On Balancing an Adventurous Life with City Life

By Kayla Moxley, Girls Who Hike Los Angeles Ambassador

If you were to look in my calendar, you likely wouldn’t find a single day that didn’t have at least three different things going on. I live my life on the go, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I am currently in my last semester of my undergrad in Child and Family Studies and applying for graduate school for Social Work. Helping others has always been a strong passion of mine and now I’m doing what I can do make it as a living. But in all my research and studying, I’ve quickly realized that while helping others, many social workers burn out and put self care on the last of their to do list because they’re constantly helping others. That’s where hiking comes into my life. When I’m hiking, I still find myself helping others on the trail, handing out water to humans and dogs that come inadequately prepared, giving food and talking up how awesome hikers who are struggling up switchbacks are. In every hike, I find self care though. Summiting a difficult peak or trail instills a sense of self love. While on a hike, I am able to reach into the dark corners of my mind and face everything I’m feeling at the time. As a social worker, it’s so important to be aware of our feelings and not be afraid of anything uncomfortable. I have found that regular hiking helps me be a better person for my career. When I finish a hike and I return to slouching on my bed with my nose in textbooks, I know I’m doing it for the right reasons. I’m more able to focus on what I need to succeed in life and I know I don’t get overwhelmed because I set aside time to hike and think things through while exercising out in nature. I’m able to balance a heavy workload, filled calendar with social gatherings, school, volunteering, work, while still finding time for my part time job as a musician. I always get odd looks from other students with an equal amount of workload and asked how I can find time for all of my hiking and camping. But in order to help others in the long run, I know I need to care for my own self. Before I started avidly hiking, I often found myself overwhelmed with everything I needed to do to maintain educational, social and financial responsibilities. With hiking, I turned a hobby into a habit in order to take care of my emotional and mental state. I’ve put my mental health first because of hiking and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kayla hiking the Lost Coast Trail with her dog, November 2016

Kayla hiking the Lost Coast Trail with her dog, November 2016

Kayla is the Ambassador for our Los Angeles chapter. You can join her local meetups and discussions through the Los Angles chapter by clicking here.