Featured Blogger: Ashley Bredemus

Featured Blogger: Ashley Bredemus

Featured Blogger - Ashley Bredemus - An Outdoor Experience

Ladies and gentleman, have we got a treat for you today!!! It is with great pleasure that we extend a warm welcome to our good friend Ashley Bredemus (and her adorable adventure-mate Arlo the Shiloh Shepherd). As of just last night, Ashley's blog "An Outdoor Experience" was voted the first runner up in the Best Travel/Outdoor Blog category of the annual Twin Cities Collective Awards and Arlo was voted Best Insta-Famous Pet (Congratulations to you both!!)

If you aren't already aware of Ashley's awesomeness, AOE is a blog dedicated to "the fullness of a life lived outside celebrating the best experiences money can’t buy." And while we have only known Ashley a short while, her optimistically energetic spirit and genuinely generous warmth have made us big, big fans quite, quite quickly. In the interview that follows you will undoubtedly observe what we opine, as Ashley opens up about a few topics not yet explored on her own blog and unearths some true, introspective gems like... well, someone who has been cooped up in a cabin all by her lonesome for a while. 😉😂😁

So right off the bat, what is the story of Ashley Bredemus? How is it that you came to live in a 200 square foot cabin with no running water and what made you decide to blog about the experience?

Right out of college (University of Wisconsin - Madison), I moved to Alabama where I worked as an engineer for two years then moved to Florida for another two years. However, I always knew I wanted to move back to my home state of Minnesota.
In September of 2018, the opportunity presented itself to quit my job and move to the 200 square foot cabin I now live in alongside my dad’s cabin. So I threw myself off the corporate ladder and into the remote wilderness. A lot of folks criticized my decision but it has turned out to be the best choice I have ever made for myself!

That November, friends and family suggested I start a blog to keep them updated on my survival in the great northwoods and that’s how this all began. The cabin and my blog and this lifestyle was only supposed to be for one winter but here I am, blogging about my second.

You can read the full story about why I quit my job and moved to the woods here.
Now this second question may seem a bit unorthodox and I don’t mean any disrespect but... are you crazy? Don’t get me wrong, I mean people have been reading books like Thoreau’s Walden Pond for well over 150 years and dreamt about trying their hands at living the “simple life” in a remote cabin in the woods... but no one actually, ya know....does it!! 😄 So really I guess the question now is: Would you ever go back to living a “modern life” ?

No offense taken! I think you have to be a tiny bit crazy to go after your dreams, especially when they go against the grain of society.

Initially, I only planned to spend one season here but the longer I live in the remote wilderness the colder I become towards the idea of going back to “modern life” as I knew it. Currently, I’m making plans for a greenhouse here so...no, I don’t have any plans to return to “modern life”.

What do you miss most and least about your old way of life?
I miss having a heated bathroom with a flushing toilet when it’s below zero. That’s about it.

On the flipside, there are a million things I don’t miss! I think you can probably think of some things on the list but I’d rather paint you a picture.

Have you ever been driving in really dense fog and then, boop, you pop out of it instantly like someone just flipped a switch?

That’s what moving to the woods has been like. Like popping out of the fog of distractions and consumerism, and surface level values to discover clarity and connection to my true values.

The fog is what I miss the least.
Before we get too far into this I just wanted to try a little experiment - to make sure we cover off the thing everyone is dying to know let me just ask this: What is the one question you get asked most frequently regarding your life or your blog and what is the answer?

I feel like this is a nice way of asking, “How in the world do you make money?” People are always asking!

My mother would scold me for this because “ladies don’t talk about money.” Sorry, mom but the people want to know!

I’m not sure what folks expect to hear but the truth is, over the last year, I didn’t make any money. I saved a lot when I had my engineering job, which allowed me the freedom to live this way.

Now, I own a
business and that’s my answer when people ask me how I afford my lifestyle but really...my lifestyle requires very very little, which is kind of the point of this whole “cabin in the woods” thing.

You chose to trade an engineering job and life in the city for a remote cabin in the woods to spend time with your dad. Can you tell us a little about the man some affectionately refer to as “Uncle Dan” and what it means to you to be living this outdoor experience alongside your father?

