Adventures with the Female Indiana Jones
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Alison Teal was literally born into a life of adventure. Raised by professional explorers, she’s lived in some of the most remote and tropical places on the planet, befriending monkeys and geckos along the way. Armed with a pink surfboard made from recycled trash, Alison now sets off to teach people about plastic pollution and to motivate change. V and Alison discuss everything from sustainability to survival, including her successful run on Naked and Afraid. Plus, she shares why you don’t have to go far to start living a life of adventure.
Follow Alison at @alisonsadventures on Instagram and TikTok. For a closer look at her adventures, check out Alison’s book and blog series.
Keep up with V on TikTok at @underthedesknews and on Twitter at @VitusSpehar. And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.
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V Spehar, Alison Teal
V Spehar 00:05
Don’t ever say I don’t take you anywhere friends because this week I’m sitting down with the female Indiana Jones and she is taking us on a journey. Alison Teal is an adventurer, author and filmmaker whose goal is to bring out the kid and everyone by showing them what the world has to offer. I’m talking about exploring the most extreme regions and opening your eyes to a multitude of customs and traditions around the globe. Alison, thanks so much for being here.
Alison Teal 00:30
Well, hello from Home Sweet Treehouse over here in the islands. I wish you were here in person. I was thinking about that. Like we should have had an actual board meeting.
V Spehar 00:39
I think we will. I wish I was there too. I know the folks at home listening can’t see but Alison literally lives in a tree house in Hawaii, like the most magical person alive. Your life has been a wild quest. And you’ve said that it all started with your parents. Can you talk a little bit about your parents?
Alison Teal 00:58
My wild parents? Yes, they are pretty coconuts. I was literally born into a life of adventure. And then about two months old, they whisked me away up to the highest peak in southern Peru. And I think I turned blue at the top and then passed out and then I they got me down the other side. And then I came to giggling and I think that really foreshadowed my love for adventure, the unknown. And since then, yeah, we’ve just lived in, you know, in tents at the base of Mount Everest and on camels going across the Roger Stone desert and in dugout canoes going down the Amazon. And, you know, my mom finally put her foot down. And it’s like, I need a home of course, so they built like an off the grid Treehouse here on the beach, which is, you know, become our adventure headquarters, base camp, so to say. So we have kind of a home base, but they really wanted to instill in me a sense of experiential education and literally offering me the world. But let me tell you, it was not glamorous. I mean, can you imagine living your entire life in a like six foot by six foot tent with your parents and living off of, you know, whatever we could pick or catch or what you know, they had two coconuts in their pocket and a dream. And that was just kind of what we would we would go upon and their manifestos and creators. And then I kind of took up the torch of adventure and have really wanted to share, like the mystery and the intrigue and all these cultures that I grew up in, through my Alison’s adventures, films and books. And I really think, you know, it’s not just for kids, but like the kid and explorer and everyone because that’s what I want to excite is that inner like child that just wants to adventure and learn and has no judgment or limits, right, like, you’ll just want to climb a tree when you’re little and so that’s what I like to dive into.
V Spehar 02:47
A lot of folks during the pandemic, were like, you know, what, why am I tethering myself to this suburban house to a school district. And they were like redoing Schoolies, and traveling the nation and kind of like doing what you have called World School and giving their kids a more immersive adventures experience. Can you tell us a little bit about like, what that was like for you growing up?
