Who Am I?
The Adventure Began,
at a very young age. I was always that kid who wanted to play outside. It rarely mattered what we were doing, as long as it was outside and NOT video games or on a computer.
Oh, the irony now…
Fast forward to my teenage years, and I was blessed to be able to take more trips than any teenager should be allowed to. I would go hiking in the Rockies for two weeks, then head down to the Florida Keys to go sailing and deep-sea fishing. On the weekends, you could catch me whitewater rafting in North Carolina, hiking in west Georgia, kayaking the Okefenokee Swamp, crawling around in the caves of Tennessee, then heading out to the Rockies for some rock climbing and rappelling.
Now, before you get the wrong idea…
By no means was I a “Trust Fund Baby” that got to do whatever he wanted. I grew up middle class, and between all the adventures and school, I ran a small landscaping business from 12 to 18 years old. I loved the idea of running my own business and was able to work with some great customers. This was my introduction to entrepreneurship.
Then, that dreadful “C” word… COLLEGE
I had a tough decision to make at 18. Jump in full-time with the landscaping, or do what you are supposed to do and get that uber-valuable education. This was going to set me up for life, right?
So, off to college I go! I went for an engineering degree and took anywhere from 15 to 21 hours of classes every semester while working full-time in the industry. It nearly killed me… I was the farthest thing from happy but did not even realize it. The next thing I knew, I was going to get that “high-paying” and “secure” engineering job with GREAT benefits, though… that would make everything better.
I had a few adventures in college, mainly just some weekend trips around where I grew up. At this point, I had done a little kayaking, maybe a little hiking, but certainly no rock climbing or sailing. Oh, there was that one three-week fishing trip to the Bahamas. I almost forgot about that one.
I missed doing all the crazy things I did in high school, but life and “being grown” always seemed to get in the way.
May 08, 2019. It was an early morning car ride to the airport for a 4:00 a.m. flight. The first adventure in years! I almost could not hold back the excitement. What was it going to be like? What was it going to look like? Were all of the stories true? All of the TV shows? Is it as wild as they say?
At around 10:30 p.m. local time, we landed in Alaska with the sun still above the mountains. As I walked through the Anchorage airport, I stopped by the moose at the intersection of the 2 concourses (if you have flown through Anchorage, you probably know the moose I am referring to) and looked out over the lake. I watched as two float planes took off for the mountains and backcountry. And you know what? I was sold before I even made it out of the airport. I said, “Yup, I am going to live here for a little while.”
We just finished our 3-week trip traveling from Seward, Alaska, all the way to Barrow and back again. We took a whale-watching and glacier tour, went offshore fishing for king salmon and halibut, and flew up to a glacier on Denali’s side. It was insane! We did the tourist type of trip on this one—no crazy backcountry adventure—but it was great to be on an adventure nonetheless.
Now, it is back to the “C” word again… I had 2 years left. I ground out the rest of the engineering degree while making people sick with how much I talked about moving to Alaska. It was all I could think about.
Two years later, on May 8, 2021, they let me graduate from college. FREEDOM!!!
Two days after that, on May 10th, I left the coast of Georgia, heading for Alaska. My best friend from high school, an avid adventurer himself, would make the trip with me. We camped the whole way up to Alaska, not staying in a single hotel or B&B. I promise that with the right gear, you’ll sleep better outside. Most hotels are gross.
We hung out in the Black Hills of South Dakota, saw the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, and stopped by Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We were in Montana for almost a week, seeing Yellowstone and fly-fishing the creeks around Missoula. Once we made it to Alaska, my buddy and I spent a week checking out South Central Alaska. We camped out on a river just outside of Seward and then lived under a bridge near Talkeetna for 4-5 days. My buddy was already a pilot at the time; I didn’t have my license yet, but I LOVED flying. I booked an intro flight in a float plane with Alaska Floats and Skis, and we flew to a lake up by Denali looking for moose and bears.
Man, that was a great three weeks!
We rolled into Fairbanks, Alaska, on June 1, 2021, and my buddy had a flight back to Georgia the next day, leaving me in the place I would call home for a while. The following year and a half are filled with flying airplanes and helicopters, riding motorcycles, fishing, backpacking, and boating, but I will save that part of the story for later.
If you have made it this far in my rambling, I really appreciate you! I hope my blog can help you find the tools, resources, and maybe even a little bit of the courage you need to take one step toward that adventure calling you.