Oh my dad is the best! We’ve been glued at the hip since I was born. I think we’re tuned into the same brain waves like it’s our own personal radio station or something. We’re so alike. 

He taught high school shop classes for 31 years in Grand Rapids, MN. His students knew him as Mr. B but here at Birchwood Wilderness Camp he’s known as Uncle Dan.

He’s my business partner, my best friend, my hero, my dad, and the best person I know. I can hardly answer your question without getting choked up.

I’d do anything for him...like quit my stable engineering job and move to the woods. Or sell almost everything we own and buy a summer camp.

I cherish and value these years in the woods with him more than anything in my entire life. Someday I’ll write about it all but right now I’m too busy making the actual memories.

Which has been of greater benefit during the past year? Your engineering degree, knowledge and experience or the shop teacher living in the cabin next door? (also, out of curiosity, what kind of engineer were you?)

I’m a mechanical engineer by degree but i’ve grown up learning to work with my hands because of my dad. That being said, he’s my dad...he’s programmed to want to take care of me. So I’m going to have to go with option a) the shop teacher living next door!

My engineering degree isn’t valuable in the ways you might imagine. I’m not up here using the principles of thermodynamics on a daily basis. However, my degree paired with the knowledge my dad has given me is my greatest asset. I know how to solve problems and use power tools...that’s really all you need.
Family clearly means a lot to you and you share quite a bit about your father on your blog, but not a lot has yet been shared about your mother. If you don’t mind, could you tell us a little about her?

Ahh Gail, Gladis, Mama B. I know I don’t talk about her much but she’s at the heart of everything I do.

My dog, my cat, the fox that visits, the cabin I live in, the songs I listen to, the photos I take, and the words I write...all have Gail’s influence.

*She would hate that I’m referring to her as Gail instead of Mom but I’ve been doing it since I was a toddler. She’d said, “Dammit Ashley call me mom!”

That’s Gail for you - a firecracker!

She passed away in 2013 after almost twenty years of battling three cancer diagnoses. July of 2013 is one of those bookends in my life...there’s my life with mom and life after mom.

My relationship with her was unique in a way only other “only children” will understand but if there’s one thing she left me with it’s a perfect example of strength and love.

33 years ago, she lived in the Pepper Shack. She would've been one year older than I am now. I think of that and smile every time I open the door.

You come from a family with a rich history of camp life. Can you tell us a little bit about how Camp Birchwood came to be, what it has meant to you, and what the future holds for the camp?
My grandparents, Jim and Nancy, founded Camp Birchwood for Girls in 1958. Ten years later, my grandpa purchased land for what is now Birchwood Wilderness Camp (brother camp to Camp Birchwood for Girls) at the end of the Gunflint Trail.
Ever since, my family has been involved in running these two camps. Even my parents directed in the early 80’s.

I grew up going to the girls camp where I made some of my best friends and fondest memories. I’m a decent sailor because of Birchwood too!

Both camps have a special place in my heart, which is why I now own and direct one of them -
Birchwood Wilderness Camp. Believe it or not, my great grandparents were camp owners, making me a fourth generation camp owner. I’m extremely proud to say that!

If you want to see the answer to this question in video form, check out
this video.
I understand at Camp Birchwood staff members go by different nicknames. What is yours and how did you happen to arrive at that moniker?

Ah yes! The nicknames are a fun tradition here at Birchwood. My nickname is Penny. 

The official story about my nickname has to do with me coming to camp with not a penny to my name but becoming rich with wilderness experience. Cheesy, right? I can tell you the unofficial story in person.
How about “Hunny” ? Who is he, what is his camp nickname and how did that come to pass?

My sweet hunny! His camp name is Stryde and his real name is Victor. I call him “Hunny” on social media because half of my world knows him as Stryde and the other half knows him as Vic so I arrived at a pet name instead.

He’s called Stryde because he was a collegiate runner.

What would I do without Stryde!? He’s truly my perfect compliment because he’s very grounded. Very practical and caring where I’m totally a “head-in-the-clouds” dreamer sort of person. I lift him up and he keeps my feet on the ground.
Even our “how we met” story rings true to our personalities.

