The Anthem of the Adventurer

S2 E4: An adventurous mom's life w/ Emily McCarthy

Episode Summary

Today we get to talk with the wonderful Emily McCarthy, head of all things women at GORUCK! She's got some amazing stories of her adventures in the foreign service, at GORUCK, and of course as a wife and mother. You're going to love her perspective!

Episode Notes

Today we get to talk with the wonderful Emily McCarthy, head of all things women at GORUCK! She's got some amazing stories of her adventures in the foreign service, at GORUCK, and of course as a wife and mother. You're going to love her perspective!

Check out one of my favorite stories about Emily's adventures here:

Episode Transcription

Emily  0:01  



I'm a competitive by nature and I'm also you know, if you dare me to do something, there's a good chance I'm going to unless it's really dumb, I'm going to do it sort of thing. And even if it is, you might still try.


Dan Zehner  0:18  



don't know you all that well, but I've seen you do some pretty dumb things.


Emily  0:23  

I know. Right. So yeah. And and I wanted to serve after. I mean, that was part of the reason I picked the school that I went to for college. Georgetown and has a great history of service, a great culture of service. And, you know, it's one of those things I didn't have


a lot of people telling me about the military route and that neither did Jason we both kind of fell into government work a little bit by accident mean of course our grandfathers had service but you know, our parents were different generation so it wasn't wasn't really presented as an option but


We both look back and say gosh ROTC or one of the Academy's probably would have been a good fit. And yet, it's my something. I give advice to a lot of like the girls, I coach and


on a cross country team and the applicants that apply to Georgetown because I do local interviews, as I say, you know, you really just have to choose your own adventure because, you know, following the route that everybody does is can work it does work, you know, depending on the profession, but you have to really be sure about that. So, sometimes doing something that's a little different, you know, going to Ecuador, you know, soon after college, not worrying about this student loans, saying, you know what, I'm just going to figure this out, I'm going to bet on myself and just, you know, hope for the best. So, Ecuador was a great adventure. It really, really defined a lot for me and put a lot of things together and helped me heal the death of my father. I have great friends.


ships with both Americans and Ecuadorians that have lasted through that relationship. And I have a funny story when I first got the job when I first got to Ecuador we had a like a week long training in Scranton. And then we all flew down there me and these other Americans living in this intentional Christian community down in and outside of Guayaquil in Deron


at the time it was a fairly impoverished community.


It still is, but it's, you know, things change after 20 years. So


come a long way You know, they have paved streets and things have improved I'm happy for that. But uh, when the first night we were there,


it's dark when we arrived and, you know, we're all kind of getting to know each other we get assigned our rooms and I mean there's a pretty sparse living condition so you know, there's no hot water it's you know, small kind of area we had a little It was a safe compound.


Compared to what was around us, but it you know, still pretty basic that the next morning we are woken point where we thought was gunfire oh geez. I remember hitting the floor to get out of the way of my window as I was getting dressed and you know sometimes in foreign countries that people just fire fire things just for the fire them you know, it's kind of like the wild west or something, but in Indiana to so


Right, right. It some some places are just like that. But I remember being like, okay, shake it off. I'm going to go for a run and I put on my shoes and my running clothes and started to get out and I was stopped by my members of my community. And they said, No, we have to vote on this. It's not safe for you to go out and I was like, what I was like, I didn't sign up for prison down here.


I'm gonna go for a run. And I basically just said I'm going you're not going to stop.


So I go for a run and those, you know, checking out the community that's, that's the kind of person I am. I want to see my surroundings even if it is a little risky. I was like broad daylight early morning. not going to go too far we get eyes on even if I have to circle around. So there's always a level of you know, it looks risky, but it's actually I've looked at it, you know, I've considered it I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to take those calculated risk.


We went back and forth this community in myself for the first I'd say month or so on this type of thing. They wanted to basically ban me from be able to go out by myself.


I told them that's not really what this is about. I wanted to know this community. I wasn't going to be wondering about a dark I was going to you know, be careful.


Eventually I had every female which we were all females in one mail out reading in the morning


and we started to expand our route.


And, you know, whereas like there was a lot of debate on what people should do and how they should deal with community and there's, there's lots of good, you know, things to consider when you're serving and a community and there's a lot of hard questions to grapple with. But eventually,


I don't want to say this, then, like a way to brag, but eventually, like my way became a way that people wanted to be out more they wanted to experience it more even the most reluctant came around, that's awesome. They started they started to say, wow, this is really what we're here for. And yeah, I'm a kind of a jump right in kind of person. But I wanted to explain to them like I didn't do this


haphazardly. The risk are calculated I actually did math recon the area before had you know, I actually did think I'm not going to go too far. If I see anything that that bothers me or my hair on the back of my neck goes up.


goes up. I'm going to come back. I never run. I never run with headphones kind of person. You know, I always wanted to be alert and aware of my surroundings. Yeah.


Dan Zehner  6:13  

That's awesome. Yeah.


How you got into the, the Foreign Service and everything.


Emily  6:20  

Yes. So it part of my story that I'm going to be, you know,


talking about more this year is to say, like, what really that what would that was about? And I'll just back up a minute to say, when Jason decided, let's


Dan Zehner  6:35  

back up a little further because I wasn't recording. Yeah, good stuff. So


intro now, we're actually


so sorry. No, that's totally fine. I didn't want to stop because it was so good. We can back in later.


So I am super excited have been I don't know how long I've been trying to get this together a couple months. But one of my new friends favorite people from one of my favorite companies on the world. And not just saying that she knows it. We've got Emily McCarthy, the co founder, one of the inspirations for GORUCK, which behind me, I've got my trusty GR1 and my Mogadishu mile t shirt on underneath my work shirts. It's


super excited to get to talk to you about everything you got going on down. And Emily.


