DNK Presents just launched the first Adventure Ambassador Program for people like you who are interested in building a community for more women, or gender neutral individuals to get outside and be empowered by the great outdoors. There is a vast gender gap of men vs. women but fortunately that gap is decreasing because of more organizations that are providing a safe space for women to feel comfortable and confidence outside. Ambassadors will build the outdoor community in their area by leading free open to the public hikes, bike rides, rock climbing, paddling, yoga or meditation experiences, and sharing events, and posts via social media. If you’re interested in building the outdoor movement in your area please contact us!
Welcome to the DNK Presents Ambassador Team Lauren Fields! Read on to learn about Lauren!
Who are you?
What is your name, where do you live. What do you do for a living?
My name is Lauren Fields and I live in northeast Indy. More specifically, it’s a plot of woods along Mud Creek between Castleton, Geist, and Fishers.
I work as a Content Marketer and do some light graphic design and photography. And I get to do it all from home, in the woods! I specifically work in the food industry, so most of my writing and photography are for recipes and cooking tips. I’m also freelancing to expand the types of projects I get to work on.
How has the outdoors impacted your life? Why do you believe it can do the same for others?
I’m my happiest self when I’m outside. Even more if I’ve just done something that makes me feel badass. I like to set adventure goals each year to keep adding to my experiences and expand what I’m comfortable with.
Being outside is like therapy for me. The fresh air helps me remember to breathe more deeply. It’s a reminder that I’m part of something bigger than myself, which helps pull me out of my head and evaluate my concerns more clearly. Being outside helps me remember that it’s just as important as an adult to allow freedom to play and daydream. I think a lot of my anxiety and stress comes at times that I’ve neglected my need to step away from to-do lists and just explore.
I think it’s common to feel overwhelmed with what is demanded of us every day. To spend time outside, especially with others, is a way of maintaining sense of self and direction among everything that’s going on.
Could you share a story about the outdoors that has taught you something about yourself?
I’ve always wanted to do a solo backpacking trip, which I finally did this summer. I went to a place I’m familiar with – Red River Gorge – to ease my nerves of going alone. I had a terrible run-in with a forest officer on Courthouse Rock who saw my gear and thought I was camping there. I was only taking in the view before continuing on the trail to set up camp in the woods, at a legal camping spot. His verbal aggression and the fact that he wrote me a warning for something I wasn’t even doing really just had me frazzled. My solo backpacking was off to a terrible start. But I was encouraged by some friendly hikers who I made quick friends with, and their understanding helped me pull myself together.
By the time I was setting up camp it started raining. I was planning on trying my new wood burning stove, but I didn’t have any kind of fire starter and all the wood was wet. I was so hungry and my clothes were all wet, and all I wanted to do was give up and go to Miguel’s for some pizza. My irrational nighttime fears were setting in, and since I was having no luck with the fire, I walked back towards the trail to see what was making the noises I was hearing. I found some camp neighbors who were starting a fire, and when I asked what their secret was, they generously shared their fire starter with me. So I was able to cook my minute rice with shiitake mushrooms and had a warm meal after all.
The next morning I woke up to the sound of distant thunder around 5 am. I was planning to be back on the trail by 7 to beat the storm (which I was expecting thanks to the weather app), but it sounded like it was coming much sooner than expected. I didn’t like the thought of waiting it out in my tent, and I also didn’t like the though of it pouring down before I finished packing up. So I packed up camp faster and sloppier than ever. It was still dark and I was having a hard time finding my way back to the trail, but when I finally did, it felt like a major victory. But since it was still dark I was concerned about spooking a bear. It wasn’t until the sun started to rise over the gorge and the clouds had moved onward that I was able to shift my thoughts from fear of the unknown and instead to the excitement of starting a day this way.
I learned that my inner voice can be the most irrational when I feel unprepared. I may be quick to feel defeated, but to accept defeat means I would be missing out on the whole experience. Each moment where I felt defeated was followed by something up-lifting. I remember this story when I’m feeling defeated because it reminds me to shift my perspective and look for the encouragement.
What is your first significant memory of the outdoors or nature in some way?
I grew up camping with my family and our friends, 5 families total. I remember being young and playing in massive puddles on multiple camping trips. I didn’t recognize this importance until recently, but to me now, this represents not giving up on the adventure. Our parents could’ve probably scheduled a rain check each of those times. But maybe it’s more realistic to accept that conditions will only rarely be “perfect” and then we’ll make the most of it.
Why do you feel it is important in today’s society to get outdoors and disconnect from technology?
We live in a world where there is always something demanding our attention. And if we’re not deliberate about what receives our attention, we can easily be robbed of our time. I think this is why it’s so important to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. Because nothing is demanded of us outside.
If we open our attention to the way the moss grows on the rocks and the trees, or the way the birds are flying overhead – we are allowing ourselves to take part in the physical world around us.
What is your favorite outdoor gear?
I mainly kayak, backpack, and I’m new with climbing. Buying specific gear for all 3 activities would cost more than I can spend. So my favorite gear is anything versatile that I can apply to different activities.
For instance, I use my backpacking pack to carry all of my climb gear to the crag. I really like the nice rope bags that are minimal and specific to climbing gear, but my pack is more than enough.
Also though, for one specific splurge, I really love Ice Mule coolers. I have the roll-top 15 Liter which floats behind my kayak or is carried by my significant other when we climb or hike (while I’m carrying the pack). Because I love to pack fresh food, and in the summer, a good trail cooler is where it’s at!
Does unisex or women’s specific gear make a difference for you?
I’m not sure if I have a preference. I think it depends on the item and availability. When I was trying on packs, I only tried on the ones built for women. If none of those had felt right, I would’ve tried a unisex pack. But with my sleeping bags, I bought unisex.
Why do you feels it’s important to get more women specifically outdoors?
I think it’s important for women to be among women. So we can help lift each other up and share our unique experiences together. Some of the burdens that we carry as women feel lighter when they are understood with no explanation. I mean, we have to worry about having enough menstrual products while climbing a mountain! If we have a group of women together, chances are one of us has an extra tampon. That alone is a benefit of getting more women together.
But deeper than that, I think there’s a certain level of empowerment when women are taking on something that has been male dominated for so long. It’s our way of saying We’re Here Too.
Learn more about the Red River Gorge and things to do here: http://www.redrivergorge.com/
We are so excited to have Lauren as a DNK Presents Adventure Ambassador, we hope to see you on an adventure this year!