How Kelly Bastone balances journalism, outdoor adventure and the needs of a preschooler

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Kelly Bastone is as much trapeze artist as freelance journalist. On an average day, she wakes to snuggles from her 5-year-old daughter, spends the morning working on her latest article, squeezes in a few midday turns in Steamboat Springs’ trademarked champagne powder, hustles back to her laptop for an afternoon of writing, picks her daughter up from day care and then their family of three settles in for dinner at home. Her life is a balancing act between work, play and parenting—and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Bastone originally got into journalism as a way to “get people to pay me to do all the things I love to do, which are play outside and travel and pursue outdoor adventures.” Mission accomplished. The lengthy list of publications to which she now contributes includes esteemed outlets like The New York Times, Backpacker and Travel + Leisure.

KellyBastone and daughter, Simone. Photo courtesy of Kelly Bastone.

KellyBastone and daughter, Simone. Photo courtesy of Kelly Bastone.

When she added “mom” to her resume five years ago, Bastone was determined not to put either her outdoor pursuits or her professional endeavors on hold. So soon after her daughter Simone was born, Bastone was skiing the fjords of Norway with her Backpacker comrades, gear-testing all day and sneaking in breast-pumping sessions during snack breaks.

“Looking back on it, I can see why people would raise their eyebrows that I was going," she said. "[My daughter] was only four months old and it was a 10-day trip, but I cherish those ski tours and those landscapes and the experience of winter camping. It was really fabulous. It ended as a great success story, as a great compromise where everybody won. Certainly I did, and I don’t even know if Simone realized I was gone.”

Not that her life is always that glamorous. Bastone also recounted a family hut trip that involved more post-holing than powder shots and ended with an all-hands-on-deck effort to pull a broken ski trailer out of the backcountry.

Over the years, Bastone says she’s been “a little stubborn about holding to my ideals about continuing the things I like to do,” but she points to the truth in the adage “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” As a result, she’s learned to balance—and often merge—her passions for her career, getting after it outside and mothering.

“I needed to prove to myself that I could have it all. I don’t want having a kid to take me (away) from the things that I’ve always loved. You end up loving your kid, too—and they need and deserve some accommodation—but at the same time, one of the best things you can do as a parent is model a balanced life."

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