At Natural High, we’re constantly inspired and blown away by the exuberance and dedication of people who support our mission. When people discover the power of finding their passion in life, they want to share that feeling with the world.
People like Emily, a 22-year-old from northeast Pennsylvania, who in fifth grade learned about Mount Everest, sparking an interest in mountains that she never seemed to outgrow.
She grew up surrounded by mountains, but not the kind she cared about. She wanted to go somewhere far away for months, live in a tent, wear a special, puffy outfit and join an expedition team that played cards and hugged and shared gear. This dream started when she was just a kid, and it hasn’t changed.
Emily has a degree in English literature from George Washington University. She loves reading, writing, and exploring the outdoors, but what she wants most is to live a life of adventure where the unknown is the usual. Her dream is to move to a different place each month. She’s happiest when she’s moving and exploring new places.
We spoke with Emily about her latest project. In January of 2023, she will attempt to break three mountaineering world records – most notably the fastest ascent of the Seven Summits, including Mount Everest. She is attempting to climb to the highest point on each continent. This is known as climbing the Seven Summits.
If she completes this by August, she will break the record for fastest female ascent of the Seven Summits.
Emily is using this challenge to spread awareness about substance use and raise funds for Natural High.
Support Emily’s adventure by following her progress on Instagram here.
Why do you support Natural High?
Natural High’s method for drug prevention helps kids learn the skills to be self-aware. Young people don’t need lectures about the dangers of drug use. Education is important, but by itself, it is ineffective. Natural High provides safe, fun outlets for curiosity and energy, and that is what truly makes a difference.
Why do you believe in this cause? What does Natural High’s mission mean to you?
My hometown is being decimated by the opioid epidemic. Several students each year die from drug overdose. We say children are our future, but we are letting them die.
Do you remember first getting exposed to drugs and alcohol when you were young?
Drugs have touched my life for as long as I can remember. There is not one moment. What I do remember is thinking that they would stay away from me, away from my perfect life. I was wrong. No one is that lucky.
Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you that you’d feel comfortable sharing?
In November of my freshman year of college, I got the news that a high school classmate overdosed and died. I thought about my upcoming study abroad, about all of the things I was going to get to see and do. Things he might have gotten to see and do if he was alive. It sounds cliché when I recount it, but it was the most sickening feeling I’ve ever had.
What keeps you motivated in general?
I am alive. So many people my age do not have that privilege. I can’t waste it.