Wise Women Wednesday: Marley Parker

 Marley Parker

Marley Parker

Q. Who are you? What is your background?  
A. I’m an explorer with a cause. I spend a lot of time in wild places and sharing stories from those places is my life’s work.

Q. What is your work?
A. I am a full-time freelance photographer, videographer, and science writer. I specialize in documenting field work and research expeditions in remote parts of the world. This year has been especially epic—I spent February and March in Antarctica, and spent the summer working on a ship in the Pacific Ocean.  

 Picture by Marley Parker

Picture by Marley Parker


Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I’m really excited for my next expedition! I’ll spend October working on a research vessel with a team of scientists studying some unique ecosystems off the coast of California.    

When I get back to North Carolina at the end of the month, I’m heading down to the coast to learn how to kiteboard with Betsy Bertram! And I’m going to film a video about it ☺  

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Of all the “extreme” things I’ve done over the past year (going to Antarctica, living at sea, climbing big mountains) the scariest thing for me was quitting my job. I left the comfort of regular paychecks, health benefits, and paid vacation for the unpredictable world of full-time freelance work. Is it stressful and frustrating at times? Of course. Am I glad I finally made the jump? Absolutely.  

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Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it?  If not, why not? What's stopping you?
A. Expedition work requires an enormous amount of energy and creativity, and I can’t imagine a more fulfilling profession for this phase of my life. I’m grateful every day that I get to do what I love.

Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. I love this question! Whenever I’m having a rough day, I picture my high school self. What would she think of me? If my 18-year-old self bumped into 30-year-old me, I think she’d be stoked. If I could reach back in time and give her one piece of advice, it would be: “take more science classes in college.”

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Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Anything worth doing is hard. And you should do something hard every day.

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. When I need to develop an idea, I talk to friends. When I need inspiration, I turn to books (for creative individuals, I highly recommend The War of Art by Steven Pressfield). When I can’t stare at the computer any longer, I move – get on the yoga mat, or throw on running shoes, or head over to Progression.  

 Picture by Marley Parker

Picture by Marley Parker

Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. It’s okay to be 30-years-old and not be a home-owner, and not be in a serious relationship, and not be sure of what the future holds. It’s actually more than okay—it’s awesome.

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Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?  
A. The warrior series for feeling strong, and any hip opener position for feeling vulnerable. Both are important.

Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I always say it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s who you’re with.

While I feel very grateful that my job allows me to travel the world, what makes my life so rich and fulfilling is the people in it. I have a beautiful community of friends here in North Carolina that love, support, and inspire me, no matter how far away I venture. I’m particularly proud of Beth and Gia Branciforte who just built a new school in Durham.

 Picture by Marley Parker

Picture by Marley Parker