It was 2000 and she had just finished her master’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State. The sense of accomplishment she felt from completing her graduate studies blended with the phenomenal backdrop of Prince William Sound to give her a feeling she longed to experience outside of a crammed office and 9-to-5 life. She kayaked for the first time. She battled the chill of the sound’s icy waters.
And Roberts, who now organizes trips for her Blue Highway Adventures, walked away changed.
“It was a very natural experience that fueled me for other trips,” she says. “I want to make every trip like that one. Just very unique.”
Roberts says she was also inspired to pursue a profession in adventure travel from the time in her youth she spent going to camps and forming bonds in small groups. She went to camps around North Carolina and even went on a three-week camping trip to California.
“I was just immersed in that experience where you meet an entire new group of people in a cabin,” she says. “You can forge great relationships that way. …I took this group of friendships that were formed through those experiences, and they stood the test of time.”
After graduate school at NC State, she worked for Broadreach, a company that sends kids on educational adventures around the world, for roughly 11 years. Then in 2013 she began Blue Highway Adventures on her own.
She’s now gearing up for a summer of trips that will send participants to exotic locales and incorporate crossfit training. But she’s finding that the business side of things offers her a new education and that doing her own marketing, web design and legal paperwork is far away from a bike ride through Holland or hike in Peru.
“There’s whole side of things not necessarily in my wheelhouse, and I’m having so much fun learning about it,” says Roberts, who explains the genesis of her first name is actually a family hand-me-down and a marketing coup. “It’s so unique. It serves me great in the travel adventure industry.”