“Excitement comes at the end of good days work and play, the beautiful pastels of the sun setting over the Susquehanna valley, and that secondary burn kicks in and all the smoke turns to fire, burning late into an incredibly beautiful, star filled evening.”
Doesn’t that make you want to #getoutside and live? We’re inspired and humbled by John’s Solo Stove moments. We hope you are too.
Please share a description of who you are, where you live, and what you do.
Well I started answering that question with the standard… Hi, I’m John, I grew up and live in a beautifully rural area of upstate NY, have two amazing teenage daughters, and a great passion for the outdoors. I work at a large youth sports facility, where I manage personnel, run programs, and do what it takes to keep the place running smoothly. But that’s not exactly who I am… Who I am, is a passionate man, with an affinity for nature, travel and exploration, seeing and creating beautiful moments in all the little ways that make life more enjoyable, and sharing in it all with family and friends. I especially love evenings around a campfire, sharing in all the stories we’ve created along the way.
Tell us about an average day in your life.
Well, an average day for me starts with a glass of lemon water sprinkled with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. A dozen or so burpees to get my blood flowing, followed by a meditative morning yoga flow… preferably outside in the sunshine exposing as much skin as possible for that invigorating dose of vitamin D. I’m also a huge fan of a morning cold plunge up in the spring fed pond behind my house, though in summertime its usually more of a cool plunge. After energizing my soul with that glorious morning routine I set out to explore a day of work and play, doing my best to make work as playful and enjoyable as possible, and spending as much time outdoors as I can. I try to work paddle boarding, hiking, snow sports, or a good workout into as many days as possible depending on the time of year. I do my best to end my evenings gazing into a beautiful fire, either in solitude or with family and friends, reflecting on the day and probably eating one too many s’mores.
What are your daily challenges?
I’d say my biggest daily challenge is getting outa my own way, as I tend to play a bit more than I work these days… even at work, since a bit of my job is play. My time management skills are pretty sad as my creative side tends to take over and time slips away. I’m getting a bit better at this lately; spending a bit more time doing what matters as I work towards some pretty amazing life goals.
What gets you excited each day?
My excitement starts with a beautiful sunrise, wherever I may be. But really, I’m just excited to be me, do the things I do, eat delicious food, share in laughter and love, sunshine and rain, good workouts, and lazy days by the fire, good times with friends, live music and slow dancing to old scratchy albums in an old farmhouse. Longboard breaks in the gym, and a damn good chocolate gelato. But I think my most excitement comes at the end of good days work and play, the beautiful pastels of the sun setting over the Susquehanna valley, and that secondary burn kicks in and all the smoke turns to fire, burning late into an incredibly beautiful, star filled evening.
What are your favorite ways to get outside?
Barefoot, with some sort of delicious snack, and a plan to do something I love. My outdoor passions these days include paddle sports, hiking, camping, lounging in hammocks, fireside chats, and the occasional excessively leisurely day lounging in the sunshine.
Why do you enjoy spending time outside?
Spending time immersed in nature fills me with an incredibly peaceful, totally alive energy that both focuses and clears my mind. I find spending time alone in nature to be one of the most freeing experiences life has to offer. Sharing in awesome outdoor adventures with family and friends is totally amazing as well, but solitude is where I find the most freedom.
Have a favorite camping/outdoor story to share?
Oh man, there’s so many… I’d have to say the most prominent in recent memory was my 43rd birthday in February, 2018. I randomly decided several days before that I’d solo hike the summit of Mt. Marcy up in the Adirondacks since I hadn’t winter camped the ADKs for a few years. Spent the week planning and prepping in my spare time, narrowed it down to the essential items, I like to travel as light and fast as possible on solo trips. My choice of camp stoves is one of the most important, and for this particular adventure I chose the Solo Stove Lite with the alcohol burner as backup if I didn’t have the ability to collect tinder. The plan: snowshoe up to one of the lean-tos at what used to be Marcy dam, spend the night, start out for the summit around 4am, summit around noonish, and hike all the way out back the way I came. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful solo experiences of my life, it started snowing quite heavily as I began at the trailhead, and didn’t stop until just before sunrise leaving me to hike up into an untouched winter wonderland. I spent a cozy evening with some hot cocoa by the perfect little fire in my Solo Stove Lite, as I watched snow silently falling in front of the little three walled log cabin. The hike up was breathtaking… the summit, awe inspiring, and the hike down.. really fast, with an incredibly beautiful view for my lunch break. I only saw one other person the entire day, standing on the summit just after the clouds blew off the peak and gave way to the most glorious blue sky. He made his way down past me, stopping to exchange reverence’s for the other and some banter about the incredibly glorious day, and he disappeared below tree line. It was all an absolutely amazing experience, I could actually write a short novel on that particular adventure, and you’ll find a highlight of it in my story highlights on the gram @travlinsolo.
How does spending time outside benefit you and your friends and family?
It gives us a chance to connect, share in our joys and passions, slow down and enjoy a few quiet moments by the fire, and explore all the beautiful moments this amazing life has to offer.
Who or what inspired your love of the outdoors?
My father, always encouraging me to explore the natural world with respect and understanding.
You’re busy! How do you manage your time?
Well actually I don’t, I most definitely struggle with time management, as my days are filled with so many variables and random decisions that usually completely change the direction of the day.
Any recommendations on how to get outside even when you’re busy?
Heck yeah…. go outside. I try to take everyday indoor activities, outside… such as yoga, my workouts, movie night, or just cooking dinner. If you can do it outside, then why not incorporate nature into it, and take it outdoors.
How do you slow down and reconnect with what matters?
Long, slow walks in the woods, quiet meditations by the pond, and I really enjoy paddle boarding local rivers and lakes, as well as quiet evenings by the fire.
If you had a motto or slogan, what would it be?
How does you Solo Stove help you slow down and enjoy the outdoors?
Every single one of my Solo Stoves has a different answer to this question. But overall they serve the same purpose, to make fire more useful, and totally enjoyable in so many ways. They’re beautiful, durable, portable, efficient, and literally the #bestfirepitever