I'm Chelsey

Here's my story

The beginnings

A curious, adventurous spirit

I’m Chelsey Berg, founder of Finding North. This business was born from my own journey of finding, embracing, and having the courage to live life as it made sense to me.

The outdoors has always been a source of freedom and place where my curiosity soared. You see, in my family, we camp before we crawl. Many vacations were spent up at the cabin in the middle of the woods or sleeping in the back of grandpa’s pickup truck, both of which included campfire stories from the old mountain man who instilled my respect and admiration for raw, jagged, snow-covered peaks. Thus, the beginnings of my adventurous, free-spirited nature.

Studying abroad in 2008 showed me just how massive and dynamic the world is. There was more to life than the city I lived in, the people I knew, the beliefs I held, and the things I thought were possible. While I inherently knew this (as most people do), it was only by letting diversity into my bubble that it really sunk in.

After graduating college, everything was going as planned… except for some questions about where this plan came from and if it was right for me. I liked my job. Loved my partner. Enjoyed my house. Drove a nice car. But deep-down, an uneasy feeling made me think this routine wasn’t actually supposed to be mine, or at least not yet.

It wasn’t easy to leave what others saw as a successful life, but in 2010 I quit my job to spend a few months backpacking through the vibrant cultures and wild landscapes of South America. The jungles of Ecuador were a fascinating start to my adventure and the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia stole my heart. As I wrapped up my trip, I hoped the thirst was quenched and I could pick back up with “real life”.  I started at another great job, got involved in my city, and lived a life that made me happy. But, at random times, the unease still whispered in my ear.

And so, in 2012, I made the difficult decision to leave it all behind, again. I wanted to reshape my “normal” and explore the mountains, so I temporarily committed to a new life in Chile. While settling into a foreign land and language was more of a challenge than a fairy tale, I tapped into new levels of motivation and fulfillment by consistently stretching my comfort zone just enough at a time. I discovered that happiness is exponential and watched it multiply as I filled my world with activities, people, and places that brought a smile to my face.

Along this bumpy road, one year turned to seven as I found a balance that felt just right. I shortened my work week by investing in longer days and spent most of my free time growing as a person and athlete in the mountains. The more I climbed, the more alive I felt and the more aware of myself I became. I started Finding North as a narrative on outdoor adventure and the journey to self-awareness so that others could do the same.

“I got off the plane and arrived in Chile, without many expectations, but also without really being able to understand all that this country, and the experience of living away from own, had in store for me. I got here, feeling like nothing was missing from my life, that I had all I could need and want, that I was the happiest girl in the world, but I learned that “not missing anything” doesn’t mean “having everything”.

It’s not that one life replaces the other, not at all. I’ve simply come to realize that there’s no limit to happiness. When I thought I was the happiest girl in the world, I didn’t comprehend happiness’ potential.”

– Journal entry from my 3rd anniversary in Chile

Strength in crisis

When life takes a detour, it helps to know where you’re going

Life took a sharp turn in March 2019 with a high-altitude accident in the mountains. Unconscious overnight at 20,000 feet, hypothermia tried to take the life I knew but God, the mountain, and my inner strength decided to send me back. After being rescued the following day, I spent 14 days in the hospital before undertaking an unconventional, extremely painful and highly uncertain 7-month battle to recovery.

The perseverance paid off as I managed to massively reduce surgeries on multiple parts of my body. My biggest win was seeing only 2/3 of the four fingers amputated on my right hand.

Thinking operation day was “D” day, I wasn’t prepared for what came next. I was so focused on surgery day itself, I didn’t foresee the emotional, mental, and physical struggle that awaited on the road “back” to “normal”. Over the next two years I balanced near-daily physical therapy and health appointments, navigated the new world of entrepreneurship, processed post-accident emotions, exercised to get back in shape, and questioned why I got a second chance. I needed to connect with that purpose and make it worth it.

More than anything in the world, I wanted to catch up and recover my life just as it was before. It took a while to accept that my North and my life were no longer the same. What I needed was to slow down and reorient to my new North – in my life, in the mountains, and in my career.

My life experiences, and the mountains, have allowed me to tap into an unknown level of clarity, courage, perseverance, and happiness. Feeling rooted in my path has allowed me to confidently keep my head up despite the challenges that appeared along the way. Today, I feel part of my purpose is to help others do the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SunltwJwugA

It’s not that fear doesn’t exist, it’s about evaluating fear and making decisions based on what’s real, what’s in your head, and what to do about it.

Chelsey Berg

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