Alison Teal 03:07
Yeah, of course, it was bananas. But you know, I didn’t know any different. And so my parents were their professional explorers, if that’s a quote, job, but usually it was my dad’s photography that would bring us to places. So for companies like Patagonia or National Geographic, or Tebow, or Eagle Creek, or all the different, you know, adventure, explore companies, but we would have film, you know, so we’d go for six months and not know what we actually shot. And if it was going to be a cover shot for a company, and at the same time, my dad’s like, this wild bohemian adventure man with a camera, you know, and my mom’s is like, very spiritual yoga teacher. And so it was always this balance between like, are we going to live in an ashram in India, to get to satisfy my mom’s need to want to learn yoga, like we literally lived with […], who is like one of the masters and creators of, you know, or creators, but, you know, yoga masters of our time. And then the combination of you know, we got to climb up to Everest base camp to get this shot of this tent in this environment and this gear, so it was always a combination of accomplishing the quest that we were out to do. And then my schooling kind of became the world was my classroom, and the people that I met along the way, became my teachers, right. So if you want to learn about India, instead of opening a textbook, I would walk out my back door and suddenly learn that there’s a day where they dial the cows, a crazy yellow color, and this is what festival it’s for. And you know, and this is an elephant and this is how you wash an elephant. And, you know, this is conservation. And I think that was the biggest thing that I started to learn over the years is that nature provides us with our life, right? If we didn’t fish sometimes we didn’t eat if we didn’t grow potatoes in the high Andes of Peru we wouldn’t eat the next year, and when the crops were harvested and so what I started to learn is that if we protect that which offers us life, then we will survive. And getting this at an early age and then watching what’s been happening to our world with like plastic pollution and, and culture is disappearing. That’s where kind of my world schooling took a turn of, I can use everything I’ve learned to kind of better the planet and not just have had this education but actually feel a responsibility now to go back and do that. So little secret. I supposedly from the outside seemed like I had this dream life, right? Like I’m frolicking the world with my parents, I get to go to all these cultures and my best friend’s a monkey and you know, very Dora the Explorer. And, but in my heart and mind, my biggest dream was to have homework and go to school. And, you know, like, have a slumber party. I mean, that was what I’d seen on some movies on the airplane, like some Disney movies and such. And I was like, Oh my gosh. So I kept begging and begging, I want to go to school, I want to go school. So finally, we were up in the Himalayas, and near Mount Everest, and a snowstorm hit. It was about the time when they made all those Everest films where everyone was, you know, it was really intense, like people were dying and getting stuck on the mountains. And we were trying to help and offer support. And you know, as a little kid, I’m seven, I just want to go to school and have friends. And I got to I got to join the Sherpa children. At four in the morning, get up, tie ropes on our shoes, pack, you know, hot Momo cakes, pack firewood. And they would climb every morning over 17,000 foot paths to get to school. And I was so excited. And I did it with them. And I went to school at the base of Mount Everest. And it was the first time I’d been in a school room. And that actually ended up becoming the story that I used for like my thesis film when I went to film school. It’s called Rita but yeah, that was the kind of experiences and I was like, wow, this is what kids do when they go to school. But yeah, not your average. Get up and go to school. So anybody who’s complaining about having to get up and go to school.
Alison Teal 03:16
That’s what I was gonna say. And you recently came out with a new book for kids and families and a lot of those chapters compared with like free films, they can watch it resources for the folks who are still homeschooling. What can people kind of expect from that that’s different from your traditional homeschool material?
Alison Teal 07:30
Well, one of the chapters actually is on joining Rita the young Sherpa girl and going to school with her and, you know, my whole thought is that education should be fun and exciting. And I don’t think there’s any reason that school and all of this has to be from my perspective. I just believe in exciting storytelling and sugarcoating that pill of education to really get kids and families and everybody really excited about it. So my book is like picking up, you know, maybe Indiana Jones diary or Dora the Explorer, being able to have a real look into seriously a look. I mean, the pictures are unbelievable. They’re all like my dad’s incredible photos. I went I found like this musty old corner like the mad you know, Indiana Jones, and I’m like, open this chest. And it’s all his slides from like years of our travels. And I scanned them all and it was the coolest thing ever. And I’m like man, and then Ripley’s Believe It or Not came to me. And I’m like, this is the perfect partner because, believe it or not, there’s a lot of Believe it or not. And so each chapter is just so fun to dive into whether you’re homeschooling or not, but I do offer all my films for free because I just think teachers and students and families should be able to learn about the world and dive into that without having, you know, a cost involved. And it’s a lot of work. I’m like a one woman show, just doing everything I can do. And I edit and do everything by myself right by myself. I do all of it. I edit, produce and direct. And so I hope that I can also inspire other girls and boys and everybody to, you know, pursue their dreams of whatever they want to do. Doesn’t have to be what I’m doing. But you know, they can do it.
V Spehar 09:12
How did you find ticked you literally live in a tree house. Like you grew up at the base of a mountain. I can’t imagine you had a lot of like Mavis Beacon teaches typing classes or like stuff like that, like how did you learn how to interact? When did you start interacting with technology as a way to like, connect with people, you know, when you’re in these remote areas?
