#DefendersofFun is a look into the adventurous lives of outdoor advocates who are working to better the outdoor community and protect the wild places we have fun in. Their story, their own words. Share your outdoor story on Instagram @DefendersofFun #DefendersofFun.
My name is Leslie and I’m a California native, Hawaii transplant, and current Pacific Northwest dweller. I work at a digital marketing agency in downtown Seattle. My husband’s family and I recently started a coffee roasting company, Lookout Coffee Roasters, in Leavenworth, too. A lot of desk and computer time during the week usually has me bolting for the mountains on the weekend and then sharing my experience and findings on my blog, Forever Stoked.
My connection with nature really deepened when I moved to Oahu, Hawaii, to play volleyball and attend college—I ended up staying for seven years. Living on an island, nature was everywhere I turned. The water, the mountain ranges, the constant sunshine and the cool trade winds were an everyday experience. Five years into living in Hawaii I met my future husband hiking, who was visiting from Seattle. Friendship blossomed into dating and I eventually moved to Washington because 1) long distance sucks and 2) I was really excited about it!
Since moving out to the Northwest, I’ve been exposed to a lot of outdoor activities. In Hawaii I loved surfing, swimming and diving, which are all very conducive to being surrounded by water. In Washington, I’ve checked off rock climbing, road biking, backpacking and trail running. I don’t necessarily have one “thing,” but am open and easily persuaded to try anything that gets my heart rate up and plants me among the trees or by the water.
“Trying out new sports introduced me to the world of REI. We have a closet dedicated to it.”
Trying out new sports has introduced me to the world of REI and never-ending gear. We have a closet dedicated to it. Thankfully, my hubby is a seasoned mountain man and had a lot for me to use. No joke, for our first few backcountry trips, I used a hand-me-down men’s backpack. It was tragically stolen in a recent trip in South America, so I just picked up a women’s backpack that I’m excited to test out.
A few of my favorite items? Practically anything from Lululemon, Keen’s hiking boots and my Patagonia down hoody. I also never leave for a camping trip without my Canon Camera, and a coffee kit complete with an aeropress and grinder so I can make fresh coffee on the trail. The preferred way of getting to that trail? Our 1977 VW bus Buttercup. Our current daydream is to take her cross country!
To me, getting outside is a return to simplicity, self and home. I love to be somewhere without cell service, to climb a peak that literally takes my breath away, and do things that push my boundaries and makes me think. I think T.E. Lawrence captured nature well when he said, “Nature contains that spirit and power which we can witness but not weigh, inwardly conceive but not comprehend, love but not limit, imagine, but neither define nor describe.”