 3 season one and it is on my bucket list to go winter camping so I am hoping to scratch that off this winter.

  12. sammi says:

    Love to hike and like others proper shoes would help with more adventures. Recently lost 80 plus pounds so living is motivation- moving is living

  13. Ashley says:

    Next summer, I’ll be biking across the country to raise money and awareness of affordable housing efforts. I’ll be joined by a group of 18-28 year olds from all across the country. Our journey will take us from Charleston, SC to Santa Cruz, California, and along the way we’ll stop in hundreds of communities where we’ll meet with local residents, give presentations about housing issues, and build affordable homes with local housing groups. As someone who is a relative beginner in cycling, a Sierra Trading Post gift card could really help me get some great gear!

  14. Ellen B says:

    I would love to have some new hiking shoes – I live in the White Mountains and the National Forest is close by – the shoes I have are not very good – I don’t hike the big mountains – just mostly easy or walking trails

  15. Jaime says:

    I would use a $100 Sierra Trading Post gift card to purchase coats and booties for my two babes (i.e. my dogs). For the longest time I didn’t think it was a good idea to bring them to the crag; they are small (Harold, a shih tzu and Madison, a pug) and I didn’t want them to be cold or uncomfortable. This past summer I started going go Wild Iris every weekend and of course I brought them along. To my surprise, they LOVED* it. They loved the long hikes and sleeping on my backpack, they loved the attention from other climbers and generally I think they just loved getting to come with me. There are only two downsides of bringing them: 1.) Harold’s feet are so sensitive, I have to carry him most of the way, and 2). I usually climb into the evening and no matter what time of year it is, Wyoming evenings are COLD, hence the need for some heave-duty OllyDog coats!
    No matter what, your blog and thirst for adventure and inspiring – thanks for sharing with us!!

    *Madison, however, did not love the first time she watched me sport climb – that girl barked and cried and whined all the way up until I was safely back on the ground.

    • Katie Boué says:

      Haha, I love that you bring your pups outdoors! I’m getting ready to start taking my new pup, Amble, out on adventures with us after she finishes all her shots, and I’ve totally been worrying about her getting too cold out at the crags. Sounds like you are definitely in need of some dog gear, good luck with the giveaway!

  16. Rich Kolb says:

    I don’t know what I’d get with a gift card, maybe a ski helmet, maybe something for the kids.

    As for getting out there? Man, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to do that lately. The joys of growing up and owning a house. If it’s not yard work, it’s a broken faucet, or just general maintenance. I think I’m in the midst of what ends with waking up at 40 and going ‘How the hell did I get this old?’ Either way, I’m aware of the problem and I’m looking to correct it.

  17. 3Up Beth says:

    This. All of this. I read this post back when you first posted it and all I could think of was me and Dead Guy and law enforcement I had to direct to his location. They kept using the words “danger,” “crazy,” “steep,” and “hard” and I just wanted to scream “That’s the point!”

    I’m going to die someday (hopefully a long time from now) but I plan on LIVING until then.

    I’d buy hiking boots with my $100. I need ‘me badly…

  18. Samuel Casten says:

    Hi Katie, Lost my friends wardrobe and could really use this to help replace. Getting really cold down here, and hard to enjoy without the great Medima thermals she got from STP…hope to help her out! Love your site. Thanks! Sam

  19. Kelly Kriefall says:

    Sometimes all you need to get active is a boost of self confidence. An awesome way to achieve this is comfortable, fashionable apparel to get you back to where you need to be. In Minnesota, that simply means a winter coat which allows for movement. So a winter coat it would be.

  20. Lia Keller says:

    I need to reconnect to my pre-child adventurous self. I can’t remember the last time I bought gear for myself. A gift certificate would help me find that part of myself that seems to been lost the last couple of years!

  21. Nick Lanphier says:

    Hey guys, I hope all is well. I love reading your blog and following you on Instagram and Facebook, please keep it up. As for a $100 giveaway from Sierra Trading Post, I have 2 things I would focus on 1) I have a daughter that just turned 5 and she is a little girl version of myself when it comes to adventure, exploring and outdoorsmanship; nothing makes her happier than being at the crag or hiking on a beautiful trail or climbing at our local climbing gym; and nothing makes me happier than spending that time with her and helping that love for nature grow more and more. I would spend the majority of it on gear to help continue encouraging her exploritive, outdoor spirit. Specifically she is in need of some new hiking boots, as she has grown out of her current ones. After that, whatever was left I would put towards gear for part 2 of this, which is a bucket list trip to Patagonia next November. Which I am expecting to be an absolute trip of a lifetime. That’s it guys. Hopefully I will see you around sometime; my friends and I are frequently at Horse Pens, Stone Fort and Rocktown as we live just north of Atlanta.

    • Katie Boué says:

      Thanks for your awesome comment, Nick! I love that you are so active with your daughter, she’s going to grow up with such a wonderful sense of adventure. It’d be wonderful to bump into you at a boulder field around the southeast! I’m actually in FL now, then South Carolina, then North Carolina – but after that I plan on being in the Chattanooga area for a bit! 🙂

  22. Michelle Sierra says:

    I mean “Sierra” is my last name! But besides that winning fact… I’m doing my SIXTH mission trip this upcoming May in Jamaica, offering free PT services to those without access to medical help. As last years trip proved to be both physically and mentally demanding I could use some better hiking gear. Like others have said, “giveaway or no giveaway” Katie you inspire us all to challenge ourselves and be who we want to be. We are all one in nature. Big hug, see you soon girl!

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