MEET GRETCHEN & ELISSA
Co-Author: Gretchen Carlson
Wanderer. Wonderer. Adventurer. Listener. Laugher. Love junkie. Happy paddler. Guerrilla gardener. Dancer. Raven-spired. Pearl. As a life coach, teacher and trainer over the past few decades, Gretchen’s been blessed to work with folks who want to heal their hearts, access their mojo, up their game, tap into the mystery. However they name it, it’s all to uncover and live their fullest, deepest, most enlivened selves. Every day.
Out in the world, Gretchen is happiest:
- Listening to live music anywhere, any time
- Discovering hidden places
- Circled round the fire with friends
- Sitting breathing
- On the road
Gretchen lives with her partner & puppy in the peaks & valleys of Montana.
Co-Author: Elissa Gjertson
Experimenter. Explorer. Pattern seeker. Idea generator. Yoga lover. Street photographer. Island hopper. Expat. Elissa is a transformation-obsessed writer, maker and entrepreneur. In addition to e>v, she empowers employee engagement through her org change product frankitchangekit.com, inspires fresh DIY vacation-home style on her blog cabinspiration.com and transforms furniture & other goods into upcycled treasures in her backyard studio.
Out in the world, Elissa is happiest:
- Just when the plane takes off
- Scouring alley markets for vintage fabric or furniture
- Finding the oldest bar/restaurant in town
- Hanging with friends & family
- Near water
Elissa lives with her husband on the island of Java, Indonesia.
In Gratitude: Where it all began...
This is a story about old friends. And new beginnings.
In August of 2005, after years of moving and traveling and jobs and relationships, three friends from college—Keri, Gretchen and Elissa—made a date to catch up.
In line with the energy of our connection, we chose to celebrate our long-time bond by attending a concert by one of Keri’s favorite foot-stomping, glass-raising, global bands.
It was fabulous.
On the night of the show, the three of us had a kick-ass time dancing and laughing and toasting and hooting and hollering all through the concert.
And, in our revelry and music-induced glee, we vividly imagined us all on a road trip together, seeing a show out of town and letting the adventure unfold.
We all loved the music! And each other! And travel! So, it was decided: We would simply spend more time out in the world dancing and laughing and toasting and hooting and hollering. And we would hit the road. Together.
The universe, of course, had other plans.
Not even one month later, on September 22, 2005, our beloved, inspirational, crazy, beautiful friend Keri had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, fell into a coma and died.
Just. Like. That.
After much shock, grieving and contemplating we, Gretchen and Elissa, bonded together stronger than ever with the hopes of moving through our pain as well as finding a way to commemorate and celebrate this incredible woman.
Though it took time, a memory started to appear and the sun started to come out.
When spring hinted at blossoming, we suddenly began to emerge as well. We began to be able to embrace Keri’s life again: her spirit and enthusiasm and, among other amazing gifts, her incredible passion for music and travel.
The obvious choice? Honor Keri with joyful exploration and get out there in the world to dance and laugh and toast and hoot and holler. Just as we’d planned.
So, we hit the road for a spring tour, visiting cities and attending shows by none other than Keri’s favorite band.
Little did we know of the transformation that would occur as a result.
On the road, we allowed these vacations, these adventures, to open ourselves up to experiences reminiscent of our friend’s intense, joyful spirit and vibrant manner of engaging with the world.
In the space of tribute and daring, we allowed synchronicity and magic to enter. We threw away outmoded expectations of ourselves and old stories about who we were or could be. We exorcised old demons and sent them scurrying. We believed in our beauty and strength; trusted and challenged each other; took a leap into the flow of the Universe.
And it was on one of these trips that the phrase “Evolution Through Vacation” first appeared.
It was right on. “Evolution Through Vacation” (or “e-through-v” as we started to call it) was the perfect descriptor for both the space we created and the change we embraced.
Especially, because, that spring we didn’t travel far. The places we landed were not exotic nor all that foreign. And that became the point.
Our physical location had become truly secondary to the transformation afoot all around and within us. The places didn’t matter; the journey within mattered. And that’s what changed everything.
As we learned and explored living in this moment, we soon came to realize that we couldn’t keep all this goodness for ourselves. And, in fact, in sharing this with others, the goodness would grow exponentially.
And so, e>v was born.
A perfect way to honor a woman as joyful and daring as our friend Keri.
So, thank you, Keri, for your gracious spirit. Your winks and nods. Your always-frank and refreshing world-view. And for the courage to ask and answer tough questions about what it really means to be alive. Much love, girlfriend. You continue to change the world with the gifts you have shared.
To the aliveness adventure,
Gretchen & Elissa