This story takes place while camp was in session. I was just about to go to bed when I noticed a giant wolf spider on the wall of my cabin. Now, I’m not the sort of person to kill a spider but I also was a little nervous about ushering the furry creature outside.

What’s a girl to do?! I marched down to the staff lounge to see if anyone would come help me. 

Victor jumped to his feet and marched up to my cabin with a plan! He grabbed a stick and asked if I had a book or piece of paper he could use. I said, “What the heck are you gonna do with a stick and paper? Don’t you need a jar?”

He taught me that wolfies freeze up if you can tip them on their back! He used the stick to flip the spider on the paper and, wouldn’t you know it, that spider was frozen on his back! No chance of an escape into my laundry basket. All Stryde had to do was escort him outside and set him on his feet.

I thanked him for his bravery and educational spider lesson with a smile as he nervously tripped down my stairs then walked back up them to apologize for falling down my stairs. What a cutie. The rest is history.

A mutual friend of ours requested that we inquire about the super steep water slide you have at Camp Birchwood... specifically when are you going to demonstrate the proper way to go down it and what is the story behind the slide?

I believe you’re referring to White Lightning! Yes, it has a name.

I built the 400 foot water slide with my dad in 2010. It took us a month to complete but is now the crown jewel of our waterfront!

I was the first person to go down the slide and I never need to go down it again. That thing is scary fast!

But our campers and staff LOVE it! The proper way to go down is to arch your back so the only parts touching the slide are your shoulder blades and heels. A lifejacket is required to ride but you’ll be happy to have it when White Lightning shoots you out the end into the river!
For anyone who already knows anything about you it is also clear that, in addition to family, animals play a pretty significant role in your life. Did you grow up with many pets?

YES! Again, this has my mom’s name all over it. She grew up with a pet fox named Tippy and a menagerie of dogs and cats so naturally my childhood was similar.
I grew up with Clydesdales, a parrot, many dogs, many cats, and all sorts of wildlife on our porch.

There were a few years there where my mom would get together three different buckets of food. One was for the deer who would take their dinner on the front lawn. The second and third were for the skunks and raccoons who took their dinner right on our front porch. 

Every year all three groups would bring their new babies to our home every night where they would dine in harmony for us to enjoy.

They never caused trouble for us or for each other. Mom wouldn’t have put up with that. There was never an animal that didn’t love my mother and not an animal she didn’t love in return.

So that’s why I’m such a sucker for critters - it’s in my blood.

Note: As I type this, I have one cat on my lap, one cat on the desk next to the keyboard, and one dog at my feet.

Obviously, over the past year, your dog Arlo has become the secondary star of your Instagram feed (or is it the other way around 🤔😂). Living in the wilderness she will undoubtedly be asked to pull her own weight (probably both literally and figuratively)... what kind of duties will ‘her hugeness’ be responsible for once she is fully grown?

Arlo is definitely the star of my Instagram! 

Once Arlo is fully grown, she’ll be responsible for pulling a supply sled across the river during the winter months. She just got her first sled so she’s learning!

“Her hugeness” also has a career of her own. She is the head summer camp comfort dog. When campers are missing their pets back at home they give Arlo all sorts of hugs and cuddles. It’s her job to keep the fluffy snuggles coming.

Arlo’s future goals are to become a certified therapy dog so we visit cancer patients during chemotherapy treatment. I’ve been in my fair share of chemo treatment rooms and they could use a little doggo energy to brighten the mood. My mom would’ve LOVED if a dog like Arlo had come to visit during one of her treatments.

You can read alllll about Arlo HERE.

A variety of other wildlife always seems to be stopping by your property to say hello (usually resulting in some great photo ops or hilarious commentary between you and your dad) how many regular visitors do you have, of what species and what are their names?

I am just loving these questions, Trent!

Let me introduce you to the squad! Let’s start with the Whiskey Jacks. There’s Geppetto who has a wonky beak. I should’ve named him
Pinocchio but I liked Geppetto better. He likes to follow me on hikes in hopes I’ve got bird seed in my pocket, which I usually do.