Alison Teal 09:43
Well, it was so interesting because you know, what I’ve found is a lot of people will say when you go to another culture like don’t photograph it’s going to take their soul or don’t bring technology or all this well. What I learned growing up with my parents is my experience is cultures couldn’t wait to share their stories, whether it was through photos or through filming that I was able to do. People actually do want to share and they want to help preserve their culture. I mean, of course you do it in a respectful way. But like a homeschooled girl that had never owned a TV I got accepted on a scholarship to USC film school. Which was, I mean, can you imagine like concrete jungle here I have it like the middle of Los Angeles, in the wildest place on earth for me. I was like, okay, culture shock. So that was pretty crazy. I remember like, the first time I went to class, I came home and I had a big A on my paper, and I call my mom, I’m like, I’m so sorry. I just want to tell you in advance. And I showed it to her. And she was like, yeah, and I’m like, I swear, I was not absent. I don’t know why they mark A on here. And she’s like, no, Alison, that means you did? Well, it’s like, she’s like, yeah, there’s this great news anyway. I mean, I’m not a total coconut. But you know, there was certain things that I had to figure out. So then they had cameras and stuff that you know, we’d get to use through school. So that was kind of my first experience with like, technology and getting to understand that and then, you know, my whole family came together extended and everybody and gifted me for graduation, this camera was like one of those old school like now it’s probably helped like, with the way technology, you know, every single year changes. I mean, I’m not even that old, and it already looks like a dinosaur. Yeah, so I set off around the world with my camera and saddled up my camel, and just really wanted to document and make all kinds of fun adventures. But then what happened along the way as I’m traveling with, like my, my pink surfboard, made out of recycled coffee cups. And, you know, I’m all excited, I’m going to be Indiana Jones and Spielberg and I’m gonna conquer the world and, and share amazing stories I couldn’t ignore there was just plastic pollution everywhere. So that kind of shifted my quest to wanting to not just solve mysteries, but also make waves of change in you know, protecting our greatest treasure, which is our planet and our ocean.
V Spehar 12:08
So Alison, after film school, you created the storytelling series, Allison’s adventures where you share your experiences with millions of people through YouTube and TikTok. Was it always your goal to continue traveling and learning about the world on your own?
Alison Teal 12:21
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, it takes a village. So when I say I’m on my own, I don’t really mean that in the sense that like, you know, we’ll be high in the Andes. And I’ll be trying to make a film and of course, my godfather, you know, Feliciano is there holding my boom pole. And we’re, you have a bit of a ball, right learning about it. And so we help each other where I think that’s an incredible system girls growing up, it’s like, we give you fish, you give us potatoes. And so I think, you know, collaboration is insane. Like, look where we are, right now you have a podcast, giving me a voice. So maybe I have a film to make, and I can document a cause. Or, you know, my friend found the oldest skeletons in the Americas, you know, diving in Mexico, and I was able to make a film on him and share his discoveries, or Dr. Marcus Eriksen is uncovering dinosaurs in Wyoming and I got to go out and film that and share you know, we’re in the middle of another mass extinction and share the dinosaur discoveries in order to highlight what’s happening, you know, during our current extinction, and what could happen to our world and our planet. Just our earth is so fragile. And so when I say I’m alone, I’m not necessarily alone in it, because I love giving. Initially, Allison’s adventures was me just filming other people. That’s what I wanted to share. But then I realized that people like to relate with a character like you like, you know, you could just have the news as a voiceover but you’re so fun under your desk. Like it’s the best, right? That’s how people relate with you.
V Spehar 13:53
Yeah, I gotta back you up. We are in a mass extinction event. What are you talking about?
