I offer a powerful, inspiring presentation based on the universal truths that became very clear to me during my “thru”-hikes of the Appalachian (2, 200 miles) and Pacific Crest Trails (2, 700 miles). It is centered around the theme of empowerment: transcending circumstances and stepping into one’s own power. I answer the question of why I undertake these long journeys in the first place, discuss some of the obstacles I have overcome (both in life and on the trail), and share some of the life lessons I have learned on these long hikes. My hope is to inspire people to step outside of their comfort zones, tap into their greater potential, and go after what makes them come alive.
Price Range: $450-2000
Gig Length: 80 - 120 minutes
What to Expect
I offer an inspirational presentation based on the universal truths that became very clear to me during my “thru”-hikes of the Appalachian (2,200 miles) and Pacific Crest Trails (2,700 miles). It is centered around the theme of empowerment: transcending circumstances and stepping into one’s own power. I answer the question of why I undertake these long journeys in the first place, discuss some of the obstacles I have overcome (both in life and on the trail), and share some of the life lessons I have learned on these long hikes. My hope is to inspire people to step outside of their comfort zones, tap into their greater potential, and go after what makes them come alive. Many of the things that I learned on my journey are universal principles, which apply to ALL human beings- not just backpackers. The trail is a very simplified environment in which so much of the external stimuli that we are constantly bombarded by is eliminated. When stripped of many of the constant demands placed upon us, we are able to focus more internally, listen to ourselves more closely, and receive lessons that take much longer to learn in the busy world that we live in. The story I tell is personal, spiritual, and ultimately, is about reclaiming one’s life. I also share a slideshow of photos that I took along my PCT journey, set to music, that allows the viewer to vicariously experience the journey with me. I then hold a question and answer session.
I have given this presentation over 75 times and the responses have been tremendous.
I also offer a talk entitled, “The Gifts of Chronic Illness: Turning Adversity into Awakening”. We are experiencing skyrocketing numbers of chronic illness in the United States, ranging from cancer to thyroid disorders, diabetes, to an array of autoimmune disorders. There are many estimates that at least 50% of our population suffers from at least one chronic illness. Often, the medical establishment has little to offer in the way of effective treatment or even diagnosis of these illnesses. My presentation reveals the common elements and causes of chronic illness and identifies steps we can take (at any age) to restore health to our bodies and prevent future disease. It also challenges the audience to see the adversity they face in their lives as holding an unrevealed gift. Questions that I address include: Is it possible that the challenges that are presented to us can be used as opportunities for change, growth, and freedom? How can we change our relationship to our suffering, allow it to teach us, and reclaim our own power?
“Your Inspiring Story and Presentation...
I attended your Sawyer Library (Gloucester) presentation and was thrilled to “experience” your powerful verbal presentation, photo and musical slide show.
As a retired higher education educator I’ve seen many presentations and yours ranks in the top 5%. Congratulations!
Your message of struggle, aspiration, challenge, commitment and redemption resonated with me (and many other attendees.)”
-Dr Daniel Duffy, Former Vice-President of Student Affairs, Ocean County College
“Thank you for a very engaging, thought-provoking and beautiful presentation. To say that the audience was engaged, would be an understatement. They did not want to let you go!
You are amazing, and should pat yourself on the back for your courage in overcoming overwhelming odds both on the trail and off.”
- Michelle LeMonde-McIntyre
Supervisor of Community & Outreach Services
Framingham Public Library
“Wendy's talk was moving, inspirational, and fascinating. The stories she shared of her motivation to hike, her dedication despite illness and other obstacles, and her love for nature all made the evening one people are still talking about. The photos of her trek are beautiful. We've received so many compliments from our public about this event. For any community with hikers, nature lovers, or photographers, Wendy is a must-have.”
Programming and Community Outreach Librarian
Cary Memorial Library
“Very interesting and unique! Wendy is a smart, diligent, passionate and earnest person who has put together a compelling presentation on her experience of being a long distance hiker and the inward and outward journeys therein. Her talk is simultaneously informational, inspirational, vulnerable and strong.”
– Checka Antifonario
I received my education from Phillips Academy Andover and Mount Holyoke College, graduating with a BA in Biology. I worked as a researcher in a biochemistry lab at MIT for 16 years, where I published a first author article in the journal, Science. I have completed "thru-hikes" of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Colorado trails, backpacking each in one stretch. I grew up in an extremely challenging family environment and have overcome tremendous health challenges. I am now a Health and Wellness Coach, speaker, and yoga instructor. My mission in life is to help empower people to make conscious choices to better their health and quality of life, and transcend their own life obstacles.
I am a student of nutrition, biology, and spirituality.
Additional Booking Notes
I only need a projector and screen for my presentation. A podium would be helpful.
Influences & Inspiration
At my last presentation, the woman who introduced me told the audience, “If you enjoyed the books ‘Wild’ and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, you will love this presentation!”.
I am influenced by Marianne Williamson, Tony Robbins, Glennon Doyle Melton, Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, and a variety of yoga teachers!
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