There must be something over the oceans `cos I am just loving the mutual admiration and inspiration that comes from meeting my recent assortment of international salt gypsies. Today`s talking story feature is with the articulate, active, and creative writer, Johnie Gall, all the way from Phi-la-del-phi-a. Johnie is busy crafting a lifestyle blog, Dirtbag Darling, so if you`re keen on recipes, DIY projects, workouts, beauty tips and general outdoorsy inspiration, then this is your new go-to. Johnie – we can`t wait to sit on top of a very large boulder in the Ricketts Glen State Park tucking into a well-deserved s`mores bar (or 5) with ya! One day…
Dirtbag Darling is about being active in the outdoors and the lifestyle that comes with it. What activities get you out and about in Mother Nature? It’s funny actually because when I was little my parents say I would sit inside and wave at them from the window! Things have definitely changed since then. I pretty much go stir-crazy if I’m inside for more than two hours. I absolutely love surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing, yoga, biking, skateboarding, rock climbing, skiing, kayaking, running, horseback-riding and backwoods camping. Any sport involving the outdoors, I’ve probably given it a go at least once. This winter I’m going to try ice climbing!
What is your inspiration behind the site? I lived in California for a year and every weekend my boyfriend and I would pack up his van and just drive —Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Zion, San Francisco, Suicide Rock, San Diego, Red Rocks, Vegas—you name it, we went there. We’d pack food, sleep in the van…it was virtually free. I’d go back to work Monday and talk to these girls who had lived in California their entire lives and never seen most of these places, not even the little local spots. It made me really sad to think a lot of women don’t explore the outdoors. Dirtbag Darling is about getting women excited about being outside, and to show them how easy it is to get started!
You also work for Foam Magazine. Can you tell us more about your position there? I’m their Web Editor and East Coast contributing editor, which means I manage anything Foam-related on the web, plus brainstorm and write a lot of the print articles. If you’re reading an article online or checking out a post on Facebook, I put it there! As for the team? All I can say is, if you ever have the chance to intern or work for Foam, don’t even hesitate. You’ll have a hard time finding another group of passionate, intelligent women like that.
We just checked out, and drooled over, your s`mores Bar recipe. What`s one of your favourite recipes? Don’t even get me started on those s’mores bars. I ate the whole pan in the day. It was an accident? I really love fish, especially fish I caught myself because I know it’s fresh. I’m new to fishing so I’m experimenting with recipes, but my favorite is really easy:
Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 soy sauce and pour over fish in a Ziploc bag. Let sit for an hour, then bake in a glass pan at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. It gets a really sweet and salty taste.
A Dirtbag Darling workout you`d recommend? I could give you one of my workouts, but my best recommendation is to get out of the gym and play outside. Seriously! I have friends who spend hours in the gym everyday, then we go on a tough hike and they tell me they feel the burn for days afterward! Mix it up by doing something different each time to keep your body guessing. If you hike on Monday, ride your bike on Tuesday and rent a kayak on Thursday. You’ll feel these activities in muscles you didn’t even know you had.
Do you get to surf much? If so, whereabouts and what is the female surf community like where you are? When I was in California I lived four blocks from the beach so it was a lot easier to surf! Now I’m living in Pennsylvania, so it’s an hour drive to the beach. I depend a lot on road trips I take with friends because my friends are my surf community. Last weekend we took this yellow school bus that was renovated to be a mobile home down to North Carolina in search of surf. We had nine boards and two windsurf boards on the roof racks for five people! We hit up the East Coast Surfing Conference on the way home and we’re parked in a lot with our rusty school bus sandwiched in between the Etnies and Quiksilver bus—it was half embarrassing, half awesome.
If we came to visit, where would you take us for a quintessential Dirtbag Darling experience? I would take you to see Ricketts Glen State Park. You wouldn’t think something so amazing is tucked into the woods in PA! Think wild, free-flowing waterfalls everywhere you look, blue-green swimming holes, giant boulders, wooden ladders, old timber and twisting trails. It’s even better in the winter when you’re surrounded by massive icicles. Can’t you just smell the pine needles? Mmm.
-Sturdy hiking boots
-My green hat
-Snorkel, mask and fins
-A great camera or my GoPro
Words you live by?
“Not all those who wander are lost.”—J.R.R. Tolkein.
It’s my favorite quote. I’ve done a lot of wandering already, and every time I get to a new place I’m happier than before. I don’t plan to stop wandering anytime soon.