Mina Young Lee

#followyouradventure ♥➶

591 posts 36,522 followers 399 following

Protein break while canyoneering in Utah. It was my second day being introduced to the sport and I was in love. Access to otherwise inaccessible places, rappelling down waterfalls, swimming through sandstone slot canyons, and views like this while we stuff our faces with bars and jerky. #mykindofheaven


Did you know every flight booked to fly from or to the United States is required by the Department of Transportation to be refundable for a period of 24 hours after booking? No excuses, book that dream trip ;) I just booked a one-way ticket to a country that I’ve never been to but has been on my list since the Lord of the Rings. 🤩🏔️🧚🏻‍♀️ What new places are you going to this year? #followyouradventure


Around a mile and a half into the Wire Pass Trail there was this carved out arch in the wall. I wonder what it’d be like to live in that space. Harmoniously with nature, campfire for heat, bed built out of logs and greens or even carved into the ground. What it’d be like to live in a world where you just walked up to a spot and said yep, this is mine. I’m calling this Home for the next 382 days. Actually, we kinda do do that. Where’s Home for you? #followyouradventure



Here’s to wishing you all an amazing 2018! ✨💗🦋 Make goals! Write em down. Big or small but dig deep and write what you want to happen in your life this year. Then let it go. “Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction... The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” - Melody Beattie #writeyourdreamlife #followyouradventure #happynewyear ;)


One of my favorite trips of 2017. Wins every. damn. time. I mean this place. How MAGICAL is the scenery at the bottom of Mooney Falls? Seriously though where’s T-Rex, Sid, and the kids? Missing this place and the crew we stomped around with on these fairytale grounds a couple months ago. #otherworldly


When I was little, my mom or dad would dress up as Santa, sneak into our rooms the night of Christmas Eve and stuff our stockings with presents. One year I had trouble falling asleep and saw “Santa” come into the room. He looked a lot smaller, shorter, skinnier, and beardless than I imagined. That’s when I slowly started putting together that “Santa” was actually my parents. Instead of letting my parents know that I knew their dirty little secret, I played along for a couple more years (until my sisters caught on) pretending that I still believed in Santa so I could check off more of my wish list. Silly little Mina. Presents, Santa, and Reindeers might have been the most exciting part of the holidays for me when I was younger, but now that I’m a bit older and possibly a little wiser, time spent with loved ones during Christmas is what I cherish the most and I am so damn thankful to be with those I love this year. Here’s to wishing you a happy happy holidays and more time spent with your loved ones! ❄️💗



How fortunate are we that the presidents and heroes before us had the brilliant idea of protecting natural wonders such as the site you see before me in this photo. The more I travel the more I realize how places like this are diminishing day by day. Not only in our homeland, but all over the world. An alarming amount of rainforests are being illegally deforested by governments to create furniture from exotic and rare trees for quick revenue. Increasing palm oil production by bulldozing tropical forests and wildlife habitats has taken precedence over protecting endangered specifies and preserving nature for the sake of all life on earth. One trillion plastic bags are used and discarded every year. That’s around 2.7 billion per day. How do we make a difference? This is a question I find asking myself often. Did you know that palm oil is in just about everything processed? Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the back of your Quaker Oats? How about your Doritos? Choosing to vote with your wallet is a small, but powerful act if we do it together. Companies will only start to change their business models from efficient and minimal cost to ethical and minimally harmful to humans and the environment if we drive the market there. Shopping is generally a long and drawn out process for me as I take my time to inspect ingredients, source of a product, and ethics and practices of a company before making a purchase. Another simple way to #votewithyourwallet is to support companies, products or services with the @1percentFTP logo. These companies give 1% of annual sales back to non-profit organizations who are dedicated to creating a healthier planet. What are some ways you guys find yourselves #makingadifference?


