Caroline Paul is the ultimate BADASS. She has spent her life following her heart and dreams wherever they have taken her, including a 13 year career as one of San Francisco's first fire WOMEN, white water rafting on rivers all over the world that have never been rafted, kayaking around various countries and micro flighting with the world's elite, just to name a few.
In this episode, The Two Jess(es) sit down for a conversation on bravery, and recognizing fear as an important emotion, but also acknowledging the exhilaration that comes along with stretching yourself outside your comfort zone. And most particularly, and certainly, most importantly, how we can lay the foundation for raising our daughters, and other young girls in our lives, in such a way that helps them access their most brave and empowered selves.
Topics such as risky play, scientific studies on gender on the playground, and setting world records for CRAWLING, are among some of the topics covered. Caroline is inspiring, motivating, thoughtful and gutsy- an episode that will certainly leave you with some lasting thoughts!
I grew up in New England, with an identical twin, a younger brother, and a menagerie of animals. I did some goofy things as an adolescent: I learned all the constellations in the Western Hemisphere; I regularly rode my banana-seat bicycle for miles to read Archie comics at the nearest general store in our rural town; I built a boat out of milk cartons, then convinced others to join me on the river, then waded to shore with them when it broke up in the first rapid.
I graduated from Stanford University, where I studied Communications. At the time I had a vague idea that perhaps I would become a documentary filmmaker. Instead, in 1989, I became a San Francisco firefighter.
In 1999, I wrote about my thirteen-and-a-half year career in Fighting Fire, an updated version of which came out in 2011. I’d tell you about those years, but really, you should just read the book. I will only say that being in a fire made me happy, and doing emergency medical work intrigued me. All of it made me a better person.
The most remote place I’ve been is Siberia, where I saw a Unidentified Flying Object that may or may not have been the Soviet military. The highest place I’ve been was on a mountain bike in the Bolivian Andes back when mountain bikes were scarce and 15,000 feet didn’t hurt as much as it would now. The most isolated I’ve ever felt was in a blizzard on Denali, where we had to stay in the tent and pee into a Gatorade bottle.
My novel East Wind, Rain came out in 2006. In 2013, Lost Cat, A True Story of Love, Desperation and GPS Technology was published. It was named a Best Book by Jezebel and by the influential website Brainpickings. The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure published in 2016, is a rally cry for girl power. Part memoir, part how-to-outdoors guide, this book offers life lessons through adventure stories. It's Lean In for middle grade girls, set not in the workplace but on bicycles, tree branches, sea kayaks, and cliff edges.
In 2018, You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World came out just as teens around the country were taking a stand against gun violence. This illustrated book aims for an even younger audience, teaching kids from 9 -to-12-years-old the tactics of civil engagement and protest. You Are Mighty believes it’s never too early to learn how to raise voices in a constructive, thoughtful way because activism teaches us about our democracy, and about ourselves, and sets a solid foundation for the informed and participatory citizenship every country sorely needs.
Writing never happens in a vaccuum. I've been part of the Writers