The fact that Katie Jo Myers lives on her sailboat in L.A. tells us a lot about her outlook on life—she is always up for a new adventure. On a typical Friday after closing up shop as a digital marketing specialist, she busts out to the Eastern Sierras to camp, rock climb, and paraglide with friends. Or race sailboats around Catalina Island. She’s on a mission to get more out of life, including a bucket list of ideas such as crewing a sailboat on the Trans-Pacific Race from California to Hawaii, climbing the Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite, and seeing one of her manuscripts become a published novel.
Here she tells us more about how she balances work and play.
Where do you live and what drew you to this place?
Katie Jo: I currently live in Marina Del Rey, California, on my sailboat! I am drawn to this location for so many reasons! The Marina is a very vibrant and upbeat area of Los Angeles. I love that there are always people out and about, enjoying the water and the beautiful weather. As someone who is passionate about outdoor adventure, the Marina is such a great central location for me. I am a rock climber, paraglider pilot, and competitive sailor; and this area gives me access to everything I love! I’m right by the water, but also within a few hours’ drive to world-class climbing and paragliding locations such as Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and the Eastern Sierras.
What does “adventure” mean to you and your generation?
Katie Jo: To me, adventure is embodied by the question, “what’s next?!” It’s not about a specific destination or activity, but more about a desire to constantly explore, push physical and mental limits, learn new things, and see all that the world has to offer. I think my generation is starting to break away from the idea that life is simply about going to school, getting a job, and settling down. We want to push the boundaries of all that life has to offer, from pursuing fulfilling careers, to chasing after our passions, and exploring the world. Trying to live life to the fullest is the greatest adventure in and of itself!
How do you balance your work with your outside-of-work passions?
Katie Jo: I’m very lucky in that I currently get to combine my career and my passions! I work in the field of digital marketing, creating content and managing social accounts specifically for the outdoor industry. I work in a freelance capacity, which gives me a flexible schedule and often the ability to work remotely. On top of this, I also work in the climbing industry as a route setter and coach for competitive climbers. Both of my career fields allow me time to climb and get outside on a very regular basis, as well as give me the opportunity to make a living doing something I love.
When did you discover your passions?
Katie Jo: I began climbing at a gym in Los Angeles about seven years ago. At the time, I was struggling with big-city life and found climbing to be the perfect outlet. It got me outside, away from the hustle and bustle, and somehow, it simultaneously brought both peace and excitement to my life. I fell in love that very first day and never looked back.
What does your average weekend look like? Where do you like to go on adventures?
Katie Jo: At this point, I consider the Eastern Sierras to be my second home. An average weekend for me consists of leaving work on Friday afternoon and heading to the mountains. I’ll camp out in the backcountry and spend Saturday and Sunday doing a mix of paragliding, climbing, and maybe a little alpine swimming! Sometimes I organize a group of friends to go with me, but often I’ll just head out alone and have a big solo adventure. On weekends when I’m not climbing, I can generally be found racing sailboats around Catalina Island or down the Southern California coast.
What is your favorite national forest or park?
Katie Jo: Do I have to pick a favorite?! In the U.S., our national parks range from deserts and oceans to mountains, forests, glaciers, and beyond! They cover such a diverse range of ecosystems and environments that it’s really hard to choose just one. Honestly, I can’t pick a favorite because I truly believe that these places are all really special and need to be protected, preserved, and cherished.
What are a few things on your bucket list?
Katie Jo: Crewing a sailboat on the Trans-Pacific Race from California to Hawaii. Climbing the Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite. Spending a year (or more!) living out of a van and traveling around climbing and flying. Learning a kickflip on my skateboard. Seeing one of my manuscripts become a published novel.
How do you keep track/log your adventures?
Katie Jo: Social media has been a great way for me to keep track of my adventures. I use Instagram and Facebook as a way to catalogue all of my favorite photos and to record memories, thoughts, and anecdotes from my trips. I also keep a personal blog where I go into more detail about some of my adventures, as well as recording thoughts on life in general.
Who inspires you?
Katie Jo: The people that inspire me most are my friends! I am lucky to be surrounded by a group of incredibly kind, hard working, and passionate people. Not only do they constantly rally and support one another, but from day-to-day I watch them lead these incredibly full lives: From pursuing careers and families to going out on evenings/weekends to climb mountains, run ultra marathons, race boats, fly hundreds of miles, or do volunteer work. Seeing people with such a passion for life and appreciation for every moment, is really inspiring to me and motivates me to push myself as well.
Who are a few of your favorite artists, authors, musicians, or photographers?
Katie Jo: One of my favorite authors is Arno Ilgner, who wrote The Rock Warrior’s Way. My favorite photographers are simply my friends, who are always around to capture the best shots and the silliest moments. Musically, I really enjoy sad songs. For some reason they make me happy.
What are your two or three most essential adventure gear items? Essential adventure snacks?
Katie Jo: Essential gear can be really dependant on what you’re doing, but I would say that two of the most important things in almost any circumstance are a positive attitude and a great pair of sticky rubber approach shoes! In my experience, nothing ever goes exactly according to plan (isn’t that what adventure is all about), but if you look at things positively, and have a great pair of shoes, you can get around most any obstacle, and go anywhere you want to go! As for snacks…gummy bears!
After a long work day, what motivates you to get out?
Katie Jo: After working all day, whether it be at an office, coffee shop, or the climbing gym; I’m always really motivated by the idea of being outside, breathing fresh air, stretching my muscles, and having a great time adventuring with friends. Those are the things that really help me feel refreshed and energized for the next work day.
If you could go on a spontaneous adventure right now, where would you go?
Katie Jo: That’s a hard question. So many options! Depending on my budget and time frame, I’d either fly over to Rocklands, South Africa, to boulder, up to Alaska to take photos of my favorite animal, the moose, or I’d pack my car with a few friends and head to Clear Creek, Arizona, for a weekend of deep-water soloing.