I was born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. As a child, I had always loved to be outside, no matter what I was doing. I would wake up before anyone in the house and go outside, play in the backyard, go rollerskating or my favorite, check out the creek nearby and explore the woods and creatures in it. I loved to be in nature and get dirty and check out the frogs and snakes and butterflies and would spend from dawn to dusk outside, getting into whatever I could find. I camped in my backyard because that was my only option, not knowing what laid ahead for me in life.
My family used to go up north, as we call it in Niagara, for our summer vacations. My dad would rent a cottage on Green Lake, near Algonquin Park, and spend a week there. It was my most cherished time as a kid. My brother and I would go outside and pick blueberries for our breakfast. We would spend the days looking for tadpoles, frogs and snakes and play in the water for hours and hours. If I wasn’t in the water, I was climbing rocks, making a makeshift home in them and pretending it was where I lived. There was something magical about being up north. The air smelled of pine, the trees blew in the breeze, the water sparkled in the sunlight, and it was so peaceful there. I never ever wanted to go home.
When I reached my double digits, we stopped going up north and started taking our vacations in Florida. I loved the heat and the sun, so it was still great, but I never forgot the north, the way it smelled, the peacefulness and the way it made me feel.
In July of 2002, I went on my very first backcountry canoe trip in Algonquin Park. I had gone car camping here and there throughout the years, but had not done much more than that. I had heard all about the backcountry and wanted to go on a canoe trip for many years, but I had never met anyone or known anyone who had gone or who wanted to go. That all changed when I met the guy I was dating at the time. He had gone to camp as a kid and had always wanted to go on a canoe trip in Algonquin. I was set and elated that I was finally going to be able to go on my first canoe trip. I began planning and studying, and for 6 months before the trip, learned as much as I possibly could from books, library video tapes and anywhere else I could get information at that time. I even dehydrated most of our meals for the trip. We did a 5 day loop starting and ending at Galeairy Lake which included a massive portage and some huge challenges considering it was my very first trip ever. We saw moose, beavers and loons, got lost in a swamp during a lightening storm, experienced the worst bugs I’d ever seen in my life, and somehow, I had fallen in love! I was hooked and over the next 2 years I went on many more multi day trips and continued to go into the backcountry the following years as much as I possibly could.
In the spring of 2015, Woods Canada had a contest. They were looking for 2 people, who they would pay $20000 each, to spend 5 months exploring and sharing their experiences along the Trans Canada Trail. It was called the dream job and I wanted it to be mine. I spent 3 weeks gathering all my trip permits that I had saved and searched for photos, both real and digital, in order to create my outdoors resume and apply for the contest.
Sadly, I was not chosen, but I followed along on social media and helped them promote the trail and was even sent a shirt from Woods Canada, being granted an honorary Woods Explorer status, which inspired me even more. It also got me hooked on social media and somewhere during that time, I realized I did not need to win a contest to go out and do what I loved. I just needed to go out and do it! So that’s exactly what I did!
In July of 2015, I published my very first blog post right here at CamperChristina.com. In addition to spending more time outdoors and getting back to what I loved to do, I also had really enjoyed the interaction I’d experienced on social media, meeting and communicating with other like minded people. I decided that I would start a blog, as I loved to write and had had a journal most of my life. I not only wanted to go on more outdoor adventures, but also wanted to share them with other people to inspire them. The blog would also hold me accountable, as once I started something, I gave it my all and fully invested myself in it. Between July 2015 and January 2019, I published well over 200 posts and somehow managed to publish at least one post every single week. Having the blog and continuing to publish a post every week, pushed me to do many things I had never done before or thought I would do and the adventures continued to get more and more challenging as time went on. In 2015, I did my very first solo backcountry trip, as I wanted to go and had no one to go with. It was tough, but I made it through the night and I stuck with it, doing longer and more difficult trips as I went. I even started camping in the winter!!!
