andrea ference

storyteller | memory maker

492 posts 157,607 followers 187 following

“When we were children we knew what grass felt like between our toes. We knew what mud and snow tasted like because we were curious enough to find out. We knew what maple leaves in autumn and dandelions in spring smelled like. We knew what it felt like to lie our soft bellies on the ground. We knew what it felt like after the sun went down and we were still barefoot- walking across sharp rocks and frozen creeks. Then we grew up, got "smart" and forgot everything. Get back on your belly in the pine needles and feel the sting of nature. Kick your shoes off and walk slowly. Learn again what you already know.” - @jercollins_com


After one of the coldest (read: least prepared) camping nights of my life, a bowl of shrimp ramen for breakfast and a walk among the golden larch trees for sunrise - there was only one thing left to do before packing up camp and making our way back to civilization. The water was far cooler than it looked, after a few minutes in the water I was numb and did not notice, nor did i really care when I sliced my foot open on a sharp rock at the bottom of the lake. As much as I hate the cold of winter, I don’t think I will ever be able to walk away from the temptation of a glacial lake on a hot (or warm, or warm-ish) day.


An idealistic autumn sunrise, watching the alpenglow cascade across the Tantalus range with a good friend by my side as the trees, one by one, turned from green to yellow. Thats the memory that warms my heart when I look at this photo. Then the rest of the experience begins to bubble up, it was cold and windy, we were running late and didn’t have time to get coffee and my stomach was rumbling - after being reminded to grab a snack from my backpack I refused, or forgot to some combination of the two. It’s funny how we remember things, neither portion in it’s self is incorrect, nor is it the whole picture. I think it is in my nature to remember the good - it may mean that I learn a few lessons a few too many times but I don’t think I would have it any other way.



I get asked a lot where I would be if I could live anywhere in the world. The answer is always the same… (if I could afford it) I would move about 40 minutes from my front door closer to the mountains. If I could not stay in Alberta I would hop one province over to BC. And with all of the snow sticking around the rockies far too long I am heading west for a little while. If anyone is around the Vancouver/Vancouver Island/Whistler area let me know… and if you know of any snow-free adventures in the area please fill me in!
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pc: @braedin from the day I met everyone on the side of a mountain.


a storm was coming but that’s not what she felt.
it was adventure on the wind and it shivered down her spine.
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pc: @noahawaii


I grew up on the side of a mountain with four brothers and two hardworking, small business owning parents. For as long as I can remember all that I wanted was a sister. What I didn’t know then was that, in never having that sister, I would meet far more than my share of independent, smart, strong, funny, talented, powerful, inspirational and frankly badass women who cross my path and shape me into the person I am today. Thank you to every single of of you for teaching me just what we are capable of when we choose cooperation over competition.
#internationalwomensday #iwd2018
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pc: @michaelmatti



I have been puppy sitting for a friend this weekend, and when I took him out for a walk at -22°C this morning I started questioning my choice to live here. So I spent the past few hours looking at photos like this, long summer days leaving the city after dinner and catching sunset at teal blue lakes, climbing mountains before the sun comes up and jumping in alpine tarns to cool down, even winter cold spells broken up by chinook winds (who else thinks we are severely under our Chinook quota for this year?). Reminding myself all of the things that I love about this place I call home.
pc: @cassheridan
⠀ *Remember that it is illegal to feed, entice, or disturb any wildlife in a national park in Canada. Wildlife need to find their own natural food sources, not yours. Feeding wildlife causes them to become food conditioned and they may become increasingly aggressive.
Feeding may also:
* attract wildlife to roadside areas where they can be injured or killed by vehicles.
* lead to seeking out and eating garbage. Animals eat almost anything that has a scent.
* cause small animals such as squirrels to become very aggressive and bite.
* affect your health. Direct contact with wildlife may pose threats to human health such as injury or disease. @parks.canada


