Meetup.com. Have you ever heard of it? It’s a great way to socialize with people in your vicinity that share common interests. Now, it’s been said that marijuana is a gateway drug to bigger and “harder” things. What if meetup.com were like that? Well, it was for one woman. A simple meet-up group that “met-up” to go hiking catapulted her into following her passion. Read on about Marinel de Jesus and get to know more about this amazing woman!
Intro about Marinel by Marinel: I’m a prosecutor by day and a mountain fanatic the rest of the time. I’m a mix between a mountaineer and a global backpacker – a passion that started over 15 years ago. I’m Filipina by birth, and now living in Washington, DC… but not for long! Single, never married and no children – this allows me to live a life filled with a unique version of freedom that’s spent mostly on the mountain trails. My passion for the mountains started via Meetup.com, first as a member which quickly transformed into being an organizer. From day one, I was hooked. More than a decade later, I’m still an organizer. When not on the trails, I’m usually hanging at my favorite music venues in D.C. indulging in the new wave and indie music scene.
Marinel de Jesus loves to be in the vicinity and aura of the mountains, whether physically hiking, planning a hike, writing about it or dreaming about it. An avid coffee drinker, who isn’t at all interested in breaking this habit (HA, take that you coffee naysayers!) she’s a big fan of embracing your unique weirdness. Own it and use that weirdness as a learning curve by not listening to others’ negativity.
As an authentic, down to earth, loving person, who takes pride in gaining wisdom the older she gets, she created and cultivated her hobby into a passionate social enterprise called Peak Explorations, which promotes local sustainable tourism in Nepal, Peru, Tanzania, Mongolia, and the Republic of Georgia. The emphasis is taking solo trekkers to various trails to follow their pursuit of that elusive dream of trekking a long-distance trail.
She also co-founded the non-profit, Trails Without Borders, to work on projects and support fellow hikers to follow their pursuits. Trails Without Borders aims to promote the local tourism and focus on social projects in mountain regions globally. Some of these projects include raising funds for a school in Kande village of Pakistan, near K2, as the students are in dire need of school supplies and teachers lack salaries for the important work they do.
She does love her job, stateside, as a prosecutor and a person that litigates child abuse and neglect cases. She says her role is heavily based on humanity and how best we can make life more joyful and meaningful for children and youths who have been subjected to horrendous acts of abuse and neglect. Marinel feels it’s the closest she can ever be to becoming a real life superwoman. The lessons taught to her from working with these children made her realize that courage, hope and determination can transform trauma and pain into the most joyful existence one can only imagine.
She’s a strong believer in that what we perceive, we achieve, which makes REGRET an imaginary word in her book. In Marinel’s words, regret takes us nowhere. It’s an unnecessary path to a dead end devoid of growth and joy. In fact, one should never underestimate the power of pain. It can cause a person to soar beyond imagination.
In August, 2016, Marinel’s most recent adventure, she solo trekked in the Caucasus Mountains located in the Republic of Georgia. It was partly a business trip to scout the trails of Georgia for Peak Explorations. The trails being remote and less traveled by tourists made the experience more powerful than expected.
You can read more about her impressions of Georgia via her blog:
When asked, have you done anything lately worth remembering, this was her response:
Yes, writing a piece, Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks. I took a risk and published this piece on my blog. Thereafter, I submitted it to various media sites online. The response to the article was beyond my imagination, the best of which is when women AND MEN send me private messages noting their connection to the piece and their appreciation of the message. Given such a positive response, I am compelled to move forward with an award-winning photographer to develop the piece into a short film to be distributed to various outdoors film fest organizations to promote women’s presence in the media and outdoors. The piece has been published on four different platforms – Huffington Post, WHOA Mag, Women Who Explore and Dave’s Travel Corner, shared via social media by leading women outdoor groups, such as Hike Like a Woman, as well as, mainstream travel sites and Facebook groups. This opens doors for so many avenues including the creation of women-only treks to be led by female guides and porters in Nepal, Peru and Mongolia through my social enterprise, Peak Explorations, in partnership with my non-profit, Trails Without Borders. In all three countries, it would be a breakthrough to create an all-women trek of this calibre, which will change society’s perception of women on and off the trails. I’m in the midst of making this happen.
You can learn more about the piece and the film project here:
Celebrity status, right?! I know I want an autograph and would be more than willing to show it off to my friends as my latest WC (that’s woman crush, for those of you that aren’t in the “know”, haha). However, the definition of success to her would be to achieve a position where she positively inspires and impacts others. As a side effect of her one year journey trekking mountains, she learned that neither money nor fame motivates her as a person. She lives simply in a 400 square foot studio and she states that unconventional as it may be, trading material possessions with a meaningful existence is one hell of an accomplishment.
In other project news, she has personally launched a project which entails trekking the entire length of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT). GHT is the highest trail in the world and is 1700 kilometers long. The purpose is to publish a book and film to document the voices and lives of the women in the villages along the GHT.
She also has workings underway to support hikers who are on the verge of pursuing their dreams of trekking for an extended period of time. The purpose is to help them achieve their goals while promoting the lesser known trails via publications, blogging, films or other forms of media. Female trekkers are strongly encouraged to get involved as this will advance the mission to promote women in the media and outdoors.
Lots of stuff going on in this woman’s show, but she’s able to capture it all on her blog, Brown Gal Trekker. I know you want to know more about Marinel de Jesus and stalk her like I want to stalk her, so here’s additional ways to find her to stay current on her work and where in the world she’s at now.
Twitter & pinterest: bgtexplorations
Instagram & FB page: bgtpeakexplorations
PS) FUN & FURIOUS QUESTIONS:
- If you could do it all over again, would you change anything? Not at all.
- How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are? 19 (the last person guessed that)
- What activity makes you lose track of time? Trekking
- Best cheat indulgence? Filipino food.
- If you could only speak one word today, what would it be? Expansion
Much love and Aloha,
MdJ’s clueless wanderer (I’ll sign it your clueless wanderer after my WC wears off…tata!)