Dirtbag Darling : Johnie Gall
Climb, yoga, hike, kayak, surf, sail, run…….
What activity doesn’t Johnie (creator of “Dirtbag Darling“) do? Tips about the outdoors and extreme sports are just one part to her multi-facited blog. She regularly writes about her epic adventures (and bases detailed travel guides off them), keeps it healthy with green juice recipes and yummy baked kale chips, and shares other female’s stories and photos that inspire an active flourishing approach to life.
I caught up with the outdoor enthusiast to talk about the intention of her site and how she manages to log so many adventures!
When did your love with the Great Outdoors begin?
It’s funny, when was really young (maybe age three?), I would sit inside and wave to my parents from the window…things have definitely changed! My mom and dad instilled the importance of getting outdoors every day from a really young age—I spent most of my childhood riding horses, playing in the surf, following my dad on his crazy adventures without any of the right gear.
How did the idea for “Dirtbag Darling” arise?
I spent a year working in California, and every weekend I would take off to explore the state—Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Sequoia, King’s Canyon, Malibu—you name it, I went there. When I would get back to the office and swap some stories, all the other women I worked with would tell me how much they wished they could do the same. So I started hunting for blogs that would get them stoked to actually get outside and do the things that scared them (because, believe me, I still get scared to try new things sometimes). I just couldn’t find anything outdoor-focused that spanned a wide range of activities, felt lighthearted and fun, explained things simply, and touched on style a little. So I started Dirtbag Darling to accomplish some of that.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
That’s a toughie. Yosemite is really special to me—I’m sure it is to everyone who visits it—but I loved the North Cascades. It’s just so, so beautiful and because snow blocks the roads into the park for most of the year, it feels like nature is letting you in on something special if you can get there at all.
Spots on your travel list?
I’m really pining for Alaska right now, but over the next two years I plan on making it to Costa Rica, Peru, the Maldives and Australia.
Favorite outdoor activities?
Another toughie! As lame as this might sound, I like the sports that teach me something because the skills involved in pulling them off— patience from surfing, persistence from rock climbing, humbleness from hiking. I also really love sailing, kayaking, skateboarding, riding horses, skiing, mountain biking, caving and scuba diving. I picked up windsurfing last year to honor my late grandpop (he was amazing at it). This year I want to give paragliding a try since my boyfriend just bought a set-up. Ok, I think I need more hours in a day!
What you do when your not adventuring/writing about adventuring! (aka, the day job ;))?
Ah the day job—I wish I could say I’m a full-time adventurer, but my day job is still pretty rad. I’m a writer and editor for Teva and. I also help a whole slew of brands tell their story in a more creative, authentic way by connecting them with influencers in the outdoor realm, helping them write their About Us page..things like that.
What does a typical day for you look like?
I like to start my day really early, before the sun’s up. I down a mug of hot water and lemon, practice yoga, then hit the trails for a run or mountain bike ride with my dog, Rowdy. I eat a big breakfast, write for a few hours, take any pictures I need for my blog or for work, edit pictures, more writing, more editing. Because I work for myself, I’m blessed to be able to cut my day short if I need to get outside—I’ll try to go kayaking, skateboarding, windsurfing, rock climbing or train at the rock gym if the weather is really bad. I cap off my day with something relaxing—I’m currently teaching myself calligraphy—then zonk out so I can do it all again.
What is your intention behind “Dirtbag Darling?”
To get women totally, completely stoked on getting outdoors. It can be so intimidating to get started with an outdoor sport if you didn’t grow up in that type of family or community, and a lot of outdoor blogs love to get all technical on us—I like to take a different approach. A friendly, happy, “come out and join us” approach.
5 things you can’t live without?
Surf, summits, good beer, good people, good stories.
An epic outdoor experience that replays in your mind?
This summer I joined nine other friends on a two-week trip out west. We took an old school bus that we renovated to be a mobile home and hit up Grand Teton, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoia, Bryce, Kings, Crater Lake, North Cascades—until the bus took it’s last breath and we had to scrap her. On one of our overnight backpacking trips in the Tetons, we wrapped up a really tough, exhausting hike and came back to camp with hunger pains. We’d been warned there were a lot of grizzly bears in the area, so we were cooking our ramen with bear spray at the ready. Suddenly my boyfriend jumps to his feet saying really slowly, “Mother-f***er, a bear!” I look up to see a set of huge eyes staring at us from about ten yards away. We all sprang to our feet and started backing up slowly, bear spray out. My heart was beating out of my chest—but it turns out it was just a hungry deer. Deer definitely lost a little real estate in my “cute” book after that. Ok that’s not epic but it was the first thing that popped in my head.
Favorite way to relax?
I love kayaking lazily around a lake, or just laying out on my surfboard when the waves are small.
How do you manage your time!? (Because you seem really busy with great exciting things to do!)
It’s tough at times—because I work for myself, I don’t really ever get time “off.” I’ve had to miss some great adventures sitting in a coffee shop checking urgent emails. However, I do better working on my own time because my most efficient times are early in the morning and later at night—and when I’m working, I’m wo-r-r-rking, 100 percent. I write a lot of lists, set a lot of goals, then just go with the flow of the day. It seems to work out if I trust it will!
What supplies you with STOKE?
Definitely travel and not knowing what’s next—I feel most alive when I’m making spur of the moment decisions and following my “goosebumps,” as a friend once explained it.
Goals for 2014?
Connecting with more people face to face rather than online.
Best advice for novice females looking to get into outdoor pursuits?
Invest in a few basics: a down jacket, a pair of hiking boots, a headlamp, a wetsuit, a good water bottle, maybe a tent and sleeping bag set-up. Don’t buy cheap gear—make wise choices on gear that will last you forever and make you feel prepared for adventure.
Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
I have a bunch but I can’t tell you what they are just yet!
Words you live by?
Follow your goosebumps.
Thank you Johnie for your dedication to uplifting bold women and shining a powerful spotlight on Mother Nature’s precious gifts!
Follow Dirtbag Darling at www.dirtbagdarling.com and @dirtbagdarling (Twitter)
*all photos compliments of Johnie & Dirtbag Darli