A City Girl That Became A Wild Woman Storyteller
Feature:Tiffany Lin of @FollowTiffsJourney
Photo Credit: © Joe Sohm
Want to live a more engaged outdoor life, exploring the vast wilderness, but don’t quite know where to start? Let us introduce you to Tiffany, the city girl who had the same dream and is now an official wild woman storyteller, mountaineer and self-described “mountain-girl”, inspiring thousands with her massively popular @FollowTiffsJourney. We caught up with her to talk about overcoming fears, being your most authentic self, creating an empowered community and yes….that epic photo from The Wave!
...definitely didn't imagine that one day I would inspire thousands of people to live a more adventurous life.
Q@FollowTiffsJourney is an incredibly rich resource for hikers filled with detailed itineraries, gear guides, awe-inspiring photography and of course, your moving storytelling. You’ve also become a positive role model for encouraging women to become solo hikers; stepping out of their comfort zone, embracing their power and going for it! Was that always your goal?
When I first started hiking, I didn't have any grand vision for it; and definitely didn't imagine that one day I would inspire thousands of people to live a more adventurous life. My blog had the same humble beginnings.
Initially, it started as a journal, just for me to be able to look back on one day in the future. I really like reading detailed blogs and trip reports; so I take the same approach when I write.As more people began to "Follow Tiff's Journey" I realized that there was an opportunity to inspire others, particularly women and to show them, through my journey, what they were capable of doing.
QYour followers have such an emotional connection to your outdoor adventure stories, with one posting it’s her “trail therapy” …..What is your hope for how your readers experience your outdoor journals?
The takeaway that I would love for my followers and readers to have is a feeling of empowerment, mixed with motivation, and followed by action. The experiences that I have had in the outdoors have been so rewarding; have led to so much personal growth; and have really shaped how I think about myself and the world. If I can do it, anyone else can too.
The Wave - Coyote Buttes, Arizona
Tiff's 3 Key Traits for Personal Growth
I’ve always been terrified of heights. Like, really, really scared of them.
Ice Climbing at Ouray, Colorado
QTiffany, will you share with our readers a hurdle you faced as you’ve navigated your personal hiking journey? How did you get through it and what did that process teach you?
I’ve always been terrified of heights. Like, really, really scared of them. The exposure from climbing a ladder has always been enough to deter me from changing a lightbulb at home. Then one blustery winter weekend in Ouray, Colorado. I had the opportunity to try ice climbing for the first time. It was terrifying; and I never made it to the top of a wall, but I loved it. And wanted to try it again. So a few weeks later, I did.
Ice climbing led to learning winter mountaineering; my fear continued to present itself, but I kept climbing. Mountaineering led to traditional climbing; and eventually alpine rock climbing. I’m still just as afraid of heights as I was starting out, but I’ve learned how to cope with it better, and that fear no longer deters me from chasing the experiences that I desire to have.
QWe’re totally obsessed with your photos of “the wave” hike as well as the riveting back story of perseverance and patience that made that day happen. Will you share with our readers what it took to finally experience that insanely stunning hike?
“The Wave” is an incredible geological feature in Arizona; but due to the fragile nature of its composition (layers of sandstone that were shaped by weathering,) it’s important to protect it from overuse. So, there’s a lottery system in place; and very few people are permitted to enter it each day. The chances of scoring a permit are slim-to-none, but I was determined to make it out there one day. I spent 14 months applying for the lottery. It was discouraging to keep applying for the lotto when I was continually denied, but ultimately my perseverance paid off. Three months later after being awarded a permit, it was finally my time to go...on the hottest day of the year 😛
Traversing Rock Climbing Palisades (California Sierra)
QYou spoke about your fear of heights and how you’ve learned to cope with it through your love of various types of rock climbing. For those of us with fears that may hold us back, can you walk us through what’s going through your mind as you were rock climbing or reaching a high peak? Do you repeat affirmations, say a mantra, or is there a specific process that helps you navigate these anxious moments?
My process for coping with my fears during critical moments is exactly as described. Affirmations and mantras play a big part of it: "Don't think, just go." and "You got this!" are a couple that I repeat to myself. My friends have also picked up on this, and use my own specific affirmations to help me along when I need it most. Their encouragement definitely helps me to overcome challenges that I probably wouldn't otherwise make it through. Surround yourself with good people who care.
You gifted your followers and readers with a visceral lens through which to share your wilderness adventures, allowing them to live vicariously through you...
QAs you’ve seen your small, intimate, hiking journal expand into the hugely popular @FollowTiffsJourney, inspiring thousands to live a more engaged, outdoor and adventurous life, what moment or realization are you most proud of as you look back (and forward) on your journey to get where you are today?
Honestly, I am most proud whenever I meet someone on the trail and they recognize me, stop me, and say something like "Hey, I've been following your journey for a long time and you inspired me to go out and do x/y/z." When I see them out there, in the wilderness, doing something that fulfills them, and then discovering that I played a small part in that, that's really special.
QA series of recurring themes with @FollowTiffsJourney are wonder, trust, freedom, empowerment and, of course, action. When so many were stuck at home these last 18 months, you gifted your followers and readers with a visceral lens through which to share your wilderness adventures, allowing them to live vicariously through you. As the world slowly reopens, where do you see yourself in the next 18 months? Wherever it is, we can’t wait to be there with you, and are grateful to you for inviting all of us on your journey.
Haha, I have no idea where I'll be or what I'll be doing, but I'll be glad to have you along for the journey.
From hiking and rock climbing inspiration to detailed gear guides, expand your appreciation of the great outdoors by following Tiffany’s journey today @FollowTiffsJourney and Check out her amazing blog!
Thank you so much for hanging out with us! Until next time!
Check out our Adventure Collection and inspired by Tiff's Journey THE WAVES Racerback Tank