Earlier this summer I took two people behind the brand @Merrell on their first backpacking trip. With an elevation change of over 2800 ft in 3.5 miles and a trail full of loose rocks on an unofficially established trail with class 5 scrambling in temperatures over 100 degrees, to say it wasn’t a beginner hike is to say the least. We carried 2 days worth of food, 10 liters of water, and our homes on our backs. There were tears shed, heat exhaustion battled, and bruises decorating one of the girls. When asked what their favorite part of the hike was, their response was “getting out alive”.

If you know me, or have ever adventured with me, you know its pretty typical of me to plan something where sleep is little and bruises are served for breakfast. When one of my good friends asked me to take him camping for his birthday one year we drove 11+ hours to the desert, carried down 3 days worth of food and gear along with a foldable kayak down a narrow steep rocky crevice and paddled 5 miles to our campsite which we hauled over wood from another 1/2 mile away for a campfire. On our way out, on our 6th trip up the rocky crevice and sandy slopes, he took a break from hauling his kayak, looked at me in complete exhaustion and said something along the lines of, “if I asked anyone else to take me camping they would have taken me to a drive up spot where we’d pitch our tent right next to our cars. But I ask you to take me camping and you take me on this trip where we have to carry 60lb of gear for multiple days and a kayak on our backs. Wtf.” They were words mixed with feelings of disbelief, gratitude, awe, and maybe a little bit of regret.

In retrospect I can honestly say to these girls, and my friends who’s fallen victim to my expeditions: I’m sorry for putting you through hell, for not prepping you guys better, for the bruises, heat exhaustion, and blue toes. But I am not sorry for being able to witness you guys push past your self-doubts, overcome your fears, and conquer yourselves on the trail. To witness this is incredibly rewarding, humbling, and inspiring. If you’ve ever come with me on a trip, thank you for putting your trust in me. #createyourtrail


Hats off to you Mother Nature 🧢
What an incredible piece of work this place is. It’s hard to put into words or encapsulate in a photo what it’s like to stand here in person. The majestic rocky towers glowing from the peak of daylight through the clouds, the crystal clear turquoise lake which flows from here and snakes it’s way down the valley to where the hike all begun 5km ago. The 2748km of driving it took to get ourselves there. The endless master of butt sculpting stairmasters we conquered on our way up. When I look at this photo I remember very clearly seeing this place for the first time, standing there slack jawed trying to comprehend all that overwhelming beauty - but for me it’s the moments along the journey that stick like a sore thumb in my memories. Four fully grown adults sleeping in the car waiting for border patrol to open the gates, the moment my best friend came to comfort me during a mental breakdown during the drive down, the panic we felt when we did a replay of all we went through to hike our way to base camp and the campground host told us there may not be enough room, the countless amount of alpacas we saw on the road and the excitement we felt about it every single time. The experiences accompanying the adventure is what keeps calling me back, every objective smacking me with exactly what I was subconsciously seeking. Humility, humanity, reflection, excitement, gratitude, and transformation. Although everything we seek is already inside of us, the trail to Mirador Torres del Paine certainly had a way of bringing it all out. @merrell #createyourtrail



Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction - so easy to lapse into - that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us. [Robert Macfarlane]


Where do you guys find yourselves showering when living on the road? hotels? rivers? travel centers? gyms? RV campground showers? developed campground showers? out of your own bag and hose? a built in mobile shower? hot springs? in your personal outdoor, hot springs filled hot tub at your private campsite? The latter was one of my favorite places of rejuvenation on the road. #dipfeedthefire #privacypluswater #followyouradventure


Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. [Bruce Lee]
It’s been over a month since I sprained my ankle and I’m still on crutches so I decided to go to a local hospital here in Ninh Binh, Vietnam to get another set of x-rays. With the type of pain I’ve been experiencing and research I’ve done online I was sure I fractured my fibula. The x-rays, local doctors, and friends who have been nice enough to take the time to look at the x-rays from overseas have confirmed this. At best this means another month on crutches, casted and immobilized right foot. At worst this can require a flight back home for surgery and a longer recovery period. What had originally thought to be just a few torn ligaments and expectation of walking soon has halted our plans of motorbiking, packrafting, and trekking our way across Vietnam. When life throws curveballs like this I know it’s a sign to step back and reevaluate. The universe, and maybe subconsciously I have been screaming “slow down” for the past month but I didn’t listened. Guiding a 20 mile trek and hobbling around Vietnam continuously pursuing adventure with and sometimes without a simple brace and crutches probably wasn’t the best course of action but I have no regrets. Looking into the present now I know it’s time to shift my focus, taking the much needed time to catch up on photographs, blogs, books, meditation, along with a few exciting potential projects and let the seeds of opportunity blossom into flowers of passion, creation, partnerships, balance, and continuous potentiality in the realm of uncertainty, all while giving back. #followyouradventure #wearelimitless #createyourtrail