So happy. We get to actually chat this great welcome.


Emily  7:31  

Thank you. Thanks, man. Now, this is a pleasure. I like I I haven't done a lot of these, this here. And they're kind of tagging along with, with Jason. But but I'm excited to actually, you know, talk about kind of my, my viewpoint from a female perspective. And like you said, from a mom, you know, and it's someone who's been with the brand for a long time now, and, and talk about kind of, you know, how I got here. And also what, what the future holds for what we're planning to do incorporating more of the female voice and, and there's a lot of awesome, badass adventurous females out there doing great things. And that's kind of what we want to focus on.


Dan Zehner  8:15  

Yeah, absolutely. And, of course, we love Jason. We love hearing from it on podcasts. But it's so cool to hear your perspective that for for our audience, we got a lot of we had a lot of dads, we got a lot of husbands and we want to see how we can like Jason, you know, use adventure, to connect with our spouses to be better dads to build cool stuff and influence the world for greatness and help our wives and daughters do the same. Yeah, so that's


where I know our story is going to get to today. So tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are some stories of growing up and maybe some ways your dad inspired you. I know you and Jason met when you were young. So yeah, go ahead and get you


Emily  9:02  

guys. Yeah.


Okay. Um, yeah. So, you know, I was very fortunate, I had a great close knit family on one of one of two, I'm the oldest by younger brother, my dad and mom,


kind of middle class like I was a mortgage loan officer gave a lot of flexibility. He took us to school a lot, we be back to stop, he made lunches, my mom, a schoolteacher over 40 years as a French teacher and the public school system down here in Florida. So


she seemed a lot in her days. And, you know, just fell in love with, with France as a teenager and decided to study that and become a teacher for the rest of her career. So he was exposed to a lot of, you know,


foreign culture, foreign movies growing up, I, you know, I always just talking to Jason the other night, like, I was like, haven't you seen these movies? And he was like, No, you just read a quick read it like, was it in my family? I was like,


Dan Zehner  10:10  

I didn't watch that growing up in God's country in Ohio.


Emily  10:13  

No, I guess not. So,


right. You know, so, I think it's really cool. Like, when you're certain professions dictate, you know, what kind of experience you're going to have growing up, you know, not like, we had, you know,


unlimited funds, and it, you know, we're, we're kind of in that average category. But my mom, being an educator, had a lot of access to, you know, trips, you know, taking students on and discounts as teacher and bringing, you know, bringing us along, we tagged along for a lot of those things. And, you know, our summers were filled with all sorts of educational opportunities. And of course, there's always the adventure you can get just by reading a book in your own home. So that was, that was a big part of it. My upbringing, and I think it shaped a lot of who I am, I have this great memory of reading some, some book about Africa and Safari, I'm living in Jacksonville, Florida. I've never done anything, you know, I've never been to Africa. But I found this hat that my dad had that look like a safari had a thought is binoculars. My brother and I got some other kids. And we went into the median in our neighborhood. And we, we acted like we were on a safari climbing through that medium. Of course, some of the other adults, you know, found us and kicked us out at some point, we were going to mess up the landscaping, but, you know, building forts and riding around on our bikes. And, you know, what, what we what we today call free range kids. Yeah, that's, that's really that's really kind of who that generally know, our generation is like, we, we went out explored, you know, I love the fact that we kind of bridge these both worlds of, of the analog and the digital not really screen time was there and, and we, we had an access to it, but it wasn't at our disposal at all times. Yeah, you know, you had to sit through the commercials, you had to wait for your program. And there was certainly certain times that you're interested in really watching it. So the rest of the time you got out you did things so that that's a lot I think, for the basis of who I was building that kind of adventurous spirit.


Unknown Speaker  12:33  

Awesome. I just taking some notes. Here's the things I want to circle back on later. So yeah, so as you're growing up as a young woman, how did that kind of evolve and what other adventures you get into? You talked about about it a little bit, what would that look like getting high school college beyond and getting into getting into GORUCK?


Emily  12:52  

Sure. I just want to back up I have this great memory of being a latchkey kid, about a third, a third grader, right? So you're eight nine and getting coming home on the bus squawking home, climbing the fence, you know, to get in my backyard and get us the key to get into the back door of the house that my mom still lives in. And having that precious 30 to 45 minutes of alone time as as a young kid to you know, fix what you want to eat, do what you want to do. And I remember one time


being in my dad's bathroom, the other side of the house reading a book and it was one of those RL Stine kind of scary scary books. You know, and the, the, the murder kind of agent was this guy who would attack from the roof. So I'm in the that my dad's bathroom is, you know, sitting on top of the toilet seat, just like, you know, into this book. And I hear these footsteps on the roof. And immediately I'm just like, I'm by myself. The non cordless phone is in the other room,


there is a window above me and I pushed up in the window. I was ready to like, if I needed to climb the commode and get out through that window and escape. You know, I'd already like planned in my head, my escape, and it turned out I I, you know, I kept hearing the sounds on the roof. So I was like, I can't escape. They'll see me. So I ran and got to the phone and dad, my father. And he was like, Oh, I forgot to tell you. The roofers are coming.


But I was. I was very nervous. I was, you know, I thought oh, gosh, I this is the end of me, man.


Dan Zehner  14:44  

Yeah, I remember.


Emily  14:46  

Right. Right. You probably did. So anyway, the adventures continued. You know, I was I was not a very wild kid in high school. I was very nerdy in some ways, like, I my parents were often like, pushing me to, like, go try something that, you know, go to that party, or do you want to try alcohol or this and I would say, No, I'm not interested in that. I, I need to study I need to be very focused. And I didn't know what I wanted to do in this world. But I wanted to do something good. And I wanted to be prepared for that. So


you know, I had that itch that once I graduate I'm going to say goodbye to my hometown. I'm never going to come back


travel the world Yeah, that's that's where the the the true adventure comes in. When you have kids, right? Yeah, it's a whole different ballgame. Yeah, more on that later.