In 2017, I decided to start a youtube channel. I had actually had one from years ago and converted it, then began adding all the video clips I’d taken on my adventures thus far. I didn’t actually make real videos, at first, they were more like slideshows to music using a special program, but eventually I graduated to making full videos of my adventures and loved it even more than writing my blog. Unfortunately, working a full time job and going camping every other weekend started taking it’s toll on me. I now had a house in Muskoka, where I moved to in May of 2016 to be closer to the places I loved to explore, and there were always chores to do. In addition to working 45 hours a week, I was tripping several weekends each month, year round, writing blog posts and making videos of each adventure, editing and posting pictures and video clips on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, packing and unpacking for each trip, planning the trips, seeing my family now and then, urg!! It was just too much and something had to give. So, early on in 2019, I sadly decided I would stop the regular weekly publishing of posts on my blog so I could focus more on youtube. All of the posts are still here and they are enjoyed by many every single day, but anything new, you will find in video format on my youtube channel.
Over the past 5 years since starting all of this, I have learned so much and am truly grateful for all the amazing people I have met though social media. I have taken quite a few courses to learn more about what I love to do, including level 1, 2 and instructor courses for sea kayaking, my level 1-4 canoe certifications, my wilderness first aid and recert, map and compass level 1 & 2, not to mention everything I have learned from other like minded people, youtubers, bloggers and people I am now grateful to call my friends. I do most of my trips solo as I am just used to doing them that way and love being out in the middle of nowhere alone, and challenging myself and my skills to get out on the other side. In the last few years, I have also done some trips with a few awesome outdoors people, all of them I have met through social media and this journey I set out on 5 years ago. I live up north and I play here and I am thankful to that girl who 5 years ago decided to simply start following her passions and live life to the fullest and see where it would lead. I wouldn’t change a thing.
I would like to say an enormous, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has liked a blog post or a video or a picture of mine, commented, came to see me present, stopped me somewhere to say hello, sent an email or a gift, and all of the amazing people who have inspired me to get out and do what I love to do. I am truly grateful and can not say thank you enough.
OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME
I find it very difficult to sum up my 50 years of living with just a one page write up, but I have done my best to keep this short and sweet. Here are a few things you might not know about me:
- I played soccer for 15 years and am extremely competitive, in college people referenced me as Monica
- I figured skated for 5 years and was part of a precision team that competed in Lake Placid, New York and had lots of cute little outfits
- I am a Pisces and love the water, being in it, near it, drinking it, taking pictures of it, love love love it!
- I can play most sports fairly well, and love being active and competing at just about anything
- I left my job, sold my house and moved to Muskoka in 2016 to follow my passion of being closer to the places I loved up north
- I work as an office manager and a bookkeeper and am extremely organized and a bit of a perfectionist
- I love taking photographs and videos and take them whatever I am doing, not just outdoorsing
- I used to have an aquarium full of fish but I kept forgetting to clean the tank and eventually they died
- I was tricked on my first Algonquin trip seeing all kinds of wildlife that I have never seen there since, but I keep trying
- I love chocolate anything and everything except for mint, who ever thought of that combination….. just ew! Peanut butter is the best with it!
- I am born in Canada, but my family is German, NOT Italian, I know, that surprises a lot of people
- I am brutally honest and feel extremely guilty if I have to lie to someone for any reason
- When I was 19 I got a job offer in the Dominican Republic as an activities director and often regret not taking it
- I am afraid of the dark and always sleep with a knife under or close to my bed (even camping)
- I love driving stick and love driving fast, but sadly sold my Toyota Celica for a vehicle more backcountry/backroad worthy
- I was diagnosed with colitis in 2001, and find it very difficult to trip sometimes, but do it anyways
- I love to sing and dance, but only to certain songs
- I listen to audiobooks, A LOT, as I need to multi task most of the time to keep my mind busy
- I get extremely bad migraines and have been in the hospital for some of them, but they have gotten less severe since moving to Muskoka
- I film all my videos on my iphone 7S
- I can partially speak Spanish, German and French, but am most fluent-like in Spanish even though I am German
- I’ve had 2 knee surgeries for meniscus and ligament repairs
- I played beach 2’s volleyball and volleyball was my greatest passion up until my last knee surgery when i was told I couldn’t play hard any longer, so I switched back to camping
- I hate the cold and the snow but love to be outside which is why I made 3 hot tents so I can still adventure outside but be warm at night
- I attempt to be funny because I love to make people happy, but sometimes I fall short
Ambassadorships and Affiliations:
Just Strong / Ambassador code: CHRSCH10