How and why was I able to do such great, exciting stuff? Because I grew up home schooled all around the world by my wild and daring adventure pioneer parents, who are so extraordinary I have often said to myself, “I love them, but are they secretly from another planet?”
My Wild Parents
My papa, David Blehert, is a world-renowned adventure photographer for companies such as NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, PATAGONIA, EAGLE CREEK, and TEVA. He is famous for going after and always getting, and bringing back the most impossible “extreme shot” from some of the most primitive, inaccessible, wild, and often dangerous wastes, jungles, and wilderness areas on the face of the earth. My mother, Deborah Koehn, is a naturalist and internationally acclaimed yoga devotee and teacher (Patabi Jois & family). Together as a family, we formed a company called Yoga Adventure and have guided trips around the world for as long as I can remember.
When I was two months old, my parents took me skiing on Ausangate, the highest peak in Southern Peru, and since then my life has been a continuous whirlwind of high adventure.
I have explored and lived in the most remote, strange, colorful, and bizarre corners of this planet and gotten to know, like and become friends with all manner of indigenous people, and by doing so become part of an ever growing global family.
And as you might have guessed, my ad-lib, free-form, on the move, literally homeless version of “home schooling” took place on the back of, or under, an elephant, in a tent in a blizzard on the flanks of Mt. Everest, on a camel safari across the Rajasthan desert, and wherever else my adventure and nature photographer parents’ job took them.
The world was my school and my playground.
What was and is normal family life for me is light years away from most peoples’ idea of normal, but for me it was the only life I knew from birth the until I first saw the inside of a school room on the high slopes of the Himalayas in Nepal at the age seven.
I thought – Wow! I’m in an actual school with other children. And a teacher.
Inside a building. How strange. How weird. How exotic.
Let’s get Real.
In 2008, I graduated as a summa cum laude of the University of Southern California theatre and film school and University of California Berkeley.
My short film Rita, a Himalayan adventure showing how I got my first taste of being inside a school won international acclaim at numerous film festivals including Telluride, where I went on to win again the next year with my Moroccan Surf Adventure Film: Snaked! — which I produced, directed, shot, edited, and hosted.
At twenty-three, I completed my own first feature length documentary “INCANtations” which also earned me international recognition after premiering at Patagonia’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival.
And I recently had the honor of being named one of the top 25 college filmmakers by MTV and my film Rita was nominated for an MTV movie award in 2007. In 2008, I got to team up with world-class athletes as the star surfer in the film, “Nature Propelled,” narrated by actor Patrick Stewart (Star Trek). And then I went on to become a finalist for Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett’s show “On The Lot” and in 2009 I was honored by Meryl Streep for being one of the top emerging female artists.
I also was excited to work on Hollywood blockbuster Eat Pray Love since Ketut Liyer was my painting teacher growing up and the movie was filmed in the same house in the village in Bali where I spent many of my childhood years.
Home Sweet Home
After I was born on the floor of a tiny log cabin high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
My family got an assignment from MOUNTAIN BIKE MAGAZINE to go on a photojournalist adventure around the Big Island of Hawaii and test out some of the first Mountain Bikes.
We came across an incredible piece of ocean front property and decided to build a home base there called “Hale Kai” or “Ocean House.” Over twenty years later, this true labor of love, our very own “Robinson Crusoe Style Grass Shack” has become a renowned retreat center and my beloved home.
My papa, David Blehert, is one of the first pioneers in Green Living and has taught my mom and me how to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible. He works hard to make our home, “Hale Kai” or “Ocean House,” as self-sustaining as possible, and his work has kept our house almost entirely “off the grid.” Little by little, he constructed an off the grid solar electric system, which runs our washing machine, four refrigerator/freezers, power tools, lights, and kitchen appliances on solar power alone!
David also created his own “Vegetable Oil Filling” station on the property, and converted his F350 diesel truck to run off pure, recycled vegetable oil. Also at my home, Hale Kai, we practice waste recycling, and compost all of our organic waste to produce soil for our organic gardens, which are always full of mangos, papaya, acerola cherries, herbs, tamarind, coconuts, pumpkins, tomatoes, and array of tropical plants and flowers. My favorite part of Green Living is waking up in the morning and picking a home grown papaya or coconut for breakfast, or a star fruit for a mid day snack.
Pink is the New Green
My surf boards are “Green to the Core” made from soy based sustainable products.
Since most of my “wardrobe” consists of bikinis, I love wearing suits that are not only functional and flattering but also good for the planet. Odina eco bikinis are an epic combination of everything a girl could want in a bikini AND they are made from 100% recycled materials.
Also, as a Patagonia athlete, as soon as I hit cold water I suit up in my comfy wetsuit that is made from environmentally conscious fabrics.
I’m happy to have the sustainable certification stamp from the eco experts at Sustainable Surf. I’m honored to be on of their ambassadors and also help to develop the incredible Waste to Waves recycling program that takes everyday packaging from items such as televisions and furniture and shows the process of the waste becoming a surfboard.