It’s me, Annalise, the voice behind Empowered Wanderer. I know it’s weird, me showing up like this on a page dedicated to other women’s voice.
Well ya’ll, let me explain! This week is super special. This week I will be marrying the incredible Brooke Lambe’s, voice with my own — it only seems appropriate since our souls are already married — hehe.
About a week ago, an email popped up in my inbox and it said: “Hi, I just read our first message (on Instagram) and got inspired to write this. Not sure if it’s something you would want to share on your page, but I’m going to publish it on my blog. With pictures of course :) I love you - Brooke.”
The rest of the message was a blur, and I mean a literal blur, because I had tears rushing down my face as I read. Brooke captured the nature of our relationship and unyielding growth together beautifully, and she did in fact share our story on her own website.
I have the absolute privilege of sharing her words in this space of collective voices speaking up and speaking out together. As you read her words, I am going to intertwine a few of my own, in honor of her, and our fruitful body of shared work, love and laughter!
Read away lovely people:
“Hello lovely :) I’m starting a feminist travel blog called Empowered Wanderer and was wondering if you’d like to team up in some capacity! I’d love to send you a sample post if you’re interested - I’m about 30 days or so from launch! Hope you’re having fun with Charlotte.” (Charlotte being Brooke’s rad traveling home).
This was sent to me (Brooke) January 28th of 2018 by the incredible Annalise. I said something along the lines of “I’m not really a writer, but I’d love to be involved in some way, most likely with photography!” I had no idea the type of friendship that would ensue after that first message. Annalise and I were familiar with one another on Instagram because of a mutual friend. We definitely had the whole travel and adventure thing in common.
And folks, let me tell you, as I (Annalise) sent that message, my stomach buzzed with butterflies. I was so enamored by Brooke and her journey, and every part of me wanted to work with her. I just didn’t know how. I was so new to the blogging world, still unsure of my message and the space I wanted to create, and I had no idea how another creative would play into the mix. But it didn’t matter, I knew I had to message her. So I did. And next up was starting the blog you’re reading today.
So, did Annalise start that blog? Absolutely. Took off running and never looked back. Quit her job, turned her car into a home and went for it. She shows up every single day to make her dreams come true. Such a powerful voice in the female community. Not only is she inspiring other women to travel and live their dreams, but she’s talking about the things we were told to keep quiet. The things we were never taught in sex-ed. Asking the questions to start the conversations most of us need to hear. I am so unbelievably proud of her and honored to call her my friend.
I (Annalise) still tear up when I read Brooke’s words above. Brooke is a photographer, and there’s something about her talent that grants her an incredible gift of truly seeing the people in her life. This was something I could sense, long before I experienced it myself. And thank goodness for that, because this sweet woman and I were destined to create magic together and make other women feel seen and held. Brooke has a the gift of creation through photography, and she likes to say I have that gift through words — I can't say I disagree.
Annalise is really good at painting a picture of where she is and what’s around her when she’s writing, after all she was bouncing all over Europe for a lot of her posts. So in honor of that: I am on my bed, Trevor Hall playing in the background, sandalwood incense burning. Outside the window is Lake Coeur d’Alene with a light snowfall. Okay, back to the story.
Can I just pause to say, these words GIVE ME LIFE! That is all hehe.
After that first message, we didn’t speak again until July 3rd, 2018.
That’s 7 months ya’ll. I (Annalise) did say, I had no clear idea of what we could possibly do together right? Well it just goes to show, we weren’t ready yet. We both knew the magic that could sprout from our teamwork, but we weren’t sure how to make it happen. So…
On July 3rd 2018 I (Brooke) posted a photo of myself on Instagram. My favorite self portrait to date. Just me in my birthday suit under the full moon in Joshua Tree. The feeling I got from that photo, the empowered beautiful feeling of self-love, made me want to share that with other women. So in my caption I said I was starting “The Empowerment Project.” Helping other women feel liberated! And of course Annalise commented. She said, “Babe! Can we please please team up and do a project?”
And this was it, I (Annalise) was ready! It was happening. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. I had been sitting at a desk job for nearly 5 months, devoting my life to a job that slowly sucked my soul from my body. And looking at Brooke’s photo from my office chair, butt numb, eyes bloodshot, I felt a spark of life shoot through me again. It was time I followed my calling. Brooke lit that spark in me and reminded me that this blog I was writing, wasn’t just a project, it was a life style, it was a pursuit of joy and empowerment and that could be shared with other women in ways that truly changed the game. There was more to do, and I needed a partner. There was no way she was going to say no, I could feel it.
How could I (Brooke) say no? :) We both had the same vision. We wanted a group of women to gather out in the woods. We made one phone call to talk plans and that was it. We were going to host a retreat. The Wandering Women’s Retreat.
The first time I (Annalise) met Brooke was as we scouted locations for the Wandering Women’s Retreat, we sat in a forest looking in each others eyes and said, “we love each other don’t we?” and that was it, we were linked, loved fully, accepted greatly and destined to make some important impacts. I laughed with Brooke that weekend like I hadn’t laughed in months, deep belly laughs I forgot existed and felt myself come back to life.
I (Brooke) had actually never been to a retreat at that point, a small gathering, but not a retreat. I booked the Columbia retreat right around the time we decided to do this. We wanted our retreat to be under a full moon so we planned for that day, only to later find out I looked at the calendar wrong and we scheduled it for the new moon. No biggie! Just camping out in the complete darkness. I was actually a little worried but the new moon is such a powerful time for new beginnings. Getting clear about what you want and manifesting it. So having the retreat on that day was perfect.
September 8th, 2018 we had our vision come to life. After the initial stress about weather, everything came together. There were 11 of us out there in the beautiful woods of the PNW. Tents pitched and hearts open. It was so amazing to be a part of it and I’m forever grateful that Annalise came into my life and made it happen. Connecting, sharing, exploring, creating and loving!
And I too am eternally grateful for Brooke, the force that brought my passion back to my body, the queen who stood by my side and hosted an change-making, loving-radiating event with me!
Have you ever met someone you just instantly click with? That was Annalise for me. It was like I had known her forever the moment we finally met in person. Like I said earlier, we have the travel and adventure thing in common. Both traveled while living in our vehicles. Both went backpacking through Europe. Both felt empowered as we stepped out on solo journeys into the unknown. And we both want to inspire others to do the same. Meeting new people and seeing new things. I’m a strong believer that everyone should take at least one solo trip in their life. You learn so much about yourself and the fact that you’re alone, opens you up to sooo many possibilities.
Annalise is an amazing example of following your heart and doing what you’re called to do. Finding your purpose and going after it with everything you have. She is warm, goofy, uplifting and the best hugger. She lives a life of passion, which we should all strive to do. An incredible person to have on your team. She will love you fiercely and be your biggest cheerleader. Inspire and empower you, just as she was meant to.
And just as she was meant to Brooke is an incredible photographer, a being who sees into your purest self and captures you in a form you simply fall in love with, she helps you to see your own power, grace and worthiness. She is a woman full of the occasional perfect spunk, full and vivacious laughter and unending willingness to cuddle kittens and humans. She is full of more support than you could possibly ask for, always the first to share your work, like your photo or send you love. She is a spirit unlike any I’ve ever known, and my heart is full being able to share our words here together.
You can read Brooke’s original piece at https://www.brookelambe.com/blog/empowered-women also linked above!
Written by Annalise Combs and Brooke Lambe.
Sending lots of love from us both!!
We hold you in deep appreciation!