Maven Memoir: Natasha, Story Creator, Wise Woman, and Mama
Confession time: now that I'm not the only Trail Mavens guide, I suffer from serious FOMO when I hear about the amazing women who attend trips I'm not leading. Case in point: when Jess (our guide profiled last week) started talking about this wonderful gal and storyteller named Natasha from her early April Big Sur adventure, I immediately wanted to meet her myself, and then proceeded to talk her ear off over the phone for over an hour (and all this over her son's bedtime)!
Natasha is every bit as thoughtful, intelligent, and all-around lovely as I'd heard from Jess, and her talent for storytelling and wordplay is abundantly clear in her beautiful writing. I dare you not to want to hang out with her after reading this:
Name: Natasha Yeoman
Hometown: The Woodlands, TX
Trail Mavens Adventure: Big Sur Camping
Tell us a little about yourself! What do you do for work and for fun?
I split my time doing marketing for a start-up called Fireside Provisions, freelance writing, and running Velveteen Stories, a side business where I create bespoke storybooks for people. Outside of work, I love to cook, hike, travel, and play with my 14-month-old. He’s wildly successful at making things I usually stress about—work, money, the election—small potatoes.
What's most important to you at this moment in your life?
My family, first. But a close second is creating stories and helping people tell theirs.
What inspired you to register for a Trail Mavens trip?
On the surface, registering seemed like a great opportunity to become better at certain classic camping skills, like pitching a tent and operating one of those little propane stoves. But I was also drawn to the idea of exploring the outdoors with interesting people, and having good conversations without interruptions.
What kinds of emotions did you experience before going on your trip?
I felt buzzy, excited, and impatient to hit the road and put my adult (and parental) responsibilities on hold for the weekend. That’s not to say that I didn’t also experience a few twinges of anxiety (of the pre-middle-school-dance variety), probably around the idea of hanging out with strangers and/or making a horrible camping faux-pas that would be remembered for all time.
Tell us the story of your favorite moment from the trip.
A lesson on campfire building that brought out a truly hysterical, sophomoric side of our group. To create this particular model of campfire, we needed to arrange a pair of logs in a rather suggestive “V” shape, laying twigs across the tops and then gently filling the triangular space underneath with tinder. It seemed everyone had a personal, um, technique on how best to stoke the fire—when to blow, the optimal size for kindling, and how to keep the fire going all night long.
If you could describe the feel of your trip in three words, what would they be?
Expansive, genuine, creative.
What did you gain from your Trail Mavens experience?
A sense of freedom and empowerment, cheesy as it sounds. Having two full days away from my family was restorative and gave me much-needed time to just be alone with my thoughts. I also loved learning about Leave No Trace principles, particularly the quasi-professorial thesis on taking a dump in the woods.
Any suggestions for future Trail Mavens?
Bring a pair of quality socks. Say “yes.” Ask questions. Offer to help your fellow Mavens. And if you like taking pictures, consider an actual camera (because your phone will die).
If your trip had a theme song, what would it be?
I’m terrible with the names of songs, so I’m going to rip one from another Maven, who, after devouring her first burrito on Saturday night, burst into a pitch-perfect rendition of “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey. It was an instant of pure 90s magic, and it took me back.