A little while ago I found myself at my parents’ house perusing through a long since forgotten kindergarten yearbook. I laughed as I flipped through the pages, I was weird and quirky - marching to the beat of a drum that probably didn’t actually exist. Among the photos and ramblings of a five year old I had to wonder, what would that little girl think this little life I’ve built… ⠀
pc: @michaelmatti
#maui #hawaii


Maui Blog Post!
I have spent my time avoiding freezing to death by writing up the answers to all of your questions about my recent Maui trip. After 20+ visits to the island I think I have it down to an art. Check out where to eat, sleep and explore (in the exact opposite order). Let me know if I missed anything! ⠀
pc: @michaelmatti
#maui #hawaii



Since being home from Hawaii I have done absolutely nothing. It’s been four days and aside from begrudgingly running a few blocks down the street to get coffee I have been ordering uber eats and acting utterly shocked when the sun sets and I have accomplished nothing with my day. I get this way after every trip I take, spending weeks or months with little to no sleep, awake long before the sun, cooking dinner under a blanket of stars after hiking and driving “home” from sunset and somewhere in-between trying to stay on top of life(who has time for one of those these days?). As the type-a that I have always been this is piece of my routine is very likely the time that I need the most and simultaneously the part of myself that I resent the most. #realtalk

pc: @michaelmatti
#maui #hawaii


It had been over a decade since I last visited the island of O’ahu. I, for so long, thought of it as nothing more than a big city on a small island. I chose it’s neighbouring islands over and over again, overlooking the possibilities hidden on O’ahu. This time I spent a mere four days and in that time did six hikes, spent hours trying to slackline, played in the ocean, watched sunsets and sunrises with inspirational humans (and I even managed to get a little work done). I met some of the most wonderful humans (heres looking at you @noahawaii , @kelsealoha and @meganhassa ) who call this place home and made me regret underestimating this place for so long. Is it too early to go back?

pc: @noahawaii
#oahu #hawaii


🏕️closed 🏝️
congratulations @serenamaylock @westcoastleah - I can’t wait to see your adventures (you will have to let me know if you choose the igloo or the trip to Peru!)
I just stepped off of my flight from Hawaii and had such a great time that @michaelmatti and I want you to too... so we have teamed up with our friends @glampinghub to give one of you $500USD towards a stay at any of their properties around the world (there are igloos and islands and yurts, oh my!). To enter:
- Follow @glampinghub, myself & @michaelmatti + tag a friend in the caption below and let us know where in the world you guys would go!
- Closes Feb. 21 at 8pm MST
- Good luck and go play outside!
#myglampingstory #glampinghub



Waking up above the treetops, finding perfect heart-shaped tidal pools so deep I could not come close to touching the bottom, getting tossed around by waves on a beach from my childhood, eating cheeseburgers in paradise with good friends, driving one of my favourite narrow winding roads in the world and confirmation on a bucket list trip... I may be biased but being single on Valentine’s day might just be the best! ⠀
pc: @michaelmatti
#maui #hawaii


After there days of camping at sea level I don’t think I was prepared for the night spent half way up Haleakala. I can honestly say it was the coldest camping I’ve experienced this year. With temperatures hovering around freezing and the forecasted sunrise not terribly promising I was cursing myself (and of course @michaelmatti) for not heading back down to sea level. But, as always, the sun rose and all of that frustration washed away as I stood at 10,000ft above the ocean (under 7miles away as the crow flies) watching the sun rise from above the clouds.


