Meg Smith is a professional graphic designer and fine artist. Her paintings merge graphic design styles and realism to in a unique style that celebrate the Alaskan landscapes she loves. Meg lives in Girdwood, Alaska and has called the Chugach Mountains of Alaska home for ten years. In the past couple years, Meg has focused on flight training, bought a plane and now explores backcountry flying in the same beautiful areas that she paints. In this conversation we talk about writing your own story, creation as a private act of meditation, how to take the first step in any ambition, risk assessment, lifestyle design, spot landing an airplane in the backcountry, glacier landing, ski flying, kayaking and much more. Meg’s down to earth and positive energy is infectious and I had to edit out a lot of chuckles and laughter so you can hear her better. She was a delight to speak with. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
Diaa Hadid works as an international correspondent for NPR in Islamabad, Pakistan. Previously, she worked for the Associated Press from 2006-2015 and the New York Times from 2015-2017. Prior to working with NPR, she reported on the middle east for over a decade. She now lives in Islamabad with her husband and daughter.
In 2019, Diaa and her team won the Murrow Award, a journalism award, for her piece on why and how Pakistan has the highest rate of abortion in the world.
This conversation spans her upbringing in Australia born to a Lebanese father and Egyptian mother, the pursuit of career and life outside of her Muslim family, the transformation of identity, the logistics of journalism in Pakistan, peculiar details around the story on Pakistan and abortion as it pertains to women’s rights and culture, the details around another story on Israel's youngest prisoner, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl who got her first period while being interrogated, and other fascinating journalistic investigations that tell much bigger stories about women in the world.
It is because of Diaa’s tenacious curiosity, that such important and fascinating stories are shared with the West. Because the range of topics are so impressive, I will list some of them below.
Diaa has documented the collapse of Gadhafi's rule in Libya from the capital, Tripoli.
From Beirut, she was the first to report on widespread malnutrition and starvation inside a besieged rebel district near Damascus.
She unraveled the mysterious murder of a militant commander, discovering that he was killed for being gay.
In Syria, she met the last great storyteller of Damascus, whose own trajectory of loss reflected that of his country.
In Libya, she profiled a synagogue that once was the beating heart of Tripoli's Jewish community.
In Lebanon, she chronicled how poverty was pushing Syrian refugee women into survival sex.
In Baghdad, she met women who risked their lives to visit beauty salons in a quiet rebellion against extremism and war.
In Cairo, she wrote of revolutionary upheaval sweeping Egypt.
She covered the violence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
We are so lucky to hear these stories directory from Diaa as well as learn about her history- the history that’s not shared in public bios. This conversation is an honor and a pleasure. Enjoy.
Alison Jean Cole is a lapidary artist and geology enthusiast who has dedicated her life to rockhounding, intarsia stone cutting, and traveling the remote deserts of the Pacific Northwest to better study its geologic history. Alison spends her time between a studio and rock club in Portland, Oregon; kicking up dust chasing waypoints in her lifted 4runner, leading expeditions and soaking in geothermal hot spots along the way. In this conversation we discuss finding massive tortoise bones from 45 million years ago, theories on the largest impact craters, lapidary arts, flood basalt theory, and how some of the best mysteries of the earth present themselves in the form of rocks and minerals. Alison is sharp, sassy and fun. And she knows a hell of a lot about the geological history of the Northwest. Like the stones she cuts, this conversation is a gem. Enjoy.
Hetty Key is a woman of big adventure. She has spent time bike packing across Slovenia, mountain climbing in the Alps, back country skiing in Kazikstan, surf trips in the North Sea, alpine ultramarathons in Scotland and much more. But as a woman of true soul and curiosity, she advocates for an equally important form of exploration- the micro-adventure. Hetty is mastering the art of bringing adventure into her life instead of always leaving her life behind to chase it. In this conversation we discuss the art of work life balance, cold water swimming, starting her own business, how to search for adventure in your back yard and her open letter to the outdoor community about depression, despondency and the role of social media on the outdoor community. Hetty’s letter openly dispels the myth that we always go outside to return a happier and more inspired version of ourselves. And that that’s okay. In this conversation we also discuss stepping out to work for ones self and how to know when you’re ready. This conversation is packed with gems. Enjoy.
