I was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, curious in nature and an explorer at heart. My mother clearly recalls arriving to pick me up from preschool in my early years (before I can remember) only to find out from an abashed employee that her son had escaped and had ventured outside before being caught. And so it has been.
I moved from Charlotte to the suburbs of Chicago and attended middle and high school. I became a drummer and formed a rock band, which I later chose to pursue after high school instead of college. The band, Dorian's Decay, went on to tour around the US and Canada, and I fell in love with traveling to a new place each day and meeting new people all while doing what I loved at the time: drumming. I felt free.
But, as I have learned, all good things end, and Dorian's Decay ended in 2012. With nothing holding me down, I decided to do something bold: to go on a solo adventure. I had made up my mind to hike the Appalachian Trail.
I had never backpacked a day in my life, and as I planned my trip and assemble my gear, I began to realize that I had no idea what I was doing. I did not want to try this and fail right off the bat. I wanted to successfully thru-hike the trail from end-to-end in good fashion. Ultimately, I chose not to hike the Appalachian Trail but instead chose to gain experience and get a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education from Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon.
And gain experience I did, starting with a 3-day, 30-mile out-and-back in the Columbia River Gorge and working my way up to a 53-day, 1,200-mile thru-hike of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Along the way, I fell in love with the outdoors, human-powered exploration, pushing my limits, and achieving whatever it is I set my mind to.