Call of the [Wild] Woman
Meet Victoria Richards. Designer, buyer, adventure-seeker, feminist, all-around cool-ass chick. Ever since the early days of Chiix & Co., Vicky has been a huge supporter of the collective. Sometime last year, she was telling me about this amazing trip that I could only dream of myself taking, and I asked her to write a mini journal about it. Enter life, working three jobs, getting a puppy, dealing with said puppy's sicknesses, more classic life road blocks, and we never got around to sharing it with you all. In efforts to stay true to my promises to myself (and you all) about reinvigorating our blog as a platform for any and all identifying women to use to write about whatever they want, I'm sharing her adventure, only a year later ;)
For my 25th birthday, I wanted to do something big. My first thought was a trip to Thailand or South America. Then, as I looked for more ideas, it hit me; my backyard was full of beautiful places that were on my list to explore. I grew up in Massachusetts, went to college in Vermont, and then made the jump to Utah three years ago. I made a promise to myself that I would see as much of the West as I possibly could in the finite amount time that I lived here. So why not take advantage of what I could drive to? Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Seattle, and Portland all made for a perfect loop around the West.
There is no better way to force yourself out of your comfort zone, learn new things about yourself and grow as a person than to travel solo.
Originally I planned this as a solo trip. I believe it’s not only important to take time for yourself in day-to-day life but to also travel alone. There is no better way to force yourself out of your comfort zone, learn new things about yourself and grow as a person than to travel solo. Whether it be a day, a weekend, a week, or a month, I would encourage anyone and everyone to take a solo trip.
However, when the oldest of my three brothers, Cameron, asked to come along, I couldn’t say no. Family is the most important thing to me and I don’t get to see them as often as I'd like. So, although I planned this as a solo trip, there was no way I was going to say no to sharing this amazing experience with my brother (who is also one of my best friends).
I started planning in March of 2017. Over eleven days we would hit Glacier, Banff, Seattle, and Portland, making a few stops in Idaho and British Columbia to break up some of the drive. The trip evolved over the months and plans changed. We would spend more time in some places and then the rest of my family would meet us in Seattle on my birthday. Cameron would fly into Salt Lake, we would drive up to Glacier National Park, Montana, then to Banff National Park, Canada, drive through Kamloops on our way to Seattle and then head back to Salt Lake through central Idaho. In the end, we decided to skip Portland to spend more time with our parents and two other brothers in Seattle.
The trip was the trip of a lifetime. I was so happy to have my brother there to share the experience. It’s something we will talk about for the rest of our lives. It’s hard to put into words the beauty of everything we saw. We hit two national parks in the States and five in Canada, made a spontaneous stop at a wolf conservatory, hiked to the most beautiful views, met some incredible people, laughed until tears poured down our faces and water came out our noses, introduced each other to new bands, sang along to classics from when we were growing up, saw orange sunrises, purple sunsets, blue lakes, had deep talks about life, sat quietly, read books, drew what we saw, ate the best food, played games and just enjoyed time as a family.
Of course, not everything went according to plan. I woke up on my birthday to find that my car had been broken into. The back window was smashed and all my camping gear and clothes were gone, including my GoPro and tent. However, I realize those things are just that – things. They can be replaced. The memories of the trip are what will stick with me for the rest of my life. Besides, a broken window on a twelve-hour drive just means you have to sing louder.
"I realized that I wanted to live an even grander life.
A grander life in the sense of getting more out of my days, spending my money on experiences instead of things..."
This trip taught me a lot about myself. I learned I am nowhere ready to leave the West coast as there is too much to explore. Earlier in the year I had been considering a move home, I felt as if I had seen a lot of the west and was ready to move back east, however I saw just how much more I needed to explore. When I got back to Utah, I looked around my apartment and realized I had so many ‘things’ that were so unnecessary. It’s amazing what living out of your car for eleven days teaches you about what you actually need in life. Most importantly I realized that I wanted to live an even grander life. A grander life in the sense of getting more out of my days, spending my money on experiences instead of things, more time with family and friends and more time pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve always had a love for life, but sometimes I think it’s normal to get in a rut and become complacent. This trip reintroduced that passion into me. So here’s to 25! It started it off with a bang and I don’t plan on the rest of the year or years to come being any different.
Victoria Richards is as avid as an adventure seeker as she is a trendspotter. Between her job in the fashion industry as a buyer and display designer to her weekends filled of searching for the tallest peak of the last patch of snow to summer ski, she's a boss babe who knows how to work hard and play harder. You can follow along on her outdoor adventures on her Instagram here, or follow her design and fashion account here.
Victoria is wearing our Keep Parks Wild ringer tee in this picture. One of our first designs, proceeds of each shirt sale go to the National Park Foundation. You can shop it here.