001 | Welcome to Ordinary Sherpa. Our Adventure Story

Welcome to Ordinary Sherpa podcast. In this episode whe dive into the purpose and our adventure story that led to the development of the Ordinary Sherpa Podcast. Join the community of sherpas inspiring families to connect through simple adventures.

Welcome to Ordinary Sherpa podcast. The purpose of Ordinary Sherpa is to help families connect and turn their adventure goals into experiences.  While Heidi Dusek, the host of Ordinary Sherpa, has a wide variety of adventure experiences to share, the intent is not just to share her experience, but help families work through the hurdles of life to have adventure become a regular ingredient in their stories.

We Value:
Authenticity: to us that means being real, untourist experiences , acknowledges who you/we are and what makes sense for your family.  You get to define what adventure means for you.

Simplicity: We come from a place of empathy with both parents working full-time outside the home.  We are creating this to make adventure accessible so the barrier to action is low enough that anyone can do it.  Intent to to have families take action and allow adventure to be more present in your life.  We will do this by combining creativity and efficiency to develop solutions that are optimized for action.

Connection:  Perhaps the most important for us.  Finding intentional time creating memories together in particular challenging and supporting each other.  Adventure is a platform that helps people work through adversity and step outside your comfort zone.

While adventure and families can touch everyone, the content is designed with working families in mind.

Why Adventure (to dive deeper into this see 002: Why Adventure Matters)

When you look back on your life- what is it you want to remember?  What is it you want your kids to remember? While I love travel and that has a place in adventure, it doesn’t have to be the definition.  Adventure is not defined by a destination, it is about experiencing and exploring things together, or having a new experience.  

There is significant research on adventure and the benefits on individuals health and well-being.  Adventure often includes being outside, and significant research shows the impact of being outdoors helps your overall health.  

  1. Health 
  2. child development 
  3. Risk and resiliency (safe ways to experience adversity)
  4. Connection to something bigger than you

Adventure provides kids and families to experience theses aspects of life and create opportunities for deeper connection.

My Adventure Story

I am a wife and mom of 3 living in Northeast Wisconsin with our dog.  My adventure story began as a little girl having three brothers.  My mom and dad come from large families and our travels were not extravagant, they were often road trips to see family in other states.  Young age we were traveling to see family around the country.  In 4th grade I recall my first airplane ride to California to see my great aunt.  What I remember was not necessarily about where we went, it was about the novel experiences spending time together throwing the football in the street or catching lizards in her backyard, or the ultimate was exploring tide pools.  This experience showed me the value of a local expert who can give you different tips and tricks in getting the real flavor of a location without being sold a bill of goods. This has guided how I plan my adventure experiences going forward by asking, how can I garner the insights of someone who knows the ins and outs of the location we are visiting?  If I don’t have those connections how can I curate it.  

In high school many of my adventures came from a place of curiosity.  I was into all the things, and was a solid average person.  It wasn’t about the desire to be the best, it was more to learn and experience new things.  One of those opportunities led me to being an exchange student in Germany and hosting  several exchanges students from Germany, England and Thailand.  The culture exchanges widen my world view.   The curiosity bug never left through college. I was willing to say yes when the opportunity presented itself, which allowed me to build a Habitat home in Bend, Oregon or connect with students on a deeper level who struggled with racism or challenges students faced with their sexuality.  Curiosity fueled my empathy and ability to connect with people who had experiences different than mine.     

In my mid-twenties I was living alone in Chicago. Having grown up in a small town in Wisconsin I was intrigued by the  life and energy of the big city and embraced the opportunity to teach in Chicago Public Schools.  I fell in love with the idea of the city.  I ended up working through some hard stuff and decided to sign up for a marathon as a challenge to myself, which turned out to be a coping mechanism.  In training I met this amazing tribe of women who became more than fellow runners- we became close friends and connected on a deeper level.