Alison Teal 13:59
Well, I don’t want to speak on behalf of scientists, because I am not one. I am the documentary and the entertainer and the creator. But this is literally a 65 million year old Triceratops rib bone that I’m holding here, I guess nobody can see it. It’s wild, right? Because we’re, we as a species are creating climate change, we’re inducing more climate change. So things that have happened in our past due to climate change, we can see that by you know, looking through time and seeing what happened. And now you know, we’re creating that again, and there was mass extinction that happened when the dinosaurs were here. And now you know, there’s more mass extinction going on with species at our current point. And so what Dr. Marcus was trying to really explain is that you know, we’re not, we’re not invincible like this is a fragile planet and a fragile ecosystem and the earth will probably be fine. But as humans, maybe not so much, I never set off V to be like, I’m not a conservationist, environmentalist activist, like I grew up in a tree house. And if we wanted fertilizer, we would compost because that’s what we did. If we want to turn on the light, well, our solar panels better be working. You know, growing up here in the islands, if we fished and we protected the ocean and it wasn’t full of plastic, then we could have food to eat. So I’m not here as a preacher to be like we’re in an extinction. And everybody’s it’s doomsday because that’s not what I do. I think positivity creates positive change. But I can tell you for a fact that, for example, here in Hawaii, we’ve lost almost 50% of our reefs since 2011. From things due to you know, temperatures rising from pollutions like toxic sunscreen, which was my last film campaign that was instrumental in helping pass the law, we just outlawed toxic sunscreens here in the islands. And hopefully that can be example worldwide for other places to do the same other countries do the same, from runoff from pesticides from overfishing. And so I think that we have to understand that like, for example, okay, so everybody if you take a breath right now. And then we take another breath. That second breath was from that big blue thing that’s like 50 feet away from me and called the ocean. And, you know, science shows that 50% to 70% of our oxygen comes from the ocean from you know, the teeny little plants that that live in our corals. And in our reef systems, the reefs are like the rainforests of the sea. And so when I started learning all this, going beyond just the adventures and the filming, and the fun and the weed, here we are, you know, I was like, oh, no, this we better you know, add this this in, because I’m not really ready to move to Mars quite yet. It’s kind of important that we protect our ocean here. And for me, the low hanging fruit was plastic pollution. So I dove into helping get the bag banned in California and cleaning up trash island in the Maldives, because I did this crazy show. called Naked and Afraid, which is, I guess a whole another subject to dive into.
V Spehar 17:14
We’re going to talk about Naked and Afraid.
Alison Teal 17:18
Oh, gosh. Well, when you hang out naked in an island for a month, and you got nothing else to do, but watch the currents and the tides and all this stuff is washing ashore from all over the world, you start to realize it’s not just an issue in one place. It’s a global issue, and we need to do something about it.
V Spehar 17:34
Okay, so for folks who somehow don’t know what Naked and Afraid is one, it’s one of my favorite television shows where survivalists live for 21 days, or it’s 21 days, right? Completely naked and actually afraid they get to pick like, two items to bring with them. It’s and what did you bring with you on the show?
Alison Teal 17:53
Well, for full disclosure, we were first so I don’t know what the show has become. I don’t know. You know, what has happened? But from my experience, it was pretty real and pretty insane. And in an experiment at that point, like it wasn’t a show yet. And when they called me, I said, No way. Are you out of your mind. I want to inspire kids; I don’t want to be naked on national television. And then the more I worked with the producers, to help them develop it in a sense, you know, they kept asking, like, what would you need? And I said, we’re gonna need an item. You can’t you know, even caveman had like, some, knife, and so, you know, my thought was, I’m gonna bring my pink surfboard because I thought that I was clever. I was gonna use the fins as a knife and the rope, the leashes, you know, a fire starter, rope thing. And then when I got there, and it was the Maldives during monsoon season, they were like, are you sure? And I’m like, man, I think I’ll settle for a piece of flint, because we’re probably going to need some fire. But yeah, we were we were first and it was very real and very scary. And at that point, we only got an item. I don’t know what they’re doing now.
V Spehar 18:55
But you were first, like you said, and you have the highest PSR, the personal survival rating of like anyone ever. And you won the show, you did your 21 days. But while you were there, you were noticing plastic washing ashore, you were noticing problems in the ecosystem.
Alison Teal 19:11
What was interesting to me is like, I’d spent hours weaving baskets, and fish nets and all this stuff, and I’d throw it out and all I would catch is plastic. And I was like, oh, this is such an example of the world right now of like, we aren’t gonna survive if we’re polluting our planet. And so I made a little pact. They’re sitting starving, and I think it should be called naked and starving, but I’m starving it naked. And thinking, okay, earth, if you got my back, I’m gonna help you survive. So I went back and realize that we were surviving right next to what people have probably heard of called Trash Island. And it’s this just monstrosity of trash in the middle of the ocean there. And current trash comes from all over the world and current so what really, kind of sometimes bugs me is when people try to lay blame on like, Oh, it’s this country’s problem. It’s that country’s problem, this person. I’m like, no, it’s pretty much all of our issues. 800 million metric tons of plastic ended up in our oceans every year and they swirl in currents, they end up in these certain places. And then it’s estimated, this is crazy. I can’t, I mean, this is a legitimate study, it was presented in National Geographic, but they say, the, that a human eats an average of a credit cards worth of plastic every week.
V Spehar 20:26
Why I love you so much as a friend, and why I asked you to be on the show is because you do talk to children, and I am very childlike in the way that I learned. And so I want you to start me at the very beginning with the most basic answer. How is the trash getting in the ocean in the first place? You would think that that is like generally illegal. It’s not like how is this happening?
