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.
If you have never heard of the Chilcotin, 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 is - 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 describe 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.
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 it was a two-fold answer and that my dreams lay in vocations I wished to create that combine all my passions, skills and purpose. One is Vida, an empowering online community and collective for women, and the other is as a Wild Life Creative. 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.
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.
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 come and 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