Then there’s Bonnie and Clyde. They are a pair of Whiskey Jacks who work as a team to snag bread crumbs from my hand.

You’ve probably seen a photo of Ginger the fox. She is moreso my neighbors pet fox but she ventures over to visit me when Arlo is napping.

And lastly, there’s Sid the flying squirrel. He’s a pretty talented acrobat who lives in the attic of the Pepper Shack.

For those who don’t know, you live in a one room cabin that your father built which has somehow been deemed the “Pepper Shack” ... first of all wherever did that name come from?

When my dad, grandma, and mother built the Pepper Shack in 1980, my dad was listening to the Beatles album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band quite a bit and that was the influence behind the name - The Pepper Shack!

There’s something about the Pepper Shack, a vibe, that really suits the name. It’s hard to describe! The cabin itself is, just as you said, one room (200 square feet) with a wood stove against one wall, a desk and “kitchen” against another, and a bed against the third. The cabin has decent wifi but not a drip of running water and I’m perfectly ok with that.

From the floorboards to the ceiling, Pepper has a personality of her own and a storied history that predates her construction. My grandpa Joe (mom’s dad) cut the timber and used his sawmill to turn it into lumber for the live edge siding. The floorboards came from a cabin my grandpa Jim (dad’s dad) helped build long before the Pepper Shack existed. 

And we’re just scratching the surface. You can read all about the Pepper Shack and her history HERE.

Now for those who are interested in checking out all of the amenities your charming “studio” cabin has to offer you put together a little video tour in which you impressively talk about a single room for over 20 minutes (link available here). Many of the items within your 4 walls have unique stories or family history. Whether it’s your work desk, your grandfather’s lumberjack tools, the cabinets your father built or your most recent thrift store find, you clearly value nouns with narratives. Heaven forbid a fire ever broke out in the Pepper Shack, what’s the one thing you would have to grab? (Animals were all safely outside already thank goodness)

I live in a cabin in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota. When I get the chance to talk, I take it!

Plus, there is, as you said, a lot of history within my four walls. Apparently 20 minutes worth.

Woof, that’s a tough question because the Pepper Shack is literally filled with all the things I would save in a normal house fire (pending animal safety of course)!
There are about four things I would grab but there’s one thing that I would go for first.

I’m embarrassed to say this on the internet but I share everything else about my life so what the heck. When I was three, my dad bought me a stuffed elephant at Menards...probably a way to keep me quiet while he shopped for boards or light fixtures.

But that stuffed elephant became my security blanket, a little friend to an only child. Throughout my mom’s first battle with cancer (I was 5) and my dad’s own cancer diagnosis (I was 10), that little elephant helped me more than my parents ever realized.

I don’t take him with me everywhere anymore (that would be odd) but he sits in my cabin and the three year old me would instinctively grab him if a fire broke out.

What’s currently in the candy dish on your work desk?

Holiday Mint M&M’s! The second they hit the shelves at the grocery store I’m filling my candy dish with them!

Once the holidays are over, my candy dish usually contains dark chocolate covered almonds.

Now over the past few months as the ice has begun to freeze and your bravery has been on full display, we’ve come to the conclusion that in the Harry Potter universe the sorting hat would have no trouble declaring you a Gryffindor resident... but what pray tell would be your patronus???

Woooaaaahhh! Now THIS is a great question! Bravo, Trent!

I took a Buzzfeed patronus quiz to aid in answering your question. My results say I share the same patronus as Luna Lovegood, which makes sense. Her patronus is a hare! 

From Buzzfeed:
People sometimes think you’re a bit of an oddball, but your eccentricity and honesty are what others love most about you. You’re intelligent, an animal lover, and curious about the world around you. Your Patronus takes the form of a hare, the same as Luna Lovegood.”

Although, I would prefer to have an owl for a patronus I’ll accept the hare because I love Luna!

