Mexico by Kendra Archer




While in delusional state back in October recovering from a stomach infected and flu I browsed flights deals for February as I started planning out my winter get away for surf. I reached out to friends for recommendations of spots in Mexico and Central America. Instead of listening, or following anyone's recommendations I instead went the cheapest route possible, cheapest flight, cheapest stay, cheapest rentals and we'll see what happens. I bought my tickets, booked my hostel and instantly felt a knot in my gut. Maybe I should have researched this a bit more I thought, until I stopped thinking about it at all. 

Fast forward to February and I'm at the airport headed to San Jose Del Cabo, so ready to see direct sunlight and feel warmth nothing else matters. I didn't dig into to research after purchasing my flights, I really just leaned into the idea of going and figuring it out once I'm there. I arrived, and was greeted by over cast skies and the weakest surf report. Jokes on me I thought, I really should have thought this through more. I spent the first couple of days angry with myself, all I wanted was a week of non stop surf and sun, and instead I was reading a book on the beach under gray skies.

I was on the beach, in February, reading a book instead of being in the office. This is bliss.

Eventually the skies cleared, the waves came back and I managed to get a few sessions out on the water. My best ones to date actually, and I came home with a ton of images, restored and tanned from the sun. I spent the bulk of my trip reading, relaxing and doing nothing. Arguably the hardest activity at all, I really slowed down and learn to love the empty space in the day instead of trying to fill it. I did a whole lot of nothing, and it was great. 

Next time though, I think I'll put a little more thought into it. ;)

Trees and Tripods by Kendra Archer

I trekked into the woods today to finally, f i n a l l y, step back on to a skateboard. It feels like a lifetime ago (it basically was) that I gave it up and never really looked back. I failed, that was done, I wasn't good and I wasn't going to bother anymore.

Over the last few years as I've slowly tip toed my way onto a surfboard, paddle board, and snowboard that same feeling of failure came up each time. I've failed before, I'll probably just fail again.  With every new board sport I tried, I felt that same gut feeling - I'm going to f**k this up. There's an older post on this blog that outlines the internal struggle I had learning to was an awful experience, but it taught me so much about myself, and how ruthless my inner dialogue was.

Since that first time getting on a surf board, It's all been fuel to the fire of determination to conquer that interior thought pattern. Anytime I feel myself plotting out another failure narrative I try to prove it wrong. I've gone on more surf trips since that day, and even have one coming up in three weeks. I've fallen in love with the sport after somehow turning that terrible experience into an undying passion.

At one of the last surf camps I went to there was a pair of middle aged spanish women learning to surf along side me and I thought it was one of the coolest things to see. Those are the women I want to embody. For my myself, for my friends and family, I want to see powerful women who aren't afraid at any age to just go for it. In order to do that though, you have to face your fears and push through.

Over the last few years slowly over coming each obstacle one at time, first surf, then snow, then paddle but the failure of the skateboard still sat in the back of my head. It seems crazy while I type this out, that we can hold on to something so strongly for years and smear it over ourselves as a failure we can never overcome. And yet, we do... at least I do.

After over a year of "maybe I could. No I won't. Maybe if I just, nope. I won't."

I bought a board. 

When I got it, I played with it in my living room and taught my sister's cat how to ride it. I was grinning and so excited. 

Then I left it, against the wall, collecting dust, for weeks. 

I took it out one morning in order to ride to work and I pushed once, panicked, then put it back in the house and walked to work.

I really had a struggle with this one, and eventually I realized I needed to make it easier on myself. It's supposed to be fun I don't have to do this... I want to do this. 

Then it dawned on me, go somewhere you feel good, do something that makes you feel good and the whole experience will change.

I went to the woods, took some photos, all was well in the world and I smiled non stop. 

On to the next fear...

Photos in Fall / Workshop by Kendra Archer


Well, there's a first time for everything... After being approached a couple months ago by an old colleague of mine brainstorming a photography work shop idea, I held my first workshop yesterday. Is this real life? I returned home last night to messages from instagram followers asking me when my next one would be, and did I have another date set etc... wait what?

