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Q&A with Osprey Ambassador Jackie Nourse

Have you caught the travel bug? Are you itching to get out and explore new places? Make new friends? In celebration of International Women's Day, we sat down with Osprey Ambassador Jackie Nourse to learn a little bit more about who she is, and how JUMP Adventures got started. Read more from Jackie, and learn how you can follow along on her journeys (and even tag along on one of her next adventures)!

Hi Jackie! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and hobbies?

Absolutely! I was raised "free-range" in the forests of the Sierra Nevada, building tree forts, skiing, camping, and exploring the mountains above Lake Tahoe. My parents took my brother and I to as many national parks as we could reach on road trips and instilled in me a sense of adventure and exploration from a very young age.

I started to venture out of the country once a year to Mexico during high school, and by my senior year I knew I wanted to study abroad and become fluent in Spanish. My family hosted a German foreign exchange student that year and she gave me the best single piece of advice any aspiring exchange student could hope to hear, “Wherever you go, go for a year, don’t think twice.”

A woman wearing a bright yellow jacket and black pants facing a large alpine lake surrounded by mountain cliffs Jackie on her first day ever in Patagonia back in 2015

And so, in 2003 when I was 18 and a sophomore in college, I moved to Costa Rica to study abroad for a year. While it would be appropriate, albeit a bit cliché, to say “that's when my whole life changed,” I actually feel like that’s when my life truly began.

I’d never in all my 18 years on this planet felt more me, more in my true element, than I did speaking Spanish, dancing salsa, traveling extensively through a foreign country, learning more and more about myself and my place in this world that is SO much bigger than the USA.

There was no way I could go back to the “normal" I had known previously after that incredibly foundational year abroad.

I had discovered my new normal, and to this day I have continued to pursue it; traveling the world, learning foreign languages, sharing experiences with friends I haven’t met yet, and pushing myself to take the leap into the unknown.

Can you share more with us about how JUMP Adventures came to be?

After Costa Rica, I studied abroad for a year in Italy, then backpacked through Central America, then studied abroad in Brazil, then moved back to Europe, and I just kept going and going and going.

Ten years into my travels, I learned that blogging was a real profession and that I could create and share my travel knowledge on a proper website, rather than an unedited blogspot page like the one I’d been maintaining for years, and I hit the ground running. I launched my first travel website in 2013, then I started my travel podcast in 2014 (way before it was cool), and that’s what set me apart.

A group of people sitting by a campfire, with camping structures behind them. The night sky is lit with stars. JUMP Adventures' first trip to Jordan in 2018

My podcast cultivated such an engaged and loyal following that two years later, I invited my listeners to join me in person, on my first group trip ever, to a place that had become an important part of my personal journey: Patagonia.

To my great honor, six brave people trusted me to take them hiking in Southern Patagonia in 2016, and that trip represented so many of my dreams coming true, all in one experience. I was obsessed with this new idea to host group trips, and I knew I wanted to keep offering them.

Since 2016, I’ve hosted 15 group trips in 8 countries across 4 continents. That’s a lot of dreams come true, not just for me, but for the amazing, adventurous people who choose to say yes and show up, many of them over and over again year after year.

A group of people jumping and posing in all different way in the desert JUMP Adventures travels to Jordan in 2018

 

It wasn’t until 2021 that I finally came up with the perfect name for these “Jackie trips” as my travelers used to (and still do) call them. My personal story has always been about pushing myself into the unknown, about trying big things and exploring the roads less traveled, about saying yes to adventure and taking the leap.

And as I remind my listeners all the time on my show, you can watch and listen all you want to me and others traveling the world, but in the end, it’s YOU who takes the leap if you want to live your own experience.

Hence… "JUMP" Adventures is my invitation to my readers and listeners (and YOU!) to take that leap.

You’ve recently launched "JUMP Basecamp" – can you explain what that looks like, and how people can get involved? 

JUMP Basecamp is a private space online for our registered trip participants to gather and prepare for adventures before (and after!) we even get on a plane. Inside Basecamp, there are helpful links to resources, packing lists, as well as spaces to say hello, ask questions, make extracurricular travel plans with each other, and generally connect with future travel friends.

