Four years ago, I caught word that my colleague and friend Nestor Paonessa would be heading to Mt. Mitchell for a solo expedition while his wife was out of town. I had been thinking of getting back outside and out of my comfort zone and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I quickly invited myself along. Nestor, trying to salvage his peaceful vacation insisted it would be a very difficult trip but I didn’t back down. I had few supplies or gear to speak of and my understanding of camping was limited. I scrambled to borrow gear from friends and bought what I couldn’t gather – including a pair of hiking shoes. I threw everything into a pack, including an entire jar of Peanut butter, and thought I was ready to go. I figured I might be uncomfortable, but I would survive.
I was right, I was uncomfortable, my tent leaked, my shoes gave me blisters because they hadn’t been broken in, my water was disgusting due to the iodine purification tablets, and it rained the entire trip. It was also one of the best experiences of my life. I rediscovered my love of immersing myself in nature and the power that comes with getting outside my comfort zone.
Nestor and I continue to plan new trips for ourselves, but we wanted to find a way we could share our experiences with others less familiar to the outdoors. This is why we have created our first expedition to help others get out of their comfort zone and experience the healing powers of nature. I’m eternally grateful for inviting myself on Nestor’s vacation and to him for not telling me no. Now I invite you to come along and create a new experience for yourself or rediscover an old one.