About Me

My entire life is an adventure. For the first 40 odd years, it was a confusing mess of one unconscious adventure after another. Now that I understand my life as a series of adventures, and know how adventures work, I can (sometimes) have a bit more control.

As the only girl with three older brothers, I watched these brave young boys tackle all kinds of adventures. All I ever wanted was to be included. When my step-dad would take the boys on weekend backcountry fishing trips, I would beg to go. When he taught them how to shoot a gun, I didn’t understand why I didn’t get a gun too. Being denied these adult supervised adventures meant I had to strike out on my own. When I got a bus pass in grade 5, I would travel all over the city, just to do it. I would find myself in dangerous situations in seedy downtown areas, because I needed to feel that I was doing ‘something.’ I ignored all parental and societal rules, which didn’t make me popular with the nice girls and boys, and landed me in loads of trouble at home.

I eventually found others like me. Teenagers with no goals in life, but a sure-fire willingness to break rules, travel dangerously, and party as hard as possible. Scrounging for party addresses, running from the cops as they raided one party after another, and then trying to find a safe ride home. I can tell some pretty wild tales from this period of my life. This was definitely an adventure, but not one I particularly liked. By eighteen I could be an alcoholic, or I could find a new source of adventure.

I tried to ‘settle down’ and do normal things. I really, really tried. I like to think of this as an adventure in itself. I worked a corporate job, I saved up money, and I put myself through university. This is still one of my most cherished accomplishments because it set the stage for a thoughtful life. I was a successful marketing & communications expert for many years, which for someone as shy and introverted as myself was an adventure unto itself.

Yet something was missing, and it was that hint of danger.

I have always been fascinated with the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Growing up next to them, I always knew you were supposed to “do” something in them, but I didn’t know what that could possibly be. I would drive to Banff by myself in the off season and simply wander the streets, breathing in the incredible power of the mountains. As I drove home and passed the last mountain range heading back to the prairies, the immense sense of loss I felt was both crushing and bewildering. The mountains were calling, but I needed a partner in this massive new adventure.

When I met my husband Mike, it was like a puzzle fitting into place. I knew of him from friends, and had heard endless tales of his mountaineering feats. He came from a mountaineering family – a rarity in Calgary – so I had a lot of learning to do.

Adventuring in the mountains has taught me valuable life lessons. It is the one passion that I have sustained, nurtured and honed for over 20 years. I have felt mind-numbing, reality-altering highs from summiting my first mountain, to soul destroying lows of defeat when retreating off a mountain, always due to my own inadequacy.

What is an Adventure?

An adventure is anything that gets your blood pumping, your heart thumping, and scares you just a wee little bit (or a whole lot!). If you are not outside your comfort zone, then I’m sorry, but you did not have an adventure.

How can I possibly be an expert on adventure? Well, it is the one constant in my life. You know the rule, that you have to acquire 10,000 hours in any one area to be an expert? I thought that would never apply to me, because the thought of doing one thing for 10,000 hours sounded incredibly boring. I constantly move from one type of work to another. I get interested in something, I learn everything I can about it, I do it until I am confident and competent at it, and then I start searching out something new.

What I thought was a personality flaw, the inability to ‘stick with’ something, was actually a blessing. Each new career was another adventure. Each new sport – another adventure! Everything in my life became an adventure. As I realized this, I then began to break down what an adventure looked like, how it acted, and what the sign posts were. I was gaining 10,000 hours of experience in the art of adventuring!

This blog is about sharing a few of my adventures.

Some of my adventures were incredibly painful learning arcs, and I’m not sure I will ever share them with anyone. Some of my adventures are so strong and powerful, that to not share them would be criminal.

Mountain Adventures

The mountains literally feed my soul. Whenever I’m feeling down, low energy, or just a bit bitchy, I know it’s time to head back to the mountains. Fall and spring are difficult times for me, because the mountains are not usually in shape for adventuring. I have done hundreds of routes in Canada and internationally. I am now sharing these experiences on my blog to inspire others to create their own adventures.

