In 2016, I spent four months in the Chilko Valley in British Columbia, Canada, exploring and adventuring in the area, observing the wild life and chasing my dream of being a Wild Life Creative. After this, I embarked on a four week road trip through Canada and USA's National Parks documenting the wildlife through these regions. A lot of my content from this adventure is now in the AWAY and JOURNAL section on this website...and it's constantly being updated, so feel free to check in every now and then!
If you have never heard of the Chilcotin or Tsilhqot'in, you are not alone. Despite it being a 32 million acre area and a prime spot for bear watching, most people draw blanks looks when you mention the area. Within this huge space, just under 1,000 hearty residents live and in the heart of this area, is where my home for four months was - the Chilko Valley - a pristine 5M acre wilderness tract. Located in the south-west of BC, my hosts and friends at the family-run wilderness estate, The Chilko Experience described its location like this:
“We are 320 kilometres from the nearest grocery store and mobile tower, 80 kilometres from a post office and 65 kilometres to the power grid...but at night you can touch the stars."
I don't think there could be a more alluring description than that. While I was there I got to know the small groups of adventure seekers, families and nature-lovers visiting and characters so big, they could only be matched by the big skies. I experienced the Canadian mountain and lake life by hiking, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing and bear watching. At the same time, I gathered content to explore my photography, writing, illustration and painting. I explored many different aspects and in some ways I came away with more questions than answers, but I realised that there were certain aspects I also want to work on more closely at home too.
Getting to know the local Tsilhqot'in community had a pretty profound impact on me.
It was awhile between adventures. For the year prior, I found myself asking, 'Where to next? What do I love? What inspires me? What difference do I want to make?'.
I realised that my dreams lay in vocations I wished to create that combined all my passions, skills and purpose. As a Wild Life Creative, my aim is to stay in remote, endangered and / or pristine environments at least once a year for an extended period. To explore places that intrigue me or I care about, and gather and create content or insights that make a difference. Gradually I hope to turn this into a rather large body of work. Gradually it has been happening.
In a vulnerable age for people and the planet, I hope my art and words can inspire people to seek adventure, solitude and connection in nature. Connection to ourselves, to each other and to the environment. Nature is, after all, our greatest teacher. Art and exploration are the tools to inspire and connect in.
Once I let a place speak to me, I hope to tell its story. Sometimes and some places, it might just be expressing its beauty through photography or sharing a moment, through diarised accounts or prose on an insightful, funny or special moment. At other times, once I see a place's unique needs, I might be able to, and hope I can, use my corporate background in features writing, research communications and campaign management to make a difference in raising funds or awareness.
Currently, I am going through all the content from this journey and building a portfolio to take the shape of an exhibition this September in Australia and in the US in October.
While I am out in the wild and trekking across America and Canada, I have been working on creating illustrations for Studio Carragher. Kathmandu will also be sharing parts of my journey too. You can follow the adventures on here, on my Facebook page and on Insta @katecarragher.
I feel so honoured to be able to be given the time and the support to chase my dreams. Big thank you to Chilko Experience for having me stay. And a big thank you to Kathmandu's Summit Club, who are sponsoring my dream by supplying me with outdoor gear. Thanks as always to all of my family and friends for your love and support in chasing my dreams!
#wildkate #LivingTheDream #openyourworld