WOMAN TRAIL LEADER: Marite Perez

Have you ever imagined living a life mostly dedicated to the outdoors?  Better yet, do you ever contemplate on being a leader on the mountain trails and get paid to do it?   And all the while being a woman doesn’t stop you from leading a group in various parts of the world?  In fact, the experience of being outdoors and trekking have made you the strong KICKASS woman that you are.  

When I heard about Marite, that’s what came to my mind.  I’m amazed at how she has lived her life which only a few of us can truly experience – the almost complete freedom to roam the world at our own choosing.  I only experienced a brief one year of that kind of traveling life.  Since then, I’ve been wanting to relive every moment and make it my full time reality.  To me, Marite’s way of life signifies THAT depth in life where profound revelations abound – ones that will pave the way for most of us to become our authentic selves.

marite-in-sand-dunes

Brown Gal Trekker Meets Marite

To be exact, Marite and I have yet to meet in person.  Where that will happen,  I can’t really say.  But that uncertainty excites me.  It’s a situation where somewhere in the world an aspiring nomad meets a lifelong nomad in action.  I have my co-founder, Swamy, of the non-profit, Trails Without Borders to thank for this unlikely introduction.  He highly suggested that I connect with Marite when I was discussing the idea of having female guides as part of Peak Explorations‘ team.   Upon meeting Marite via Facebook, I quickly became an admirer of hers.  She, after all, met Swamy while they were climbing up Denali this year (2016).  Marite was with a team of Venezuelans while my co-founder was going solo to summit the highest point of the U.S.  Both of them obviously have star quality in them but for this segment, Marite beats Swamy as my very first feature for obvious reasons…. fortunately.

BACKGROUND

Marite was born in Venezuela and has deemed Spain as her residence for the past 15 years.  However, during the time of submission of her interview, she noted she was in Alaska.  I can’t say that is still true since she travels frequently as a guide and an explorer but she did add that this past summer, she explored the state while intending to return in the winter to be a guide for cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, dog-sledding, canoeing and for regular sightseeing and wildlife tours.

marite

HIKING LIFE

Marite started hiking at the age of 16.  In my interview of Marite, she shared her most memorable early days of hiking.  One that came to her mind that permanently changed her view of life was a trek in the Amazon rain forest in Venezuela.  On that hike, she trekked with the local Indians without any provisions, meaning no food, water, or tent.  Her group relied on what they could get from nature such as fish, fruits and even ants  and spiders!  Along the way, she met shamans in the local villages which added so much more meaning to the journey.

Marite loves everything about hiking as she treasures “the experience of being close to beautiful nature, landscapes, and the local people.”  Marite also finds hiking to be the gateway to learning more about herself.  To her, hiking is “a way of life…and you get  stronger physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”  I couldn’t agree more.

marite-yoga

I felt that way myself when I spent extended amount of time on the trails by myself.  Nature has a way to minimize distractions in our lives to finally come face to face with the inner workings of ourselves.  I value that about hiking as much as Marite even though now I don’t get to trek the world on a full time basis like I once did.

When asked whether she has a preference on going solo or with others as to hiking, she noted she enjoys both.  She adds, “hiking  alone is a challenge.  It is meditation.  As to hiking with others, you learn from your companions while teaching and sharing with each other what you know.”

Speaking of lessons from hiking, Marite learned to appreciate and love mother nature, animals and human beings as an integral part of her life.  She reminds new hikers that hiking is an incredible way to spend time as it is a healthy and enjoyable endeavor.  Marite also emphasizes that hiking adds to the experience the pleasure of traveling and the opportunity to expand and open one’s mind in doing so.

Below, Marite shares with us some of her favorite treks thus far, of which the last one happens to be a favorite of mine, as well.  From her photo, you can easily understand why we both love it.

CORDILLERA REAL, BOLIVIA

ak

PATAGONIA IN CHILE & ARGENTINA

marite-bike

EVEREST REGION, NEPAL

marite-kumbu

LIFE AS A GUIDE

Of course, I am very much intrigued about Marite’s profession as a guide.  Marite started working as a guide in the Andes as a tourism student in Merida, Venezuela.  She then ended up working regularly at the same job with local agencies in Merida, Los Roques, Los Llanos and Amazonia (Venezuela).  Marite’s experience in leading a diverse group of hikers is vast as she worked as a guide for groups from Europe, U.S., Canada, Brazil and Japan.

Guiding, however, has its set of challenges.  Marite notes that as a guide you would need to be ready to address all sorts of problems that may arise during the trip.  The manner of handling the problems requires that it be done expeditiously while being mindful of the comfort of all members of the group.  According to Marite, to be a successful guide, you have to know the territory, the history and culture, and be able to network with professional tourism operators.

marite-2

As Marite has traveled to so many places for years, I wondered what treks or peaks she has yet to conquer at this point.  For Marite, her future trekking adventures include the Baltoro Glacier and K2 Base Camp in Pakistan, the Grand Italian trek and the famous Markha Valley trek in India.

Coincidentally, Baltoro Glacier/K2 Basecamp trek and the Markha Valley are both future scouting trips for my social enterprise, Peak Explorations.  If logistics and timing work out, Marite and I may finally meet officially in Pakistan!  For now, I will try my best to follow her adventures on Facebook.  I did urge her to start a blog to make it easier which she agreed to explore at some point.

AS WOMAN AMBASSADOR

As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for me to name Marite as one of the Women Ambassadors of Peak Explorations. In a male dominated world of global trekking, Marite surpasses most men on the trails with her strength in purpose as a guide, her dedication and pure girl power awesomeness.  I’m truly honored to cross paths with her as we continue our planning of future joint global trekking adventures.

Thanks for sharing with us, Marite!  We all look forward to learning about your future treks, some of which I anticipate will be a joint one with Brown Gal Trekker.

If you have someone in mind to be featured on this series (including yourself), see THIS LINK  for submission guidelines.

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Brown Gal Trekker is a nomad at heart who survives the mountains to inspire others to trek them.