Explorer Spotlight: Jamie Fleck

By: The Outbound Collective
February 19, 2016

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Name: Jamie Fleck | Age: 31 | Location: Tulsa, OK.

What’s your day job?
I work full-time as a corporate Senior Internal Auditor, and a professional Wedding Photographer on the side. I try to balance out my analytic and financial-minded side with my more creative, love-for-photography side.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Pretty much anything—relaxing, photographing, camping, hiking, kayaking/canoeing, beach-bumming it… My next endeavor is winter sports. Never got quite a handle on skiing since I was 5! So I want to tackle that and maybe snowboarding sometime this year.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
My twin sister and I (yes, identical twins!) were very fortunate to have awesome parents who took us on road trips all around the U.S. to visit National Parks and historic landmarks and cities. We loved being a part of the Junior Ranger program. We probably got to see much more than any of our friends did when we were young even though we didn’t always have a lot of money. My parents always wanted us to experience things, places, and cities, and it was very enriching. We road-tripped throughout 43 of the 50 states in America and most of Canada. We also got to visit 11 countries in Europe and Taiwan with my parents.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
In Oklahoma in general, my two favorite places to have an outdoor adventure, are Beavers Bend SP (for kayaking/canoeing) and Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (camping/hiking/photography). There are still so many places in Oklahoma that are incredible, hoping to go adventure at some of them this year! As for Tulsa itself, it has grown to be quite a remarkable city. I love the different vibes of downtown Tulsa, especially with its selection of districts—East Village, Deco district, Blue Dome, Brady Arts, Greenwood, Pearl district, and the nearby Cherry Street and Brookside. Each district has it’s own kind of flavor and feel, which is great on any weekend or happy hour.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
My camera, of course! Believe it or not, majority of my photos on Instagram are taken with my phone, so it would probably be my phone, too. Not for texting or calling, though. I actually like being off the grid and not having any technological distractions. I reserve the images that I capture with my professional camera gear for my website and my posts on The Outbound.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
If I were trying to be good, I would say dehydrated foods and KIND bars. If I were honest, I would say any type of sour candy. But let's not tell anyone that, haha.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
I’m a music nerd. I love all types of genres so I’m always looking for different artists to start listening to. As for mainstream music, I do have Twenty-One Pilot’s sophomore album on repeat. So good.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest?
This past summer, my husband and I were out kayaking on the Mountain Fork River in Beavers Bend SP. It was gorgeous, calm, and sunny, and all of a sudden there was a freak thunderstorm with 40+mph winds that came out of nowhere. (People who live in Oklahoma can attest how crazy and haphazard Oklahoma weather is.) We were going against the wind and our kayaks kept spinning around. The temperatures had dropped dramatically, so our kayaks were filling up with freezing water. The visibility was extremely poor as well with the torrential rain and wind, so my husband and I at times lost sight of each other. It was really tough bracing against the wind while we waist up in ice cold water. My husband even lost his life jacket. He is an extremely great swimmer so it was comforting knowing that he was nearby me. Thankfully, about a ¼ of mile before the dock, the storm died down. By the time we got to the dock, I had to be pulled out of the kayak because my legs and arms were like jello from all the forced movement and I had lost all feeling from the cold. We were so glad just to change into some nice dry clothes and sit by some heat. So basically, we just need to always keep in mind that Oklahoma weather can be merciless. We still had a lot of fun though, regardless. As for the funniest adventure? I’m a major klutz. Just think about all the hilarity that ensues from me being one.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My husband, Koby, of course! He is pretty much down for anything (especially when it comes to the beach), but he is also that voice of reason and courage for me. I don’t know anyone who is as motivating and patient as he is. And he's super hilarious. There’s no one else that can beat the fun that I have with him, whether outdoors or just being around each other. My other partner-in-crime would be my twin sister, Jennifer. Her and her husband are pretty rad. They love the outdoors as well and are still living in Southern California where I’m originally from.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
It's on my bucket list to travel to all seven continents. But to narrow it down, first it would be Peru, just because that was one place my grandfather always wanted to visit. He passed away on my first Christmas, so I would like to visit it someday, just for him. Other places include Hawaii (yes, I still haven’t been!), Australia & New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Iceland, Maldives, Hong Kong, and Morocco.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
We already have trips planned for Cancun, Taiwan, Alaska, and the PNW this year. Oh, and California, of course. We try to go back to California at least 2-3 times a year since my family is still there.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
Yikes, I have lots of those. Okay, but to narrow it down to one, it would have to be this one that I took at a recent camping trip that we did with my sister and brother-in-law at Point Mugu, California. Why is it awesome? First of all, the camping trip was so much fun. But most of all, I captured this photo of my brother-in-law while he was fishing, at the right moment with the wave crashing, and the epic sunrise…all with my iPhone. Yes, my iPhone. As I like to tell people, 90% photographer, 10% gear. So don’t feel bad if you don’t have a fancy camera, as you can capture some pretty incredible moments with whatever device you have. Just prepare your eye and visualize it in your mind how that moment could be captured.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
I have two! “Live life to the fullest” and “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”