Alison Teal 20:45
Well, I mean, if you think about it, like, I’ll give you an example, I can’t tell you exactly mean, whether it’s storms blowing it in, or whether it’s people littering and it goes in or whether it’s, you know, 9% of plastic worldwide is recycled. So this whole recycling thing is not the answer. That’s not really what’s happening. So even landfills, you know, that are near the ocean, for example, rivers of it, you know, so it’s not just an ocean problem, people who live very much inland, what, you know, goes in a river will come down. And then there’s a lot of countries that don’t have even the ability to recycle. And so yes, there is a lot of countries overseas that are a huge problem, because they do throw stuff in the ocean. And that’s not good, either. But the biggest message that I can say rightnow, is that recycling is not the answer. And yes, we can make small steps and like don’t buy plastic, but we really just need to find a substitute to it, and change the actual because otherwise, you’re kind of bailing a bathtub with the tap on like, let’s do a beach cleanup, and then a week later, it’s back. It’s not going to make a huge change. So then it goes in the ocean than fish eat it. We eat the fish, or we, you know, even drink out of plastic water bottles. It’s pretty gnarly. I mean, there’s lots of studies that are showing cancer, you know, it’s causing cancer. And it’s, it’s pretty devastating, actually, if you think about it, but I try to stay positive because I think we can make change and I think there’s an ocean of endless possibilities to make change. And that was one of them was trash island.
V Spehar 22:22
So what did that like spark in you? What did you decide you were going to do?
Alison Teal 22:26
Oh, yeah, I mean, it’s crazy. You can troll with a net off the islands here in Hawaii and catch microplastics after 10 minutes, we have just a whole handful of microplastics I think anywhere you go in the world and the Maldives is unbelievably beautiful. But it just so happens that that’s where one of the currents, you know, bring a lot of trash. So I marched back with my pink bikini and my pink surfboard and went to trash Island, and nobody had ever really, to my knowledge. I don’t think anybody had actually captured it. I mean, maybe a reporter here and there. But kind of went we’re at least we’re no surfer girl gone before, that’s for sure. And documented it and overnight, it just went crazy viral, it was kind of the beginning of how these viral trends can really make change. And before I had time to like, take a nap and eat chocolate. It was just every news station was calling and you know, how can we help? What can we do? And I was able to kind of link the right people up to make change and to get it cleaned up and to have a system now in place where it can be, you know, recycled into items. And again, I don’t think that’s the answer. So I feel like I haven’t totally succeeded yet, but at least the trashes is gone. And there’s a system where it’s not building up and being burnt anymore, because that’s really toxic, as well. So I think if we, my message would really be like, I’m just one person from a tree house with a camera that wants to make change. I don’t have big organizations behind me, I don’t have millions of dollar, you know, I don’t have, I see something. And I want to help and so I think it’s really, I hope I can inspire others to kind of want to do the same within whatever they want to do in life.
V Spehar 24:25
You’re saying is pink is the new green talk, to you about pink?
Alison Teal 24:29
Oh my gosh, that’s so funny. I actually, I get choked up. I’m actually super honored because with the trash Island thing. I just got to go back with the US State Department to the Maldives and come together with all the women and the children and get to teach a future generation how to make waves of change. I mean, I get teared up because it was the most magical thing. I mean, they’re on their surfboards. Some of them have never even swam before and they’re learning to surf like this is the most liberating moment ever and this is amazing. And I just You can check it out I think it’s on my YouTube, it’s just really powerful to see the visual of it and, and cleaning up trash and having these future generations so badly want to be involved in being able to get represent the US and that process was like, just absolutely bananas. And yes, I was in pink and I think for me growing up I was a tomboy is what you know the phrase I know, I don’t know if that’s a correct thing anymore.
V Spehar 25:27
I would identify with that for sure.
Alison Teal 25:28
Yeah, that was kind of my, the way I can say it, I was a my, you know, my dad, like, Let’s climb Mount Everest. And I always kind of felt like I just wanted to be a princess and were to and dance around. Because that was I felt that in my energy. You know, that was, that was for me something I really wanted to experience yet I was hardcore adventuring. So I think as I got older, I started to realize that I can still what I call it be like pink and passionate and pretty in pink, and be feminine in this and still be hardcore and make change and, you know, paddle up to active volcanoes on a pink surfboard, to watch the earth being born and promote how to, you know, protect it, I can dive for the oldest skeletons. I can, you know, ride horses through camels through crazy, you know, Petra in Jordan and be Indiana Jones. But I can do it in pink and show that other little girls are people that want to be they don’t want to be hardcore. They want to be who they are like, that’s to me. I was like, Okay, this is who I am. And that’s kind of where that came from me. Does that make sense?