Trekking through some parts of this canyon felt like walking through nature’s pottery. At 21 mikes Buckskin Gulch may be the longest slot canyon in the world and although most notably known for its snake like narrow passages, this part opened up a bit wider with softer edges taking on a more feminine like energy. #createyourtrail


Legend has it that Ha Long Bay got its name from a dragon descended from the heavens spitting jade jewels into the water to protect Vietnam from its invaders. Being one of the seven natural wonders makes it a popular tourist destination. However, this photo wasn’t taken in Ha Long Bay, but it’s lesser known and ventured adventurous sister, Lan Ha Bay. Home to over 24 known deep water soloing crags and over 200 establish routes, along with several secret lagoons, this place makes for an exploring climbers paradise. One can hire a basket boat to take them deeper into the bay anywhere between $5-20 depending on ones negotiating skills but due to the variability of the tide levels which affects the ability to access and safely climb most of the routes, we had the help of an excellent guide from @asiaoutdoors (only licensed climbing tour operator with certified climbing guides on the island) and their basket boat driver who also climbs and know the appropriate safety measures to take to assist a climber onto a wall. We took our @kokopellipackraft to launch from our basket boat to explore the hidden lagoons in between climbs which we had all to ourselves. More on this later. #followyouradventure


Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] // 2017 has been pretty nutty so far. I’m grateful for all that’s happened. The adventures, mishaps, injuries, my wonderful and crazy family, the friends who always say yes to adventure, the kindness of strangers along the way, the kickass brands i get to work with, the inspiration that circles among instagram, the go-getters i’ve gotten to know through my guided trips, the sites I’ve had the privilege of visiting this year, old and new, my health, my dog, lessons I’ve learned, experiences I’ve had, the boundaries which have been pushed, the countries I’ve explored, our public lands which supply us with ground to play, air to breathe and water to drink, the universe for letting me know when to slow down, this floating pink flamingo for supplying us with a couple hours of fun on this amazingly gorgeous place of magicness, @rexekuhn for taking and sending me this photo, my bf who’s been there for me in unconditional ways, my mom who’s always cooking me deliciousness when I’m home from my trips, my sister who’s always checking in with me, my other sister who’s moved to and getting to explore a new state, my dad who’s about to have another child, my half-aunt who’s come into my life recently and is hosting thanksgiving in her home for all the family (unfortunately I won’t be there for it but hey), the absolutely stunning scenery I’m immersed in at the moment in Vietnam, the lovely homestays we’ve stayed at and the hosts we’ve gotten to meet along the way, the nights spent under the starry sky, the trails I’ve hiked, the waters I’ve swam in, you guys who follow my adventures, I’m thankful for it ALL. #happythanksgiving 💞🍁



The following is a note I wrote in my phone earlier this year about relationships:
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I think for relationships to be tested with downs and then recovering from that down always makes a relationship stronger. I think fights aren't always a bad thing. It's good for two people to be able to stand up for what they believe in without worrying about whether that person will hate them or not. It's good to show your true colors from the getgo and ween out the fakes.
- - -
But that's part of what makes us strong. The downs suck balls but at least we see our true colors all the time and sometimes they're not all bright and rainbow colored with purple fucking butterflies. Sometimes they're dark and have shit written all over it with dinosaur t-rex blood but at least we know every depth of both of us and choose to accept it.
- - - - - - -
No one is really ever your friend or truly loves you until they have seen every dark shadow inside of you... and stayed. Choose someone who chooses you just as much as you choose them every single damn day. 💞 Happy birthday @juusoringman.