I spent the week in a familiar place - nearly a decade ago I came to this island for my very first solo trip, that solo trip because an annual occurrence and eventually has evolved into something more frequent and over time the durations grew longer. The once strangers turned into friends and then somehow became the family that I call in times of crisis. I have celebrated the majority of my birthdays here over the past ten years, a week (or two or three) spent in my home away from home. This year is no exception - spending my days waking up on the side of a volcano and falling sleep along the ocean, this might be why they call it paradise.
pc: @michaelmatti
#maui #hawaii #nakedearth #discoverhawaii



A photo that sums up my last 364.5 days perfectly. Amazing friends in a new and beautiful place with a (little) adventure along the way. Tomorrow starts a new chapter and if its anything like the last I simply can not wait.
pc: @travisburkephotography
#birthdayeve #oregonexplored


A pretty typical view hanging out with me in the Rockies, pointing into the distance, yammering on about rock compositions, peaks climbed or how mountains are formed. Only a few hours after @cassheridan and @bsonnntag landed in Calgary we set off to watch one of my favourite sunsets of the year along the Icefield Parkway. One of my favourite things about living where I do is being able to share it with friends.
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#explorealberta #explorecanada


This morning my alarm went off just before 5am - I took some time to stretch, roll out of bed and get myself dressed. Within a half hour I mounted my bicycle and set off for yoga. I made it almost a whole block before saying “f this” and pulled a u-turn. I then proceeded to brew a cup of coffee and spend the remainder for the -26°C (-15°F) in bed watching ‘The Babadook’ (any other horror film lovers out there?) dreaming of summer days when the sun didn’t set until well after 10pm and thought of frostbite didn’t even cross my mind.
pc: @michaelmatti



I have never been in love with Canadian winters (sorry!). So a week from today, as I have done so many Februarys before, I will be frantically packing my suitcases and heading off to warmer weather.
Last year I spent my birthday playing on Kauai, trying my best to see it from every vantage point. Check out the link in my bio - fair warning, you may want to prepare yourself to add Kauai to your bucket list.
pc: @michaelmatti


I have never regretted waking up early to watch the sun rise, not once.


If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at 18 what would it be?
Would you tell yourself to save more…or to enjoy life while you’re young and still able to? To work harder or to to stress a little less? Would say that some people find their niche when they are 5 years old and others sit on the brink of their 28th birthday wondering what the fuck they’re doing(and both are perfectly wonderful in their own right)? Would you tell yourself that pain and heartbreak and sadness and frustration are all important parts of the process, or maybe a gentle reminder to simply believe in yourself? Would you talk about friendships or family or money or love? Life is full of regrets and what-ifs and I have lost count of the number of times I wish I could have chosen a different path BUT I was recently asked to write a piece of advice for my nephew to be opened on his 18th birthday so it got me thinking...


Change - thats what this place will forever represent for me. I remember hiking down, still in denial of the fact that I had just made the world shifting decision to leave my comfortable, stable, dream 9-5 career and hopped on a one-way flight to meet a group of strangers and spend some time off of the grid at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. And just like clockwork, as if somehow the universe knew, we were stopped by a local man, Cleve, who told us exactly what we needed to hear. That the town of Supai was the gateway to change, a place to come with your troubles and leave a little ‘lighter’. So we spent some time camping under the stars, playing in the water, building friendships and somewhere along the way our troubles seemed a little less problematic. I think so often we carry our burdens alone and for far too long… maybe we don’t need a special place and exceptional people to heal but if I am being honest, it didn’t hurt.


"The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness." With balance on my mind the past few weeks I could not but to be brought back to this road trip a few months ago with @bruinalexander - we spent a few weeks hunting hot spots in the middle of a brutal early winter storm. I spend so much of my days running around I have been making a conscious effort to take care of my mind, including trying out a daily meditation practise… and am wondering if you have any tips, tricks or recommendations for me? Any podcasts you love or apps that seem to work better than others! I am all ears!


