Conversation with Modern Day Adventurerson
These High Risers are taking the road less traveled – literally. Chelsea Van and Rob McNamee are modern day adventurers and partners who are embarking on a journey across America on the Trans America Trail. Along with their dogs Ronan and Locke, they are making their way westward to Denver, Colorado, where they are planning on moving. Chelsea is a native of Brooklyn, New York, where she grew up and began her journey, from running cross country to fight training for Muay Thai. She recently graduated from Drexel University with a degree in Health Sciences, and she hopes to pursue a Doctorate in physical therapy when she gets to Colorado. Rob grew up in a small, urban neighborhood outside of Philadelphia, spending the summers in a pop-up camper in the great outdoors. “It rooted a deep sense of adventure in me that I didn’t rediscover until I started backpacking in my early 20s,” he shared. The two met fighting the same Muay Thai event. “For our first date, he asked if I wanted to go drink tea, watch cartoons, and punch each other in the face,” Chelsea joked to Rise Bar. They keep up their active lifestyle with Muay Thai, backpacking, mountaineering, and general adventuring. Muay Thai “gave me a sense of strength and confidence yet taught me how to be humble at the same time. I also took up film photography one day when a good friend gave me his old Pentax SLR, it’s always found its way with me to Muay Thai events and packing through the woods,” Rob told us. Besides Muay Thai and running, Chelsea has taken up backpacking, which provides her with “a deep love for wanting to learn and challenge yourself.”
Together, they are traveling across the country in America’s heartland on unpaved roads and trails from Pennsylvania down through the Appalachian Mountains and then South through the Colorado Rockies, all in an off-road Suzuki Samurai. A trip of this scale wasn’t their first idea, but they are determined to make it work and have a life-changing experience in the midst of all the challenges life sometimes presents them with.
Within a span of two months, Rob had a car accident and Chelsea was hospitalized after a chemical spill during a lab. Even Locke, one of the couple’s two dogs, suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest – he has now recovered. Chelsea and Rob view their difficulties as another chance for success – they allow you to move forward with even more knowledge and motivation. “What influences us to rise each day is each other. It also helps that Ronan and Locke like to wake us up with kisses and paws. Rob and I push each other forward to be stronger as a team, and as individuals,” Chelsea said.
As for their adventure, Chelsea and Rob both look forward to experiencing life in the heart of America. They will be documenting the trip on film for their company, Arrows West, and in a forthcoming photography journal. Rob will take on the task of photography, his favorite hobby, while Chelsea will handle preparing creative but nutritious meals. “Especially when it comes to survival, you don’t want to waste energy on crappy calories,” said Chelsea. “We first came across Rise after training Muay Thai; usually stopping by Whole Foods to grab a quick protein bar. However, we were growing tired of the lackluster taste and sneaky ingredients of most of the leading brands. Lo’ and behold, when we tried the Almond Honey Rise Bar we fell in love.” They’ll be taking Protein+ Rise Bars to supplement their journey.
What words do they have for other adventurers, whether they be seasoned athletes or perhaps for those more faint at heart? “Search for adventure. And we don’t mean you have to go and become a pioneer. Redefine adventure to mean anything bold and new that you’ve always wanted to do but were too scared to because of the limits. Trust us, it’s not that bad, and if you hit your limits hard enough, you can break them.” We here at Rise Bar wish Chelsea and Rob another great adventure as they take on America’s great outdoors.