So I left I wanted


Unknown Speaker  15:43  

DC was calling me My mom was born there I felt strong pull there. And I was very happy to get accepted to Georgetown


Emily  15:53  

I I'm kind of I've got this like a little bit of a might you could call it overconfidence or not k in the sense that I don't always realize how hard something is going to be in it. So it doesn't deter me,


it's kind of it ends up being a good thing. Yeah, but you pay for it later,


you pay for it somehow. But


I ended up basically walking on to their division one track program there, which I didn't realize was, you know, in the top five


programs in the country. So I was just like, yeah, I'm gonna run track, this is great. I'm going to do it, I show up and get you, you know, my butt kicked for four years, basically. And, you know, the good thing about that is that being a small fish in a big pond is a lot of build a lot of character. Yeah, and it makes you know, it brings out things in you that you didn't even know you had. So not only did I get better times than I ever thought I would. I have amazing friendships, long lasting friendships, with those teammates. And quite frankly, just that has opened up a lot of doors for me over the years, just being part of that kind of elite program. Even if I wasn't near, you know, middle of the pack, sometimes the end of glasses in the pack


it it really, it really made a great impact on my life. And it was like, it wasn't adventure, you know, waking up and learning to run and snow and ice conditions. And, you know, to a day workout. You know, it's a 40 plus hour week when you consider the travel time to meet.


Unknown Speaker  17:46  

But it's a great experience. And I if you're not going to go military or ROTC route, I highly encourage a lot of applicants to college that are athletes thanks. Say, you know, it doesn't hurt to try it doesn't hurt to try that first year, just take a chance on yourself. You may love it. And it's if you don't, and you want to focus on your studies or something else. Great. make that decision. But there's, there's a big a lot of I see a lot of, you know,


Emily  18:23  

teenage and high school students saying is like, you know, I've done this, I'm ready to focus on my study. And, and it's almost like, there is like, I'm done playing the game. I'm ready to go focus. But really, you know,


Dan Zehner  18:37  

help you focus


Emily  18:39  

the games help you focus. And a lot of people I find, it's hard to go back to that freshman year and join the team that very few people can actually walk on or join a team after they, you know, they've already matriculated to college. And I think it's, you know, I think it's a really great, it's as close as you can get to that kind of bonding experience without being in the military without, you know, having to sign a contract for five years or whatever, right. I


Dan Zehner  19:09  

definitely found the same thing to be true. I was in the marching band at University of Illinois


met my wife actually. But Same, same idea. You know, if I got time for this, my parents or my dad was like, you really don't have time for this. What are you doing? Like, I'm gonna make time. That's what I want to do.


Emily  19:27  

Right? And it's true,


Dan Zehner  19:30  

buckle down.


Emily  19:31  

It helps with being more efficient with your time. I always think, you know, there's that analogy of you can have two balls in the air at one time. It's hard to have three. But if you're just focusing on your school, and something else that you're really dedicated and passionate about. That requires discipline and practice. It doesn't have to be sports, it can be music, it could be art, it could be all those different things. But it is part of its being part of that larger, your group that gets you out there and encourages you to stay with it.


Dan Zehner  20:03  

Yeah, yeah, definitely. That's awesome.


Emily  20:08  



yeah. So. So after Ecuador, I came back, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was in a little bit of a weird spot, you know, a year after having lost my father, my family was still kind of, we're still in shambles. You know, we're still we're trying to figure out, you know, the shock had worn off the, the really terrible part of grief was setting in and


it it took us almost a decade to really fully heal. You know, it takes a long time when people lose people, especially, you know, if you're not expecting it, and you don't have any prep time. But even if you do, it's still a shock. I


saw this, I was just like, I came back, I remember I, I had like, three or four odd jobs, because I had this mindset of like, nothing's beneath me. I can be a lab, you know, tech at the school and clean pages for rats and recurs and I'll do that. And I'll substitute and all dog walk and house it. I was doing all this random stuff. And I was okay with it at the time, because I was kind of, you know, searching and Jason I met with him and he had told me while I was still in Ecuador, that he was thinking about


doing something service related. And I immediately thought, Oh, he's joining the Peace Corps. How nice


because we talked about that at one point. Well, you know, jokes on me, he was like, I'm actually joining the military. I'm, I'm shipping off very soon.


Unknown Speaker  21:44  

And is there is this I was substituting at this local high school and I came out to my car, which was a 90 or 94 Toyota Corolla. I think


Emily  21:57  

he had


some at some point that day, he knew I was there and, you know, stalking me


Unknown Speaker  22:06  

a legal pad paid piece of paper, yellow legal pad, his paper on my window. And it was a love letter. And it was like the first time he had ever, basically expressed that he loved me. And he was he was one of the things like I'm leaving. But I wanted to tell you this, and I remember meeting up with him later, because he'd asked me to drop them off at the recruiting center. So he could get the bus to boot camp


Emily  22:30  

because it was,


Unknown Speaker  22:31  

yeah, it was a very early, you know, it's like a 5am drop off. And I was living at my mom's house, and he came and slept in my brother's room, because he was at college. And I told him, I was like, well, I got morning practice, because I was coaching cross country at the time. So I got morning practice if I 15 But yeah, I'll drop you off on the way. So I remember dropping, you know, riding with him in the car. We actually picked up


Emily  22:55  

a What am I runners on the way


she's still working members, as a girl is very pleased that the time and now you know, she probably looks back and was like, Oh, it's going on.


