Children’s Book To Be Released May 2021

My writing has taken me in a number of directions the past 12 years, from magazines to photo books, screenplays to interpretive panels. But, one genre I’ve been particularly excited to sink my teeth into is children’s books.

Usually, a new genre requires some research on my part, and in the past six years, I’ve had the chance to read hundreds of children’s books with my own kids. I’ve developed a personal taste for what works, what is most engaging, which rhyming patterns I like the best, and which illustrations resonate with adults and kids alike. I have also learned to appreciate the ways that children’s books can challenge our thinking through the most simple of concepts.

A few years ago I had a concept for a kid’s book, after observing my own experiences in the outdoors with my kids. What is it that they see that adults do not? What do I walk past in my own ambition to reach a destination? What might I learn from slowing down the pace and seeing the world the way my kids see it? For over two years the idea swirled around, until one beautiful sunny evening this past spring I sat on my back porch and pounded out a full-length poem.

Meet Geneva, the main character of The Wonders That I Find. Illustrations by Taylor Odynski.

Fast-forward six months and I have the privilege of working with a talented Calgary-based artist, Taylor Odynski, to bring the story to life (she had previously done work for us with the Canadian Rockies Annual). We pitched the book to Rocky Mountain Books, with whom I’ve already published a series of travel/photo books about the Canadian Rockies, and they enthusiastically agreed to publish it.

So, with that, The Wonders That I Find will be published in May 2021! We’ve got a journey ahead of us pulling everything together, but I’m looking forward to every step of the way.

If you’re interested in receiving email updates about this book, please sign up for my newsletter!

Interview on Hike Like a Woman

How does a mom, business owner, and outdoor adventurer balance it all? Have I ever had a family adventure that went horribly wrong? What would I tell my 12-year-old self?

Rebecca from Hike Like a Woman sure had a wide range of questions for me in her podcast, on an episode she called “Real Life in Banff.” Sounds about right, seeing as I get down to the bare bones (sometimes skeletons) of things, and give you the honest truth on my life as a parent, wife, entrepreneur. Plus, I was entirely unscripted and somewhat unprepared, so my answers are about as authentic as they come!

→ If you’d like to give the podcast a listen (I highly recommend tuning into her other episodes, too!), head on over to Hike Like a Woman.

6 Highlights of 2016

Each year I do a round-up of some kind, whether it’s things that I’m grateful for or how my previous year’s goals panned out. For this year, my knee-jerk reaction was I don’t have time to write one, and I don’t, but that’s exactly the problem. These are the things I need to make time for so that life doesn’t feel so frantic. These are the things that keep me grounded. So, this year I’m keeping it simple and highlighting six things from 2016 – the good, the not so good, and the awesome.

1. CANADIAN ROCKIES ANNUAL HITS THE SHELVES

Back in 2014, my business partner and I sat down and dreamt up a new kind of mountain culture publication for the Canadian Rockies In May 2016, those dreams became a reality when Volume 1 of the Canadian Rockies Annual hit the shelves!  Thanks to everyone who purchased and subscribed – we are down to our last few copies. Volume 1 is still available for ordering (and pre-orders for Volume 2 are now open!) Thanks to Doug Urquhart at UpThink Lab for this awesome promo video.

2. ADVENTURES ON HAWAI’I, The BIG ISLAND

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

This year’s family trip back in March took us to The Big Island, where we enjoyed beach time, cool volcanic features, amazing coffee (a must) and time with Grammy. As I do with all our family adventures, I wrote an article over on AdventurousParents.com: Family Travel – A Short Guide to Hawai’i, The Big Island. Up next? Bermuda.

3. BERG LAKE + MT. ROBSON PROVINCIAL PARK

Photo by Meghan J. Ward.

Photo by Meghan J. Ward.

What would a summer be without some awesome outdoor adventures? This one was definitely a highlight for many reasons: a great crew, new terrain, awesome weather and some good old time alone in the backcountry. I highly recommend a trip into Berg Lake for any intermediate/advanced hikers!

4. Saying Goodbye

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This year I said goodbye to the last of my grandparents, my father’s mother, Maxine (here she is with grandpa Bill, who left us about 15 years ago). I was in the midst of finishing the magazine when she passed away, and the whole experience, including the memorial in Winnipeg in June seems to have whizzed by. But, these days I’m remembering her and missing her. She was an incredible person.

5. LAUNCHING OFFBEAT

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I feel so incredibly blessed to work with a team of creatives who strive to help others on their own creative journeys. This year my husband Paul Zizka and our friend/colleague Dave Brosha teamed up to launch OFFBEAT, a new online photo community and international photography workshops company. Through the process, I also got to meet our project manager, Camila – a woman pretty much cut from the same cloth. Be sure to tell the photographers in your life to check out OFFBEAT!