I can't thank the crew at Arc'teryx enough for reaching out to me, and for organizing the entire event. Beyond the scope of what yesterday did for me, we did a lot of good raising a ton of money for Lions Bay Search & Rescue. The clinic alone brought in roughly 300$ and the evening's silent art auction another 1000$ +. What a great day, and great community to feel a part of in Vancouver. 

As for the workshop it self it ran as smoothly as one could hope for as a first timer. I was undoubtedly nervous and a little scattered at first, but I learned a lot in hosting yesterday and have come home with a lot of great ideas and thoughts on how to improve the next. Everyone was happy and excited to be out there shooting photos despite the downpour that the mountains sent our way. Constant rain isn't terribly conducive to standing or sitting still and listening, next time a warm and dry starting point might be helpful! Despite that, it seemed most of our crew had never been out to this trail in particular, so it was a fresh spot for most. A nice crew of new faces to hang out with and teach some tips and tricks to. The bulk of the time was spent wandering and taking photos, and keeping as warm as we could. All in all I think it went pretty well despite my nerves. and I really enjoyed it. It looks like this kind of thing just might resonate with more people and there's something to be done here with hosting photography clinics.

Here's to diving into the fall and brainstorming for the future. 

Hidden City | Photography Show by Kendra Archer

Off we go! After the first stages of planning we're finally ready to launch our show! We have a few posters that will be circling on both of our media platforms, Elvira and I are stoked to invite everyone to our opening on July 22nd. Here's one of many poster with all the details!



Our show went incredibly well! Our entire evening was spent running around and chatting with our closest friends and family who came out to support us and introducing ourselves to new comers who walked in off the streets. Elvira and I both sold quite a few prints, and by the end of the night were full of joy and gratitude. We have a fantastic evening and couldn't thank all of those that supported us and helped put the show together enough. Here's hoping another show is to come soon enough!

Out and About by Kendra Archer

 On a camping trip in Tofino, BC September 2015 a week or so before my 21st birthday and starting my first job in outdoor retail.

On a camping trip in Tofino, BC September 2015 a week or so before my 21st birthday and starting my first job in outdoor retail.

What 1.5 Years in Outdoor Retail has Given Me

It's weird to think that a day job could affect me so deeply, but the last two have revolutionized my life completely. As photography continues to sit on the sidelines I've been surviving off of full time work in a variety of areas. Starting off fresh out of school with a coffee shop in Montreal, and once I moved to Vancouver a small "photography" gallery for my first year and a half settling in. Once I moved into outdoor retail everything changed. Everything made sense and I was were I should be.

I felt like I was an outsider stepping foot into this secret world I'd always dreamed of. I didn't grow up camping or hiking regularly. I'd be lucky to see the woods a couple times a year, feeling thirsty every minute in between. Camping might happen once a year, and you can forget about any adventure sports like skiing, surfing, climbing or kayaking. I grew up on Vancouver Island surrounded by an outdoor culture of which I never participated. Instead I was at home drooling over photography books and Planet Earth documentaries. I sat dreaming that one day maybe I could take those photos and be in those places. The time and money needed for a life outdoors is a whole other subject in itself, but it's not cheap and being the last of 4 kids it just wasn't affordable for us.  

So here I was setting foot in the industry, full of passion and willingness to learn with absolutely zero knowledge. All my coworkers were avid backpackers, climbers, skiers, trail runners etc and I was a whole lot of of "well, I never have but I'd love to ". A lot of wants, and wishes and also a lot of doubt and shame. "I'm not outdoorsy enough." Had been my go to phrase the whole summer leading up to that first job. Once I moved to Vancouver I started hiking and trail running on the North Shore on my own, and as my passion grew and seemed to become more doable I began to questions where I was working. I wasn't passionate about the work I did at the gallery, I was apathetic (it was a sports photography gallery, and I don't follow organised sports. At all). Each time a tourist walked into the gallery asking for information on sights to see and hikes to do I would light up and talk their faces off. I wanted more of that. I began to brainstorm and throw the idea out to friends that maybe I should work for an outdoor company, but every time I mentioned it I followed with :

but, I'm not outdoorsy enough.