Click here to read these trip reports on hiking, scrambling and back-country skiing.

I teach an Intro to Hiking course, that covers everything from trip planning, packing, and successful route navigation. It is 20 years of my extensive mountain knowledge condensed into a comprehensive booklet. The course also includes a guided hike with me. Click here to learn more about this course for you, your group or your organization.

I also share my adventures via live presentations. After a two week trip paddling from the Yukon out to Alaska, it dawned on me that I should probably share these amazing adventures with my community. I now have a stable of multi-day adventure presentations from the Yukon to Peru. Click here to see what’s on offer, and if you would like to have a presentation for your group or organization.

Healing and Transforming

I originally started my blog to share my healing adventures. I had never heard of this type of healing so thought it was important to share my story. After suffering with PTSD for several years, I finally found relief through energy work. I had about a decade long adventure exploring what it meant to be broken in a completely new way, and then finding the tools and experts to help put me back together. My healing journey lead me to become an energy healer, and I was honoured to work with so many amazing people who shared their pain and suffering with me. In the Healing section of the blog, I share my personal healing journey, as well as some valuable insights learned while working on my clients. Visit here for a list of  these articles.

While I was working as a healer, I found that I had to go hiking, scrambling and skiing. I had to physically pound out a week’s worth of hurt, trauma, and pain that my clients had entrusted to me. I would churn up the most difficult scree slope, one step up, two steps sliding backwards, all the while releasing other people’s troubles out of my pores, mind and spirit. Sometimes I wouldn’t even remember getting to the top, I was so focused on releasing other people’s crap that was clogging my system.

My life changed dramatically in 2015, and I found I could no longer ‘do it all’ and something had to give. What I let go was my healing practice, despite it growing exponentially year over year. I will always help people in need, but now I do it more organically. People still tell me their troubles, but now it’s usually on the trail and together we come up with a solution.

The Confidence Adventure

Right now, this is my biggest adventure – Hope, Courage and Confidence. This is my life’s work. This is what I was meant to learn – in a big, meaningful, impactful way. Everything else I have done – and I mean everything – is a step in the greatest adventure of them all, and that is exploring what it means to be truly confident.

I have been asked to present on Confidence at various conferences, and have written and presented a six week course – Confidence for Women – that has been incredibly well received. Watching as the women in my course grow from week to week is incredibly fulfilling. I love that I can reach and inspire many people all at once, and the group dynamics are incredibly powerful for personal transformation.

I do not know where the Confidence Adventure will take me, but I promise you, if you join me, it will be one hell of a wild ride! If you are inspired, piqued, or just plain curious, then join one of the adventures above. Your sense of adventure will thank you.

21 comments on “About Me
  1. Abirbhav says:

    It’s an honour to meet you Madam..
    You are truly an inspiration. Perhaps, a shining example of what women empowerment looks like. You inspire women and men alike.. 😊
    You chose to be independent, chart your own path and break the so called “societal rules” to quench your thirst for adventure. You faced difficulties, but you did things on your own, and never for once did you accept defeat. I believe you severely scared both danger and fear.
    I like such inspiring stories, and love if they come from women. More power to you Madam and wish you endless success.. 😊
    I like to adventure as well. Been to Russia in the dead of the Winters to celebrate my Birthday in the Arctic Coast, in the middle of Polar Nights and the Celestial Auroras. As much as I go out of my comfort zone to travel, I however do my adventures after taking the necessary safety precautions. Hope you do read those articles as well. Fingers crossed.
    Once again, it is an honour to meet you Madam.. 😊 Hope to learn more from you.. 😊

  2. K. Joseph says:

    Inspiring life experience.

  3. Thanks for following my site; you are very kind. I am also thankful for my posts that you have liked. Please keep up your own good work.

  4. beth says:

    i love your story and look forward to reading more. thanks for following my blog as well – beth

  5. cathy cornfield says:

    Hi Alisen,
    It was so nice to meet and ski with you today.
    Thank you for all of your tips and advice.
    I’m looking forward to getting to know you more.

