Alison Adventures Teal. Ok so that might not be her middle name, but when you are born into a life of adventure from parents who are (still) legendary explorers, what you do when you grow up may just be pre-ordained.
Well before Alison could walk, the family traveled to India, lived with the Tibetan Ladakhi people, and traveled to remote regions of the Himalayas and Nepal, climbed high peaks and explored the Rajasthan desert. At one point they lived in India with Pattabhi Jois, who popularized Ashtanga yoga worldwide... long before yoga is the 106 Billion dollar market it is today.
Living and adventuring in high altitudes was not unusual for the family. Her childhood was remarkable from birth. At 2-months old, baby Alison, in papa’s front pack, "climbed" Ausangate mountain, the highest peak in Southern Peru (6,384 m; 20,945 ft). She did turn a bit blue and pass out at high altitude but came to giggling - and that was foreshadowing of things to come.
* Although their lungs take a few months after birth to mature, babies have the same tolerance for altitude as adults.
After a childhood of immersing in native cultures the world over and education by experiencing, it may surprise readers that Alison graduated with honors from University of California Berkley (UCB) and University of California (USC) film school. Not a surprise that she graduated with honors, but that she elected to obtain a formal education in traditional (albeit elite) universities.
She discovered her first classroom at age 7 when her curiosity of Rita, a local Nepalese girl, had her tailing Rita when the girl was trekking to her school early in the morning in the high slopes of the Himalayas (Nepal). A classroom full of students her age and a teacher made such an impression on young Alison, that filmmaker Alison did her USC film project thesis on the experience. “Rita” went on be the recipient of various awards including the Telluride Film Festival and nominated for an MTV movie award and Alison was named one of the top 25 college filmmakers by MTV.
Some readers may recognize Alison on the 2013 season of the Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid titled "The Island from Hell".
She was paired with Johnathan, who may have been a former U.S. Marine and bodyguard, but it was Alison’s life-long years of travel and adventure that made her much more adept and nimble to live and survive the 21 days marooned on an island in the Maldives. And if winning the challenge was not enough, Alison returned to the Maldives to raise awareness of the calamity of plastic waste on Thilafushi (aka “Plastic Island” a 124 acre, or ~500 sq meter landfill).
Since about 1992, all the trash from the Maldives and that which the tide brings in ends up piled high on Thilafushi. Recent estimates are about 330 tons per day, with a single tourist adding an average of 3.5 kilograms every day (mostly plastic). The trash gets burned daily out in the open. The plastic problem contributes to water contamination which compounds the problem of sustaining water quality in the country. Thilafushi is located next to the capital, Male, and in the same atolls, coralline reefs, and islands that make up the Maldives archipelago.
It's easy to categorize Alison as an “influencer” (@alisonadventures, 109K IG followers and 2.1M followers and 66.9M likes on TikTok). But she’s been a one woman show going place to place and documenting incredible people and their stories all over the world … well before #vanlife was a trending lifestyle. She documented the man who found the oldest human in the Americas in a cave in the Yucatan Peninsula, and the lost island of fire walkers in Fiji etc. etc.
Influencers are typically in a niche, but categorizing Alison into any one niche, industry or target audience doesn’t uniquely describe what she inhabits. She has many different projects she cares deeply about from conservation passion projects, to working as an influencer for sustainable brands, to representing the U.S. State Department through their Sports Envoy program on an upcoming quest to Papua New Guinea.
Alison is a conservationist and environmentalist bringing her brand of messaging to kid-friendly audience to raise awareness about issues, which she thinks they will care about if only they had the information presented to them in a fun and accessible way. Alison is naturally ebullient and cheerful, she highlights “trash island” in the Maldives without cynicism or the shaming.
So, to me, Alison is a FORCE – someone capable of changing the status quo and has magnitude and direction.
**Click on the pictures and go on adventures with Alison.
In Alison’s own words, she had the privilege of having parents that believed that she could do anything. That she could be an artist or an underwater basket weaver.
That she had to trust her path, her decisions, and that it will be funded somehow.
“Anything is possible if you believe in what you are actually put here to do, and don't ignore it."—Alison Teal