Hi! I am so honoured that you want to learn more about our little family.
We are the Mangs and each individually known as: Annika (mom) Cam (dad), Etta (big sis) and Julia (lil sis).
We believe that Adventuring does not end when you have children, it is only the beginning and that belief is what founded the Born to be Adventurous platform!
All four of us are adventure seekers and love to explore. Sometimes that is in our backyard, sometimes it is travelling the world, and other times it is living in our van and touring North America!
Cam and I met in University in Basketball class when we were 19 years old! Our first date was during the day on a Sunday. We order Slurpee’s with ice cream on top and played 1 on 1 basketball at the local YMCA. I always say that I beat him playing 1-on-1 but that is up for debate.
Well… we fell in love, got married at 24 years old, toured Bali for a Month and then lived in Nepal for three months. There, we volunteered together at a place called Patan CBR that is a school for children with disabilities. This is a place that Cam had volunteered at before we were married.
It was an eye opening experience and like most volunteer experiences, we came out having gained the most from it. We returned home and moved immediately from Edmonton, Alberta to Vancouver, BC.
A year into teaching in Vancouver while Cam started his PhD in Neuroscience I became pregnant with our first daughter Etta.
After we had Etta, we knew that we would want to keep exploring and adventuring. We never listened to the people that would say your life is over when you have kids.
We truly believe that adventuring does not end when you have children, it is only the beginning.
In our daughter’s first year of life, she went camping at 6 weeks old, on 22 flights, backpacked Europe, lived in Copenhagen for three months and did her first backpacking trip by the time she was one year old.
Before she turned two, we had sweet Julia. Julia settled into the family immediately and went on her first camping trip by three weeks old.
Shortly after having Julia, we bought Dusty of VW Van and moved to Calgary. Little did we know that a few years later we would go on a 3-month adventure touring in our van as a family. Calgary is where the Born to be Adventurous was born when Julia was only 8 months old.
Two years ago we added another addition Ukee our puppy! He is a black Labrador crossed with a American Staffordshire Terrier. He soon started adventuring too and went on his first backpacking trip at 8 months old!
I, Annika, am the primary writer and photographer for Born to be Adventurous. Cam sometimes helps out especially when we are out creating content as a family.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Before I was known as Annika Mang, I was known as Annika Eriksson. My background is Swedish and Ukrainian with some English and czechoslovakian.
I grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Sports took up most of my time. I played basketball throughout high school and started playing rugby at a high level. I actually never did much travelling but did lots of hiking and camping with my family.
When I turned 18, I moved with my family to Edmonton, Alberta and went to school at the University of Alberta. I took physical education and education.
That is also where I met Cam!
At 19 years old I went on my first backcountry trip. It was awesome and I was hooked!
But, while at university, I also played for the varsity team. This took a lot of my time and I only did the occasional backcountry trip each year. I really loved playing rugby.
Eventually, I tried out for the University Canada Sevens Team and went on my first big trip to another country and fell in love with San Diego.
The next two years I would travel to Spain and Portugal for the University Sevens Rugby World Championships.
Cam joined the year I played in Spain and watched our team win silver!
Two months after playing in the World Championships in Portugal, Cam and I were married!
I decided to stop playing rugby and was excited for the travel adventures to begin!
I grew up playing soccer for the Sherwood Park Rangers, cross country skiing with my family, and tagging along on my bike while my Dad went out for neighbourhood runs.
As I got older, the cross country ski days and bike rides got longer – I did the MS 150 road bike tour at 9 years old on a Huffy mountain bike – and discovered that I loved running, especially on the trails.
I had never ran a road marathon but ran my first trail ultra, The Knee Knackering North Shore Trail 50 km run, while living in Vancouver in 2012.
As an undergraduate student, I fell for Annika, a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan who was just as into “Type 2” fun and the outdoors as I was.
Alongside building a life with Annika and becoming a Dad, I did my Master’s degree in Neurophysiology and a Doctorate in Rehabilitation Sciences, with a focus on learning more about how exercise affects the brain and supports recovery from brain injury.
Now I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Regina where I do research and teach in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies.
Etta is the cheerleader of the family. She is often bouncing with excitement whenever we are all out exploring together.
She often knows exactly what she wants from the clothes she wears in the morning to the books she likes reading.
When she grows up, she wants to be a volcanologist. She has wanted to be one since she as two years old. She loves all things science and wants all the books on science. She also wants to be a writer and a guitar player.
Etta has a strong work ethic. I am in awe of her intrinsic motivation while learning to read, write, hike long distances and learn outdoor sports skills. She pushes herself because she genuinely enjoys and wants to learn. It has been so fun to watch her become excited about all these activities.
Julia is strong willed. She started picking out the clothes she wanted to wear ever since she was 10 months old. Her determination to prove anyone who tells her she can’t has helped her learn various skills quite early.
I am in awe of her ability to pick up skills like biking, climbing, and snowboarding so quickly. It is fun watching her work hard to keep up with her sister.
When she grows up, she wants to be a marine biologist, ballerina, singer, and French teacher. She loves to bike ride in the summer and it just might be her favourite activity.
Learn more about working with Annika and her family!
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