It’s a fairly well documented fact that you are one of “those people”... the people who can be found listening to Christmas tunes all year round... as a self-proclaimed yulephile what is your favorite Christmas song? Favorite all-time Christmas movie? And favorite bad Christmas movie? (you know what I mean... so bad it’s guilty pleasure good)

And this is where I lose all credibility! Or win you over!

Yes, I’m one of those people but where do you think I got it from? My mom listened to Christmas tunes year round and made the holiday season very merry and bright. I get so jazzed about the holidays because of her. It’s a way to honor my mom.
Ok moving on from the sappiness and into serious topics.

Favorite Christmas song:
All I Want For Christmas *bow down to Maraiah Carey, the Christmas queen!
But I also love soft Christmas jazz, classic Christmas tunes, the entire Charlie Brown Christmas album and anything from Johnny boy (you may know him as John Mayer)!

Favorite All-Time Christmas Movie:
Well gosh, that just depends on my mood. If i’m feeling nostalgic, The Santa Claus. If I want an action movie, Die Hard(hey, it’s set on Christmas Eve so that counts). If I simply want to smile, A Charlie Brown Christmas. If I want to laugh, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Favorite Bad Christmas Movie:
I love them all and I’m not ashamed to say it! Hallmark, Netflix, Hulu - they all deck the halls! But I particularly love the 2017 hit, The Christmas Cottage.
A few weeks ago, once the ice was officially thick enough to walk on, you took us all out for a little skating session through one of your IG stories and mentioned that you grew up taking lessons... what’s the most complicated trick you can pull off?
Not falling on my face - that’s my complicated trick! But seriously, I can do a couple of little jumps but I stopped figure skating when they started putting me in the harness rig to learn the triple lutz.

This next question comes from one of our readers (a Ms. J. Mileski) who wants to know... 1) how are you so awesome? And 2) what does a grocery run look like for you? (How much do you buy at a time? How far in advance do you meal plan? Do you have any favorite go to recipes? Do you garden? Etc)

Aww gee! I’ll answer that when Ms. J. Mileski can tell me how she got to be so sweet!?

As for the second question, a typical grocery run varies depending on the season. In the summer, we hop on a boat, drive to the boa landing (5-10 minute drive), hop in the car and drive to Grand Marais (hour drive), then get groceries and go back. In the winter, replace the boat with a snowmobile or snowshoes depending on snow and ice conditions.
We’re usually in town once per week so we don’t need to stock up too much but it really bites when we forget something on the list, which happens all the time. For example, last week I forgot cream cheese and had to go A WHOLE WEEK without it. I barely survived.
Jokes aside, we don’t do a whole lot of meal planning simple because we have a handful of dishes we eat every week. My favorite being grilled salmon with brussel sprouts and wild rice.

As for gardening, we don’t currently but I have big plans for a greenhouse! I would love to do more gardening and baking.

Another from one of our readers: Without access to running water, what is your secret to feeling so fresh and so clean clean between bathings?

I’ve taught myself to be low maintenance. You might not like this answer but I shower once per week and sauna when I feel like it.

However, I take skincare seriously. Every night I boil water, pour it over a washcloth, and lay it over my face and neck after massaging a serum into my skin. It’s like a little mini spa and oh so relaxing!

Alright time for the lightning round 😉😁 let’s get a few recommendations down for those looking to make the most out of North Shore travel. Anything from Duluth north....
Best places to eat?

Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth
Poplar Haus on the Gunflint Trail
Best place to get a cup of coffee?
Java Moose in Grand Marais
Best coffee for at home brewing?

The best coffee beans I’ve ever had for home brewing I purchased at a small town farmers market in Costa Rica. Nothing has measured up since so I don’t try. Caribou Coffee light roast beans get the job done.
P.S. I always get a light roast because a) I find most places tend to burn their dark roast beans and b) light roast actually has more caffeine.
Favorite place to hike?

Give me a hiking trail along the north shore of Lake Superior and I’m happy!
Tettegouche is the best for dramatic vistas!

Oooh and I wrote a whole blog post about some lesser known little hikes off of the Gunflint Trail!
Summer camping location?

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Winter camping location?

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
It’s literally my backyard so you can’t be surprised by that!
Best place to do some rock climbing?

