Adventurer Amanda Crocker joins us on Close-Up Culture to talk about her approach to life, falling in love with the outdoors, her adorable dog, and much more.
Hello Amanda, welcome to Close-Up Culture. What are your earliest memories of falling in love with the outdoors?
Hi James! Thanks so much for having me. I grew up in a very outdoorsy town in Oregon, so I was constantly around the mountains and lakes as a child. My earliest memories of falling in love with the outdoors are probably weekend day trips at a local lake. My family would grab all the water floaties, food, blankets, chairs– and just spend all day out at the lake. It was always the best time.
You work in healthcare during the week and then dedicate weekends to adventuring. How do you find balance between the two?
The honest answer: I just do what I can! Balance is actually one thing I am actively working on doing better with this year. When the weather is nice and allows, I will work Friday until 5pm, go home, pack up, and drive 6+ hours to play up in the mountains of Washington, hot springs of Idaho, waterfalls of California (or travel to whatever destination I’m feeling for the weekend). Sometimes this means getting to my destination around midnight, sleeping only a few hours, and then getting up for sunrise! It’s definitely exhausting – but to me it is SO worth it! I hope in the future I am able to have a little more time for adventuring and travel, but for now this is how I make it work and get to see the places I want to see! My day off in the clinic has changed as of this year though, so this means I now have 3-day-weekends. This will help with balancing work and sending it on my adventures!
How would you describe your approach to life?
I think my approach to life is: “if you look for the gold in something, surely you will find it”. All kinds of things are thrown our way in life. I try to look for the light in things, even if something is not all rainbows and butterflies. Try to focus on the good. The optimistic. The encouraging.
It’s not always easy, but I think the more you focus on the good – the more good enters, comes, and stays around.
I also just want to love people well, and have them understand they are seen. I want the people in my life to find their wins and live their best life.
What is your coolest travel experience?
This is such a hard question because I love all of my travel experiences and have had so many cool moments along the way. If I had to choose, I would probably say my trip to Thailand right after I graduated college. It was my first big international trip with my best friend. The culture, the people, the food, the sights were all so cool to me. We trekked up in Northern Thailand to stay in a village there. Slept on cots with bug nets hung and tucked under them. Rinsed off in the river with a bamboo-spout. Played local games in the evening. Stared at the stars–which I swear have never been so bright. It was all just such a cool experience and definitely the moment I FULLY caught the travel bug. The world is incredible and I just can’t wait to see and experience so much more of it!
And the worst? Maybe one that didn’t entirely go to plan…
Knock on wood– I haven’t really had any tragic travel experiences. Sure not everything goes as planned, but traveling is 100% my happy place, so it’s another one of those “find the light in the situation” kind of moments when something doesn’t go as planned. Laugh, reroute, and carry on.
I’ve gotten sick on an international trip (don’t drink the water in some places!), so that was less than ideal.
And then I’ve definitely got lost a time or two. However – those are memories to laugh about later. I ended up feeling better soon enough and we found our way eventually!
When do you feel most at peace?
This one’s simple. I feel most at peace staring at the mountains during sunset (or sunrise). A cloud inversion would make it extra peaceful. I will forever be in love with mountains and when the sky turns pretty colors. It makes me feel so calm, happy, and at peace.
You have the most adorable dog. She reminds me so much of a rescue dog my family used to have. Does Roo ever join you on adventures?
Thank you so much! Roo is one of my most favorite topics, so thank you for asking about her! Aw I’m happy she reminds you of a family rescue dog. If you had a sighthound – you know, they are such lovers!
Roo most certainly joins me on adventures! Pretty much any adventure that she can join on and is dog-friendly, she is with me! She LOVES to be outside and do all the things: hiking, kayaking, camping, playing in the snow, running on the beach– all of it! So if she’s allowed and it makes sense in plans, she’s coming. She also loves meeting all the new people and other doggies.
Even more so in the work from home era, many people finish work and are glued to the sofa for the rest of the weekend. What encouragement would you give for people to get out there and explore the outdoors?
Well first off, you have to want to get up and go! I personally think everyone should though!! Getting outside in nature is so so good for both your physical and mental health. But if someone wants to explore the outdoors more and finds themselves glued to the sofa instead – I do think the top two things that hold them back are: feeling it’s expensive to travel or not having someone to go with.
There are a lot of ways to make traveling reasonable, from splitting costs with people, sleeping in the car, making your own food, etc. If you don’t have a partner to travel with, that also doesn’t mean you can’t go! I’m often traveling with friends and family. Sometimes I force my family to come with me (ha ha! Okay they secretly enjoy it). Most of the friends I traveled with the past year were people I met off of social media too! Reach out to people you feel you would align well with, and make some plans! There are also lots of travel groups. I went to a group meet-up near my hometown at the start of last year and that was how I met some of my now close friends!
What are your hopes and ambitions for the future? Maybe a place your dying to go to…
I would love to figure out a way to be a little more flexible in my schedule so that I can travel more in the future. I’m not entirely sure what that looks like at this time. Balancing work and my passion for adventure is, like I said, something that I am truly working on figuring out more for this year.
I also want to continue to help people in whatever way that I can! In the healthcare field, through social media, however it makes sense in my life. That is one of my biggest passions. I just want to help spread as much light, positivity, and goodness as I can. Inspire and encourage people to live their best life, that they are so capable, that they are seen. Those things!
As far as a place I am dying to go to… can I say everywhere?
Okay, in the States: I am dying to get to Montana for some hiking in the summer! I would also really love to make it back to Hawaii. The last time I was in Hawaii was when I was a little girl and I hardly remember it.
Outside of the states: I am dying to go to New Zealand, Iceland, Canada, Indonesia, Greece, and Croatia.
Sorry I can’t narrow things down more! It’s tough!
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