Got word from my family this little munchkin has been misbehaving lately. It’s hard traveling and leaving her home but SouthEast Asia isn’t really the most dog friendly environment. What’s funny to me is that dogs are just like humans in the sense that they need the outdoors, wild open spaces, and physical exercise just as much as we humans in orders to be healthy, happy, and well behaved. Unfortunately she doesn’t get a whole lot of this when I’m not home and it’s interesting to see how different of a dog she becomes when she doesn’t get her fix. #sorrybabesbutwewilladventurewhenimhome #sheadventuresmorethanmostdogssoitevensout #wearewild #getoutdoors


One of the last shots I took in Norway before a huge wave came crashing down on me and my photography gear. I learned very quickly from an incident a couple years ago that salt water will erode the metal in your camera. I lost a $4,500 set when i put the camera and lens into a bag of rice after it fell in the ocean. This time the first thing I did was turn off my camera and take out the batteries. The second thing i did was grab a water bottle and immediately wash off the salt water. The last thing I did was leave in an open area to dry for at least 24 hours before turning it back on. These steps saved my gear and hopefully this will never happen to you, but if it does, my lesson is your gain :)



There is strength in every struggle. Struggles create opportunities for you to become stronger, wiser and better. The moment you shift your thinking from "I cannot" to "I must," you will begin to see 'Beyond the Pain' and draw strength from within. Learn to see each obstacle as a stepping stone and watch your life change significantly. [Kemi Sogunle] // when I sprained my ankle a week before I had planned to guide a 20+ mile trek so many people told me “Mina, you can’t” - “reschedule your trip” - “hire someone else” etc etc. My response: “I must, and I will.” Look for the opportunities in every problem. Chances are, it’s a moment to overcome obstacles and build inner (and outer) strength 💕 @merrell #createyourtrail


Can’t say enough good things about the last trip’s crew. Kind, humbling, inspiring, driven, go-getters. The trip wasn’t how i imagined it. Guiding a trip with mutiple ligament tears and an unusable right ankle made getting around more difficult. However, limited mobility presented an opportunity to pull out and play with the 70-200mm lens from a birds eye view. Each time I come here, I find a new way to appreciate this place. This time, it was through the eyes of others. #followyouradventure


What you see: a happy, healthy Mina. What you don’t see: @juusoringman on the other side of the lens who just dropped everything and flew across the planet to help me with my Havasupai trip, my handicap foot, and to drive me back across the country to Virginia within three days after the trip. What a fucking man. #iloveyou #luckylady #offthegridfor3days #wildernesstherapy #havasupaiherewecome #seeyousoontribe


Havasupai is one of those places where when you see it for the first time, and every time thereafter, you find yourself asking... is this real life? How does something like this exist in America? How does it exist on Planet Earth? We owe it to the Supai people for protecting and fighting for this place’s preservation. Could you imagine if we protected every wild place like this on Planet Earth? What kind of Avatar Fairy Disneyland we’d be living in? Thankful there are places like this protected and kept in its natural form. More of this please!


Yesterday I sprained my ankle and shed tears of pain but was emotionally overcome with gratitude. Gratitude for the angelic souls who stopped along their paths to help me and make sure I made it down to the parking lot safely. I’m thankful for the lady who picked up and carried a make shift wooden hiking stick and proceeded to follow behind me in case I wanted to use it as support when I got to a flat surface. I’m thankful for the two girls who stopped to follow behind the group - maybe sticking around just in case they could help in anyway. I’m thankful for @4reefall who was my physical support the entire way down, even taking the responsibility and burden of putting me on his back and carrying me down the last 1/3 mile. I’m thankful for his girlfriend @saster who carried his backpack to allow this and support us physically and emotionally the way down. I’m thankful for @tamaradekauwe who has since supported me every step since the moment it happened from taking the load off my back, to wheelchairing me to the bathroom, to making me dinner, buying supplies to heal, taking care of my dog, and basically doing what she can to help. In less than one week I am guiding a trip to Havasupai and I cannot be more thankful for the people who I will have with me for support and assistance, and to the people coming on the trip who have been understanding and so darn compassionate about my injury. I am thankful for all of you who responded to my IG story with advice or a story for healing my ankle. Thank you so much. It meant a lot reading each of your messages and getting all the wonderful tips. Thank you @christinexploring for probably pulling over on your long drive to write me all your tips. I’m thankful to my family who’s been also giving me advice and making sure I’m taking all the right steps to heal correctly. This might be a physical set back, but emotionally, my heart is full and I’m ready to take on the challenges and opportunities that come along with an unstable right ankle. #5daystorecover #herewego #createyourtrail