I ultimately moved back to Wisconsin.  When I met my now husband

Partnerships: through marriage and parenting we began to learn that it wasn’t where we went together, rather how we went together. The story of “The Mistress” and how adventure showed up in different ways in our life. 

When I was trying to define how to fit adventure into my life as a working mom, I looked for examples of adventuring families and found 2 things:

  1. Online Mediums:  Most of the adventure resources I looked into featured men and then began seeing more women, young adults, but I RARELY saw a family unit (adults and children together) 
    1. What I did find was TONS of travel resources.  My case and point- Google Family adventure, every single resources list on the top 10 results is specific to Family Adventure Travel…so I thought I had to travel.  And when you dive into many of those resources, they weren’t “adventures”  they were tourist traps.  I was being sold admission, and hotels, and cruises so that my family could experience “adventure” together.  
  2. And while travel is HUGE part of my adventure story, the definition of adventure is 
    1. an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.
    2. engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.

I saw this disconnect and decided that there was a narrative that wasn’t being told.  I can experience all of the benefits of adventure and not be sold admission. 


The Grind and my Career:  The tension I see and experienced in creating the lifestyle I wanted was really how do I make this work?  

  • I became a mom in 2010, my husband and I were both working in the public sector making around $40,000/year.  I had figured out how to optimize on the financial side so that we could have these fun family adventures and figured out how to keep things really affordable, but what I was struggling with was the time.  
  • CHOOSE to work: I seriously considered becoming a stay at home mom and ultimately decided to go back to work after each of our 3 kids
    • job offered stability, valued my contributions, and supported my desire for continuous learning and allowed me to engage in really interesting projects.  
    • I had invested in getting my Bachelors and Masters that the ROI of staying home was also something I struggled with
    • Personally, felt like I would be a better mom if I was working because I would get a break from each other each day (distance makes the heart grow fonder)
    • I saw opportunities where I could provide meaningful contributions to complex community problems.  
  • Cease Striving: I wasn’t looking for the next thing.  
    • I had settled into the idea that I had accomplished what I spent the last 20 years striving for.  I was in business planning mode for the upcoming year of work and someone asked so what’s next for you?  Jokingly said Retirement.  I am not even 40 at this point, and typically changed jobs every 3-5 years so this was a bold answer.  
    • What do I want retirement to look like?  Adventure, Travel the World, Freedom to Explore….Do I really have to wait another 25 years for retirement. Will my body be able to do the things I aspire to? 

Which led me deeper down a path of designing the life I want to live so that when I look back, and my husband and kids look back, we can reflect the joy and challenges of a life lived with intention.  

I have a lot of thoughts and take my family through some pretty interesting experiments (such as the Joy Audit of 2019, and screen free weeks, kid guides) thus far we are still alive and some they talk about. I never claim these are all good ideas, the ones that were bad we trashed and the ones that were good we scale and continue to use. Random fact: a rule in our marriage is that my husband and I can’t say no to each other’s idea for 24 hrs. We both need time to figure out if that idea really is a good idea or not. It’s prevented many debates in our home!

because you are listening to this episode, maybe there is some intrigue into the idea of Why adventure is important in your life?  

The Podcast: The quarantine of 2020 I saw and experienced the demands on families. My own form of self care became documenting daily life,  curating adventures for our family, creativity and problem solving to create family adventure experiences. I began to notice these intentional family adventures had a noticeable impact on every member in the family.   Adventure was an ingredient in our lives that supported everyone on their journey. Ordinary Sherpa is a collection of learnings to inspire families to experience joy and connection together.

The Community: A Sherpa isn’t someone who steals the limelight and makes your summit about them…nope. Sherpas are a force of goodness and strength, helping other, pushing each person toward their summit so we can celebrate our peaks and pits together. This mighty crew of listeners and the community we are forming online are the ordinary everyday people who support families connecting and experiencing authentic adventures together. We are the sherpas. I hope you join us on this journey.

Where to Listen

Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher,  Google Podcast, anywhere podcasts are played