Janelle Kaz is @motogypsy- a wildlife biologist living a life that merges wildlife conservation work, the fight against animal trafficking and motorcycle travel. In this conversation we discuss the wildlife trafficking syndicate in Asia, village life in Laos, riding under condors with 10 and a half foot wingspans in the Andean Plateau, Lake Titicaca, the Colca Canyon, riding across snowy mountain passes at 16,000 foot elevation, altitude sickness, the snakes of the Ecuadorian jungle, crossing the Atacama desert carrying your own fuel, Colombian sloths, the pre-Colombian Kogi people in the country’s northern mountains, the endangered Tapir, frogs that secret cure for yellow fever and xenarthra! This is a fascinating episode. Enjoy!
Zoetica Ebb's "Alien Botany" is a multimedia project of epic proportions and immaculate detail. It features “specimens of otherworldly plant-animal hybrids and their potential interactions with human hosts,” which “examine various mediums, from traditional illustration to sculpture and design.” What Zoetica has done is imagine not just a fantasy world, but the entire ecosystem that comprises it. Her drawings’ detail mimic the precision of biology textbooks. This conversation explores the mind and life behind the project. Zoetica is an accomplished artist, an inquisitive mind and a pleasure to speak with. We span her upbringing in communist Moscow to her life now in London is this lovely exchange. Enjoy.
Alicia Vera is a Mexico City based photographer.. Alicia has been published in Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Intercept, The Guardian, NPR, The New York Times, Bloomberg, Condé Nast Traveler, Vice, Dwell and many others. Alicia’s interest seems to be in communities underreported in mainstream media. Alicia’s projects include El Salvadorian gang members seeking asylum in the Evangelical church, sex work in the United States, and women's boxing rings in Mexico City. Alicia tells me about the art of photographing tender moments- including documenting sex work. We talk about the relationship between memory and identity and the tenderness of family as it changes with each generation.
Danielle Watson has been living her motto--"No excuses and no regrets"-- to the full sense of its meaning. In 2011, Danielle was paralyzed in a climbing at the T6 and now uses a wheelchair for mobility. In this conversation we explore Danielle’s very full life with all of its joys and unexpected losses. We discuss adaptive sports, caring for her mother, her career as an occupational therapist, joining the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s first women’s hand cycling team, and mountain biking 100 miles of the White Rim in Canyonlands National Park in Utah and much more.
This conversations with Anastasia Allison spans lifestyle design, The Musical Mountaineers, traveling through Bhutan, overcoming fears in the outdoors, finding fly fishing spots by exploring off trail high routes, starting a company supplying the most needed piece of outdoor female gear not yet on mainstream markets, the philosophical practices that changed her life, a near fatal car accident, and a whole lot more. Enjoy.
Chelsea Southard is a steel fabricator and sculpture artist who left the united states in 2018 to start a continual motorcycle trip across all continents while collaborating with local art communities along the way. She has already traveled 10,000 miles across the US (twice), Mexico and Guatemala. Southard offers her life story that includes Burning Man, orchid farming in Mexico, building sweat lodges in Guatemala, active volcano encounters, a week long near death abandon in the Mexican desert, living out of three bags on a motorcycle and much more.
This conversation is with Maya Sialuk Jacobsen. Maya is a Greenlandic Inuit tattoo artist dedicated to preserving native Inuit tattoo traditions. Taught initially in western tattoo styles she now practices hand poking and skin stitching. We discuss Greenlandic history, Inuit traditions & spirituality, tattooing, decolonization, Denmark, tinder, parenting and dyslexia.