Trish Kern has always been an all American girl. Born in Indiana and raised in Three Rivers, Michigan she spent her childhood caring for and showing horses and was always surrounded by pets. After high school, she was off to Albion College where she met her college sweetheart, Greg. They were married in 1989 and spent 27 happy years raising their sons, Lance and Ryan, while Trish worked in the automotive and aerospace industries. In 2005, she joined the education sector. Trish’s most recent career move was joining the staff of Van Buren Tech in 2016.
In 2016, Trish and Greg downsized the family home and moved to a lovely little lake in Lawrence with their English Labrador Retrievers, Oakley and Gracie. In the fall of that year, life would throw the Kern family an unimaginable curve ball. Greg was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bile duct cancer. Greg fought hard, but the cancer was swift and he passed away in December 2016, two months before Trish’s 50th birthday.
At a time when most married couples are making plans for the next phase of their lives, Trish faced a pivotal decision: withdraw from the world, or immerse herself in it. Surrounded by her tribe of family and friends, Trish made the decision to try one new thing each month of her 50th year on Earth. It started slow, but surrounded by love, support and ideas, Trish’s quest to find something new seemed to ratchet up a notch each month.
In a time where she could have curled up & indulged in her grief, Trish found her adventure & began building a life that she loved.
Over the past few years she has embarked on multiple adventures which include: skydiving with her son (fulfilling a dream he wanted to do with his dad), traveling to Zion Nation Park and hiking Angel’s Landing, experiencing a South Haven sunset while flying a Cessna 150, and traveling to White River Light Station to see the 1878 shipwreck of the LC Woodruff that hadn’t been exposed since 1974.
In addition to her travels, Trish found another way to embrace her adventurous spirit. She purchased a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and joined the Wicked Jeeps Club. What started out as a way to get out, meet folks and enjoy nature quickly turned into an obsession. “I have learned to wrench on my Jeep and have gained the technical driving skills to fill my adventure bucket.” As her tool box grows and her Jeep expands, so does her confidence.
Trish’s favorite weekends start with a full tank of gas and a sense of adventure. She loves to jump in the Jeep, load up the dogs and find hidden gems of less populated parks and beaches. Looking for beach glass, geocaching, hiking, enjoying a great meal or just hanging out in the hammock fill the best days. You can often find Trish in St. Joe or South Haven where she loves to walk the shoreline, climb dunes, check out lighthouses, visit unique shops and indulge in amazing food. “How lucky are we to have Lake Michigan in our back yard?”
Trish encourages the readers of Women’s LifeStyle to travel to places that inspire awe and recharge your soul. Get lost in nature, enjoy the path less traveled and give in to spontaneity and your inner 12 year old. Take pictures of everything. Talk to strangers. Do things you’re scared to do. “Life is fragile and short. In the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working or mowing your lawn, so stop making excuses and get out there and make your life the best story.”
Get lost in nature, enjoy the path less traveled and give in to spontaneity and your inner 12 year old. Take pictures of everything. Talk to strangers. Do things you’re scared to do.
At the end of the day, Trish reflects on how the human soul can rebound and react positively to adversity. “I am most proud of how my sons were able to overcome loss and develop character, compassion and strength. You come to realize you only have so many days on this Earth and you need to make each one count. Our family has made the shift to focus less on the material things and instead focus on making memories. It’s the moment you understand you might not be able to control what happens in your life – but you can control how you react to it.”
This summer, take a page out of Trish’s book. Get outside and find your adventurous spirit while exploring our beautiful Michigan.
By Heather Dombos Photography by Grace Photography