    • alisendopf says:

      Hi Cathy,
      It was SO nice to finally get to ski with you today. I am looking forward to many more lovely days in the mountains together. Thank you so much for searching out my website. That is so kind of you!

  6. cbholganza says:

    wow! i can only emphatize. i used to be the black sheep in the family in my younger days, before- just like you – i matured and started working on a good path for my life.
    love your blog. i so long for the time i could wander off freely once again.

    • alisendopf says:

      As you have a young family, it is indeed difficult to get out and adventure. Be patient, as this time passes quickly. My kids are now 18, and I can hardly remember the younger days. Also, be aware that young kids can do SO much. Our kids were hiking at 3 and a half years. By the time they were 6, they were doing three day backpack trips with us. So – whatever it is YOU want to do, teach your kids to do it too, and early. Enjoy!!!

  7. denise421win says:

    I can see you have never been bored, thank you for sharing your great life here, good to learn from you

  8. Widdershins says:

    Hey there, thanks for following my blog … pleased to meet’cha. 😀 … I know what you mean about our Rockies. In 2015 my partner and I had an adventure going from here in the Fraser Valley across Canada to Niagara Falls and back again in our RV, (It’s a category on my blog if you want to check it out. 🙂 ) and after the endless flatness (three provinces worth!) of the prairies, I just about wept tears of joy and relief as they hove into sight after leaving Calgary.
    Mountains for ever! 😀

    • alisendopf says:

      Always glad to meet a fellow mountain lover. I lived in the Fraser Valley for college. Loved it!

      I am just contemplating a trip east in our campervan, and hearing about the unrelenting prairies is making me question my sanity… Being away from the mountains for a month will be HARD!

      Thanks for stopping in and saying hi!

  9. kiangablog says:

    What an amazing journey. I love the fact that you came to the understanding that life is a series of adventures and not being tied down to one aspect is actually very liberating. I love the mountains and live near the high country here in Victoria. I am crap at skiing but love bush walking (but working on current fitness at present!), photography, writing and horse riding. I grew up with horses but moving to the city meant a big break from riding. Finally I almost achieved my dream but had a nasty accident before Christmas. I wrote a blog post about Biscuit and I earlier this year. People cannot understand after four cracked ribs, a broken scapula and a damaged right arm that I still want to get back on that horse! I blame myself partly for not being prepared enough. My dream is to ride with an old school friend up to Craig’s Hut, on Mt Stirling which was the film set for the iconic “Man From Snowy River”.
    I am not getting any younger, so I need to get to with my own adventures. Thank you for your blog.

    • alisendopf says:

      I read your comment when you posted last week, but I wanted to wait until I had some time to reply, and do it justice.

      First, I love how you totally get that everyone gets to choose their own adventures, and that it doesn’t have to look or be like mine. Your desire to ride to Craig’s Hut sounds absolutely amazing. I am just so happy when I see people setting goals, and then going after them.

      Second, I love your sense of personal responsibility for your horse riding incident. Yes, stuff happens. However, when you see your role in it, instead of being scared away, you can change your behaviour. Then allows you to ‘get back on that horse’ and enjoy your adventures. Well done you! I actually wrote about that topic a few years ago. So valuable.

      As for not getting any younger, me too. Me too 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and I look forward to reading about your adventures.

      • kiangablog says:

        I love your attitude too Alisen. Adventure for some is jumping out of airplanes while for my husband when he left his home in the UK to migrate to Australia that was a big unknown. Moving to a country property was my dream and another adventure for hubby in his retirement. His focus is quite different to mine but he gets stuff done. Me, I need to keep focus, I get distracted at times! One big adventure for the two of us was cycling through Europe for 2 and a half months on our honeymoon over 20 years ago. Great memories.

      • alisendopf says:

        I agree – adventure is where you make it, and it’s very personal. I’ve never lived anywhere but Canada, so moving to Australia is a massive undertaking!

        What a great memory. Cycling is so much fun. We took our kids to Slovenia in 2019 and cycled from the mountains to the coast. Delightful!!!

  10. kiangablog says:

    The world is truly our oyster!

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