Suzanne E. Mayerchak
Where are you from?
What Walkabout location do you work at?
I work at all five locations, traveling from location to location!
What do you enjoy most about working at Walkabout Outfitter?
I love the family atmosphere, the people I work with and of course our wonderful customers. We focus on customer service as a small mom and pop business and it is so rewarding when a customer says: “I come here for the friendly & knowledgeable staff!” When there is time and I get to lead a backpacking class & trip, I also LOVE that part of my job!
What is your first childhood memory of camping or being outdoors?
Every year my family would take us to Lake Moomaw and we’d pitch the HUGE 8 person tent that we needed to haul in a trailer behind the Peugeot because it was so big. We’d hike, cook on the ole Coleman two burner and roast marshmallows. Shhhhh…don’t tell mom, but my friend and I would also catch salamanders…we had a thing with those cute little creatures. Of course we’d let them go, but catching them was so much fun. Getting dirty, smiling, riding bikes, listening to dad tell us ghost stories by campfire and living out of our enormous tent for the week!
What first interested you in the outdoors?
All of my friends and I were always outside growing up in our neighborhood. In the summers mom would see us at breakfast and tell us to be home by dark. We ruled the neighborhood by playing war and capture the flag and pretending to be nomads with our hankies full of food attached to a stick. By middle school I was attending all sorts of summer camps and my love for the outdoors just continued. In high school I convinced my parents to let me and 8 friends take a 5 day backpacking trip on the AT for spring break….that took some convincing, but all of us had the plan down, what to pack and where we were going; it was really a rite of passage. Right after high school I joined the Army and spent five years doing field exercises, which just sealed the deal.
What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Backpacking for sure. I love the exhilaration of carrying everything I need on my back and going from place to place and seeing the wildlife is just extra points. I’ve run into wild boars in North Carolina, bears in Virginia, timber rattlers, hawks and much more. It’s especially an amazing experience solo. Lions and tigers and bears oh my!
What is your “must have” piece of gear from Walkabout Outfitter?
My Petzl Tikka XP headlamp. I can’t imagine a life without it. Hands free lighting….what an amazing concept and so useful!
What has been your most exciting outdoor adventure?
This is a tough one because so many have been extraordinary. Even though my favorite is backpacking, I can remember probably the most meaningful outdoor experience I’ve ever had and it was sailing. For Christmas break from fulfilling my undergraduate degree in Outdoor Leadership at Warren Wilson, I was asked by an old friend of my family’s to help him transport his 30 ft. sailboat from Trinidad to the Virgin Islands. He chartered the boat in the winter times in the Islands. It was a three day trip of constant sailing; we worked in shifts so that there was always someone at the helm. I learned an incredible amount about sailing of course, but most importantly I learned a lot about myself and how I work with others (three men). Once the sea sickness stopped (first 24 hours) I enjoyed waking up to dolphins swimming in our wake, being surrounded by nothing but the ocean, the sunrises and sunsets I will never forget. Once we made it to the Virgin Islands we anchored in “Christmas Cove.” On December 25th I woke up to no Christmas tree, no presents, but to 80 degrees and utter beauty – this was the BEST Christmas present EVER! I threw my swimsuit on and dove off the boat and swam the mile to shore dodging the barracudas!
If you could have your “Dream Expedition”, where would you go?
I have already fulfilled my dreams in the expedition world. I could say it would be great to climb Kilimanjaro or Mt Everest, but really, everything I’ve already experienced has been a dream.