We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexis Hinkley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexis, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I grew up (primarily) in a town on the east side of Seattle, WA called Issaquah. My family also owned a house in Maui until the recession, so I grew up bouncing between the tall, misty mountains of Washington state and the island Oasis we were so fortunate to have access to. The outdoors were naturally a huge part of my life. My parents put me on skis when I was 13 months old and I haven’t missed a ski season since. I also loved the ocean as a child, bringing bags of frozen peas with me into the water in Maui to “befriend” the fish. At 13, I moved to Utah for a little over a year and lived right outside of Zion National Park and became an avid hiker. At 14 I had already done every hike within the park, including having hiked the entire length of the 18 mile canyon that forms the park. I think these things play an obvious and unquestionable role in the formation of my identity today. The outdoors have always, and will always, be where I am most at peace.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My story has been somewhat of a rollercoaster. I teeter between extreme trauma and brilliant successes at a rate that seems unreal. I survived sexual and other forms of abuse as a child, endured a year long recovery program, away from my family, in the southwest, only to convert the pain of which into an integral need for freedom and absolute independence. The seasons of my life have shifted much like the weather, and the collective sum of my trauma has formed a hardened resilience that I am so proud of. This has directly affected my career goals. I think the reason I was so attracted to the idea of a career in healthcare was a need to show others the love I felt robbed of as a child and young adult. At the same time, this fierce independence has created a need for new stimuli and adventure whenever possible. I think these two things collided in a way that made travel nursing the perfect career for me. As a travel nurse, you often don’t have a strong support system within the hospital because you are the perpetual new kid. My patients are my life, and I have to be able to rely completely on my own abilities to be successful in what are frequently changing and challenging circumstances. As far as photography, it is difficult to refer to it in a career sense. Photography is what made my career possible. It funded my way through nursing school and has given me the most incredible opportunities. But it is not my career, it is how I express the love I have for the outdoors and exploring the world around me. I am able to document my experiences in a way that brings joy to both myself and the people that see my photos; and that is such an incredible honor. I started photographing my cat, Tuna, who comes along on all my trips, and she gained a fanbase of well over 100,000 people. If my photos of the landscapes and animals I love can bring others joy, it makes the art form that is photography worth so much more. Some day, I would like to combine my love for healthcare, documentation and story telling. I hope to begin international medical missions, on which I can obviously volunteer my medical expertise as well as my photography to document far away places and hopefully inspire others to travel there. This way I can support both the physical and financial health of the communities I serve.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve lived in Colorado for seven years now, give or take. I travel so much it’s hard to refer to any place as “home”, but Colorado has been my home base for almost a decade. I love our proximity to so many different places. I can leave my house after breakfast and be in the Utah desert by lunch. I can be at world class ski resorts in a little over an hour. I have a world class music venue in my backyard, and an incredible city to explore in between my trips. I think my favorite spots in the city have to be Riverfront Park, Watercourse Foods, Fontana Sushi, and the Five Points arts district. Riverfront Park is the perfect place to be on a crisp, sunny winter day. Watercourse foods is a unique dining experience with incredible options you can’t really find anywhere else (please try their macaroon coffee, you can thank me later). Fontana sushi is a family owned Japanese restaurant that is affordable and oh so delicious with an incredible staff. The arts district speaks for itself, I believe, but is a great place to bring Denver newbies.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents undoubtedly deserve all credit. Not only did they spike my love for adventure, but they also have put up with countless times in which I took more risk than they were comfortable with. From leaving the house at 3 am to chase sunrises, to moving to South East Asia for a summer on my own, to the hundreds of solo road trips I’ve done… I’m sure having a daughter as determined to explore as I am has caused them more than a couple grey hairs. I love you guys and I owe you everything. Thank you for making all this possible.