Meet the Contributors: Bridget Crocker

Born near the Pacific ocean and raised on the banks of Wyoming’s Snake River, Bridget Crocker is an outdoor travel writer, adventure guide and mother. She is a contributing author to Lonely Planet guidebooks and the outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, and her work has been featured in magazines including National Geographic Adventure, Trail Runner, Paddler and outside. She lives on the edge of the continent in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. Visit www.bridgetcrocker.com for more on her adventures and writing.

When did you first know you were a traveler?

As a kid, I outfitted my closet with glossy pages ripped out of National Geographic; I spent hours crouched on the floor listening to Simon and Garfunkel records, plotting my getaway to the Serengeti. At twenty, I landed a job guiding on the Lower Zambezi River and, after the season was over, embarked on a three-day train ride from Zambia to Tanzania for the wildebeest migration. Hanging off the back of the train car watching the great herds trample the savanna, I knew I was a traveler - the tears of amazement on my cheeks confirmed it.

What’s one memorable travel experience you’ve had?

I had an experience in Assam, India at the Kamakyha Temple where I was confronted with having to be very clear about my calling, or path.

on the way to the put-in for an exploratory run down Peru’s Tambopata River (headwater tributary of the Amazon), our rig broke down, putting us way behind schedule. our group stopped at a hole-in-the-wall roadside cafe at two in the morning. We were able to eat and get a couple of rooms for the night, which were occupied by the trip’s paying clients. We guides were accommodated in the back - adjacent to the latrine was a makeshift disco, complete with mirrored ball and laser lights, which the management thought we would appreciate having on while sleeping. Not only did the lights keep us up, but they illuminated the bats grazing our sleeping bags throughout the night. We all got chiggers, which lingered the rest of the eighteen-day trip. The “bat disco,” as it came to be known, was a small precursor to the epic journey awaiting us, wherein I got dysentery, we were shot at by cocaine farmers, and the water was so low we were days behind and nearly missed our take-out connection.

What’s one place that has moved you or changed you in a significant way?

I had an experience in Assam, India at the Kamakyha Temple where I was confronted with having to be very clear about my calling, or path. The temple is built on top of a cave with a spring, and it’s believed that if you reach your hand into the spring and wish for your deepest desire, it will come true. Standing there in front of the spring, with my hand in the water and one chance, I had to get really honest really fast about defining my deepest desire; something that I had danced around and gone to the ends of the earth to discover. There, in the hidden shroud of the cave, I wished to be a mother and create a family with my husband. Within a year and a half, we were married and expecting our first child.

Who is the most inspiring or interesting person you’ve met on the road?

In the early nineties, I guided a trip down Ethiopia’s omo River and shared the journey with a fourth generation Ethiopian of Italian descent. I was fascinated by him: he spoke Italian, Amharic, and English interchangeably and introduced me to an enclave of Italians living within Ethiopia. I may have guided him down the river, but he guided me through an intricate and largely hidden pocket of Ethiopian culture that was completely riveting.

Is there something you always do, whenever you’re on a trip?

I always bring a “get-out-of-jail” card with me and have it on my person with my passport. Basically, it’s a compilation of contact info for the American embassy, in-country airline offices, anybody I know in that region, or anyone remotely connected through friends. If I have to pull the cord for any reason, I have options on-the-ready. I also learn how to say “please,” “thank you” and “hello” in the local language, which is far more effective than my get-out-of-jail card.

What’s on your list of future destinations?

I’ve been on a bit of a traveling bender this summer with my girls, so I’m looking forward to being home for dive season and updating my blog, The Adventures of Little Mama (http://bridgetcrocker.wordpress.com ), with stories from our summer trips to Montana and Maine. I am still itching to go to Belize to dive the Blue Hole and go underground cave rafting through the Mayan Mountains.


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Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” –Nido Qubein