It's just one more super special thing you can look forward to when you sign up for a trip with us. We have big plans for this space in the future, but you’ll just have to stay tuned for that news…

Describe your journey with JUMP Adventures. What has it meant to you to create this space for adventure and travel?

I have put myself in a very public light by podcasting and writing, not just about my travel experiences, but also about my personal experiences as they relate to travel. In 2015, I opted to "start all over again," in many ways.

One of those ways was leaving a relationship and a home, putting my belongings in storage, again, packing a backpack, and leaving the country for what ended up being a 3-year nomadic stint.

Another one of those ways was writing and sharing rather vulnerably about what I was learning in far away places, by myself, on my personal blog Traveling Jackie.

A woman wearing a bright yellow jacket and a black hat sitting on a rock that overlooks an icy alpine lake Jackie in Patagonia

People came out of the wood works during that time to connect with me, simply to reach out and hold space for and with me, because they could relate with me, in one way or other. Behind all the glorious adventures, we are all still human.

Meanwhile, I was exploring the peaks and valleys of life, both externally and internally, and I found myself, truly discovered myself, on so many trails, in so many different experiences across the world. Especially deep in Patagonia.

Travel is a fast track to self discovery, and I have become so much stronger, so much more confident in myself, I’ve learned so much about who I am and what my purpose is, because of what I have experienced through my travels.

I created JUMP Adventures not just because I want to share mind-blowing places with really freaking cool people, but because I yearn to set the stage for others to have potentially life-changing, foundational experiences, as I have.

It’s indescribable to witness my participants accomplish something they thought they couldn’t do, discover things they previously didn’t know about themselves, and realize they are resourceful and capable of SO much in the space outside their comfort zones.

There is no better backdrop than the trail that we earn with every step of the boot or pedal of the bike, and no better company than the endlessly impressive people who show up for these adventures, ready for whatever comes their way.

I am simply the facilitator, the connector, the common denominator, and I am deeply honored to get to show up in this role through JUMP Adventures.

A woman wearing a red shirt and a blue life jacket jumps on a small path of rocks between two bodies of water, with glaciers in the background Jackie at Glacier Grey in Torres del Paine back in 2015

What has been your favorite or most memorable trip with JUMP Adventures?

This is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child! Every single trip has been absolutely life-changing, for me, for the participants, for JUMP Adventures itself. But if I have to pick one, I will go all the way back to where it all started, to the absolutely flawless and perfect first trip to Patagonia in 2016.

I am eternally grateful to those first six people who said yes and put their trust in me to design an experience with their precious vacation time and hard-earned adventure funds, because they showed me that this long-term dream of mine to lead people on epic adventures in far away places was not only possible, but the best, most exciting, most fulfilling thing EVER.

A group of people jumping and posing with an alpine lake and snowy mountains in the background Jackie with her first group of travelers in Patagonia in 2016

Where is JUMP Adventures headed in 2023? How can folks sign up and adventure with you?

My favorite response, we’re going back to Patagonia! Twice this year actually, once in March to Southern Patagonia and once in December to Northern Patagonia. We’re also going to Jordan for the first time since 2018 to hike the Jordan Trail to Petra. We’re heading to Croatia in August for another crowd favorite - a bike & boat adventure on the sparkling Dalmatian Sea, and we’re also taking another group through the endless beauty of the Dolomites in Italy in September. Apparently 2023 is our year of tried and true favorites, and we have some entirely new destinations on the docket for 2024.

If you are interested in joining us, sign up for trip announcements and updates at JUMPAdventures.com(Opens in a new window), and definitely check out "JUMP with Traveling Jackie,” our podcast (anywhere you listen to podcasts), because if you like what you hear, you are in for a whole new world of like-minded travel friends you just haven’t met yet!

Truly, it’s the people who make every trip so special, we can’t do it without you!

Two people in kayaks wearing blue life jackets and blue helmets cheersing each other on the water Cheers from JUMP Adventures!

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