A Clean Dream

Influence by her early (and accomplished) goal to circumnavigate the globe, environmental activist, Cherise Udell, founded Utah Moms For Clean Air to help combat air pollution. See how this globe-trotting mom stayed inspired and motivated.

Cherise Elisabeth Udell

City / State
Salt Lake City, UT

What was your big dream?
To circumnavigate the globe.

How did you accomplish it?
Logistically: By airplane, train, camel, elephant, tuk-tuk, automobile, boat and foot! Circumnavigating the globe was one of my life’s ambitions when I was in high school as I had (and still have) a fascination with our planet’s cultural, biologically and geographical diversity. Little did I know I would accomplish this goal of traveling around the world by age 24 – and that I would do it solo!

Where did you find inspiration to get started?
National Geographic magazine and my grandmother’s own globe-trotting travels.

What motivated you to keep going?
It wasn’t hard to keep going once I was on the road as I was having one grand adventure after another: studying Buddhism at a Tibetan monastery for six weeks, trekking across the Thar desert on camel, skin-diving in the Red Sea… it was much harder to come home and get back to my senior year of college.

What’s your next Big Dream?
Now I am a mom and I live in Salt Lake City, where we suffer from some of the worst acute spikes in air pollution, so my next big dream is to clean-up Utah’s air, so that my children can grow up breathing freely.
I started a group called Utah Moms for Clean Air ( last spring and already we have made an impact. For example, we helped pass legislation to retrofit diesel school buses in Utah and we brought idle-reduction programs to local schools (did you know that after ten seconds it is more fuel efficient and less polluting to turn your car off than to let it idle?!).

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian for tigers.

What about when you were 15?
An anthropologist.

Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
The best mom I can be, an inspiring role model for my children, a leader in cleaning-up Utah’s air and an organic gardener.

What book is on your night stand?
“The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, “What your Doctor may NOT tell you about Children’s Vaccinations” by Stephanie Cave, “The House of Spirits” by Isabelle Allende, and “Knuffle Bunny Too” by Mo Willems.

What’s your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey’s Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes)
Gummy bears and pedicures at a luxurious day spa.

What song moves you?
Nora Jones “Come Away with Me” – when my niece was dying of cancer she listened to Norah Jones day in and day out as it brought her much solace. Thus, whenever I hear this song, I am brought to tears. She was a very special person and is greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

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