• Alyssa Lee

Everest Basecamp at 18yrs old & Poutine Lover | Sofia

Sofia is a poutine lover just like you and me but also lives for a good adventure. To say the least, she, now 20 years old, has successfully completed the Everest Basecamp, Anapurna basecamp in Nepal, a 6000m summit, and not a big deal... but holds the world record for highest built igloo. As a BC native, she grew up skiing and sailing, hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, recently got into mountain biking and this is a glimpse into her life.

Sofia staring into a valley of mountains

Q1: What made you shift into the lifestyle that you are living right now?

Everyone has dreams growing up. For my grade 5 self, that was being accepted into an outdoor trek program at a school in Vancouver. This program was everything I wanted: half the year you’d fast track your studies, the other half you’d just go on all sorts of outdoor adventures. I knew I wanted to do it so I worked really hard to get there.

Fast forward 5 years, I didn’t get in.

When I got that rejection, I took a step back and I thought to myself: “alright, so if I can’t do these activities through that program, I need to find another way to do it.”

So, I took a semester exchange to Japan, where I pursued many months traveling, hiking, climbing, and introducing myself to a community of rad people whilst doing so. These same people helped push me to take another step back and look at my life as it was: Reevaluating my values and goals, understanding that these decisions would affect critical decisions for the coming years.

Swiss Alps Sunset

It didn't take long for me to realize that my happiness peaked in the outdoors with these people, and within this state, I could give so much more to others than in any state I’d ever been in before, playing volleyball, or in a classroom setting.

After high school, I didn't take the traditional route of going to university and instead found myself in Switzerland for a year, working as a nanny right under the Swiss Alps.

Q2: Going against the grain, how did you initially combat the social pressures of taking a gap year, then pursuing your adventures “full-time.”

My parents were pretty set on me grabbing a scholarship for volleyball and going down to the states to pursue the sport. For 8 years, my parents spent tons of money and time, for the best training programs. But, slowly saw that I wasn’t loving it anymore, which was really tough to see for my parents, coaches, teammates, everyone. Then, I realized I felt bad for taking up a spot on a team, especially when I played on Team BC Beach volleyball. I didn’t want to take this spot away from someone who wants to do this for the next 10 years, just so that I can just have fun for my last year. I instead found this tiny guiding program in the middle of nowhere Thompson River University in Kamloops and my journey continued there.

I did a complete 180, and as soon as I was outside doing something for myself, rather than pleasing others, I became evidently happier, which immediatly helped others understand my intuition.

Q3: Share your most memorable Adventure story

Q4: There’s a perception that amazing outdoor/travel experiences require very expensive gear and ample money. How do you do all that you do at such a young age and what tips do you have for doing it successfully?

Really it just comes down to prioritizing what you’re spending your money on, When I was saving up for Nepal, I was working relatively full time as a lifeguard. It paid just above minimum wage, but I was very conscious about eating out. I didn’t buy clothes, didn’t get my nails done, cut my own hair, and allocated a certain amount from each paycheck.

It's really about prioritizing what you spend your money on, and setting goals for yourself that you are able to control.

For example, if I go out to eat three times out here, (Squamish, BC) it’s equivalent to buying a nice piece of equipment that I need to take my rock climbing to the next level.

Additionally, a lot of gear companies like MEC, REI, outdoor clothes do gear rentals for relatively cheap, but you need to think about it as an investment. Facebook marketplace is awesome for second-hand stuff too.

Q5: Explain this Instagram Post

Q6: Do you have any advice for people looking to step outdoors?

It’s really as easy as going on an easy hike by yourself after work or going to an outdoor store and asking people questions, chatting. Most people are so excited for others to get outside, oftentimes they’ll suggest trails, or take you on a hike. You can find so many cool people by just getting out there. You don’t need a ton of gear when you start out, just a pair of hiking boots & your 10 essentials will get you so so far in building your confidence and experience our backyard. Join a Facebook Group, Couchsurfing, or even Instagram. If you see someone doing something RAD, DM them and 100% they will be excited that you are interestd. Next thing you know, you are building a community of keeners and explorers,

It doesn't have to be a huge lifestyle change, it should be about the balance. You can’t expect to do 100% of one thing, but rather, figuring out what makes you happy and what you genuinely enjoy doing with your time.


Follow Sofia Warrington

Instagram: @sofia.warrington

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