Hear from athletes, adventurers, artists, change-makers, and explorers, from inspiring Chicago-area locals to legends featured in Outside Magazine.
Paddy O’Connell is a freelance creator, storyteller, multimedia producer, and the host and co-writer of Safety Third podcast. When he’s not practicing Footloose inspired dance moves, Patrick Swayze-esque hair flips and grooming his mustache to resemble Tom Selleck’s lip caterpillar, PaddyO can be found in the mountains — mostly likely being a bit loud and doing something a lot weird. He works and adventures out of Carbondale, Colorado.
Kellee Edwards, "One of the Most Powerful Women In Travel" according to Conde' Nast, is an award-winning travel expert, journalist and television host by land, air, and sea. She is a licensed pilot, advanced open water scuba diver, explorer and journalist. A pioneer in her approach to adventure travel made her brand Kellee Set Go! become recognized by some of the biggest brands in travel including that of the biggest TV network in this realm, The Travel Channel. Kellee is the host of Mysterious Islands, a series that explores some of the most remote islands of the 100,000 in the world, that viewers more likely have never heard of. Full bio HERE.
Polar adventurer, expedition guide, dog musher and educator, Eric Larsen has spent the past 15 years of his life traveling in some of the most remote and wild places left on earth. Eric is now one of only a few Americans in to have skied to both the North and South Poles. When he reached the summit of Mt. Everest on October 15th, 2010, he became the first person in history to reach the world's three 'poles' within a 365-day period. Eric's other expeditions include dog sledding in the Canadian Arctic, training trips to Hudson Bay and countless dog sled races (including the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon). He has summited Mt. McKinley, ridden his bike across the United States, been a backcountry ranger in Alaska and a white water canoe guide in Colorado. Eric has dedicated his adult life to sharing his love for the outdoor world with others. As an educator, Eric strives to connect people to places and issues. In recognition of those efforts, Eric was elected as one of Outside Magazine's Eco All Stars in 2008.
Patricia Alcivar is a professional boxer, competitive road and adventure racer, model and commercial/fitness actress. Alcivar was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, but grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, where her family moved when she was a toddler. She was raised in an abusive household and moved out on her own at the young age of 15. She survived against all odds by working a part-time job to support herself while finishing high school with honors. Today, she has the goal of reaching the world’s 7 Summits.
Brendan Leonard is a columnist at Outside Magazine, the creator of Semi-Rad.com, filmmaker, author, speaker, and chart-ist. Most of his work centers around adventure, travel, and the human experiences with each. Brendan’s stories have appeared in National Geographic Adventure, Climbing, Adventure Journal, Alpinist, Backpacker, Men’s Journal, CNN.com, Adventure Cyclist, and other publications
Coming straight out of Springfield, MO, Ha Ha Tonka specialize in disarming and effortless anthems that owe as much to high and lonesome Ozarks mountain music as chugging college rock. Out in front is Brian Roberts and Brett Anderson handles the lead guitar, mandolin and keyboards. Lady-killing Luke Long plays bass, swings from the rafters, takes his shirt off a lot and keeps the low end on the four parts. The band’s versatile recent additions of Hoots & Hellmouth drummer Mike Reilly and The Spring Standards multi-instrumentalist/singer James Cleare catalyzed the group to stretch simple themes into sonic dimensions. As with all great bands, and this is a band, the sum is greater than the parts. The group’s relentless touring has taken them to the stages of Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, CMJ and nationally as a headlining act, as well as supporting many great bands such as Old 97s, Murder By Death, Langhorne Slim, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Meat Puppets and more. In 2011, Ha Ha Tonka was a guest on The Travel Channel’s flagship show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Check them out, grillin' and chillin' the finer foods of the Show Me State with AB his own bad self. In 2017, they performed on the Conan O'Brien show.
Nathan Fluellen, the venerable creator and host of World Wide Nate—the quintessential guide to living a global lifestyle—has been traveling the world since 2004. The show focuses on adventure, food, and culture, as seen from Nathan’s unique perspective. He has visited 50 countries and 6 continents, making it look thrilling and chic. His fearless and infectious personality has been entertaining viewers, while running with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, swimming with jellyfish in Palau, and defying gravity, while descending Conveyor Quay Tower in Montreal, Canada. He’s even showed us his softer side, while hanging out with Koala in South Australia. In March 2016, Nathan became one of the first sponsored US tourists to visit Cuba in over 50 years.