6. YOU WOn’t remember this

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Taken on the Redearth Creek trail on the way home from Shadow Lake Lodge, 2015. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Last month I got a few hard copies of a new anthology I wrote for called You Won’t Remember ThisIt is my first official book authorship! With four tourist books in the works this year, and plenty of ideas down the pipeline, I feel like I’m finally embarking on my ultimate goal which is to work more in the book world. Thanks to Sandy for the opportunity to be part of her book!

Happy New Year, everybody!

All good things,

-Meghan

The Real Things a Girl Thinks About on a Hike

Like many people who read “12 Things a Girl is Probably Thinking About on a Hike“, I was left feeling quite disturbed by the shallowness of the piece. I immediately started pondering how I’d rewrite it. A friend of mine and fellow writer, Tera Swanson, beat me to it, and did such a bang-on job, I thought I’d reblog it for you here. It is beautifully written, and one of Tera’s best pieces to date (in my opinion!). Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Wander Journals:

By Tera Swanson

After recently reading an article a friend had shared with me regarding “what girls probably think about on a hike,” it opened some conversation with the women in my life who enjoy the outdoors as to what we did or didn’t relate to, how it portrayed outdoor women, and what our motivations were for getting out there. Turns out that yes, you can care how your hair looks and enjoy hiking too. Or not care. That is also ok.

Hence, I’ve compiled my own 12 thoughts and traits of “girls who hike” that I’ve gathered from these conversations and my own contemplations – let me know whether or not you agree!

1) We check in with our hiking partners. How is everyone doing? What are our group’s strengths and weaknesses, as individuals and as a whole? Sometimes we need a little push to overcome things that seem a lot scarier than they really are. Sometimes we need to pay close attention to our partners when they are becoming more and more anxious, but won’t make the call to pull out. And sometimes we explore with people who are way overconfident in their abilities. It’s important to check in with others, as well as make note of your own thought process and comfort levels.

Read the rest of the article on The Wander Journals.

Find Your Zen in the Canadian Rockies this September

Back into the grind after a summer of road trips, cottage time and holiday-ing? Here’s my latest piece for Avenue Magazine about finding Zen in the mountains. (You’ll have to head to the Canadian Rockies to take advantage of these ideas!)

Excerpt:

Autumn brings with it a change of colours and, more often than not, a mountain of stress. As summer vacations give way to the familiar juggling act, consider leaving the busyness behind to tap into what matters most.

If Zen is what you’re after, look no further than the Canadian Rockies, where these six activities will let you reflect, refocus and recharge.

Continue reading → “Fall Into Focus: September’s Best Ways to Find Zen in the Mountains.” 

Check out the September issue of Avenue Calgary.

Check out the September issue of Avenue Calgary.

Thoughts on the Outdoor Blogging Industry and An Award Nomination

Open the Rocky Mountain Outlook on August 28, 2014, and you’ll see this piece written by Lynn Martel. It provides a bit more of the backstory of my blogging career and my perspectives on the outdoor blogging industry.

The articles starts with:

Banff blogger nominated for award

“A Banff outdoor writer and blogger is quite pleased to be among 20 of her peers nominated for USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for Favourite Hiking and Outdoors Travel Blogger.

Meghan J. Ward, a mother, freelance writer and blogger living in Banff, said she was surprised to learn she was among the nominees for her blog, thecampsiteblog.com.

Unfortunately, however, she missed out on the initial announcement because she was at Shadow Lake Lodge in the Wi-Fi-free Banff backcountry with her 16-month-old daughter, Maya, and husband, photographer Paul Zizka, when the news was announced.”

Continue reading here.

 

 

Meghan J. Ward Nominated for Best Hiking and Outdoors Travel Blogger by USA Today and 10Best

I have just emerged from a four-day backcountry trip here in Banff National Park to find out I’ve been nominated for Best Hiking and Outdoors Travel Blogger by USA Today and 10Best (readers to decide the final verdict!). After 3.5 years of work on The Campsite Blog (with the help of an editorial assistant, Helena Artmann and a team of gear reviewers), I am thrilled with this nomination, and stoked to be amongst some friends I admire in the outdoor blogging industry.

USAToday 10Best Hiking and Outdoors Travel Blogger

Here’s how they decided the nominees:

From USA Today/10Best.com: The top hiking and outdoors bloggers have a passion for nature, history, cool gear — and they have the blisters to prove it. It goes with the territory when you’re out and about snapping photos and sharing your tips, maps, gear reviews and expert advice. For them, exploration is a gift to share through beautiful images, vibrant stories, detailed guides and breathtaking video. Voting begins August 4th at noon. Come back each day through September 1st to give your favorite travel and food blogger your support. Winners will be announced on September 3rd.

Please go and vote!

I’m not normally a fan of these popularity contests, and would rather be judged by a panel, but if you like what I do over on The Campsite, please cast your vote! You can vote once per day until September 1st.

Vote here.