I sometimes get caught up in focusing on the the next big trip, planning adventures, making plans… so yesterday @ryanclennett and I took the day to fully embrace being Canadian. We tossed on our toques and flannel, laced up our skates and played a little shinny on one of the most beautiful ponds in the world (and even got there early enough to have the ice to ourselves for a little). I said sorry more times than I would like to admit, drank maple syrup in my coffee and even let an “Eh!” or two slip. I could not have asked for a better welcome back to this place I am fortunate enough to call home. 🇨🇦


Balance success with significance.
Those were the first words that I read when I got home last night from just over a month on the road. It was a big month - a lot of travel, a lot of packing and planning an organizing (and a lot of those plans being derailed), a lot of quality time with my family and friends and of course a lot of work. And when I crawled into my bed at the end of the day, when I for the first time in a while took a second to soak it all in… I felt like an empty Capri Sun - somehow in all of that time I forgot to take care of myself. And then I read those words and thought, how can I have significance in the world if I am not even placing it on myself. So I am spending today and maybe tomorrow and the day after that in my little home trying to figure out how to find that balance. Any tips?
pc: @michaelmatti


So I somehow ended up back in Washington, it’s my fourth visit in six months and I don’t anticipate my stops here becoming any less frequent. I could believably say that I keep coming back because of it’s beautiful and diverse landscapes… but more likely it’s because so many of my favourite humans call this place home.
This photo was taken on a last minute late summer backpacking trip with @michaelmatti - our campsite had three tent pads and the trail to this point had long since overgrown. We ate dinner as the sun set below the mountains (I would be willing to bet that my MRE for the night was out of view but not arm’s reach) and the full moon rise to take its place. Our way down in the dark was one of those “Type II Fun” moments, relatively certain we were sharing the mountainside with a bear, getting cliffed out at least a few times and ending up with more than a few war wounds. But we eventually made it back to the lake below and our laughter echoed into the night.


Last night we parted ways with our crew and headed into the unknown, literally. The little plans we had were ruined by bad weather and instead of the epic adventure @travisburkephotography and I had planned we sat in a hotel room in Bend, Oregon perusing the internet for a plan B or C (or maybe at this point we are on plan Z). I fell asleep early and somewhere in the wee hours of the morning a photo of this place with no name or direction was found. We (he) found vague directions with counted steps and a series of seemingly random turns so we hopped in the van, picked up coffee and headed out. Our disappointment for failed plans faded, and excitement grew, as the patched together directions panned out and these tucked away waterfalls came into sight.


Instead of spending my New Year’s Eve setting goals and making intentions I try to set an example for myself. Last year I met up with a virtual stranger and went on a week-long road trip to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I then proceeded to spend the next twelve months turning some of the most inspiring strangers into my nearest and dearest, I spent months on end travelling by plane, train, bus, boat, car, camper van, bicycle (you name it) to the places that dreams are made of. This year one of those strangers-turned-friends invited me to spend a few nights in a dreamy cabin in the middle of Oregon (thank you @chelseakauai) I couldn’t say no. We rang in the year turning nature walks into adventures, we watched the sun rays flood into an empty hot spring, set up a high-line over a waterfall under a double rainbow, we stayed up too late and laughed too much. So here’s to another year of running around aimlessly and somehow ending up right where I need to be.
Photo by the ever-talented @travisburkephotography


I love opposites! I love contradictions; I think human beings need contradictions. We need opposites. We need to sleep in a five-star hotel and we need to sleep under a tree. The distance and the difference between those two extremes are what makes us happy and what makes us think and what makes us grow. If you only sleep under a tree, it’s quite sad. If you only sleep in a five-star hotel, it’s extremely sad, too. -Francis Mallmann
This time last year I was sleeping in a tent exploring Utah for the first time with @everchanginghorizon - this year I am ringing in the New Year in a cozy cabin in another new state with a group of wonderful humans. Happy New Year everyone!
pc : @everchanginghorizon


What is the best road trip you’ve ever been on?
Growing up my family didn’t really go on road trips, with five kids I think the last thing that my parents wanted was to voluntarily trap themselves in a car with us for hours on end. So, in my adult life I have jumped at every opportunity to spend too many hours in vehicles trying to get as far away from the beaten path as possible. One of my favourites was this whirlwind trip to the Dolomites, ripping around a series of never ending switchbacks, blasting country music (to the dismay of @michaelmatti), living off of 3 hours of sleep a night, two pizzas a day and countless cups of coffee.