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How a professional kayak and homeschool mother of two kids does it all



Emily Jackson was born a kayaker. The 29-year-old daughter of Olympic kayaker Eric Jackson grew up on the water. She has been kayaking as long as she can remember. She was in the USA. freestyle kayaking team since 2003 (yes, she was only 13 years old) and is a two-time freestyle world champion (if you've never seen freestyle kayaking, you'll be pleased ). When not training or competing, Jackson directs the company's marketing department to her family, Jackson Kayaks, the largest whitewater company. Oh, and she has two little kids, 6 and 2, one of whom she teaches at home.

"I travel 1

0 months out of the year and if I really want to be in my child's life, I do not think that [traditional] school is really an option," Jackson tells me when we met at the GoPro Mountain Games sat down to chat. Jackson had just competed in the Downriver Kayak Sprint (and finished second in her category) before moving to our interview and heading to the other end of Vail Village.

Full-time kayaking requires a nomadic lifestyle. "There are very few places in the world where you can go kayaking 12 months a year," says Jackson. She and her husband Nick Troutman and their two children live in a 32-foot camper most of the year, traveling to kayaking competitions, clinics, shows, and events. "We pack up in March and usually do not come home until the end of October." (Rock Island, Tennessee, is technically at home, though it adds that children know the trailer as their home because they spend so much time in it.)

Immediately after the Bergspiele, Jackson says that she and Their children will travel all the way to Ottawa, Canada, where they will leave their motorhome and their dogs with their in-laws before flying to Spain for the World Championships. "I hope we make the ride pretty fast, which you never know with kids, I may not have the time to pack properly." Her husband, she says, has another contest this week in Colorado, so he'll be in

Jackson has a full schedule, and she likes him this way. "Saying yes to many doors and opportunities, you learn more about yourself and life becomes more exciting and entertaining," she says. You never know which door will lead to another, so I'm definitely rolling. I always try to say yes. "The casual and carefree way Jackson talks about everything she's up to – with a big smile on her face – makes it clear she's figured out how to handle her busy life, or at least not Upset hectic. So, how does she do that?

The biggest thing is that Jackson does not stick to a high standard of giving everything 100 percent. Because in truth it's just not possible. Instead, she's aiming for 80 percent of everything she does. By relieving the pressure to be perfect, she creates and enjoys everything.

"If you have 100 percent dealings with things that are great, but many people think that's great 100 percent in [a sport]they lose a lot of fun or respect or love for it. As much as you love it, it hurts you sometimes. You take it personally, if you do not do it well. You say, 'Hold on, that's me. "Jackson has been kayaking for years, and that's always who she was – and then she got married and had kids. She started working at Jackson Kayak. She took on a whole new responsibility beyond kayaking. "Having a lot of different eggs in my basket relieves me a little of the pressure I could otherwise exert on myself," she says.

Jackson is aware that it may not sound intuitive to suggest that you do not give your kids everything, but she believes that this 80 percent thing ultimately helps her become a better parent. "If you give your children 100 percent and you are miserable in all other aspects of your life, the children will suffer, so you do not really give 100 percent," says Jackson.

] Of course she sometimes wishes she could give more to certain aspects of her life. "I wish I could develop more enthusiasm and patience for my son's school, I wish I could pay more attention to my husband, but I take it personally when things are not going well, so I'm really working hard to just do it 80 percent in all of these things, and for me, that's just how I balance it. "On the other hand, she remembers how much she plans to do, she lets off the hook." I say to myself, "Do you know what? I tried very hard and could have made it a little bit better. Could be, but I do not regret anything because so much else is going on. "

Being responsible beyond her sport also gives her a perspective. "Whether I win or lose, I'll come back and I need to make sure my kids get full and change diapers and bath," says Jackson. "That does not change the way I did in a competition. Whether I visit my son's school or not does not change my way of working. "

During our interview, Jackson mentions casually that she recently took part in a bass fishing tournament and that she and her husband own a bass fishing tournament. Oh, and she trains for a 80-kilometer race (although she's just taking a break from the training to focus on her current kayak competitions). So how does it stay centered? How does she relax and relax when she has the time? Jackson says she sometimes crosses, she reads magazines and whenever she can, she takes a bath. "When I'm home, which is so rare, the bathroom is definitely my favorite place."

Both running and kayaking are relaxing and meditative for them. "When I'm on the boat on the water, no one can give me my kids, I do not have my phone, nobody can handle me, forget it, I'm gone, and it's similar for me when I walk, Very rarely will I pick up the phone during a run, "says Jackson," I'm not a very fast runner, but I do not think about things, I just run and focus on what I do. That really helps me to calm my thoughts. The same goes for kayaking. "She adds that when her thoughts wander when she's on the water, she'll disembark." Because kayaking is my time, if I do not think it's my time, I have to deal with what it is and then back into the water. "

Overall, she admits that she does not care about other people if she does not look after herself first.

Not to compare herself to other people who Jackson seems to be limiting their time for scrolling on social media. "It's interesting how social media has made it difficult for people to succeed as an athlete, parent, wife, and only as a human in general "And although I appreciate it and the things that come with it – I learn a lot from it, collect tips and appreciate it – I try to stay away."

Dan Davis / GoPro

Jackson in the middle e of the flips at the 2018 GoPro Mountain Games freestyle competition in Vail, Colorado

What kind of content could we share more in their opinion? The kind that's super-attributable "That's a really important part of my image," says Jackson. It is not common to approach a professional athlete, chat with him and feel like a friend. But Jackson hopes that the people she interacts with – especially young girls who are interested in kayaking – have that attitude to her, "because I think that relates the sport as well." she explains, which keeps many people from trying. "When I see someone driving over a 100-foot waterfall, many people think," I peed a little when I see that, I never try! I definitely do not go by kayak. "It makes it difficult to identify, and that's difficult," she says. But it's a great workout and it does not have to be extreme, even though it's ranked by the industry.

As a professional kayaker, who also works in a marketing role in the industry, Jackson really hopes to make it. It's clear that kayaking is a sport that many people – even in their free time – are capable of if you are interested. Seeing athletes can help, but is the other key? Show people that the sport is fun.

"Our most important rule for the people in our team is that they should never curse in a whirlwind," says Jackson. (A vortex is a small vortex that forms on the bank of the river, usually right after a rush, where kayakers escape the current and take a break or get out.) "When you're in an event and with the results are dissatisfied and curse, you are from the team. Some people throw paddles or helmets, and I think, "You're sure that kayaking is fun out there!" She says jokingly. "Other people like to respect that and say," Wow, they have so much passion. "But I think you can be passionately happy." She practices what she preaches – and has an extensive collection of medals she can provide. "People expect you to look and act as an athlete in a certain way. I'm always the idiot on the water, and people say, "How did she win that?" "Well," she says, "the people who have the most fun usually do the best."


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