Monday, December 2, 2013

Lauren Parks | Interview

Lauren Parks
Instagram: lauren_parks_

P+P: I can definitely say that you are one of the most adventurous people I know. Is there a certain trip you went on that you decided you wanted to see and experience more?
LP: There hasn’t been 1 distinct trip that has defined my love for adventuring. My family started traveling when I was a young and the more experiences I encountered in my youth, the more it drove me to become an adventure-seeking individual when I got to my college years. After expanding my adventures to other countries the past few years, I’ve realized that there is a really diverse world out there and I want to see and experience it ALL!

P+P: Have you ever visited a place that felt like home? If so, have you gone back?
LP: Honestly, so many places I have visited feel like home to me. Every place that I travel to that places me in a natural setting feels like home.  Whether I am snowboarding the mountains of Colorado, riding mopeds on the beaches of Mexico, cliff jumping and wakeboarding the lakes of Oklahoma, hiking the canyons of Utah, or surfing the waves of Florida or California, I feel at home at all those places because I get to experience the beauty and magnificent of God’s ultimate canvas, nature. I visit those places over and over again just because I get to experience the rawness and simplicity of being outdoors. 

P+P: Has there been a trip that has really challenged you?
LP: I went on a 5-week trip to South Africa two summers ago that brought me to my knees. I volunteered in many of the impoverished areas and it brought true perspective to my life. That trip made me realize how fortunate I am to have the resources and the support that I do have and it challenged me to find contentment in the little things in life. These people that I was serving had so little, but yet had so much joy in their hearts all the time. At the beginning of the trip I felt sorry for them, but by the end of my time in South Africa, I honestly envied them. I envied how content and happy they were with the simple things in life. That trip challenged my perspective of true personal contentment.

P+P:I first met you on a spring break trip in Winter Park and I see that you snowboard quite a lot. Have you ever considered going pro?
LP: I have not. Since I did not live in an area that I could snowboard more than a couple weeks a year, going pro was never a realistic dream of mine. I just enjoy snowboarding with friends and family as a hobby.

P+P:What would you say is one of your favorite things to do while on a trip?
LP: Oh my goodness, that’s a tough question. :) I enjoy so many aspects of traveling, but I guess the thing I love the most is meeting people. I have gone so many places with people I have hardly known and have also met so many diverse people at the destinations I have traveled to. Many of those people I still keep in touch with and get to see on return trips. Traveling is fun. But traveling with friends and/or making knew friends who enjoy the same hobbies as you do is the cherry on top. 

P+P:Do you have a favorite group of people that you like to travel with?
LP: Traveling with my best friends is always a blast. I also love traveling with my family. My parents and my three brothers are all very adventures and we all love adventuring together as a family!

P+P:What is something that you have always wanted to do but haven't yet?
LP: I’ve always wanted to go Heli-boarding (Being dropped off at the peak of a remote mountain from a helicopter to snowboard) in Alaska or Chile.

P+P: Do you see it happening in the near future?
LP: I hope to accomplish that bucket list item within the next 5 years (sometime after I’ve graduated college and before I have kids).

P+P: What's your definition of adventure?
LP: Traveling to an unknown territory & engaging in an exciting, and often hazardous, activity.

P+P: What is the best advice you've ever been given?
LP: My mom always told me… “If you think you can, you will. And if you think you can’t, you won’t.”  This has always challenged me to think optimistically, dream big, and to work hard in everything that I do.

P+P: Living in Tulsa there isn't always a lot to do. What are your top 5 things you would do with someone that has never been here?
LP: 1. Bike riverside or mountain bike turkey hill and then take them for
some local grub. 2. Go to a concert at the BOK, Cain’s ballroom, Brady theatre, or the Brady square downtown. 3. Take them boating on one of the many great lakes around here in the summer. Or camping, campfire, & cookout in the winter. 4. Take them 4 wheeling in broken arrow. 5. Hike the Arkansas river south of Bixby.

P+P: Having attended many ORU women's soccer games, I know you are a great defensive soccer player. How has this year been since you no longer play?
LP: It’s been rough not being able to compete with my team because that was such huge part of my college experience. But I have realized that there is much more to life than being a soccer player. With the extra free time I have, I get to spend that time engaging in many other hobbies with my friends and family on my free weekends.

P+P: Have you always been attracted to sports and athletic activities?
LP: Yes, my dad and mom were both colligate athletes so I think athletics is in my blood. My parents said I’ve been a natural competitor since I could walk and talk playing with any baseball, soccer ball, tennis ball, basketball, or golf ball that I could get a hold of. :)

P+P: What would your advice be to someone that wanted to experience and travel more?
LP: I would tell them that you can always make more money, but you can never make more time. Don’t spend so much time making a living that you forget to make a life. Most people have 2 excuses for not living out their traveling dreams. 1. No money. 2. No opportunity. If you don’t have much money, learn to budget and find ways to save money while still being able to travel. I’ve sleep in cars and hammocks on the side of the rode multiple nights in a row and ate peanut butter and jelly three meals a day to save money. Needless to say, if you want it bad enough, you’ll do what it takes. You usually won’t find convenient opportunities; you have to make them yourself. If you sit around and wait for opportunity to knock at your door, you will most likely never leave your house. If you want to experience all that life has to offer then… GO GET IT. Nobody is stopping you but yourself.

Have a great week!

                                                         xo, Erica

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