Rebeckah “Rey” Johnston
Position at NOLS: NOLS Mexico Assistant Director
NOLS Course: Instructor Course, 2002
Courses taught: Rock Climbing, Sailing, Backpacking, Sea Kayaking
Rebeckah “Rey” Johnston says that part of why she works at NOLS is because of the positive changes she has seen in people, both staff and students, as a result of their experience with NOLS. “The people who work here and the students who join us, intertwined with the wild places we connect with, make for life-changing and inspiring experiences,” she says.
Having worked in Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, Wyoming, Alaska, and Patagonia and expeditioned with NOLS in Arizona, Rey says that she doesn’t have a favorite course—she likes the balance that comes from teaching different course types in different places. “I like the different uses of the mind and body, the different gear, the different climates, the different approaches to weather patterns, and the challenges that inevitably come with each context,” she adds. She enjoys playing with varied perspectives.
Rey grew up spending most of her time outdoors whenever she could—backpacking canoeing, kayaking, biking, and sailing with her family. Personal trips include recent travel across Patagonia and Peru, as well as sailing from Annapolis to Maine.
In addition to working in different capacities at NOLS as an instructor, rations manager, kitchen manager, and program supervisor, she is currently assistant branch director for NOLS Mexico (having come from the same position in NOLS Patagonia for two seasons). She is enjoying combining her field experience with her master’s studies in international management as well as building on prior international travel and work.
Her advice for anyone considering a NOLS course is to come with an open mind and a willingness to work hard. “As in life, dive into the experience fully. The present moment is all you have—so make it good!”