I remember being like, yeah, hey, have a have a good time. Like, I'm not waiting around. I've got things I got to do. I don't know what I'm going to do in my life to yet, but I'm going to figure it out. So he, he left. But he wrote me a letter every day who is at boot camp. Wow. And they would just kept coming. And I would write like, one to his seven.


But it was really, you told me all about his time there. And you know, what he was going through. And it was really, really old school of touching. And I eventually I went to his boot camp graduation with his, with his mom and step father. And that's kind of where we, we decided, like, Okay, well, we'll give this a try. And we started dating. And then it was, it was very quickly engaged and married, it was a whirlwind before he was getting ready to go into the selection


process. During that, during that it was crazy. It was a whirlwind. And it made sense, though, everyone was happy, like, you know, we knew each other. And during that time, he had talked to me about, well, what do you want to do, and this is something he's always done. He's, he's,


he's very much


he believes, you know, he's very much into quality, you know, I mean, he, you know, his mom is a strong, you know, female role model. And he has a lot of others as grandparent, his grandmother and, and some other women that have really influenced his life. So he was like, What do you really want to do? And I said, You know, I want to teach, or I want to live abroad, and something like this, whatever. He was, like you, you should join the agency. And I was like, why never even thought about that? Why would I, why would I do that? And then he talked to me about he was like, well, I considered it but then what I wanted to do, you basically have to go to the military beforehand, they get trained, and then then they pick you up. So I said,


Okay, well, I started looking into it. And of course,


it's in DC, which I wanted to go back to, because I had, you know, fond memories and friends still there. So, I applied as a language teacher, because I was a French major at Georgetown, a Spanish minor, you know, spent time abroad. And both of you know, Ecuador and in France. And I thought, well, this seems pretty cool. I'll all this be of language teacher live in DC, and that'll be a great life. Well, post 911, there was a big hiring push for operations officer. So I got basically called call back months later after submitting your resume, because it just like a big black hole. And now, you know, with ask them questions and kind of put through the interview process here. I am thinking, Oh, good. This is going well, and keep going along through that process and find out that they're like, well, we don't actually want you for language teacher, we want you case officer and I was like, Well, what is that? So I meantime, I'm, you know, Jase and I are dating or some part of the, at some point we are married, and I'm filling in all this. And he had already done a lot of this process and research. So he was like, well, this means this, and this is what the next stage looks like. And the whole time I was very cautious. And, you know, I'm not sure this is for me, I'm not, you know, I'll take it, I'll take the next step. And I'll see where it takes me. You know, it was very much like, I wasn't like, I didn't grow up wanting to be James Bond your hair. I love those. I love those stories. And, but I actually was more drawn to like a detective type, you know, is the Nancy Drew kind of girl I loved Silence of the Lambs. I wanted to be Jodie Foster, I wanted to work for the FBI. You know, I thought that was awesome. And


so, but at some point in time, and I kept going through the process, I realized this is kind of the same thing. This is this is working abroad, foreign language, you know, using a lot of common sense skills, you know, teaching, there's a teaching element to it, there's a lot of, you know, if you're a jack of all trades, this is kind of a cool position. So, I went along through that process, I got accepted, I made, I was given an offer, I went through the training and at some point in the training, I started trying to engineer like, how could Jason I live together? Right, when he gets out of the military, when he joined me, could we be a tandem couple living abroad, you know, doing all these, you know, living this, this awesome life, right.


And to do that, I started to try to position myself in the training to be like, you know, I want the position that's a little bit more not on the front lines, it's kind of in the middle, you know, there's different positions, there's, like, headquarters base was, and there's ones where you are reports writer, and then there's ones where you're doing the actual, you know, meeting it with agents and, and


with assets and actually trying to say, cover intelligence. So, I was like, kind of position myself in the middle because I was like, I want kids one day, you know, I'm trying to be like this good wife. You know,


it didn't work out that way.


I try it, the engineering didn't, it fell flat. Because whatever personality test or results you get from the training kept telling me know you are, we want you for this position. We want you for the case officer position. We want you out on the front lines. And reluctantly I said, Okay. And eventually, when it was graduation time, Jason, I graduated within weeks of each other. Yes, there was very cool. Okay, so he got his green beret, I was a newly minted case officer. And it's kind of like this reality TV show. At the end of it, you get these little cards, you open them up, and it tells you where you're going,


Dan Zehner  29:35  

Oh, my gosh,


Emily  29:36  

wow. That is very awesome. And I got


I got a West Africa. So I got a place in West Africa. Wow. And I was thrilled because, again, you know, I'm a daughter of a French teacher. Oh, yeah. French that I've always wanted to go to Africa, the Safari, you know, dreams, all these things started to kind of converge. And I, I was thrilled, and


I got, you know, assigned to my division. And next thing I know, you know, this is the cool thing about like, not always trying to go the path where everybody's going, well, that time everybody, what are the language is everybody wants to know, post 911 Arabic posh to do even, you know, Chinese first brushes are see exactly. So not even rushing so much of the time. But yes, it's still, you know, this is strategic language. So, you know, I come in, I test out meaning I, I had a level of fluency that would allow me to skip language school for French and Spanish. And so I felt a little lame in the training process of like, I got these baby language that nobody really cares about our needs. But the amazing thing happened upon graduation, there was this this this big, kind of like, the President wanted to know, Bush at the time, wanted to know what was going on in Darfur. It was a it was a big problem of high policy interests. Yeah, and there were no French speakers available. Like, they were either all deployed, you know, doing their thing, but I was like, they told me, they're like, you're the only friends


Dan Zehner  31:20  



Emily  31:20  

have available. And so I remember talking to one of the big chiefs, and he was like, I'm gonna send you on this is going to make or break your career. This is like, the first month out of, you know, out of training. And I was like, okay, and I'm thinking inside the inventors person inside, you


can't wait, this is so awesome.


