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To call Laura Adams a trailblazer is a bit of an understatement. The multi-talented artist and adventurer literally blazes trails, leading expeditions across some of the world’s most extreme landscapes—but she’s also creating paths for women when it comes to leadership. A new study found that women are underrepresented in the adventure travel industry and that there are far fewer female guides, especially in more far-flung destinations. Adams is one of those select few and she shares her skills as mountain guiding mentor with women looking to follow in her footsteps.
To celebrate International Women’s Day we talked to one of Canada’s coolest adventurers about what she’s learned from her incredible travel career.
Laura Adams: At an early age I recognized my greatest passion was exploring wild places, and sharing these experiences with others through teaching and guiding. As a woman, adventure empowers me to be assertive, discerning, and modest. It provides me with endless opportunities to cultivate understanding, humility, and generosity. I’ve developed a deep sense of reverence and awe for the natural world; and along with that, the responsibility to care for it accordingly—which I pursue through my speaking engagements, writing and painting.
Solo travel provides unparalleled opportunities for personal growth, self-resilience and human connection. I first traveled solo in Australasia in my late teens, and then went to climb solo in the Nepal Himalayas shortly after that. Those experiences as a young woman adventurer taught me certitude, mindfulness and compassion. Each year I do a solo trip where free of distractions I am able to develop deeper connections within myself and the people and landscapes around me.
Ernest Shackleton; an inspirational leader who led his men in the Antarctic with steadfast determination, courage and fortitude. Lynn Hill; who has gracefully led the way for both women and men in the international climbing community for decades; while staying true to her core values. Kate Harris; who has captured her travel experiences brilliantly in her Taylor Prize book, Lands of Lost Borders.
My experiences with people and landscapes around the world have heightened my commitment to education and stewardship of the natural environment. The issue of climate change is a critical global issue that currently lacks sufficient policy to enable us to proactively address, adapt and respond. There are great strides being made around the world with tangible solutions, of which I strive to be a part of. How we respond is for each and every one of us to answer.
This industry has provided me with the most wonderful and rewarding opportunities for both professional and personal growth in my life. If you love the wonders of the natural world, and sharing these experiences with people of all walks of life—go for it! Determination, empathy, and a service mindset will get you far.
The West Kootenays of British Columbia—a region of spectacular land and waterscapes, pristine bio-climatic zones, and fascinating history and culture.