Alyx Schwarz: Founder of Shoestring Adventures – Parks Project

Alyx Schwarz

 

How and when did you start Shoestring Adventures? What was the purpose? 

Three years ago at 26, I developed a bad case of wanderlust while recovering from back surgery. Ever since, I have devoted my weekends to exploring my home state of California and blog about my experiences on ShoestringAdventures.com, both to celebrate my recovery and to encourage other to get outdoors! 

 

How has it changed? What continues to be your inspiration? 

Last year, I founded Shoestring Adventures LA, a free Meetup community for LA weekend warriors. This year, my passion grew into a business, organizing camping trips for weekend warriors throughout California. Shoestring Adventures is the antidote to #FOMO, a community where digital friends can connect in the outdoors! 

I'm inspired by the adventurers I meet, whether they climb summits, build Altoid tin first aid kits, photograph stars or study rocks. Nature is the common thread that brings us together, but each person contributes their own experiences to make the community stronger as a whole. 

Tell us about your most recent trip. 

In February, Shoestring Adventures spent a weekend exploring Anza Borrego (Link: bit.ly/azborrego), just in time for desert wildflower season! Anza Borrego is the largest state park in California, located right outside of San Diego, yet not many folks seem to know about it. We explored a slot canyon, wind caves and a palm oasis. I cannot wait to go back! 

Now, I am looking forward to the next weekend trip April 10-12 in Death Valley National Park. (Link: bit.ly/dthvalley) Join us! 

 

What is the most rewarding thing about hosting a trip? 

I've had the privilege of taking a handful of people on their first hike or their first camping trip. I get so much joy from watching their eyes light up at the site of a waterfall or their first summit vista. The outdoors has taught me about strength and confidence, and I'm grateful to share these transformative experiences with others. 

Who is on your dream team if you were to have a dream trip to Yosemite, and why? (They can be alive or dead.) 

My Austrian grandfather, Opa, who I've only met through watching home videos. Like me, he's usually the one behind the camera. It's amazing to look through his lens and recognize so much of my adventurous spirit. 

Photographer Ansel Adams, who fell in love with Yosemite on his first visit at age 14 and supported preservation of the park through his work. His photography is not just about capturing the perfect landscape. It is an invitation to experience an intimate moment with nature. I'd like to learn a thing or two about that from the master. 

Naturalist John Muir, who played a crucial role in the creation of Yosemite as a national park. I'd love to go back and meet the young man before the legend, the man whose curiosity and passion led to an entire movement. 

 

Who are some of your favorite bloggers/grammers, what is it about them that makes their content so compelling?  

I have many muses, but these 3 amazing women have empowered me to venture out on my first solo journey this year: 

Jillian Lukiwski (Link: instagram.com/thenoisyplume) is a Canadian-born metalsmith, writer and photographer. Her self-portraits portray feminine strength and often transport me from where I stand to a place of peace and beauty. 

Gale Straub (Link: instagram.com/she_explores) quit her office job to travel the United States with her boyfriend Jon Gaffney for 1 year. Her website She-Explores.com has quickly grown into a community of inspiring women who share a similar passion for the outdoors. 

Jaymie Shearer (Link: instagram.com/jmeshe) is a lifestyle photographer and creator of MugLifeProject.com, exploring the power of community from the road. Together, we hosted a weekend trip in the Alabama Hills (Link: bit.ly/abhills), one of Jaymie's favorite places in California. I'm inspired by her ability to build community wherever she goes. She has taught me that going "solo" doesn't always mean going alone. 

 

In all your experience getting outside, what do you think we can all do to make a difference? 

Leave it better than you found it! I have a little habit of picking up at least one piece of trash on every hike. Together, we can make a huge impact. 

Also, volunteer for your local park! Whether you plant trees or restore a trail, you will gain a new appreciation for all the hard work that must be done for our enjoyment of that space. If you can, join the next Parks Project Volunteer Day (Link: http://www.parksproject.us/get-involved/)! 

Website: www.shoestringadventures.com  

Instagram: www.instagram.com/shoestringadventures  

Twitter: www.twitter.com/shoestringadvs  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shoestringadventures  

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