Kieren is an all around adventurer. Though she grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan she’s always been drawn west. Since the ripe old age of 6 weeks, Kieren has been camping, road-tripping and exploring. Kieren see’s herself as “a jack of many trades.” She loves trying new adventures, and you’ll never hear her use the saying “I can’t.” Some of her favorite activities are hiking, cycling, climbing, snowboarding, sledding, canoeing, and paddleboarding.
Kieren is in constant search of personal growth, and enjoys any adventure that involves a challenge. Whether it’s cycling across Canada to raise funds for Prostate Cancer research, or converting a school bus into a mobile home (Skoolie) for an 8-month solo road trip around North America, she loves to think up the ridiculous and make it a reality.
In 2016 Kieren created a community titled The Lady Alliance. The Lady Alliance is a community of women that fosters relationships between women adventurers. Kieren loves meeting new adventurous ladies and sharing their stories. After being told too many times that she was “brave for a young lady”, Kieren took action. We have this bravery in all of us, and Kieren was determined to bring this to light. The Lady Alliance was born.
We are so inspired by all of your adventures, such as road-tripping in a converted school bus from Canada to the American Southwest, cycling across Canada to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer, and your recent travels across Canada. What inspired you to live such an adventurous life?
I was lucky from the start. I grew up with adventure, and have never turned away from my roots. My first experience tenting was at 6 weeks old, and though I don’t quite remember that trip, I am sure growing up in a tent has made a lasting impact on how I live my life today. My father enjoys adventure. He is spontaneous, and has always been my inspiration for trying new activities. From climbing to cycling and everything in between he has introduced me to almost every outdoor sport, and kicks my ass while doing them. My mother has shown me grit. She has taught me to power through those tough moments, and to always trust my gut. Lessons from both of them have made me who I am today.
We would love to hear more about your adventures in your converted school bus! How did you decide on traveling in it, and where did it take you?
Life on the road is a dream for many of us. Mountains, oceans, forests, the open road, all at our finger tips. Choosing where we want to be, what we want to see, and changing plans on the fly. I have experimented with many different homes on wheels. At the age of 14, I lived in a Westfalia van with my family for two months while on a European road trip. In 2012 I lived in a tent for two and half months straight. In 2015 I lived in a boler trailer for almost two months before I converted a school bus to a Skoolie – a mobile home made from an old school bus. I lived in the Skoolie for 6 months. After having my boler trailer, I settled on the choice of converting a school bus because I wanted to design the layout myself. I was excited to build my home, and find a layout that worked for me. I chose a short bus so that it would be a bit easier to drive, park, and maneuver on smaller roads. I loved the idea of waking up in the morning, directly walking to the drivers seat, and hitting the open road. I also had two large dogs with me, so we needed the space.
This bus took me all around western Canada and the States. From Saskatoon we went through Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and North Dakota.
What were some of the hardships along the way, and what did you learn from them?
I have definitely run into some challenges with my adventures. My financials hit the pits, accidents, injury, dogs running away in the middle of nowhere, California… but each challenge adds to one hell of a story, each obstacle encourages growth, and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. You learn new lessons from each challenge. I have learned so many life lessons from this adventure, it would be near impossible to list them all. Life is a journey, and I believe seeking out lessons and personal growth is a crucial element to a happy life.
Cycling across Canada from coast to coast is another HUGE endeavor that you have successfully taken on. What did that journey teach you, and how did it make a positive impact on your life?
The human body is capable of the most incredible feats. With enough time, I feel as though almost anyone could physically do the same trip I completed. It was 80% mental 20% physical, especially near the end. Grinding every day, goal setting, celebrating small wins knowing that you will make it to the big win, these are all mental challenges. If your head is in the right space, your shoes (or tires) will follow. And I see this reflected in many aspects of my life. I now don’t see problems or obstacles, I see challenges and adventure. I am able to change my mindset to power through unpleasant but necessary tasks, and I choose to do it with a smile on my face. Life’s too short not to!
You are also the coordinator and contributor of a successful online adventure community, The Lady Alliance, which celebrates the fearless women in the industry. How has this community impacted your sense of adventure?
I believe this community has heightened an already extreme thirst for adventure. I love the inspiring cycle of meeting adventurous women, hearing their stories, and planning adventures. Prior to The Lady Alliance the majority of my adventures have been solo. I am excited to continue sharing and experiencing the world with these ladies, and other adventure teams and communities.
What are your goals for The Lady Alliance?
The Lady Alliance is a community that fosters relationships between women adventurers. We are looking forward to booking trips, connecting like-minded women, and exploring together!
What are some of the funniest or most memorable stories from your travels and adventures?
Oh goodness, how much time do we have?
One of my favourite adventure memories would be my first date with my boyfriend, which was also my first storm chase. Total. Failure. On the storm chase side. Definitely not on the date side. The storm lost its strength before we could reach it. Most likely due to the distraction of talking non-stop. He thinks he’s hilarious (to be fair I couldn’t stop laughing).
Another favourite was completing my bike trip across Canada. I dipped my tire in the ocean, and the ships in the St. John’s harbour played their horns in a beautiful symphony to celebrate. Then I was surprised by almost 50 of my closest friends and all of my family with a Skype call. They had all gathered at my father’s work to celebrate with me. Yup, I cried.
There are so many amazing memories, but my favourites are the ones I share with others. Nothing beats laughing with friends and family.
We at This Adventure Life want our readers to live life fearlessly in the pursuit of living their ideal life. What would your advice be for someone who wants to live fearlessly and pursue their wildest dreams?
I would love to say the classic “just do it” but I want to go further than that. My advice to anyone looking to do long term travel is to have a plan of attack. Living situations, routes, finances. Think of all of your possibilities. Weigh them out. Plan ahead. It will help extend your travel. But, at the same time, be prepared to roll with the punches. Be flexible. Travel is about experiencing something new, exciting and spontaneous. Don’t be so tied to a plan that you lose sight of that goal.
My biggest piece of advice would be to not shy away in the face of a challenge. There will always be reasons not to go. But sometimes the reasons to go outweighs the challenges that try to encourage you to stay.
Where is your next big adventure?
I am currently boarding my flight for Hawaii. We have rented an SUV, and will be either stringing up our hammocks or sleeping in the SUV as we tour the islands.
We also have our first trip with The Lady Alliance in September! So we are all looking forward to this ultimate ladies getaway in the mountains!
At This Adventure Life we celebrate the lives and stories of the people who live life fearlessly. #livefearlessly