And but, but the cool thing was that to kind of prove the point that I am a cautious person. And I, I did want to do it the right way is that the two weeks I had before I needed to ship out, I met with all the analysts that had spent time on this part of the country. And again, this was this was different people were like, why are you going to talk to them, and I was the only thing I could think of was like that 11 didn't connect the dots.


I want to connect some dots. And I




want to not go in blind, like, yeah, I read all the books I could on the subject, there wasn't that much available. And I wanted and then I find out that, you know, so and so analysts had just gotten back from there. So I'm like, I'm going to reach out to this guy, even though he's not in my director. it you know, we're in different sides of the house.


Dan Zehner  32:40  

Yeah, we're gonna put the Intel normally name of our agency


Emily  32:44  

that that, you know, that don't normally talk to each other as much. You know, again, I'm sure there are plenty of examples of that. But in general, it's like, we do our thing. They do their thing. We don't really.


Yeah, so I remember walking across the hall. That's all it was finding this guy and saying, Can we go to lunch? Can you tell me about it. And he was thrilled, of course, to talk to someone about it. And he just downloaded all this amazing info and gave me so many great tips. He's told me, I know, you're over there. The UN runs the place. If you have a weapon on you, you can't go into any un facility or vehicle. So in my mind, I'm just like, okay, no, no weapons. So I go back to my, my place. And I tell them, okay, here are the things I need all the paperwork, whatever, you know how it is, it's never like jumping off a plane, you know, you got to actually check all these boxes, your accuracy, you know, is alive and well. But the


cool they gave me a hard time because I told them I did not want, you know, even though I was trained, I had done all the training that would allow me to do so they I told him I didn't want to carry and they did not appreciate that. And


the security folks gave me a hard time. And finally, I, I kind of found a friend I basically, you know, negotiated with this friend to say, Hey, can you can you make this happen for me? So I don't have to because what what's your issued a weapon


Dan Zehner  34:22  

that was your baby? Yeah,


Emily  34:24  

you have to keep it on you at all times. It's there's a lot of responsibility that comes with it. And I appreciate but I didn't want given the circumstances. So eventually, I talked them into not about making me take it, you know, and so I go out there. And it was, it was an amazing adventure and


full of a lot of


false starts. And, you know, sometimes the biggest obstacles are the, your own teammates, you know,


but finding some way to to I'm a new version around the obstacles, met the right people got the contacts and was able to complete the mission, which was to sit down with Sudanese rebels and ask them why they left the Darfur peace agreement. So this is another story


for another time.


Yeah, it was great. And I couldn't have done it without


befriending and, and, and


working alongside my Foreign Service colleagues who were out there doing great work and had had the right connections. And it ended up being a real great start to what was an awesome five years, you know, in, in that line of work,


I eventually got out, because, for a couple reasons, Jason and I, our relationship had gone on for a long time without, you know, being married, but living apart. And, you know, it was kind of like, a chance to, to save it, or to, you know, you do kind of crazy things when you're in desperate time. And I also I also felt that like this, this kind of lifestyle, I wanted to have kids and the family one day wasn't actually that conducive to it, and people make it work. But it's hard.


Dan Zehner  36:23  

There's a reason James Bond doesn't have


toddlers earning,


Emily  36:28  

right. And, you know, part of that was like,


Dan Zehner  36:32  

Who's the gal on alias? My wife


Emily  36:35  



Yeah. What is her name in that?


Yeah, well,


Unknown Speaker  36:43  



Emily  36:45  

Jennifer Affleck. Yeah. Yeah.


Formerly known as a Yeah. So, I mean, I'm part of that was like, you know, can you imagine Jason as a house husband, you know, following me on tour I can't. So


it was, that was, that was a different kind of adventure. And it was a hard one. But it the time spent, that we both spent those formative years were really important to, to, you know,


where we are today and


Dan Zehner  37:18  

guys to discover who you are as individuals and build a really strong foundation there. So, yeah, built the foundation for your, you know, partnership, and now really strong marriage relationship.


Emily  37:31  

Yeah, it did. I mean, it helps, you know, sometimes failing. Yeah, it's a good thing to do. Because you learn, you learn a lot about yourself. We, we laugh now, because if something comes up, and it would seem kind of, like a trying time, and in marriage, we laugh because it was. So in comparison to where we were like, man, we got all that hard stuff out


Dan Zehner  37:57  

of the way early.


Emily  37:59  

I don't want necessarily


recommend those jumper to but


but yes, I think we were both always, you know, strong personalities, wanted to do our own thing, you know, career and goal driven, and it's, it's, it's been, it's been a challenge for me to sometimes take a backseat to that. Not that I don't mind working behind the scenes, obviously. But,


but, you know, kind of being I mean, I've taken a role the last few years to, to make it work with having children and, you know, having kids at home. And it's, it's, it's a wonderful thing, and I love, you know, being a mom and I wouldn't ever trade it. But it's, it's, it's hard to, it's hard to, you don't want to get out of the I mean, for me, I don't want to, like lose my place in line, you know, I want to like, stay up there. But it's really the, the neat thing is that you can stay engaged and, and have in and get back in. So that's kind of where I am now. Like, we're on that trajectory where I'm getting more being engaged. I'm actually working full weeks of traveling a little bit more, but it's time to find that balance with my family. Making sure you know, I my kids know that. You know, I'm their mom. And I'm here to I'm here for them.


Dan Zehner  39:26  

Yeah. How old are your kids? You got? You got three. And there's similar. Age splits are a little bit older.


Emily  39:31  

A little. Yes.


So we've got I got a seven year old daughter, a four year old son and a two year old son.


