I am an army brat and an adventure seeker. I graduated from Virginia Tech in December, 2012 with two bachelor’s degrees in Agribusiness and Animal Sciences. I’ve run the horsemanship program for several years at the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation, directed the Cub Scout Camp nature center and nature shows and spent three years teaching backpacking and wilderness survival/principles of ‘Leave No Trace’. I have four sisters [Chelsea, Kelsey, Macky and Maddy], a cross-eyed inbred one-eared gray-squirrel kitty, and an adventure beagle. I spend about half of my life riding, training and teaching others about horses, and the other half kayaking, climbing, and hiking. I don’t get along with most technology and smartphones make me feel dumb. I love camping, the outdoors, and being with my barn family. I love country music, campfires and the feeling when you’re finally able to sit down, exhausted after a hard days work.
Everything in my life until this point has been strategically planned out. There was always a logical next step and I pretty much had life handed to me. Graduate high school. Go to college. I applied to one school and got in that one school. Even within my college, most of my classes were already planned out. Then I graduated. Now I’m faced with the real world scenario of finding a job and settling down and starting a family. That everyday routine never really settled with me. I know it will one day, but I’m too much of an adventure seeker at this point in my life to settle down. That’s probably due to my background as a military brat moving around all the time!
I know that I want to find a career working in wilderness conservation and education. I have always loved teaching, especially kids, and I know I can get contagious when I’m teaching something I am passionate about. Horses and backpacking, for example! Ideally, I’d like to find a career where I can travel, teach and SHOW people about other cultures and natural wonders of the world. Having just gotten out of college, with no major commitments other than student loans to pay off, now just seems like the right time to do something crazy. I mean, hey, If you’re dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough, right?
I want to hike the Appalachian Trail. Why? That’s a hard question to answer because I’m not sure where to start.
I’ve always been that fruit loop kid that’s fascinated by natural formations. Something as simple as a crooked tree, open faced rocks coming out of a hillside or a three inch tall waterfall in a creek somewhere gets me buzzing. There’s something about being outside and in the forest that makes me feel alive and real. For my horse riding friends, its like the feeling you get when you let loose and fly across a field at a high speed gallop. It’s like a high that you can’t shake, and addiction that you can’t overcome. I loved teaching for Scouts because we’d take so many city kids out into the woods and flip rocks in the creek or look under rotting logs, and they’d always gasp and jump at how much life they have been taught to overlook. We’d sit down in the woods quietly for ten minutes, and their eyes would get so big as birds, squirrels, toads, etc appeared. They began to see the world around them that they had never opened up to before.
Some people hike to escape the pressures and stresses of modern living; I don’t hike to escape, I hike to live. I don’t hike to reconnect with nature, we’re already a part of each other; I hike to reconnect with myself. There is a quote that says “Life isn’t measured by the breaths that we take, but by the moment’s that take our breath away”. There are two things in life that have made me speechless time and time again: horses and hiking. In a modern world of fast cars and reality tv and phones that talk back to you without someone on call, its sad to me how many people go their entire lives without knowing what it’s like to take a walk through the woods and dance in the rain. How can a world so vast, so impressive and so open, be so hidden from so many people?
I want to hike because it feels right. I feel something pulling me towards the trail. I firmly believe that everything in our lives happens for a reason, and that it happens the way its supposed to. Hiking the AT is something I’m supposed to be doing, and I know that this experience will shape me into who I need to be. =)
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!”