Big Changes and Exciting News

A few weeks ago, one of Kim’s old co-workers sent her an email. Now, seeing as Kim get lots of emails a day, when she tells me “I got an email,” you’ll understand if I’m not busting at the seams with excitement. But when she says “look at this email,” well, that doesn’t happen every day. Something must be afoot….

When I first looked at the email, the first thing I saw was the word “BACKPACKER.”  I started to get excited because I thought it might be another epic hike that we can do. Then I stopped looking only at the words that were in all caps and actually read the content of the email. The email was the job posting.

Confusion would probably top the list of what I felt when I first read it.

See, we aren’t looking for jobs, or, more specifically, we have been working on working for ourselves, so applying for a job didn’t exactly jive with our plans.

Then I read the email again, and this time I got excited. The gist of the job description was something like this (I paraphrase): Love the outdoors? Like outdoor gear? Then you should become a BACKPACKER Brand Ambassador for the Get Out More Tour. You’ll drive around the country giving speeches to people telling them how great the outdoors is to inspire them to Get Out More!

As the 14 people who read this site might know, I love being in the out-of-doors. If I could go into the mountains, grow a beard down to my knees, and be referred to as “the crazy hermit who refers to himself as Sasquatch,” I would do it.

Seeing as I have a wife that insists on my beard being a semi-respectable length and that most mountain caves that I would call home are occupied by bears half the year (and I am terrible at bear-wrasslin’), “mountain hermit” as an occupation unfortunately got crossed off my list. But a job that could allow me to travel across the U.S. and talk to people about something I’m passionate about? Sign me up.

We hemmed and hawed for a while, discussing the pros and cons. We didn’t want to give up traveling, but the opportunity of earning a steady paycheck and public speaking experience (something Kim has been wanting for a long time), plus the opportunity to hike and camp for 7 months was too good to pass up. It was like someone created a job specifically for Kim and me.

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Smiles in Grand Teton National Park in July 2012

So we sent in our video application the day before we flew to Vietnam. As we were setting out on our bike tour through Vietnam, we heard we had made the final cut. Luckily, we had lots of miles to bike to work the nerves out our system every day. Then came an interview that included giving a presentation – over skype – to the Editor-in-Chief of BACKPACKER Magazine and the Senior VP of Content and Product Development of BACKPACKER’s parent company.

We talked about who we are, told our story, and were basically ourselves, because who else could we be? We were asked questions that I botched (What’s your favorite BACKPACKER story? – to which I replied with, for some reason, a book I recently read about cycling through Vietnam), questions I thought I did well on (favorite piece of gear – my Osprey backpack), and questions that, for the health, safety, and unwanted mental pictures of everyone involved, are better left unanswered (when hiking: undies or commando?)

Thankfully, they liked us and offered the job. And – drumroll please – we accepted!!

So, I write this, we are in the Ho Chi Minh City Airport waiting for our flight back to the United States to attend the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. Afterwards, Kim and I will spend the next month or so preparing the presentation we’ll be driving around the country giving. Then, in March, we will set out on the road to spread our love of the outdoors to everyone in the lower 48.

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Among ancient giants in Sequoia National Park in August 2012

We don’t know what our travel schedule looks like right know, but if you live somewhere in the continental U.S., odds are we’ll be in a city near you sometime between March and September. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or twitter or the Get Out More Tour (here and here) for announcements and updates of the tour schedule.

And don’t worry, I’ll hang around after each presentation so that everyone who wants one can get a big muddy footprint and blurry photograph of a bipedal hairy being.

See you on the road!

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Author: Brian

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