Posts in "Travel" Category

Lexi duPont’s Lesson of Grit and Grace in the Outdoors

“I was SO excited to have the opportunity to interview Lexi duPont, professional big mountain freeskier, for Darling Magazine. Lexi’s story is amazing and her grace and strength are incredibly inspiring. 
This post originally appeared on Darling Magazine’s blog. Visit to read other wonderful articles, some written by me!

Enjoy! xx Jessica” 

Lexi duPont, professional big mountain freeskier, stands at the edge of a massive Alaskan mountain. Below her are miles of steep, snow-covered cliffs. One minute she is at the edge and the next she takes off, freeskiing down the mountain at breathtaking speeds, navigating around difficult terrain and dramatic drops.

While initially your stomach might do a nervous back flip as you attempt to process such a seemingly terrifying feat, suddenly you become completely relaxed. Lexi’s strength and skill becomes apparent as she gracefully makes her way down the slopes. So much so, that watching her navigate the snow becomes similar to watching a dancer waltz across the stage. Fear is replaced by admiration and amazement.

This admiration and amazement has left us wanting to know more about what it takes to be a high performance athlete like Lexi duPont. Her list of accomplishments is as impressive as her humble and graceful demeanor. As a Freeskiing World Tour contender and former Junior Olympics competitor, Lexi has been featured in several films and is currently a member of Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent Guide & Athlete Team. Despite the fame that comes with these many accomplishments, she is passionate about service and encouraging others to pursue their dreams.

Lexi’s dedication to the environment has lead her to live an off the grid lifestyle in her small home in the mountains of Sun Valley, where she does everything in her power to stand up for the environment. Nature is her playground and we love the way she cares for it. You might assume that being a big mountain freeskier would be enough athleticism for a lifetime, but Lexi spends her time off the slopes surfing, climbing, biking and flying.

Lexi duPont is a name worth knowing because she is a woman who sets goals and achieves them. She comes face to face with fear and uses it as motivation. She sets her sights on the highest mountain and then masters it.

And watching her makes us want to master a mountain of our own.

We got the chance to chat with Lexi a bit more about her passions, career, and what inspires her:

Darling Magazine: You are one of the most sought after athletes in your field. What initially drew you to big mountain freeskiing? Was it something you always wanted to do?

Lexi: Skiing has always been my passion and my world. It affords me such a great amount of self-expression, and my only limitation is my creativity, which is a beautiful position to be in.

DM: We know that extreme athleticism runs in your family. Can tell us more about the ways your family has influenced and supported your passion for skiing?

Lexi: A love of adventure is in my blood, and I am inspired by the accomplishments of my family. My mom was one of the first females to do a backflip on skis. I grew up looking at pictures of her in our house doing huge aerials. She was a trailblazer for women in action sports and I feel so lucky to have that kind of inspiration and drive in my life.

I also come from a long line of aviators on my dad’s side. My grandfather was the first to land a plane in New Guinea. I have been raised to believe that anything is possible. It will take a lot of work, but you must dream big. As a kid I was introduced to a lot of different sports, which cultivated in me a love of the outdoors and confidence in my capabilities. Growing up my parents always supported everything we wanted to do, and there was no quitting: We didn’t have to be good, we just had to try it and see it through.

I have been raised to believe that anything is possible. It will take a lot of work, but you must dream big.

DM: What is your favorite part about being in an industry that spends so much time outdoors?

Lexi: Mother Nature is my church and being able to spend so much time in the natural environment is a dream for me. Because I love her so much I feel like I need to use my position in the industry to really speak for her and protect her.

DM: What are some of your favorite winter travel spots?

Lexi: I love my home, Sun Valley, ID and I spend a lot of time in Revelstoke, British Columbia. In Revelstoke I work with CAPOW, Canadian Powder Guides, where we take a group of young kids into the backcountry and teach them about avalanche safety and how to travel in the backcountry. It is my favorite part of the season seeing those kids expand their skills and share the beauty of the outdoors with them.