Dan Zehner  39:38  



Kids are ridiculously adorable. By the way. Sorry


about the little kid Brooks. And


Emily  39:47  

they're crazy. But there is fun. As soon as we get the lesson out of diapers. I'm going to be in the sweet spot. I just know


Dan Zehner  39:55  

thanks, anxiously awaiting that to we've got our second is almost there. And then, you know, a couple years off, but


Emily  40:03  



Dan Zehner  40:03  

Yeah, I'm looking forward it someday we're going to get all of our families together. We're getting most of us together in June. I Yay. over the moon excited. I can't remember if I told you this. But so we started planning for this trip and to Normandy to do the tough challenge. One of the four or five events you guys got going on that week? Oh, yeah. Normandy, and I didn't plan on telling Traci about it. Because she was pregnant with our third when you guys announced and she came in September. And but we started talking united started talking Jason I started talking to us, we were all at the time thing we're gonna bring all our kids like have build sandcastles on Omaha Beach or something. We all eventually decided that was a silly idea. And but along the way, I kid you not. Jason and I were messaging while we were in the hospital. And he sent me this amazing message about and this is what I really appreciate about him and you guys and how you serve your community. He's like, this is how you show up best for your wife today is, you know, you take that training from the mug mile tough and you don't slap and you embrace the suck. And you make sure that she has everything she needs to do the awesome stuff she's about to do, and you support her the best that you can. Like, how cool is that?


That this guy? I mean, I've never met him like the one time been down down HQ. He was somewhere else. And today he's sick. Like, eventually we're going to meet but


Emily  41:37  

you Well, that is great advice.


And Jason is one of those people you don't think he's listening. But he's taking it all in. And he heard a story of what not to do


from you know, a couple that is good friends of ours.




there you know, they're, they're lovely. They have a great relationship. But at the time, the first their first child, the husband gave a like a tired moment while she was in labor. Yeah, and it was it was, it was serious. There were daggers being thrown by her from her eyes,


say, tell that story. Now looking back as a funny memory. But Jason took it to heart. And he, he prepped. Like he was going into a challenge. Like he, he he got me settled in the room. He went out he was like, I'll be right back. He said, he basically he went got himself coffee a burger. He got himself all situated. Do it in front of me now came back and this was president and was helpful and and realize that, you know, we were in this together sort of thing.


Dan Zehner  42:45  

Yeah, that's awesome. The way it should be. And like, yeah, it's, it's so cool that you guys are like that as well. And that's definitely then then mind my mindset as we, you know, get get into, you know, sick of parenthood. How, how does that show up for you guys? Like, you talked about being free range kid when you're when you're a kid? Yeah. How do you do that intentionally with, with your three?


Emily  43:12  

Great question. Well, so, I mean, it's a, it's a mindset, right.


And it's hard. It's hard to kind of stick with it. Because the, the easy thing is to, you know, scrap them in the minivan and go from here, play date, to play date, and safe place, the safe place and I'm granted I thought, like, we like to do dangerous stuff. So we were not reckless. But there's the idea of, I'm okay with them being bored sometimes. And I'm okay with them. creating their own magic, their own adventure. And that doesn't come if we do it for them all the time. You know,


part of that is that we make conscious to, it's like, we have one one car that we you know, I end up using most because Jason bikes to work, I would prefer not to, but I have to do a lot of pickups, and with three kids on the fly, you know, deadlines and it gets a little hairy. But what's cool about that is, you know,


we do incorporate the bike a lot in in every now and again, we'll switch off where it's like, Jason needs the car for something. So, okay, well, I'll bike the kids the school or I'll bike one of them in, you know, over the weekend. We we tried to bike everywhere, try to let them out on it field on the beach and just say, Okay, here you go. We didn't, we didn't fabricate and, you know, a venture for you. We didn't take you to, you know, this thing where you don't have to make any decisions. You can just sit back and be passively entertained. And you know, that that's there's a time and place for those things. When they're tired. They need to like recoup but that we like the idea of like, get out early. You know, spend time outside. You know it kids like to pick up heavy things. They like to carry heavy things. They like to do work.


Dan Zehner  45:14  

They should I cut my son or out before the Super Bowl. We went for a pre Super Bowl. Rucker on the neighborhood and you wanted to bring little weights


Unknown Speaker  45:25  



Dan Zehner  45:27  

he was so proud. He was able to carry five pounds around the block.


Emily  45:31  

That's great, right? I mean, we have this this old like leather,


one of those white balls. Like, what do you call them? The


Dan Zehner  45:41  

medicine ball kind of thing.


Emily  45:42  

Yeah, sorry. medicine ball. Yeah, it's like Jason's one of his grandfather's. It's like, really old school. You know, it's, it's in our boys room. But they love to pick that thing up. And like he that and drop it down. And, you know, sometimes a babysitter will be like, Oh, no, don't that. And I'm like, now let us do that. Like it, what's


going to drop it on their toe, it's gonna hurt a little, like, they can't really, you know, do something to dancing with it. But I really think it's about, you know,


trying to let them learn to fail and succeed on their own in a, in an environment where there's not going to be devastating consequences, right? Yeah. both emotionally, physically, mentally


Dan Zehner  46:27  

appreciate about, like, you know, with your, with your kids and with you guys. And obviously, with the challenges that you do it go right to, I mean, a lot of people will tell you, Mom, you're listening. I know, like, You're crazy, you know, you're going to get yourself killed, somebody is going to get hurt. And but you guys create this environment where Yeah, you might get hurt a little bit. But you know, it's going to push you and give you an opportunity to fail and to grow as a team and to create long lasting memories


really show you what you're capable of.


Emily  47:03  

You can get hurt in a lot of places,


you can get hurt sitting on the couch. I mean, you can get hurt running in a race. You know, you can, you can there's a lot of ways to get hurt in this world.