Breathtaking views from our campsite at Lee’s Ferry a couple nights ago. Can you guys see Garfield in the rocks? Anyone know these peaks? Anyone wanna climb em? 🙋 #createyourtrail #followyouradventure


Here’s to the friends who drive 14 hours straight to adventure with you, to the friends who get up in the dark to hike to a hot spring with you, and to the friends who leave the warmth of a car heater in below freezing temperatures to route check and steer the crew to safety on a road decorated with craters of frozen mud and big drop offs so they can sunrise soak with you. #mykindofpeople #followyouradventure #createyourtrail


I grew up with dogs pretty much my entire life, so when I moved to LA, living without a furry friend felt kinda weird. The first pup I came across was on the boardwalk at Santa Monica beach. Some kid had a litter of what looked like pit bull mixed puppies. Not so hesitantly I ran up and started playing with them. The biggest female caught my eye. I couldn’t resist. I paid him $150 and took her home to bathe her and get rid of the 338474 fleas nested in her fur. Landlord said no pitbulls. I cried when I gave her up but it was to a nice family. The second pup came to me thru a friend I was working with. The guy she was dating came across a couple malnourished pups from a homeless guy and paid him $100 to take them under his wing and find them a good home. She asked me if I wanted one and I told her I probably couldn’t but I’d take a look. The male pup was an absolute stud muffin and full of vibrant energy. He couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old and again, temptation got the best of me and I adopted him. Again, a different landlord this time said “dogs are allowed but no puppies.” He went to a new home, a friend who I still keep in touch with today. He’s in good hands and lives a great life. Fast forward some time later and I found myself browsing Craigslist for puppies. A family who had a husky and pit bull unexpectedly made babies and the pups needed a home. I took one look at a picture of Kyra and I called them up asking if they still had her. When they said yes I ran to my car and drove an hour and a half to meet them in a parking lot. I melted at the sight of her and again adopted my third puppy in LA. And again despite of dogs being allowed at the property, this time with a different landlord, had issues. This time I refused to give her up and fought back, eventually winning. It took three tries but I finally found the best adventure partner and I couldn’t be more grateful. Point of my story, don’t give up and keep fighting for what you want. #createyourtrail #puppyadventures pc: @juusoringman // ps. I grew up with the biggest don’t-touch-my-feet phobia so letting her lick my feet is a sign of real trust and love 😜


fun day, fun crew, side flip, I’ll getcha next time #ChaseYourGOAT @backcountry // pc: @steliosxanthos


It took three days of driving up and down the same and different roads to snag it, but I think we like our campsite. #privatewaterfall #fairyland


we almost didn’t come. it was the start of our 2 day drive back to Santiago after hiking Torres del Paine. at the approach of the turn we flipped a coin and it said no go. then there it was, a poster size photo showcasing the peaks of Monte Fitz Roy on the wall at the gas station a couple hours drive past the turn to El Chalten. it only took one glimpse and we drove through the night to sleep in the parking lot and wake up scrunched in the car to a semi clear sky. after a little hike in the dark we ended up at this gusty wind-filled view, clouds dancing around the heavens playing peak-a-boo with those beautiful jagged peaks. as always, worth it. #followyouradventure // 📸: @jacksonian7


t-minus 24 days til we’re back at this wonderland 🦋