Alaska is where is all comes together for me, though. It’s where I get to challenge myself and where my “tribe” of fellow Big Mountain skiers meets every spring.

DM: What you do is very physically demanding. What is your approach to health and wellness?

Lexi: Health and wellness is my life. One of the most important and beautiful things about being an athlete is the need to stay in shape mentally and physically. I meditate for 20 minutes every day, I cut sugar, gluten and dairy from my diet, and I try to get outside and move my body every day. This routine has helped me cultivate a healthy mind and body.

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DM: You seem to balance the incredible grit needed for your industry with such a kindness and grace. What does this balance mean to you?

Lexi: I think grit was nurtured in me from a young age, so it comes naturally to me. Balancing it with kindness is extremely important in this industry. I am eternally grateful for every opportunity I am given, and I truly see other female skiers successes as my successes. We are such a small group, and we need to support each other at every step.

DM: Watching footage of your work had us on the edge of our seat! Have fear or nerves ever played a part in what you do? How you do you manage a healthy relationship with fear?

Lexi: I definitely have a high fear tolerance, which is practiced. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely afraid when I get out on top of the mountains, but I try not to let it paralyze me and instead use it as a productive and motivating force until it becomes instinctual. Everyone experiences different types of fear, though, and one kind of fear I do experience is that which affects matters of the heart.

DM: Talk to us about being a woman in this industry. What was it like to break into a heavily male-dominated world?

Lexi: It was definitely intimidating at first. I had to become very in touch with my male self, and to speak their language. I struggled with the fear of showing weakness, until I began to accept that being feminine can be just as strong. When you are confident in your feminine self, it is a really beautiful power.

When you are confident in your feminine self, it is a really beautiful power.

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DM: What advice would you give to other women pursuing an athletic career?

Lexi: I would tell them to go for it! Go for it 100%. It will be a lot of work and you will have to make heaps of sacrifices but if you really love it, it won’t feel like work at all. I would tell them to ground down and get in touch with yourself. Then you will be in a powerful position to offer your resources and yourself to others.

I would also say be the girl of your dreams. She is inside of you just waiting for the opportunity to express herself. Be physically strong, eat healthy food, be creative, expand your mind, inspire those around you and challenge yourself. We desperately need more women in the action sports world so do [it], girls.

DM: Are there any major goals that you haven’t reached yet? What’s next for you?

Lexi: I always have goals and I will never stop exploring myself and the world around me. I think one of the most beautiful things about being a human is that we always have the ability to learn something new. In my opinion to stop growing and evolving is death.

I am currently working towards my pilot’s license and in the next 5-10 years I would like to redo my family’s first flights. I want to fly across America like my aunts did, then I want to fly the Amazon like my uncle did, and then I want land a plane in New Guinea like my grandfather did. I have this vision board in my room where I write my wild ideas. Even if its super crazy I put it up there. The power of manifestation is transformational. It really works!

To check out Lexi in real-time, watch the below:


12 Podcasts to Brighten Your Morning Commute

 “Confession. I am obsessed with podcasts. So I wrote this article about some of my favorites for Darling Magazine. Visit to read other wonderful articles, some written by me!

Enjoy! xx Jessica” 

The morning commute…

Many of us fall victim to those long hours spent in the car, hours that often have the tendency to bring out the worst in us. This frustration is heightened when we’re inching along the freeway, stuck in morning traffic on our way to work. When we finally arrive, we’re grumpy from sitting in our car rather than motivated to start a productive day at the office.

The good news for the commuting woman is that there is a tool to help her restless mind break free from the car jail cell and into another world. This tool is the podcast, a way to take back control over your commute. Podcast selections are endless, providing listeners with their choice of suspense, comedy, education, advice and motivation. Podcast listeners are an inquisitive and passionate community, ready to grasp any opportunity to explore and learn just by listening.