The thing is, is, you know, when push comes to shove, like most of the time, you're going to have some choices in an emergency situation, you know, unless you're just caught completely blindsided, you know, but most of the time, you're going to have some choices to make and, and how resilient you are, how fit you are, how, how much you've already in your head thought of this, and there's all these cool things you can do with your kids might, this is something that going back to my father, you know, he was


just a kind of a simple guy with a lot of common sense. And he would play hide and seek with us a lot. I remember very specifically a time when he said, okay, you remember where you hid, if there ever is someone that shouldn't be in our house that's in our house, like, you go hide there, you know, so there was always like, a purpose to it, you know, like, yeah, or even like running a fire drill where your kids I mean, these are life skills, that sometimes we get comfortable. And, you know, you know, we're worried about something like, how many minutes are my kids watching on TV, but when really, we need to be teaching them life skills that are going to be more exciting for them to live out, you know, and more real. So, I mean, I know a lot of great parents that incorporate those types of things and their routines and, and I think that's great. And


by by all stress, imagination, I don't want our kids to feel unsafe or scared by these things. But you also want to prepare them for you know, what would happened. I mean, I had this moment


last year, when I was


at an event we had to do these body drags. And I remember thinking, like, gosh, I could I do this, could I drag all three of my kids out of a burning house if I had to, and


I was a little unsure. At that point, you know, I was coming out of breastfeeding I had, you know, gotten back into my workout routine or a routine at all, and it was just kind of, and that really, that day, I realized, I'm going to stop putting my fitness at the bottom of the list. But I never get to, I'm going to start putting it towards the top. Because when I think about it, not perspective. My, my ability in my, my physical fitness directly can affect the well being of my loved ones. Yeah. And I and I want it and other people too. I mean, you know, you want to be able to be able to be in a position where you could help someone. So, you know, I have been, you know, making it a priority instead of saying, you know, gosh, I'll get to that last after I nurture everyone else.




Dan Zehner  50:18  

Yeah, that's and that's so, so important to prioritize that especially as as a mom but as dads to we get, like, sucked into give, give, give, give, give, give give and never take a minute to fill up our tank again. Yeah, we're just running on empty all the time. And I mean, I haven't heard you mentioned going to the gym once, which is really cool because you can just incorporate fit this into whatever you're doing. So you don't have to, like make a bunch of time for it.


Emily  50:51  

Yeah, I don't really like I don't really like Jim I mean, not personally against them. But


there's something to be said for being able to watch at your door and do something Yeah, um, I actually recently started this group of mother rockers in our neighborhood. And you know, I'm part of the GORUCK Ruck club as well, the the dairy HQ Ruck club. And we do a lot of fun things there. But I've got this other group that smaller, and it's mostly moms and our kids, you know, dads are invited to wait, we're not exclusive. But it's mostly the moms and kids. And there's something to be said for saying, hey, let's Saturday, let's all go grab a smoothie, or go to the beach. And we'll rock together


or bike together or, you know, running is not really an option. Because it's hard to get a big group. Yeah, it's in strollers, and different you know, ability levels together to do that. But I found with rocking and and biking


Dan Zehner  51:50  

really easy, just


Emily  51:51  

really easy and really fun. And,


Unknown Speaker  51:54  

and you can talk while you're rocking,


Emily  51:56  

we can talk like we're doing it. So there's something to be said. I mean, all those women I mean, yeah, I'm sure they would come to the HQ RUck club if they could, but time schedules, all those things. So there's a convenience factor. And, you know, there's something to be said about, you know, not only just getting outside, but having this kind of third space, you know, where you just could just get there easily, you can, you don't have to, there's not a lot of strings attached, you know, you can just walk out your door and go do it, which, you know, often means outside. And I think there's something really beautiful and very pure about that.


No, he doesn't come with a lot of guilt to, you know, I find that if I sign up for a membership, I feel this, you know, oh, I've got to use it. Or I'm wasting money. And if I don't get there, it starts to make me feel worse about it.


I know a lot of people that that works well for them, they love the community, or they love going to the gym, they have their roots team. And those are the people that you know, fitness is an individual thing for them, they do it to kind of recoup and, and re re energize.


I I personally I don't like running by myself anymore. After years of being on a team and all the conversations that I've had, and great times running with a group I I have a hard time running by myself. So


I also laugh because I would like to keep running. And I do but I'd like to do it more regularly. I I coach for a long time. But after I had my third kid the meeting that practice schedule, just got to do


something had to give I was like, okay, family and go rock. Those are my I do.


And that's the two balls, right, the two balls in the air. I can't have another third one. So there was a great part I missed it a lot. But I'll get back to it. At some point. Maybe one of my kids will be interested in it and I can get involved again and that's okay. But the


one was going to say the


you know, the running piece of it is that I'd love to run with a group but no one no one around me wants to run with me like they're like oh you ran in college and I'm like we're back to this again. I mean I'm not gonna go run and just want to be with someone but they'll run with me and that's it's great. And you know, some of them will put more weight in the end there rock than I will and I like to just start off easy and build up you know, there I have women I don't like to go above 20-25


just because of my frame. But it's really a great great alternative.


Dan Zehner  54:50  

Yeah, it's awesome. I've never liked running you know, I didn't


do name is a sprinter. So I didn't know hurdles. And I did long jumper. triple jump and killed my knees. Which is what like dreaming of running is like, hey, this can like help my need no support structure and muscles. And like lower impact. I can burn more calories and looks cool. And get to buy some cool gear. And


Emily  55:16  



that's awesome. And there's other people doing it.


Dan Zehner  55:21  

Yeah, yeah, we finally started up a ruck club up here. I mean, the people in Indy and Team Ninja are amazing. But it's an hour drive away. Yeah. So to the new county up here around Purdue is called Boiler Ruck. So yeah,


Emily  55:36  

I've seen it I've seen your patches that's cool yeah that's what I'm talking about to like there's other you know you know there's a great rockin community within range but it's still not convenient enough. Yeah, you might go up there for a special event you know that you look forward to that you plan and organize for but but the casual Hey, I'm going to step out you know, inside my house and go for a walk with some friends in the area is is worth its weight in gold.