V Spehar 26:39
Yeah, I think that’s really powerful, actually, because I think a lot of folks assume that the gender identity journey is something that only happens for trans folks or queer folks. And it’s not, it’s something that happens for everyone, to the point that, you know, even when we’re little kids, even if we’re learning through the societal norms that are impressed upon us, and we have this idea that girls are pink and boys are blue, and boys are muddy, and girls are princesses. That is something that that is playing on children when they’re trying to decide where you’re going. And when you fit into both of those buckets. You want to be a princess who climbs a tree. Well, what examples are there for you? Is there somebody that that is possible for and you are giving that to people because there’s going to be little boys who watch you who want to wear pink and climb a tree, there’s gonna be little girls who do.
Alison Teal 27:22
But the thing that was the most powerful for me, and oh, man, I’m just getting choked up all the time is this little girl wrote to me, and she was like, you know, I’m going through the toughest these, I’m paraphrasing, but it was you know, she had to have been about seven, nine. And she’s like, my parents are going through a divorce. I feel like I have nothing to live for. I don’t want to be here anymore. And I found your channel and like, I feel like, I have Ohana and I have family and you guys are, you know, I mean, she didn’t use these eloquent words, but like you inspire me and you give me something to live for. And I realize there’s magic and there’s so many things that can be my friend, whether it’s a tree or a gecko or nature around me and that I can be my myself and even if I because I’m isolated here, right on an island, and I think there’s just so much adventure you could have in your own mind in your backyard. Adventure really brings people in nature together and, and that really kind of like, that’s the moment where I went, Oh, well, I got to keep doing this. Because if I can change, you know, one little girl’s life. Then she said, I remember that’s what made me think of it. And she’s like, and I love your pink and it just, you know, I want to I want to be just like you and I was whoa, responsibility.
V Spehar 28:46
That was such a thing, even with the episode of Naked and Afraid of being the first one. I mean, even if you’re looking at it from a Hollywood lens, they chose a former Marine who at you know, stereotypically everybody would have thought he was going to be the one who was going to carry the whole thing and like that spoiler is not how it worked out it you know, there’s different types of strength and you came in and you were so calm and no matter how rude he was to you maintained this really strong sense of who you knew who you were, you maintained your mental health, your connection to the environment around you and of course were very successful. What was that like though? Like what lessons led you to the point of being able to in the face of that maintain who you are and be so successful?
Alison Teal 29:30
Well, you know, I think that life I’m really grateful to have your platform because like, I feel I can be honest here. Not that I’m not honest in general, but I play much of a character I mean, I do really live in a treehouse. I’m actually here sitting next to my gecko but I definitely am. I want kids to I think we have enough serious, horrific stuff out there. And that’s why I love how you bring in goods you’re like we’re gonna have good news today. And I’m like, yes. But to be honest, it was not easy. Growing up like that. I mean, can you imagine you’re in a tribe, you look nothing like them at all. And of course, we’d end up becoming parts of these cultures. But it wasn’t always easy, even mostly even coming back to my own country, like Spanish is my first language. And I walked in and be like, Ola and people look at me like, What the, this little, this little girl like, what is she, you know, blonde pigtails and I’m running around the airport. And I felt like I could never really find my tribe. Pun intended, you know, within it all. And what I learned over the time is, it was really hard for me. I mean, imagine being like, I always think of like Lindsay Lohan from mean, girls. I mean, not that exact thing. But you know, you come from the tribes of Africa, she did and you’re trying to fit in to wherever you go, and however different they are. And it was hard, and I cried and cry. And there was a lot of just like wanting to be, quote, normal. And then having this like, full realization, and I think the reason is, is Naked and Afraid, was, I think, like the pinnacle of my coming of age of like, okay, if I’m myself, I can survive anything. And at the end of the day, you know, here I am on like Oprah and Ellen and Steve Harvey and […] I was like not that that’s not that the fame is what should give you the golden ticket or the reassurance I’m just saying, sometimes, if you can dig down deep and just know you’re not going to be accepted by everyone, you’re not going to get along with everyone, but being you through that, then you will succeed in what you’re doing. And I just remember sitting on that beach, and I had the worst cramps, I think I had my period for like, 14 days. And I was dying, I was like, I’m gonna die like this. It was horrific. And I remember, just sitting there being like, this is probably the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. And I’m gonna get back and everyone’s gonna make fun of me. And it’s just going to be the worst experience and I’m gonna be such a loser and such a failure.