“But where to start?” You might ask. Picking your first podcast is like walking into a bookstore filled to the brim with thousands of books, and then trying to decide on just one. Whether you’re a seasoned podcast lover or new to the scene, here are 10 podcasts perfect for the Darling commuter.

1. If you’re fascinated by the human mind…


Criminal is not your everyday crime show. Instead of the traditional crime show structure of walking the listener through details of a grisly murder, Criminal specializes in crime of a different kind. One episode takes us into the world of a man tasked with breaking up a Venus flytrap theft ring, while another follows the mysterious case of a clever thief with a fondness for rare books. These episodes include both stories and interviews, giving a fascinating look into the minds and lives of criminals and those who fell victim to their crimes.

*Where to start: Episode 5: Dropping Like Flies, Episode 23: Triassic Park, or Episode 22: Ex Libris

2. If you’re a boss lady (or dream of being one…)

Girl Boss

Girl Boss is the perfect podcast to get you pumped for a successful day at work. It’s lighthearted with a healthy dose of comedy, however it also dives into the stories of successful women who are making big things happen in their career. The show’s hosts, Sophia and Liz make a point of sharing their own lives with listeners, whether that be what they wore to a party over the weekend, the results of a recent therapy session, or a recent #girlbossmoment. Whether you are a girl boss or on your way to becoming one, this podcast will shed a light of inspiration on your morning drive.

*Where to start: Payal Kadakia, Co-founder and CEO of ClassPass

3. If you consider yourself a part-time detective…


From the creators of This American Life, host Sarah Koenig brings her listeners alongside a story, told week by week over the course of a season. Listeners were so invested in season one of Serial that it quickly rose to the top of the podcast charts. The stories are told with such detailed devotion to the characters and plot that you don’t want the episode to end. Similar to binging on your favorite Netflix series, Serial will get you so hooked that you might just sit in your car once you have arrived at work because you NEED to hear the end of the episode. Start at the beginning and listen in order. Your morning drive will suddenly seem shorter.

*Where to start: Season 1, episode 1.

4. If you’re driving to work but would rather be embarking on an exciting adventure…

Roam + Golightly

Those who long to express their creativity and live adventurously will love this podcast. With an inspiring list of guests, Roam + Golightly proves that it is possible to live authentically when we seek to incorporate passion into our lives in creative ways. You might be sitting in traffic on the way to your 9:00-5:00 job, but if your heart craves adventure, then these interviews will help you find a way to access it.  There is no better boost of confidence than hearing inspiring words from those you relate to, both emotionally and artistically.

*Where to start: Episode 1, “Grand Possibilities” with Ziza Bauer of Darling Magazine

food podcasts

5. If much of your day is devoted to thinking about food…

Burnt Toast by Food52

Delightful and charming are the two words that come to mind after listening to an episode of Burnt Toast. If you’re a foodie, this podcast will fill you with inspiration and give you a chance to hear from influential members of the culinary community.  Hosted by Food52 cofounders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, the Food52 podcast is a way for you to forget the stress of the day and be transported into the kitchen. You won’t be sitting in traffic, you’ll be cooking with a friend in Italy, enjoying a glass of wine with The Barefoot Contessa, or devouring street tacos in LA. You might want to have some car snacks on hand for this one.

*Where to start: Episode What We Cook When We Don’t Feel Like Cooking or EpisodeJudith Jones and Her Life in Food

6. If you want to know the stories behind the music you hear on the radio…


Founded by songwriters Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor from Liverpool, this podcast serves as their own creative outlet. This songwriting team interviews guests such as Lennon and McCartney, Bacharach and David, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Goffin and King, The Lumineers and The Chic Organisation. Hearing the stories behind our favorite songs provides a whole new experience to listening to them. Barber and O’Connor know just what questions they need to ask in order to bring out the best in their guests, giving listeners an intimate look into the minds of musicians.