Dan Zehner  56:05  

Oh, it's amazing. Yeah, one of my favorite things like just down the road, maybe a mile from our house. Some of our friends from church they run a Boy Scout camp and so we go out there and Rock Around the trails or you know we'll get the rock club together anytime they have trees down and carry him around for him and it's awesome like they had it they had a we had a windstorm few months ago. It was actually our first like, club get together and they chain saw the chunks of trees and like from the road out into the woods. like heck yeah, that's what we do. We


stack them up. Nice. Yeah,


Emily  56:40  

yeah, I saw some pictures. That's really cool. Right up right up your alley, you know?


Dan Zehner  56:47  

Yeah, it's so fun. Oh, my gosh, I could talk to you for hours. I think we will at some point. And definitely when we get to France, if not before


I want to give you a chance to call people out and and give a challenge because that's one of the things I'm yeah, I'm if there's one thing you would


challenge me and the audience to do this next week. To embrace an adventure what would that be? doesn't necessarily have to be rocking related. But it could


Emily  57:15  

know Yeah,


well, you know,


I guess I would say, you know, go go to some place where you're good at thinking it be it outside or the shower or wherever and and really think about what scares you right what frightens you in this world you know, is it losing a loved one is failing at something coming up short the unknown and and i this is something that I do for myself and I try to think okay, what can I control in this and what what is out of my control and I try to give up you know, to God the things that I can't control I say you know, that that I'm not going to worry about and then these things that I can that's what I'm going to focus on I'm going to focus on you know, just


trying to keep my kids happy and healthy you know, getting outside you know, and I find in this is to get more tactical it's after you do that exercise something that I've been trying to do more that it works like a charm is before after dinner whatever works


I want to get my kids outside because we all know about the witching hour everybody seems to like fall apart at that time, I have found that if I take them out for just a mile rock, or just the pool and the wagon or a quick bike ride, you know, walk in a park on the beach nearby, whatever, just on the street. It doesn't even have to be, you know, some glamorous place it they calm down and they are really better, they eat better, they go to bed better they're they're talking with each other and it's it's really it's really a great thing and I think that's the book that third space like fine find that third space for you in your family even if it's just 15 minutes you know, a day because really you know, we talked about Hey, have dinner at the table


Dan Zehner  59:27  

Yeah, I don't


Emily  59:28  

know about you guys but that's not happening for a long time for me you know like it's just


Dan Zehner  59:35  

at least one running around at some point while the rest of


Emily  59:39  

yeah and it's just like the everybody at the table engaging conversation like I feel like I'm years away from that and I think this is this is this idea when people give you tips like eat dinner as a family and I'm like well I just I just failed that repeatedly know pretty bad about it well how about we change that dynamic and say how about you just go outside and walk or ride her bike or you know play sit down in the grass as a family play Duck Duck goose you know i don't know i mean we did that last night and we do this thing where we jump on the couch you know if it's raining outside or something and we the kids do these games and but just that like we do a dance parties right


you know i mean just that like that is that is family that is the things that kids will remember. Yeah, you know,


Dan Zehner  1:00:33  

that's awesome. Yeah, we love that we started doing a glow stick dance parties in the kids room for the the big tuba glowsticks from the dollar store


Emily  1:00:44  

we have one of those like red blue and green strobe lights that we turn on and turn it on Despicable Me three soundtrack and they just go wild.


Dan Zehner  1:00:53  

Yeah. Or Hotel Transylvania three. Yeah, they like that. That's music in there. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, this has been amazing. Like, finally getting to, to talk to you a bit and get to know you. Thank you so much. And the amazing where can where can people follow along with all the goodness that is Evelyn McCarthy and go oh, you know,


Emily  1:01:18  

it's going to be coming out like


a little bit. So over this year, I'm going to be writing more. And also, like I said, finding other women to, to write about and to focus on as well, because I, I, I want to, I don't want it. You know, it's a community, you know, it is about that. So


yeah, there'll be more at


coming out. In fact, I've got a we, I we have a woman in our community here who just rocked the local marathon. And so that


Dan Zehner  1:01:55  

holy cow,


Emily  1:01:56  

yeah, Want a pink ruck for her mother who is recovering from breast cancer. So just have a piece on her coming out probably pretty soon, the next day or so. So, just just more, we'll see more on stuff on that, you know, more of my story, how it relates to go rock and, and and,


and others and how we're just building upon that.


Dan Zehner  1:02:21  

Very cool. I can't wait. I love hearing your all your stories. You guys are really great at storytelling. Jason, everybody down there. Just just awesome. So looking forward to we have to have you on the show. Again, you got a lot, a lot of more good stories to tell. So


Emily  1:02:38  

there's some other good ones. But yeah, I would love to thank you for having me. This has been awesome. And really, I applaud you on this subject. I think it's it's really magical. You know,


Dan Zehner  1:02:50  

it's been a heck of a ride. I can't believe I've been doing this for almost a year now. And getting to getting to share it with with the amazing guests like you and well the audience and everybody's been been really cool of telling stories about, you know, how each of the interviews is impacted them. I know, this is what it's going to be a favorite. It's just been so fun. And living it out like this. The most important thing is actually doing Yeah, and for my wife and kids is it's been really, really impactful. It's so yeah, I


Emily  1:03:21  

mean, the venture, the adventure is always there and it changes you know, so


Dan Zehner  1:03:25  

yeah, always enjoy the rest of your day. We'll talk again soon. Yeah, sure.


Emily  1:03:31  

Care. All right. Thanks, man. Appreciate it.


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