The American West gets all the glory when it comes to outdoor exploration and adventure. Aaron Pererson, a Midwest-based photographer and founder of Freshcoast Adventure Film Festival, wants to change that conversation.
Colorado River guide, photographer, and biologist Amy Martin will always call the Grand Canyon home. In this presentation, Amy will share some of her favorite Grand Canyon photos and memories.
Fly-fishing has exposed Chrissy Atkins to a beautiful network of folks across the country and around the world who love nothing more than sharing their passion with others and protecting the resources they enjoy.
When she first moved to Vermont, a co-worker convinced her to attend a meeting of the local Trout Unlimited chapter, where she eventually served as President and Treasurer and was able to bring friends like Jackie Kutzer into the fold.
Chrissy and Jackie have been teaching classes together for years, and Chrissy loves working with her to inspire and celebrate women in fly-fishing as co-leaders of the 50/50 on the Water initiative. Along with their co-workers and friends, Amanda Gibson and Abbie Mahurin, they’ve formed a women’s fly-fishing group in the Northeast (a chapter of Braided), to help bring female anglers together both on and off the water. Abbie and Chrissy are also working to start a program in Vermont for the Mayfly Project to help mentor foster children through fly-fishing. (They’re looking for more mentors if you’re interested!).
All of these women are at the point in their journeys where they get just as much joy out of teaching others and watching them fall in love with the sport as they do when they’re the ones holding the rod.
I am a 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year & the 2015 SHIFT Conservation Athlete of the Year. I am a climber and skier, the Director of Sierra Club Outdoors (SCO)--getting 250,000+ people out each year; and a veteran of the Iraq war. I co-founded the Great Outdoors Lab in 2014 to put scientifically defensible data behind the idea of time outside as healthcare in partnership with Dr. Dacher Keltner at the Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley. I am a proud graduate of both the Universities of Mississippi and Pennsylvania.
Jen Potts is a Midwest-based outdoor enthusiast and blogger. She loves backpacking, hiking, camping and roadtripping with her husband and 2 dogs all over the US. She works part-time for an outdoor based non-profit called Gear Forward, helping to supply kids in outdoor programs in need of hiking and camping equipment. In February 2019 she launched Illinois Park Project - a collaborative volunteer mission to help maintain and keep Illinois state parks cleaned up and thriving! She hopes to inspire people of all ages, sizes and genders to disconnect from the daily grind and take a walk in nature.Jen Potts is a Midwest-based outdoor enthusiast and blogger. She loves backpacking, hiking, camping and roadtripping with her husband and 2 dogs all over the US. She works part-time for an outdoor based non-profit called Gear Forward, helping to supply kids in outdoor programs in need of hiking and camping equipment. In February 2019 she launched Illinois Park Project - a collaborative volunteer mission to help maintain and keep Illinois state parks cleaned up and thriving! She hopes to inspire people of all ages, sizes and genders to disconnect from the daily grind and take a walk in nature.
Hi. I’m Lindsay. If you had told me 5 years ago that I’d be running an all woman community and hosting getaways all over the world, I would have called you crazy. My sister Jenny and I started Women Who Explore as a way to make every women feel comfortable and accepted in the outdoors. Little did we know just how many women felt the need for this type of community. Nowadays I run Women Who Explore full-time, travel the world and do it all with an amazing community behind me. I’m a mom of 2, afraid of butterflies, and tired most of the time. I’m also strong, badass, here to cheer every women on and revel in their accomplishments.
Annie Aggens loves the polar regions and gets to talk about them every day as director of PolarExplorers. She has guided multiple expeditions to the North Pole, South Pole, Greenland and Iceland. She is the author of the Encyclopedia of Outdoor and Wilderness Skills and often lectures about polar history and expedition travel. Her role as polar guide allows her to teach people about the effects of climate change on the Arctic and polar regions. Favorite tent pastime? Playing her "guitarita" and having peotry slams. She is on the board of the International Polar Guide Association.