Presenter and Host: “Ask Natalie”, Resident Columnist, Outdoor Adventurer, Hiker
Southern Oregon, USA
Natalie McCarthy lives and plays in the wilds of Southern Oregon, USA. She is originally from the urban rust belts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio, where outdoorsy activities were not readily available. Growing up as a city kid, Natalie was not particularly outdoorsy – unless you count learning to ride a bike on the local school’s asphalt basketball court or rebelliously smoking cigarettes in the neighborhood picnic area.
Throughout her teen and young adult years, Natalie demonstrated passion for equality, emotional well-being, and issues of communication. She volunteered as an English as a Foreign Language teacher to Latin American immigrants in Cleveland, as well as a bilingual tutor for Spanish-speaking children. She was active in woman-centric organizations, and she was featured in an anthology of empowered female self-portrait artists. She even achieved a master’s degree in sociolinguistics, with an emphasis on how our communication conveys our identity. Unfortunately, such a degree has little market value.
In her post-grad life, Natalie cycled through various jobs, most notably working as a snobbish barista who made Christian Bale a non-fat latte without realizing who he was. Serendipitously, after searching for a job that spoke to her heart, Natalie landed a position as a victim services coordinator and shelter manager at a rural safehouse for women experiencing domestic violence. The resilience of her clients spoke to Natalie, and she wanted to learn how to better support these empowered women. She began asking the graduate psychology interns to teach her what they were learning in school, and a year later, she entered a graduate program in clinical social work at the University of Pittsburgh.
Now, as a supervisory-level independent clinical social worker and licensed chemical dependency counselor, Natalie works with people who have co-occurring substance use, mental health, and trauma-related disorders. She has worked with a wide array of populations, from the unsheltered homeless to upper-middle-class families, in a wide array of settings, from cozy offices to tents under highway overpasses.
Her work with the most vulnerable and sensitive parts of the human experience led Natalie to explore the outdoors. In search of a place where she could feel a peaceful and reassuring connection to the world, Natalie found herself strapping on her first pair of hiking shoes and heading out into the woods. She loved it instantaneously and began hiking and camping every chance she could get. Upon moving to Oregon – also known as Hiker’s Paradise – she purchased an embarassing number of hiking guide books and began fastidiously recording the dates she visited each featured trail.
Natalie’s love of the outdoors led her to joining Adventure Some Women, where she quickly responded to founder Mo Palepale’s call for a new interim amSASSador. After being selected, Natalie jokingly said to Mo, “Hey, I hear people’s secrets all day long. If you ever want an advice columnist on the site, let me know.” To Natalie’s delight, Mo took her up on the offer, and “Ask Natalie” was born. Working as an advice columnist in a women’s adventure group blends Natalie’s love of the outdoors with her passion for supporting other women in working through their dilemmas – whether those involve picking the perfect backpack or working through the anxiety of solo-hiking.
In 2017, Natalie took part in the 52 Hike and 365 Mile Challenges, and she spent a lot of time dragging her friends out into the forest. However, when she is not working on “Ask Natalie”, answering questions from Camping for Women readers or spending time in the outdoors… Natalie can be found binging on Netflix, playing Cards Against Humanity, conversing with her cat as though he is a person, compulsively sending memes to her close girlfriends, or singing when she could just speak in a normal voice instead.
Contributions to Camping for Women
To check out more about Natalie McCarthy and “Ask Natalie” have a look at:
The original very cool written column here: https://www.adventuresomewomen.com/ask-nat
The Ask Natalie video program episodes can be found in the Camping for Women Channel playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7YnoEjYBagGvHiJHBOkH03Bp-hqePvJy
You can follow the official Ask Natalie Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AskNatalieColumn/
You communicate with Natalie personally with your question by emailing: AskNatalieColumn@gmail.com