In a world filled with constant distractions and fleeting moments, Savannah Strickland emerges as a beacon of inspiration. Her story illuminates the transformative power of resilience and the profound impact one individual can have on the lives of many. The Respect Campaign, a movement committed to celebrating individuals who demonstrate exceptional determination in overcoming personal trials, finds an exemplary embodiment in Savannah. Through her persevering outlook on life, she has become a shining example of what it means to embrace life's challenges and inspire others to do the same. Let us explore her remarkable experiences, from her encounter with mortality to her conquest of fears and self-imposed limitations. By doing so, we can discover the transformative power of resilience, forge meaningful connections, and embrace the opportunity to create meaningful impact every day. Allow Savannah to share her journey in her own words.
“A few years ago, I struggled with my health and faced a near fatal situation. I remember going into the operating room, not sure if I would make it out and mentally preparing myself that I might die. I was losing a lot of blood internally and kept passing out for hours. When I woke up from surgery, they were able to fix what was going on, and ever since that day my eyes have been opened. I had made it a point to do something each day towards bettering myself and trying new things that I wouldn’t do alone. Getting out and going for a hike, going hunting, fishing… that’s what did it for me. Being outside is where I feel comfortable. Experiencing that traumatic situation made me realize how important it is to take chances and try new things, even if they are difficult. It’s through these difficulties that I truly feel alive.
The greatest obstacle that I’ve overcome was my fear of doing physically demanding tasks that I typically wouldn’t do as a woman. Like traveling to new places in the wilderness, going on backcountry hunts with my husband, camping for days on end, and packing out what seemed like the heaviest pack of my life on my own back. Just going through what I did in the hospital pushed me mentally. Every step that I took on those mountains pushed me with that same mindset, I never want to go back to where I was. I trained for several months, increasing my strength and endurance. I feel like everyone at least once should experience the true beauty of what hunting really is. It’s not just going and killing an animal, it’s the hard work and effort that you put into it. It’s memories with your friends or family rucking it when you’re completely exhausted. It’s those mornings and evenings with the most beautiful views that you don’t get to see on a daily basis in complete solitude. It’s even better packing out an animal that you harvested that you trained so hard for.
Our trip last year to Colorado was my first backcountry hunt. My husband has been several times and each time he has learned more about the quality of gear and how important it is for it to work well for several days at a time. His forte is to study gear and materials to see what would work best for our next hunt. When we arrived at the trailhead, which was around eleven thousand feet in elevation, we gathered all our gear and packs which weighed around fifty plus pounds for six days and headed straight into the backcountry. Ascending a little more than a thousand feet to the top of the ridge after which, we had a steep descent to around ninety-eight hundred feet which was camp for the night. At that point I wish I had trained more for endurance considering I have never been that high in altitude. Each day we branched out to different ridges and drainages typically hiking up to ten miles. Weather conditions were hot and dry which made it tough to locate elk. It always seemed as if we were right on their heels but could never quite catch up. After six days of hard hunting and multiple miles we called in two small bulls which were not legal for the unit we were hunting in. On average we probably burned more than three thousand calories each day when tracking.
I absolutely loved sleeping outside. Even to this day I don’t think the quality of sleep in my own bed has been as good. There is just something about being outside and our primal instincts that kick in when we are away from civilization and technology. I felt like my thoughts were so clear, this way of hunting has become a way of life for me. I knew there were bears and I’m sure we had bears come into camp. Several nights we heard ruckus around, but it never worried us. One of the days when we were out there, we sat down to take a break and eat, I saw something in the corner of my eye. When I turned my head, it was a massive black bear, coming closer than 10 yards. The bear had no idea we were there, but I turned to my husband and whispered, “BEAR!” He saw the bear and scared it off. You don’t realize a true hero until you encounter a situation like that, my husband did not hesitate to handle the situation.
So, for last year’s hunt we did a lot of high intensity interval training and weighted pack hikes. Most of our HIIT workouts were around forty-five minutes. The weighted pack hikes were around five miles at a time. While we felt strong and muscle fatigue wasn’t an issue, we felt like our cardiovascular endurance could have been a lot better. Going into this year versus last year we incorporated more cardiovascular endurance workouts while maintaining our strength to carry heavy packs. We also started our training sooner and focused on weight loss throughout the year. Our trail runs are typically around an hour, staying below our maximum aerobic heart rate. What we do is break down our week with three trail runs, two days of intense lifting, one day of a heavy pack hike and a rest day. As we get closer to season, weighted pack workouts will be increased while some strength training days will decrease.
I think that pressing myself and realizing that we aren’t promised tomorrow is what really pushes me to overcome the constant resistance that our minds give us. My family is also always there for me no matter what door I choose to go through. They have helped encourage me to reach my goals such as my school, work, and recreation.
My next goal to complete for the following years is to begin my journey as a holistic practitioner. What began my interest in being a Holistic Practitioner was horticulture. I would always look up natural remedies and plants for years and study how they worked and how we could alleviate our aches and pains, along with other issues we may have. The focus of a holistic practitioner is achieving optimal wellness by helping those mentally, physically, and spiritually. I would love to help veterans overcome obstacles in either of those aspects. I know that a lot of people, like myself, want to be heard. Especially when it comes to their health. Many times, I’ve seen doctors and I felt as though I was in an assembly line and rushed out. I want to dedicate time to all clients that way I know what works best for them. I want to help people regain their health and feel better, mentally, and physically. Because of what I went through, it led me into this journey as I pursued myself and was able to get off pharmaceutical medications. I think that each day can be difficult, but you can choose your difficulty. I want to train harder each day for the next adventure I attempt.
I truly respect those that push themselves each day to save lives and protect us from harm. I have never been in the military, but as a kid I always wanted to be. My grandfather served in the Korean war in the Army serving as a ground troop. I’ve always respected the military because I’ve heard stories from my grandfather of the things that he and his soldiers had to endure. What has always intrigued me is the mental toughness that they have. It’s not easy to go home to their families and completely shut off what they’ve endured. I will forever be grateful to the men and women that put their lives on the lines for our safety. I’m grateful to have had first responders take time away from their families to save my life, and even more so grateful for those that protect our country and people from harm.”
Savannah's journey, filled with personal growth, serves as a testament to the power of embracing life's trials and triumphs. Her story is an invitation to become active participants rather than passive bystanders in our own lives. As we immerse ourselves in Savannah's experiences, let's also reflect on the men and women who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe. Their sacrifices deserve our heartfelt gratitude. Together, let's honor and support those who protect and serve, and find ways to actively participate in making our world a better place. By doing so, we not only enrich our own lives but also inspire others to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery and transformation.
At its core, Savannah's journey demonstrates the inspiring transformations that resilience can ignite, and the capacity that lies within each of us to infuse purpose into every facet of our existence. Additionally, Savannah's experiences highlight the impact that genuine connections can have on our well-being and sense of belonging. They remind us that by nurturing meaningful relationships, we create a supportive network that fuels our resilience and propels us towards our goals. Ultimately, Savannah's journey encourages us to tap into our innate potential, seize the opportunities before us, and live each day with intention and purpose.
Interestingly, instead of this experience completely isolating me and causing me to distrust everyone, it’s incentivized me to be more open and more vulnerable to other people. It’s in trying to avoid pain – in constantly trying to please others, or protect yourself – that pain will find and break us apart. I choose to open myself to the judgment of others because their reactions will tell me if there is a place in my life for them or not.
We live life dialed to eleven.
Get discounts, stories, and more from Terra Arma delivered to your inbox.