I’ve got two secret spots that I cannot divulge but I will share one of my favorites - Tettegouche!
Favorite waterfall?

Rose Falls at Stairway Portage
Favorite place to go in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?

I don’t have a place that ISN’T my favorite. The majority of my trips have been out of the Gunflint Trail rather than Ely, so keep that in mind, but my favorite little trip to recommend to beginners and experienced paddlers alike is a trip into Rose Lake! I wrote a whole blog post about it HERE.

Some may think a Thoreau like life of choosing to live outside of society’s bounds is an escape or avoidance of human contact - forced hermitage - yet I get the sense you treasure people and connecting with others... do you find being away from day to day interactions makes you more appreciative of the time you have with others?

Absolutely! This is part of what I talk about in my blog post on Slow Living.

Living a little more disconnected from the pace of modern day society has a way of focusing the quality of your connection to the present moment and the relationships there!
What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself in the past year?

Before moving to the woods last year, I had someone very important in my life tell me it wasn’t attractive that I wasn’t “passionate” about anything. 

That person is no longer in my life but I beat myself up over that for a long time because I believed him.

Over the last year, I learned that I am incredibly passionate about a number of things! I was just living a lifestyle that was not conducive to my passions. It wasn’t me that was the problem...It was my lifestyle.
As someone who endures the harshness of Minnesota winters more intimately than most a good pair of boots are undoubtedly an essential piece of winter survival gear... do you have any winter boots you would highly recommend?

As a child, I had a pair of Steger Mukluks. That would be my recommendation, although I don’t currently have a pair. Please, Mukluk help a girl out!

My current boots are pretty good though. I have a pair of Mucks. I will say, you have to test out different socks with Mucks, or else your feet will sweat. Otherwise, they are epic boots!

Do you mind if I give one non-shoe related winter clothing item?

Carhartt bibs! Seriously, a pair of Carhartt bibs will change your winter experience.
Embarking on a blog seems like a simple step into self publishing, but the grind to always be working on new content can be exhausting to say the least. What lessons have you learned since starting your blog? About yourself? About running a blog? And about planning for and capturing content?

The first piece of advice I ever received when I started blogging was to “first and foremost, write what your heart tells you to rather than what you think people want to read.”

And THAT is the best advice I’ve heard to this day in regards to blogging. If what I write doesn’t come from the heart then it’s not valuable to my reader.

Writing from the heart can be challenging at times though. What if I don’t have something heartfelt to say? What if my reader doesn’t find it valuable?

That’s why I a) keep a running note in my phone and journal full of little ideas, quotes, and stories and b) prioritize my connection with my audience! I find the combination of these two points keeps momentum rolling and my audience engaged!
Your photography, especially your newest winter content, has been incredible as of late. What is your editing process and do you use any presets or is everything done on an individual basis?

Oh why thank you! I’ve seriously fallen in love with photography. Funny story, when I got my first real camera this spring I wouldn't shut up about it, which is when my dad said, “Your mother always wanted you to be a writer and photographer. She thought you’d be good it.”

Not ONCE, had my mother ever expressed that to me. But you know what they say, mother’s intuition is never wrong! Now here I am with a blog and a camera.

Sorry for the trip to tangent town. My editing process, if you could call it that, is all done within Adobe Lightroom. I don’t have a particular preset but each photo takes on a similar process tuned specially for the season. 

Right now, I’ve been desaturating my photos, raising the orange tones and lowering the blue tones, lifting the shadows, playing with the curves. Blah, blah, blah I do mostly the same thing to every photo but tweak it based on individual needs. Currently, I’m learning how to get my white balance right. With all this snow, I end up getting things tinted too green or blue or purple. It’s a work in progress.
While blogging can in some ways be an isolated personal experience it is also at its heart about connecting with a community and sharing with others. What other bloggers do you look up to or delight in their content?

YES! I have made so many real world friends through blogging!

I particularly look up to the following folks (bloggers, photographers, designers, and creators):

Jordan Mileski
Emily Theisen
Jenny Anderson from Girl of 10,000 Lakes
Kate Eskuri from The Foundation Blog
What has been your biggest frustration since starting out? Biggest triumph?