Eventually I handed out my resumes despite myself. Maybe I didn't think I was good enough, but my friends supported me and I felt assured - regardless there was nothing to lose and only to gain. The motions are the same when faced with any challenge, the disbelief that you can handle it eventually turns into a willingness to try regardless of the outcome. Even a loss is a win, because you learn something every time. I got not 1, not 2, but 3 job offers with different outdoor companies. I was in disbelief. I chose the first and stayed for a while until returning from a long trip and deciding to hop over to a more challenging role with another company. That decision in itself wouldn't have been possible without the first role. The team I worked with were a beautiful bunch of people and I have made lasting connections. The retail position was by far the most socially demanding job I had ever had - and at that point I still considered myself a shy introvert. It pushed me to interact way more in a team, and with the public all day everyday, something I hadn't been used to before.

I gained an incredible amount of confidence.

In a short period I went from feeling like an outsider with my tail between my legs to feeling like I could take on the world. I left the sales floor position to move on to another company convinced I could take on the challenge, nervous but no longer doubting my abilities. The culture that surrounds outdoor companies is open, inviting, inclusive and supportive. Or at least it is in my experiences. Feeling like an inexperienced and ashamed newbie, to now being confident and ready to jump in to everything. In the last year and a half I have not only experienced so much more of the outdoors but grown my personal portfolio in the direction I have always wanted it to go.

Among some of the most amazing things I have been able to do directly thanks to these companies and the people I have met through them are : Kit myself out with outdoor clothing and gear at a minimal price, spend a day assisting a catalog photographer at corporate headquarters, photograph multiple in store events, learn to surf, kayak for the first time on a 4 day paddle/camping trip in Howe Sound, get past my biggest fear and rock climb in Squamish, spend 3 days trail running in Manning Park, backpack through Garibaldi park, ride a bike for the first time in a decade in Pemberton (now I cycle all the time), get sniffed by a bear in my tent on that same trip, learn to paddle board, learn to snowboard and travel alone for the first time. Amazing. 

All these experiences have helped me shape my life and push myself in the right direction, and in every direction. These are day jobs and yet they have fueled so much inside of me to push myself, challenge myself and I have so much to be thankful for. I can't imagine I would speak of a coffee shop, or gallery in the same way. Not because they can't offer this kind of growth or self discovery, but because they didn't offer them to me. Since walking into my first job full of doubt, insecurity and shyness to now be the person who travels alone in order to keep pushing myself to learn and explore sports and activities- I've come a long way since 2015! I know I could write on this topic and my experience for ages, but I think it's best to wrap it up before I get carried away. Instead I'll leave it to bullets and photos to share the epic ride this has all been.

  • I've learned to trust myself to make the right decision or to clean up the mess of my own mistakes. Doing this makes you unstoppable, because you know either way you're going to handle what life throws at you. Waiting for someone else to come into your life and hold your hand is a waste of time - you can do it yourself. Whatever it is.
  • I've learn more about who I am, and I've embraced it. The more you allow yourself through the more authentic your life becomes and the easier it is to just be.
  • It's hard for me, like many to love my body, but even if I don't love it wholly - I support it. I've learned so much in how to care for myself the way I need to. It's a constant struggle to own how my body looks and to feel confident but it helps in focusing on what it does for me. You (a body) are not just to be looked at, you are a useful human being. My body moves me up mountains, over snow and through water, it pushes me physically and mentally. That's fucking awesome, and that's beautiful.
  • A balanced life is a happy life. While adventure is addictive and invigorating, I've learned the hard way that rest is just as necessary. With every up is a down, and with every push a take. Learn to embrace the mellow do nothing side of life, your body and mind will thank you.
  • Lastly, embrace every single learning opportunity. Everyone at some point was a beginner, and had no idea what they were doing. Whether that is in the office, on the mountain or in a relationship. Everyone is just trying to figure this out