What got you into slacklining?
A love for adventure, travel, problem-solving and a need for an artistic outlet led me to slackline. It was such an easy idea, an easy concept; rig a line and walk across. What slacklining involved into was something I could have never imagined.
Do you recall a defining moment when you knew this is what you’d do for the rest of your life?
There were many moments I recalled that I would probably slackline for the rest of my life. From not being able to go anywhere without a slackline for years, to seeing people of 70 – 80 years of age with the ability to learn slackline, to teaching kids and receiving almost more joy from their joy than my own personal accomplishments. All these small moments led me many times to thinking I would slackline forever. However, there was one day on February 11th that I got a “SLACKLIFE,” tattoo, and that moment definitely committed me to a life of balance, teaching, travels and adventure.
What do your parents think of your lifestyle?
My parents, like my friends, and sister, all were very uncertain of my lifestyle at first. I started up with sports fast and just kept going harder and harder and harder, and many many people were just “waiting for me to die.”
For instance when I free solo a highline––walking a slackline high off the ground with no safety––the people around me will always go silent, not wanting to think or say anything at the risk of it breaking my focus and killing me. Their hearts pound, their hands sweat, and many will come up to me after and tell me personally they really didn’t like how it made them feel. And it’s funny that all that happened while I was in my happy place.
What did your childhood look like?
My childhood was amazing. It was very cozy with a mom, a dad and a sister. We all hung out all the time, went hiking, biking, to the beach and were taught to have open minds and follow our hearts from a young age. My parents were semi-religious but also very philosophical and even more into the arts. My childhood was immersed in literature, music, art, adventure and exploration. I definitely have to thank my dad and mom for raising me in a way I hope to one day raise my own children.
What goes through your head when you’re highlining?
When I am doing it right it is a meditation that wipes clean all thought except the beauty of the moment being embraced as a whole for then and there. The complete now. Sometimes though I have to give interviews, do tricks, try lines I can’t walk, and during those times thoughts are so fast and spontaneous it’s hard to list them all. Tons and tons of things machine gun through your head, and the beauty of conquering that stream of thought into full relaxation and acceptance is part of the beauty of the sport.
How do you practice mindfulness?
I do a lot to practice mindfulness. I have become interested in the idea that the first step to changing the world is to change your world first. When you want to start seeing better food, recycling, protection of the environment, the first step is to manipulate your life around you to see how to do it in a microscale. Once you see the complications that come in your day to day life it is easier to help other people transition to being more mindful too.
What’s coming up next for you?
Next is the month of November which brings on the most beautiful time to have a huge team of people come to Moab, Utah to do the biggest and coolest projects ever seen by man! So needless to say I am super excited. We are hosting some trash bag challenges for Conscious Adventurist, we are hosting a fundraiser for the local police, Bureau of Land Management and state and we are having the largest extreme sports festival meeting in the U.S. and rigging a bunch of highlines. Hopefully I will break my current personal record of 230 meters.
Creative Writer & Journalist
Anja is a professional freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in such places as Terrain.org and Zoomorphic magazine. Keep up with her at anjasemanco.com.