In 2011, I needed a change. After a decade consulting which cost me two relationships, I got burned out and needed help. In 2012, a close friend suggested I try hiking. I did and things kinda escalated from there. I’m a born-and-raised New Yorker. Half Dominican, half Puerto Rican. My parents worked blue collar jobs 25 years and my idea of “gettin’ paid” was being a supervisor in a retail store (which I did from 16 to 21). I was a typical kid of immigrant parents, raised on Pentecostal values and hiphop, attending inner-city public schools in the 80s. I never thought I would ever in a million years do anything more “outdoorsy” than visiting my local playground (which you can no longer do as an adult without a kid in New York City).
My first hike ever was 2000 (Seth of Outdoor Bound, the pre-cursor to Discover Outdoors.) My second (2004, Discover), third (2005, Charlie of Wild Earth Adventures), and fourth (2006, Wild Earth) hikes were cool, but didn’t make me think I’d be doing anything more (my memory sucks. I’m sure I did more than that. I’m just giving you the highlights). But, yeah, “the outdoors” were not exactly part of my childhood and I hold no fond memories of country summers, swims in lakes, or scenic road trips. What I realized in 2012 was that I focused up and got present the more I pushed myself physically. That never happened before and I loved it. I started camping, then climbing, then diving, and caving, and paddling, and snowboarding, then finally traveling. Things I had never tried before because I literally had no idea I could.
In late 2012, early 2013, I asked some friends to come out with me on some hikes and they did. I was blown away. I set up Outerthere in March 2013 to host trips. I didn’t want to charge to guide because I’m not a pro and I use public transit to get to public parks which are free. But also, something unexpected happened. I started to listen to others for the first time. I heard stories similar to mine. I started sharing mine. I laughed out loud for real. And maybe I even teared up once or twice. I finally found a family. All with amazing new and old friends.
In early 2014, I got my first GoPro because I wanted to remember how awesome all these adventures were. But I’m not a professional camera guy, so I didn’t actually start using it until 2015. I did a short 10-second clip of my trying to stop on a snowboard to the instrumental version of O.T. Genasis “CoCo” and fell in love with creating videos (Shout out to my ninja O.T. who had a catchy hit song that year that just had to go in a clip!) A ton of accessories and dope adventures followed. Because of the variety of trips we’re hosting and the variety of people who come out with us who often try things for the first time because they're doing it with family (just scroll down to meet some of them), the clips I started to put together were gettin' more and more lit. Like, everyone is smiling. Everyone is having an awesome time on these trips. They remind me to be grateful for this life I found, for the friends and family I can share it with, and for helping me figure shit out so I can now help others figure shit out, too. Word.