My biggest frustration is (and always will be) grammar. My engineering degree didn’t equip me well to be a writer. My readers are such sweethearts to put up with my misuse of punctuation.

My biggest triumph is seriously the community I’ve created through my blog.

Who are your heroes?

My dad, Yvon Chouinard, and Martin Luther King Jr.
What adventures are on your bucket list that you haven’t yet had the pleasure of experiencing?

Traveling the world! Ha!

My list is so long! I want to visit the south west region of the states, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Alaska, Patagonia...it goes on and on.

That’s the beauty of owning a summer camp, we spend most of the “off season” preparing for the upcoming summer but during early fall we have some time to travel. So, watch out world!
What’s one piece of advice you would offer someone who is just starting out in blogging?

Aside from the advice I noted earlier about writing from the heart, if you don’t mind, I’ve got three more pieces of advice.
  1. Don’t force a blog idea. Give yourself the time and space to develop your topic and mission from the heart.
  2. The startup is the hardest part. Push through!
  3. How does that saying go? “Done is better than perfect.” Your content needs to be of value to people but it doesn’t need to be perfect if it’s stopping you from actually starting/running a blog. Don’t let perfectionism keep you from hitting the publish button on a regular and consistent basis! Build momentum and keep running with it.
This one comes from our previous featured guest Tony Eaton who would like to know ...What is your biggest pet peeve and why?

When people ask, “What is your biggest pet peeve?” *teehee  Just kidding, Tony!
I don’t have any pet peeves aside from people being late without letting me know they’re going to be late.
What one question would you ask our next featured guest? (Anything you like)

If you could open any type of food/beverage establishment what and where would it be? Your answer does not need to be practical, actually I hope it’s not!
Time to pay it forward... who else would you like to see featured on this blog?

I would love to hear from George (@georgeduluth) because I think we all need to hear about the adventures behind his photos and his double life as a school teacher.

I would also love to hear from Kristen (@missnortherner because she has this unremarkable grace about her...I’d like to know more of her story!

And finally, I know you read quite a lot in your free time and happen to have an affinity for quality quotations… who are your favorite authors and can you give us one of your favorite quotes to close this thing out?

My library card is a little more than gently used, that’s for sure!

Some of my favorite authors include:

Sigurd Olson
Helen Hoover
Justine Kerfoot
Elizabeth Gilbert
Louise Penny
Brene Brown
Ruth Emmie Lang
John Marrs
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Anthony Doerr

I’ll leave you with two quotes! 

The first is just a personal favorite from local legend, Justine Kerfoot. I read her book,
Woman of the Boundary Waters, shortly after moving to the end of the Gunflint Trail and this particular quote describes my feelings towards this wilderness better than any.

“I don’t know when, but the fact remains that I did fall in love. An infinitesimal speck in the cosmos, I stood on the shore of Gunflint Lake beneath a great white pine - matriarch of a fast-vanishing tribe. And I knew I was home. I was twenty-one. The year was 1927.”

The second quote I’ll leave you with is from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. When I’m feeling afraid of my dreams I read this:

“Be brave. Without bravery, you will never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your life will remain small - far smaller than you probably wanted your life to be.”

Can I sneak one more in here? It’s the quote I live by:

“Voyage upon life’s sea,
To yourself be true,
And whatever your lot may be, 
Paddle your own canoe.”
That one is by Sarah Bolton.
Thank you so much for your time.

For brilliant Bredemus content be sure to check out Ashley in the following places:
Instagram: @ashleybredemus
Web: anoutdoorexperience.com
Back to blog


Penny, you make the world a more interesting and beautiful place. I’m so proud to know you. You are real.


What beautiful photography. It is stunning. It doesn’t hurt that the models and the scenery are also beautiful. It is wonderful to experience Ashley’s lifestyle vicariously through her blog. Beautiful adventurous spirit. It also makes me more conscious of our environment and I find myself much more aware of preserving our earth and resources. It is actually changing my habits and lifestyle.

Karen Cameron

It is so u….from the 200 hours together I knew u were so special!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.