Katie Boue wasn’t “outdoorsy” as a kid. The Cotopaxi ambassador grew up in Miami, far from the mountains, forests, and other terrains she now frequents. However, her adventurous spirit and fascination with nature was cultivated by her parents, who took her on trips to Alaska and various national parks. Today, Katie can be seen anywhere from the Yucatán in Mexico to the Florida Keys to her new home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
It was in her college years that Katie discovered her passion for the outdoors – through climbing indoors at the Tallahassee Rock Gym. She would spend her weekends driving for hours to places Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia to climb outdoors. “Everyone has that moment – their first real and true wonder you can only get from being outside.” After college, Katie traveled around the United States for an entire year to see more of the country’s natural wonders.
An “outdoorist, advocate, and activist,” Katie uses her writing skills to educate and spread awareness on various outdoors issues through social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, as well as her personal blog.
However, she emphasizes that it is important to “leave the digital space” and “take it into the real world.” A major outdoors issue Katie is currently advocating for is public lands and national monuments. Twenty-seven monuments are currently under review by the Department of the Interior with the potential for the lands boundaries to be reduced, and opened up for industrialization.
“Yes, everyone loves the outdoors: it’s beautiful and we love to play there, but that next step is really recognizing and measuring the economic value of the outdoors,” Katie says of how outdoor advocacy can be taken to the next level. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, where Katie once worked, the outdoor recreation economy creates 7.6 million American jobs and consumers spend $887 billion annually on outdoor activities.
Katie believes that the outdoors have value for everyone, regardless of having an adventurous spirit. Spending time in nature, whether camping, rock climbing, or otherwise, teaches responsibility, perseverance, and humility, and other life values that she describes as essential. Her work as an outdoorist, advocate, as well as sponsored ambassador for companies like Cotopaxi, enables her to live these values out loud.
When deciding which brands to partner with like Cotopaxi, Katie prioritizes their values and if they are in line with her own values. Cotopaxi is an outdoor products company that assists with funding sustainable poverty relief. Katie recalled an eye-opening experience where she was invited to tour Cotopaxi’s factory in the Philippines and she was able to see firsthand how committed they were to supply-chain awareness and corporate responsibility. Of these experiences Katie says, “The brands that you partner with are a reflection of your values and a reflection of the values you share with your community.”
In addition, Katie took a solo road-trip last summer in which she fell in love with Salt Lake City and never left – she officially moved there in October to get more involved in-person with public lands advocacy. Katie describes her most adventurous moment as the time she slept alone in the woods, where she was, “the most alone I have ever been.” Being alone at 3 AM, twenty miles away from the nearest town was an enriching learning experience.
Instead of dwelling on a problem, Katie suggests using that moment as a growth opportunity for your next adventure. “I’m going to bring a proper backpack, or maybe I’ll get in better shape before I try to bike up a mountain,” Katie says, “It’s all a learning experience, but it’s an important to maintain a positive attitude.”
Katie also does not credit bravery for her ability to embark on so many adventures, but rather confidence. “Confidence comes from practice,” she says. “You have to practice confidence every day, and be audacious in all that you do.”
Contributor: Clare Connaughton