Alison Teal 32:13
And then to come back and have the outpour of just like, amazed. I mean, I had fresh […] for me what I got from all of our, you know, Hawaiian long girl, you killed it, like you made the hats we taught you. Coconut hat and like, you represented [….] And I was just like, wow, a naked show can really make me realize when you’re literally stripped of everything, you figure out who you are. And that was like, just such a whoa, moment. And so I would advise, you know, what did Jesus do, he had his vision quest, like, everybody goes into the desert, that was kind of like my thing, go somewhere. And that’s why I encourage adventure and travel and it doesn’t have to be a million dollars and you don’t have to go to, you know, Timbuktu and you can do something simple to kind of change up your thinking and just get out of your get into nature get out of your head. I just think we put so much pressure on ourselves of like the over there itis or this person has a better life or that’s why I always try to talk about like, yeah, okay, I’m in the Maldives. But I’m in a landfill like I ain’t sipping pina coladas on the beach, you know, frolicking. And of course, I try to mix and an experience things that are awesome within it. But I also try to keep I call it like the 99 list where usually if you go if you’re having a bad day, or people are commenting something or whatever, if you look at what’s really happening in your life, 99 things are actually great. It’s that thing, that one thing that will completely take you down and don’t That’s crazy to be taken down for that one thing and it’s not easy to remember that but it’s also I think, important to keep to keep going and gosh and just like I don’t know, we but we just I mean how crazy Blessed are we to be on this wild little planet that’s building through this crazy solar eco weird universe out there and like we get this chance at life and we get to make our mark on this planet and be kind to people and spread aloha and I mean I hope I’m remembered for that and I just think everybody’s struggling with something you don’t always see and like do your best just that’s what I’ve realized is no matter you know what color we are what politics we are, if we don’t, if we’re not kind to our planet and our own bodies like we won’t exist, we won’t have a place to live whether it’s in our own being or around us, it doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter what religion what race, if you know, if we don’t have a planet to live on, and a body to call home because I think it goes hand in hand. It’s not just about protecting you can like I’ll get so stressed sometimes protecting the ocean. My mom’s like, I’m Alison, like, you know, you want to take care of yourself. Like water within your own system. Like that’s a pretty important and I’m like, oh, yeah. So that’s I just think so important is that Health and we learn that through the pandemic health, health, health, health, health and even through Naked and Afraid like, holy taco. You know, if you don’t have your health you don’t got nothing. And I you just have to really, really, really take care of that try to eat well try to that’s why I do the cooking things with my mom because it’s not just about me running around being Dora the Explorer for kids. It’s like, what do we eat? What do we do I try to mix that in of like, actual things, actual takeaways that any age can do.
V Spehar 35:27
That’s a full body experience. How do we start to live a life of adventure?
Alison Teal 35:47
How do we live a life of adventure? Well, are you thinking of coming out from under your desk?
V Spehar 35:57
I’m gonna come out from under the desk. And I’m gonna live a life of everyday adventure. What are some things and we wake up, we can say to ourselves, today, I’m gonna build adventure into my day.
