Caro Ryan is ‘the unexpected outdoors chick’ – from a non-outdoorsy family, it took her until she was 21 to discover the world beyond the city, and she’s never looked back.
Now, she runs well-known Australian outdoors site LotsaFreshAir where she offers tips, advice and reviews to help others discover their own passion for the outdoors. She’s also a Deputy Unity Commander with Bush Search and Rescue, part of the NSW State Emergency Service.
Caro’s been a friend of Macpac for a long time, and became an official Ambassador in 2013.
Her connection with the outdoors started on a three-day corporate training course, deep in the Budawangs National Park.
“I never realised that such amazing places existed, let alone that I could be part of them. There was something about the feeling of being completely remote and self-sufficient that made me feel incredibly small and humbled,” says Caro.
After a few subsequent unsuccessful attempts at figuring out the bush for herself, Caro joined the Sydney Bush Walkers Club in 2000, and it changed her life. Now, whenever there is a spare moment, she’s planning her next adventure – whether that’s bushwalking (on track or off) or exploring somewhere that she’s never been before.
“I love venturing off the beaten track, pushing into areas that I can’t find much info about – I love poring over the topo maps, and feeling like I’ve discovered some place new.”
Although her heart is always in the bush, Caro’s working life is very busy. She’s a passionate producer/director, and spends her working days running a production company that specialises in shooting locations that have tricky logistics. This means she spends quite a bit of time working overseas (or even over-sea), with helicopters or dealing with multiple stakeholders.
“It’s the perfect marriage for an outdoors chick – I’m always lugging gear around mountains/volcanos/across open oceans. I’ve even been stranded on a desert island – it’s times like these when I call on my bushwalking and outdoor experience – it really helps to make a more comfortable experience for crew, models and actors that I work with,”
Caro started outdoor knowledge and tips website Lotsafreshair.com in 2012 with the aim of helping others to discover their own calling to the wilderness. She’s created a dedicated and accessible space where she could put together all of the practical information she’d learnt over the years from spending time in the bush.
“My volunteer work as a Search Manager with Bush Search & Rescue directly informs the content and messages that I put out through LotsaFreshAir. If I can help people be equipped and make wise choices before they head out, it will mean less people getting into strife and needing rescue.”
She hopes LotsaFreshAir can inspire others to push past barriers preventing them from getting outdoors, and inspire them to take more adventures.
“Too many people make excuses and put up barriers between them and the outdoors. I want to address each of those barriers, and show how much the outdoors can change lives – it certainly changed mine. I genuinely want to use LotsaFreshAir to offer support, inspire, encourage and give advice to help others do the same.”
When Caro set up her website, she noticed a lack of available information on the web – and certainly very few stories from a supportive, female or Australian voice. She felt that by sharing what she knows in her trademark low-key and relatable style, people would see that spending time in the outdoors, being active and having moments of adventure isn’t hard at all – in fact, it’s actually highly enjoyable and rewarding.
“No matter how busy I get, I always find time for the outdoors. There are so many reasons why I feel I need to be in the wilderness. I say need, because for me, I feel that the outdoors benefits me in every aspect of my life and without it – I am a poorer person. Physically – it’s a great workout, mentally and emotionally – it removes the clutter and noise from my daily life and replaces it with simplicity and peace, and spiritually – it’s a place where I can be in wonder and overcome anything with a sense of gratitude and humility.”
Being an experienced outdoorsperson, Caro knows how important it is to have the right gear. She’s been using Macpac gear for over a decade, and in 2013 became an official brand ambassador.
“You need gear that will last the distance, and withstand any adventure – I rely on my gear to keep me safe, warm and dry, and I trust my Macpac gear to do exactly that.”
Macpac is proud to have Caro on the team, and to support her in her bushwalking, travels and LotsaFreshAir website. She’s got an incredible wealth of knowledge, and inspires many every day to get outdoors and away from the city to experience something new.