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and the story behind Finding North


My business and my journey

I’m Chelsey, founder of Finding North. This business was born from my own journey of finding, embracing, and living my own path in life.

Experiences traveling and living abroad, building a meaningful career, and climbing mountains shook the vision I had unknowingly developed of what a happy, successful life looked like. These experiences showed me that the vision I had was not wrong, but that it also wasn’t the only way. This led me to embark on a discovery of what made sense to me.

The mountains have been an unexpected source of strength and inspiration in this process. They have allowed me to tap into an unknown level of clarity, courage, perseverance, and happiness. As life has happened and challenges have appeared in the way, feeling rooted in my path has helped me confidently keeping my head up in the face of tremendous adversity.

Today, I feel part of my purpose is to help others in their own paths of finding, embracing, and living their Norths.

– Chelsey

“I got off the plane and arrived in Chile, without many expectations, but also without really being able to understand all this country, and the experience of living away from my 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


Early on, I associated Nature with freedom, fun, and adventure. It was a constant source of discovery and place where my creativity soared.

I’ve always had a curious, adventurous spirit.

But I can only take credit for what I’ve done with it, not for it’s creation. 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 middle of nowhere” in the back of grandpa’s pickup truck. My grandpa loved wild, remote places, and the mountains had a special place in his heart.

He was also a master storyteller, and campfire stories from this old mountain man instilled a respect and admiration for raw, jagged, snow-covered peaks.

Studying abroad 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 intentionally letting diversity into my bubble that it really sunk in.

As I experienced new cultures, landscapes, and daily norms, so much of how I viewed the world, and my place in it, began to change. I wondered what else was out there.

But after 6-months, I went home and got back in the groove.

After graduating from university, with a double business degree, everything was going as planned.

I liked my job.

Loved my partner.

Enjoyed my house.

Drove a nice car.

But deep-down, an uneasy feeling made me wonder where the plan even came from.

Maybe this routine wasn’t actually supposed to be mine, or at least not yet.

I quit my job to spend a few months backpacking through the vibrant cultures and wild landscapes of South America. I was hoping it would quiet my soul so I could move on with “real life”… but it was simply gas on the fire.

In 2010, I decided to make a change. It wasn’t easy to leave a “successful life” and embark on an uncertain, unplanned backpacking journey into unknown places.

The jungles of Ecuador were a fascinating start to my adventure and the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia stole my heart before heading home.

As I wrapped up my trip, I hoped the thirst was quenched and I could pick back up with “real life”.  I arrived home, started another great job, got more involved in my city, and lived a life that made me happy. But, at random times, restlessness still whispered in my ear.

In 2012, I made the difficult decision to leave it all behind, again.

I wanted to reshape my “normal”, gain personal and professional experience abroad, and explore the mountains. I temporarily committed to a new life in Chile.

Admittedly, settling into a foreign land and language was more of a challenge than a fairy tale, but 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.

While building “another” life abroad, everything stretched my limits and took me outside the comfort zone. Every single thing defied what I had previously thought was possible, and what I had previously thought was needed to be happy.

Along this bumpy road of living in a country far away from home, I began to find my way. Even though  the person I was in Chile wasn’t far off from the person I was in Wisconsin, starting over was exhilerating and exhausting.

I slowly but surely created a lifestyle that felt like it was, quite precisely, the lifestyle I wanted to live. I started hiking in the mountains and, rather quickly, it captured my heart, attention, and time.

Part of the attraction surely came from a curiosity of how far I could push my mind and body – and, of course, the mind-blowing landscapes I was able to witness by doing so. But also, I found that the mountains and nature had become a source of clarity and connection. 

I had time and space to let my conscious and sub-conscious run wild.

I discovered more about who I was and wanted to be.

I connected dots on problems and identified next steps on challenges.

I built my courage in my own ability to overcome fear and achieve feats that made me proud.

Discovering what made me happy and how I wanted to live had its bumps in the road. Many of these things were in direct competition with what I had previously imagined, and with what most of the people around me were doing.

One year turned to seven as I found a balance that felt just right.

The mountains became more woven into who I was and how I lived, and I made significant changes to try and fit this new world into the life I was living. Most notably, I shortened my work week to 4-days. I started spending my free time growing as a person and athlete in the mountains.

During the week, I’d slip on my heels and advance in my corporate career. It was exciting to lead national, then regional, projects and gain experience leading multi-cultural teams. I loved the talent development industry and the impact it had on people’s professional lives.

From Friday – Sunday, I’d put on my boots and grow my skills by taking courses and exploring higher, harder mountains. The more I climbed, the more alive I felt and the more in touch I became – with myself, others, and my environment.

I began to wonder what this all meant and how I could combine both of these worlds into one.

Mountain climbing wasn’t going to pay the bills and any related way of making money didn’t seem like it aligned with my International Business and Marketing degree.

Unsure of what to do, in 2016 I started Finding North as a narrative on outdoor adventure and the journey to self-awareness.

Life took a sharp turn in March 2019 with a life-threatening, high-altitude accident in the mountains. I quickly learned that, when life takes a detour, it helps to know where you’re going.

Unconscious overnight at 20,000 feet, hypothermia attempted to take the life I knew. But God, the mountain, and my soul decided to send me back. After being rescued the following day, I spent 14 days in intensive care before undertaking an unconventional, extremely painful, and highly uncertain battle to recovery.

Severe frostbite had consumed 8 fingers and an entire glute. For 7-months, I couldn’t sit, stand, walk, or lay down properly, nor use my hands. But I was determined to get my life back together and continue doing the activities I loved.

The perseverance paid off. When the day arrived to amputate my fingers and have surgery on my glute, my results were massively better than what was expected on the day I was wheeled into the hospital.

But it didn’t end there.

Thinking operation day was “D” day, and that life would simply snap back to what it had been before, I wasn’t prepared for the next phase. 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, and exercised to get back in shape. On top of it all, I questioned why I got a second chance. 

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.

I decided that if I had been given a second chance, I needed to connect with that purpose and make it worth it.

Once I was able to start working, I realized that I couldn’t go back to doing what I had been doing.

My experiences in the mountains had given me the strength and clarity to build a vision that motivated me during the hardest period of my life. They also gave me the skills to navigate tremendous challenge, manage intense fear, and make rational decisions in emotional moments.

I wasn’t sure how to create my next chapter, but I knew that “pressing play” on life just as it was before wasn’t it. I was compelled to create a new balance that combined my skills, passions, and the difference I wanted to make.

And with that, Finding North oficially began.

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
Finding North - Life Coaching and Outdoor Activities


Purpose-driven people who feel compelled to make life meaningful for yourself and others.

Outdoor-inspired people whose best self comes alive when experiencing beautiful places and pushing your limits in the open air.


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