We had the good fortune of connecting with Caroline Slaughter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caroline, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
This isn’t as easy a question as it may seem. You may feel as though you’ve tried everything, and things still aren’t working. What happens though when you give up? If you give up, essentially you lose everything you’ve been working towards. You start over. My answer may seem simple, but it’s that you keep going. Life gets tough at times, and believe me I have definitely thought about giving up on my dreams or career path and settling for something else. For some it’s more difficult than others, but everything is about perspective. Of course, there are certain aspects of life we cannot always change or avoid. Some of these will hold us back no matter what we do. Ultimately, if it’s something that you are passionate enough about then you try everything you can, every avenue, every path to keep going towards that goal. You might not know what that goal is, or it may turn out differently than expected, but it will be so worth it when that happens. For a long time I wasn’t sure where I would end up or what I might be doing for my career. I am certainly still working towards that, but coming out to Colorado has helped me discover more of what I want to do. It has pushed me in ways I could not have imagined. Moving here was one of the best decisions I made.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My career is definitely still developing. Becoming a fly fishing guide is something I want to continue exploring, and I’ve only just begun to learn from others and build my skill set. This profession offers exciting and unique opportunities to those who take advantage, and not to mention a beautiful office setting. I think what sets me apart from others is that I am always trying to stay busy and pursue new ventures. Often times I’ve held several jobs at once, and in my free time I am constantly working on new hobbies. My goal for this year is to get accepted to grad school and continue my education in conservation biology. My passion would be to one day combine my love of fly fishing and conservation into a full time career. At this point in my life I am proud of myself for moving to new places, especially of my own volition. I have had a wonderful support system along the way. My family and friends have always offered their advice, but ultimately let me make my own decisions and I am incredibly grateful for that. My decisions are not usually made in haste, but thought out and carefully assessed. However, many of the conclusions I come to require me to get out of my comfort zone. I will never look back on that, and hope to always remember the opportunities that might come as reward. One of the biggest lessons I have taken away from my challenges and getting to where I sit today is to say “Yes”. That obviously does not pertain to every equation, or scenario, but most of the time I believe it is worth it. That, and…sometimes you have to pester people. Maybe “pester” isn’t the right word but always follow up, especially with job positions. It took me a long time to realize, and also get comfortable doing that. Although, I don’t think I will ever be fully comfortable with it. You may feel like you’ve applied to 50+ jobs and no luck, but a lot of those can have hundreds of applications for one position. It is not always easy or simple, and this goes back to the first question, but try not to give up.
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.
There are an incredible number of options, but I would take them to the Buena Vista area. I could probably write out a week long itinerary for visiting BV a lot more easily than writing my grocery list for the week. The Arkansas river, and it’s tributaries, offer a number of activities. Fishing and whitewater rafting to begin, but also tubing, kayaking, and SUP. That’s just on the water, you can also hike in numerous national parks in the area or journey to the top of a 14er, go mountain biking, climbing, and then end the day with a hot spring. Buena Vista has plenty of local shops and restaurants in the area as well, many of which I still have yet to try. I am a big music fan, so whenever it’s safe to reopen, I would highly recommend going to see music here. The Campout for the Cause music festival is a good place to start and is usually held in the summers.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Every single coworker of mine at Orvis! My full time job in Denver started at this fly shop, and I cannot say enough good things about all of these people. Not only that, but many of them helped me get to where I am today. Whether it is recommendations, advice, or connecting me with others. Jeff Poole. The owner of the North Fork Ranch Guide Service. He has helped me these past couple years get into guiding and understand the ins and outs of this business. He is very patient and knowledgable. Alex Hostetter Hatcher. Without her I would not have been introduced to this platform! She not only inspires me with the work she does for the Big Life Foundation, but also her adventurous spirit and attitude.