I visited the Patagonia campus to learn more about the iconic outdoor company and their plans for the footwear division last weekend. Our large round-table group made introductions the first day. I always find it interesting to see how people introduce themselves; personalities can often shine or in my case, quietly made. One by one our group members recounted how they got to the campus in Ventura, California. Jamie, our group host, had grown up in the ski industry his entire life. A passion and love of the outdoors had led him to a job working with Patagonia Footwear. Variations of this story echoed around the room. It occurred to me that unlike most of my colleagues it was the outdoor industry that had plucked me from my life and invited me to join in on the fun.
What started as a summer job at Whole Earth Provision Company had turned into a full-blown lifestyle and career. Oh sure, over the last five years I’ve noticed the small changes in myself. BUT the big transformation has happened in the past year. I’ve officially traded my Saturday shopping days so I can go hiking, climbing, and swimming. Others have noticed, too . . . much to the chagrin of my partner I have abandoned the Susie Homemaker role that I had come to (finally) master. These days my too many shoes are scattered at the doorway and it just doesn’t seem to bother me as much anymore. My refrigerator is now filled with frozen burritos instead of homemade champagne vinaigrette, my laundry piles are now filled with sweaty workout clothes instead of silk shirts, and my hair – more often than not – has resorted back to its wild locked ways (seriously, it has a mind of its own). While it sounds rather sad when one puts the pen to paper, it’s not so bad at all. Instead of my Facebook profile being filled of glamour shots with perfectly manicured nails and designer duds, I’m filing it with photos of mountain summits, late night bonfires and most recently my attempts at surfing.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy wearing high heels anymore. In fact, after a summer of shoving my foot into my climbing shoes, my “too tight” Delman’s actually feel quite roomy.