*Where to start: Episode 91: The Lumineers

7. If you constantly wondering how things work…

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know was recognized as one of iTunes’ Best of 2008 podcasts. And it’s only gotten better from there. Often abbreviated to SYSK, this podcast educates listeners on numerous topics that range from everyday mechanics, to mythological and political. The hosts use pop culture references to give a touch of comedic relief. When listening to an episode of SYSK, you quickly become engrossed in the inner workings of the most random topics that otherwise, you would probably have never stopped to think about so deeply.

*Where to start: How the Gender Pay Gap Works, How Mermaids Work, or How Internet Censorship Works

8. If the words “401k, taxes, and investments” give you anxiety….

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

Money is confusing. For many, knowing how to responsibly budget, plan, and invest our hard earned money is a constant struggle. Award winning financial correspondent and bestselling author Farnoosh Torabi understands our struggles. The show makes topics surrounding money accessible and relatable, providing candid conversations with top business minds such as Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Gretchen Rubin, Danielle LaPorte and many others. They share their philosophies, failures, successes, habits and luxuries in a way that is easy to understand, even if you don’t have an accounting degree. Coming out of college in debt and drained herself, Farnoosh empathizes with young professionals who don’t feel totally in control over their money and is therefore passionate about educating that demographic on how they can handle their money wisely.

*Where to start: Episode 459, Lauren Greutman

morning podcasts

9. If you love pop culture and the sound of Alec Baldwin’s calming voice…

Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin

Produced by WNYC Studios, Alec Baldwin describes his podcast, Here’s The Thing, as a series of intimate and honest conversations. He talks with a variety of guests including artists, policy makers, and performers to learn more about what inspires them, how they got to be where they are now, and what relationships influence their work. The conversations are real, witty, emotional, and inspiring. A successful actor himself, Baldwin connects with his guest on a level that truly does yield honest conversation. And who wouldn’t want a quick visit with Alec Baldwin on their way to work?

*Where to start: Mary Brosnahan on Homelessness in New York or Sarah Jessica Parker and Ian Schrager.

10. If you’re a hopeless romantic…

Modern Love

Modern Love is podcast that features stories and essays, read and written by guests about modern love experiences. Warning: this one might occasionally make you a little teary-eyed on your way to work. One episode will dive into a romantic and tragic love story, while the next will have you laughing at the ridiculousness of someone’s experience with love. The podcast shares love’s joys and tribulations, read by guests including January Jones, Judd Apatow and Catherine Keener, followed by words from host Meghna Chakrabarti, Modern Love editor Daniel Jones and sometimes the essay writers themselves.

*Where to start: The Doorman | Modern Love 22 by Cecily Strong or A Heart Outrun | Modern Love 18

11. If Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is your favorite onscreen duo…

You Must Remember This

You Must Remember This is a fascinating podcast that takes you backstage into the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. The show boasts an impressive list of guest stars such as Dana Carvey, Adam Goldberg, Steve Zissis, Noah Segan, journalists Max Linsky, Mark Olsen, screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Craig Mazin, and many more. Every episode opens with a haunting rendition of the old classic, As Time Goes By, transporting us into the romantic and fast paced days of old Hollywood. Some stories span over multiple episodes, immersing us into the lives of stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford and Frank Sinatra.

*Where to start: MGM Stories Part Fourteen: Elizabeth Taylor from Michael Wilding to Eddie Fisher/ December 15, 2015

12. If you’re in need of some peace and inspiration….

Wonderfully Made

Wonderfully Made is a podcast dedicated to sharing the stories of inspiring women who know their value, and are using their talents to better the world. Founded as a nonprofit organization, Wonderfully Made works towards their goal of helping young women discover, strengthen, and reclaim their true value and worth. For whatever stage of life you are in, their podcast gives you the tools to understand that you can live a life of lasting purpose, beauty and worth. You’ll arrive at work with a renewed sense of peace and motivation.

*Where to start: Episode 1, Allie Marie Smith

What are your favorite podcasts?

Images via Amanda Greeley Written by Jessica Tomkins