We had the good fortune of connecting with Alaina Ann and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alaina, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
At this stage of my life and career, taking risks almost feels natural. If I can live with the worst-case scenario resulting from a risky decision, I go for it. My choices have landed me across the board over the years, from beyond my greatest expectations to living with consequences I knew were possible, sometimes even probable.

Starting my own consulting company in 2009, five years into my post-collegiate marketing career, felt like the biggest risk I would ever take. Turns out, it was the first of many to grow and create the life I now live.

During the last ten years I have launched and dissolved a second company, walked away from a life my heart could no longer tolerate, moved across the country with no home or connections waiting upon my arrival, written and published a children’s book, sold or gave away most everything I owned to live in a van, driven hundreds of thousands of road trip miles solo, and, well, perhaps that’s enough to share from the highlights reel today.

Knowing how everything has ended up, so far, I would make the same decisions all over again. In a heartbeat.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am over a decade into owning a little company centered around the many passions in my life: photography, writing, graphic design, travel, and marketing. Halfway through 2019, I decided to focus almost exclusively on travel while living in my camper van for a few years. Capturing photographs and writing a book along the way. Those plans drastically changed in March 2020, and now almost two years later, I have rarely used my camera or traveled due to the pandemic. Most of my recent work has instead been with marketing and graphic design clients, plus extensive cataloguing and editing photos from previous road trips.

To be honest, I have yet to decide what comes next. A first for me! Learning to embrace change and turn interrupted plans into new opportunities can be exciting. I also benefit from having multiple streams of income within my company. I am considering a move to the East Coast to be closer to family, putting my plan to live in a van full-time on hold. Shorter road trips may be a good way to explore who I am as a photographer today, after such a long hiatus. I will continue working with my current marketing and graphic design clients. The projects fit in nicely with being on the road when I do travel and, more importantly, my clients are awesome.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Any friend visiting me expects a road trip. I own a bright purple camper van, named Dandy, ready to take on a week of exploring. One of my dearest friends wants to camp and hike in Colorado during our next trip together, so I will share what I have planned for us! Ideally, this road trip will take place in September while the leaves are beginning to turn.

After picking her up at the Denver airport, we will head south to Great Sand Dunes National Park for an afternoon of hiking the dunes and a night of stargazing. If we’re lucky, the mountain peaks will have fresh snow in the morning.

The next two days will be spent in Durango, one of my favorite mountain towns. First exploring the town and a local hike. Enjoying the scenic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad steam engine train ride to and from Silverton the following day.

Our trip north will be a toss-up between a detour to Mesa Verde National Park or driving the Million Dollar Highway to a campsite near Montrose. The Mesa Verde option takes us through Telluride, whereas the Million Dollar Highway passes through Silverton and Ouray.

Day five will take us to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for a day of hiking. It’s a stunning park with relatively low foot traffic. If we are talking about a proper seven-day week, our next destination will be Denver for her flight out. Stopping to camp and hike somewhere west of town on day six.

If we have a few bonus days, due to an extra weekend, a long day of driving up to Rocky Mountain National Park on day six is worth the added miles. Entering from the west side of the park, driving Trail Ridge Road, hiking from Bear Lake to several higher elevation alpine lakes, witnessing the seasonal elk rut, and camping in the park will easily fill our final days before driving south to Denver.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Without question, my family and the few I love as though they are family. They are everything to me and a constant part of my everyday life, no matter how many miles may separate us. The encouragement and love I have received from them has made all the difference over the years, especially while navigating the highs and lows along the way.

My parents absolutely deserve a special shoutout. They have always given me the freedom to make my own big decisions, even at a young age. Embracing and celebrating the most unconventional elements of my life. I remember being nervous when calling to share news to sell nearly everything inside my two-bedroom apartment, to move into a van. Without hesitation, they laughed, cheered me on, and asked for my move-in date to add to the calendar. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for everything.

Website: https://alainaann.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alainaann/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alainaann/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alainaannbrand/

Image Credits
Alaina Ann

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