Cook Islands

Now that we are getting into the summer holiday season take some travel insight from this delightful explorer – it is a real treat.  Sierra Roberts shares her passion for the great outdoors, her respect for nature and contagious drive to explore.

Who is Sierra? She was born in the 90’s and raised in New Zealand to an adventurous family.  Passionate for the great outdoors from a very young age she joined her parents on their outdoor pursuits at every opportunity with packed weekends camping, skiing, hiking, kayaking, surfing and diving.  On leaving school at 17 Sierra moved to Utah (USA)  – alone – in pursuit of snow. Basing herself in the Wasaatch Mountains for over a year she had saved enough for her first big road trip – off she went to explore America and Canada.

This was the first of her big travels but most definitely not the last.  This awesome adventure had her hooked and determined to find a way to travel and experience the great outdoors.  Sierras main motivation for travel is the adventure and people she meets along the way.  She says <you can’t get bored if everything around you keeps changing and you have to keep adapting! And the many encounters with people along the way change your perspective in so many ways.  It changes your life>

Despite her drive to explore the world, Sierra is still a home bunny. Her favorite place in the world will always be Wanaka, New Zealand. She says <There really is no place like home. Every time I return I am more and more amazed by its natural ruggedness and beauty. You could spend a lifetime there and never get tired of it>

Nepal is another of Sierras favourite places.  She was there when the earthquake struck in April 2015. Just 22 years old and in a space of natural disaster you’d think she’d have crumpled and legged it but she didn’t. She stayed shoulder to shoulder with the locals.  She says <the people I met in Nepal were so kind, honest and proud. It was incredible to see the harsh climate they live in and despite it the joy they carry around with them in everyday life. The respect that they show for their land and animals is incredible and very humbling>

Feeling brave and empowered by the spirit of the Nepalese she treked the Annapurna circuit (a 21 day hike) a week after the big earthquake – alone  <Most westerners had evacuated Nepal so for the first two weeks I didn’t see any other hikers.  I observed first hand the damage to the Nepali villages which were suffering a double blow – damage from the earthquake and that from the loss of tourism which has become their livelihood. The Nepali were so kind and honest helped me the whole way. It was incredible and eerie to have the track and wilderness all to myself. Reaching Thorong La at 5416m alone through the snow at 6am a day after food poisoning and with very little sleep was the highest I have ever been. Not physically but certainly mentally. I have never been more grateful for life. The whole 8 hour walk downhill to Manang I was floating>

<I can’t explain just how much my perspective has altered from travel because I find it hard for me to remember how I was before. When I return home I notice my change the most. Being around old friends in my old places, everything is the same. Yet for me everything is different.

From travel I have really learned how to relax and not worry when things are out of my control. Just to enjoy the ride.  It has also made me realise how precious my time is. From having such limited amount of time in any certain place while travelling it makes me action pack it and get the most out of my time. When I head home to work this same approach stays with me. I don’t take being home or with my family for granted like I used to. I must make the most of my time with no regrets.

Travel has given me the confidence to know that you can do anything you want. You really can. Don’t say one day I would like to be good at yoga. One day I’d like to live in Hawaii. Start today. Even just a little step is a step more than you had before. Why wait?!

Another thing I have learnt from travel is myself. I have spent so much time alone with myself now that I am finally able to listen, understand and know what I want and go for it. I’ve been stuck in a few hard spaces and know that I am strong enough to get myself out. I am finally comfortable with myself and that’s something I don’t think we get taught in our society. How important it is to like yourself >

At the time of writing Sierra was in Byron Bay, Australia working, surfing and saving for her next trip, the Philippines. Looking forward to hearing some nuggets of wisdom on her return.  Bon voyage Sierra!


Like that chat? Check out Voyage of Discovery in the Blog for more travel related musings.