Behind the Visor
I am an outdoor enthusiast whose aspirations gravitate toward recreational pursuits and personal growth. Having worked in the adventure travel industry since 2017, and having recreated less formally for much longer, my core principles focus on sustainability, leadership, and personal development. Wielding a backstory laden with elements of program coordination and management, team building, and natural interpretation, my vision is to grant individuals and communities access to wild places, while empowering them to increase their own recreational skills to responsibly enjoy natural treasures by their own volition.
The story thus far
Growing up in the heart of wine country, right on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area, I was indoctrinated into the outdoors at a young age. Participation in the Boy Scouts of America wasn’t just an option for me: it was an expectation. My father, uncles, and older twin brothers had all been active participants in scouting for years. From Tiger Cub at age four, to Eagle Scout and adult leader into my early twenties, the community provided ample opportunities to hike, craft, practice leadership, and learn civic duties. Outside of the organized recreation, I was also greatly fortunate to have a science teacher for a grandfather. My Opa (German for Grandpa) lived as a walking encyclopedia: whether you were interested or not, he was sure to educate you on every painted butterfly or sprawling oak that crossed his path. Ultimately, it wasn’t until I was well into high school that I first realized my outdoor privilege: most kids don’t grow up shooting black powder, rock climbing in New Mexico, or splashing through alpine lakes.
All my life I felt the path was premeditated. Grade school, organized sports, my grocery retail job – even my degree in Public Relations at San Jose State University – all seemed but formalities, minimal expectations toward an outcome that was determined long before I had my own say. Fast forward to college graduation – like many young people, school coming to an end felt like a leap into the great wide open. All I knew is I wanted to do something, for once in my life, that was by my own will. Ideally, something daunting that would always be my own to cherish.
Cue the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016: sure, I had been backpacking numerous times over the years, but nothing really compares to a 2,650 mile journey from Mexico to Canada. I was dropped off at the Mexico border by my mother and my Oma (if you’re paying attention, that’s German for Grandma). Baby-faced and bushy-tailed, with an overly heavy backpack, I set north to Canada on what would be one of the most transformative experiences in my young life. Something about the long days, natural splendor, and free lifestyle had me immediately hooked – this is what I wanted to do.
It wasn’t long after my PCT hike that I pursued a career in guiding. I packed up my Volkswagen Golf and moved to Phoenix for a stint in the Southwest, where I guided hiking and backpacking in Zion, Bryce, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon National Parks. My heart led westward inevitably, and I spent the following two seasons guiding in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks from 2017-2018.
Hungry for a larger platform, I took the plunge into the administrative world of adventure travel in 2019. I was lucky to fill a role in the travel department at a major outdoor retailer in the Puget Sound, which brought my lovely partner, Tynesha, and I to the Pacific Northwest. This change in scenery afforded the two of us new opportunities to forage, kayak, and snowshoe in one of the best playgrounds in the lower 48. Since then I have worked in selling, supporting, and designing itineraries all across the world for those in pursuit of life’s adventurous side.
Much of my outdoor recreation is done domestically on state trust or federal, public land in the United States. Please make no mistake: from sea to shining sea, all of this land has been stolen at the cost of mass genocide of Native American culture and communities. While this might have been initiated originally by colonizers wishing to exploit indigenous people and land, the desecration of Native American communities and property is continuously perpetuated today by government agencies and policies, energy lobbyists, and selfish recreationists. We cannot alter the past, but it is crucial for each individual to hold themselves and the organizations overseeing such land accountable; at a bare minimum, I encourage all readers to learn the history of who originally occupied the land they are recreating on, the proper pronunciation of the respectively affected tribes, and what you can do moving forward to ensure the preservation of Native land and ways of life.