Alison Teal 36:08
You know, what I try to explain, this is like, kind of my secret sauce. Because a lot of people will come to me and say, Well, I don’t have money. Or I don’t have connections or I don’t know how to get a plane ticket or I don’t. You know, there’s always I think a million excuses. And first of all, you don’t have to travel overseas, you could literally go to a park nearby. You could sit by a window; you can breathe in fresh air. I mean, nobody ever says to you, like, dang it. I wish I didn’t stand under that waterfall. Like I wish I didn’t go for that walk on the beach like the I don’t see anybody ever saying that. So there is nature. There’s got to be nature around you at some point somewhere. And just even those little tidbits, I think can totally, I can totally feel your soul. But what I would also say is talk to people. Like I know that sounds absolutely insane. But I think we are a wild. In Hawaii, we have the concept of like Ohana, right? And Ohana, like in the system. And I’m not, you know, speaking for Hawaiians, but I’m just saying the facts of how they used to live here. It’s like they’d have their ocean property and their mountain property and they’d trade you know, the different things they could grow or do. And they would communicate with each other. So they’d have to go up the mountain and come back to the ocean. And that’s kind of what I think is like, if you meet somebody, look, I’m meeting you, I could come out and visit you, you could come out and visit me, talk to people even in the line at the grocery store. Oh my gosh, I love your hat. Wow. Is that a Beret? Are you from France, start making friends because people want to share their cultures and want to share their places. And before you know it, you might be visiting someone in another culture. And I like to take it a step further. My biggest thing is that you find your cause, and you find your adventure. So lately, everything I’ve been doing, I get to go in February back with the US State Department to Papua New Guinea, because there’s so much domestic violence happening there. And they want to help inspire through surfing like this pink nose revolution, repainting the tips of surfboards pink, so the girls can also get to experience surfing, and cleaning up plastics, it’s like that is happening because I care about inspiring these girls and these women worldwide to be able to serve and to get in the ocean, I care about collecting plastic. And I think if you find your cause and you get involved in a nonprofit, or you get involved in something that’s happening in your community, before you know it, you’re going to Costa Rica to release turtles. Because it doesn’t have to be my cause. You know, you might be a lawyer and you want to help change environmental laws, or you might be a gardener and you can start using you know, healthier products on your lawn or mom, and you oh my gosh, you have a child in front of you that you’re raising to be the future generations and leader. There’s so much you can instill in them. And I swear you know, using a reusable bottle, you can save all that money from buying plastic bottles everyday like there’s ways to do this. So I think you find your cause you find your adventure, you find your Ohana, your global worldwide family and you find your adventure. And on the flip side, adventure will bring you to these people as well.
V Spehar 39:18
And if you can’t make a big change in your life, you can always make a tiny adjustment like just being conscious of your breath outside looking at a tree just taking that one little second. We’ve all been there where we feel like we can’t possibly do one more thing. And sometimes you do just have to lay it down and just take a breath outside and see how you can get a little bit of clarity there.
Alison Teal 39:33
and you can go on trips like you can go on. I should actually mention this in case anybody wants to like you can go dig up dinosaurs. And this I have no connection with this. So I’m not like making a percentage or something but I’d love people to go I think if you go to leaplab.org You can join Dr. Marcus Eriksen. You can go dig up dinosaurs in Wyoming. If you go on my TikTok, there’s a link you can come in and experience Hawaii adventure But like try to get out there and adventure. I would say that’s just really important. Just take a trip somewhere, do something anything you can around the block.
V Spehar 40:09
Do a little hike. go kayaking. I always thought those things would be too hard for me. They’re delightful. You’ll have a great time. Allison, it was such a pleasure to chat with you and hang out with you. And I’m always so grateful to get to spend time in the treehouse tell folks where they can find you.
Alison Teal 40:26
Pretty much across all the platforms. I’m @Alisonadventures. And I think Twitter is @Alisonadventure because I wasn’t enough things but I don’t really tweet much because there’s a lot of birds tweeting here. So I like to stick with my kind of kid Wonderland. On TikTok, but I tried to post there, you know, every day and then on my website, alisonadventures.com. Like I said, if any teachers or families or anybody, all the films are up there if you don’t want them to be going to, you know, different social media apps, so they can experience that or just come visit me in person and we’ll have a board meeting and go on an adventure. And I think it’ll be super fun because these coming so you could all.
V Spehar 41:09
And we will link to all of this in the show notes so that folks can easily find Alison and keep up with her adventures. Thank you again so much for being here friend.
Alison Teal 41:16
Mahalo. Thank you for having me.
V Spehar 41:22
I swear every time I catch up with Alison, I’m like, Man, I have to go outside more who is with me today we are touching grass. But first, leave me a voicemail. Tell me about the adventures you’re having. 612-293-8550. Follow me at under the desk news on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube. And guess what friends there is more V INTERESTING with Lemonada Premium. Right now there’s a limited time discount on our annual subscription between now and Monday, November 28. It’s just $29.49 that is nearly half off. You’ll get access to all of Lemonada’s premium content, like extra health tips from Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, and even a few extra fun facts about the architecture of malls from my conversation with Alexandra Lin. So subscribe now in Apple podcasts right where you are listening to this show, and be sure to do it before the sale ends on November 28.
V INTERESTING is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Rachel Neel, Xorje Olivares, Martín Macías, Jr. And Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mixing and Scoring is by Brian Castillo, Johnny Evans and Ivan Kuraev. music is by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar and @UnderTheDeskNews, also, @LemonadaMedia. If you want more be interesting, subscribe to Lemonada premium only on Apple podcasts.