The Man Behind the Curtain

The Quick Intro

If you are going to be reading my posts, it is only considerate that I give you a proper introduction. I am fortunate in life to have a loving wife, two beautiful daughters, and a house full of animals. My front door mat says, “It’s basically a zoo in here,” and I feel that a lot on some days! Central Kentucky is my home, but I have traveled far and wide throughout the years.

I was in the Marine Corps from 2004 – 2009, having been convinced to join by a friend who backed out and didn’t even go! Don’t worry, I give him endless grief over this! At first, joining was just a means to an end and a chance to get out of my small town and go see the world. At that point in my life, I was a 22 year old who had just moved back in with his parents and felt completely trapped. Going to college wasn’t even a thought and I really didn’t see a very bright future.

But the military completely changed that outlook. On a whim I chose my military occupation to be computers, and spent the next 5 years learning everything that I could and experiencing a lifetime of firsts. Normally a military enlistment is just 4 years, but for certain occupations they require you to sign on for 5 years. For the computer field it was originally because the schooling was so long, but with the war in Iraq they fast tracked the schooling. Now the 5-year requirement is more so that they can squeeze that extra year of experience out of you before you leave. I spent almost the entirety of my military career with the same unit in Southern California, deploying to Iraq twice, and gaining lots of technical experience in information technology.

The author getting ready for the Marine Corp ball in his famed GQ look

My first daughter was born within days of getting out of the military, and after struggling to find a reliable job, I worked as a contractor with the Air Force in Afghanistan for four years. When I decided to return back to the States, I was able to use my experience to land a job as a Systems Administrator for a CPA firm in my home area of Central Kentucky. This is my tenth year at this job, and I am now a Network Engineer and still very happy with it!

Losing Sight of Adventure

I have been a book nerd my entire life, reading science fiction and fantasy books and longing for those epic adventures. However, for whatever reason this longing did not manifest in me actually going on these adventures. I was in Boy Scouts when I was younger, but only for a year or two and I do not know why I quit. I remember going on a few fishing trips and one camping trip with my dad, but that was the extent of my outdoor experience growing up. Somewhere along the line I think I just fell into the trap of modern life and all of its conveniences. The outdoors was an afterthought really and I was just lost in a world of following baseball and playing video games. Family life has a way of making you just settle in sometimes and the days pass by too quickly.

The Call of the Wild

Covid changed all of that for me, as I am sure it did for lots of other people as well. I fell out of love with sports and the daily grind of life, and in to love with nature. I was energized and excited for something new in a way that I was not expecting. I am now making a conscious effort to have less screen time, focusing on my mind and body, reading more, and just trying to soak up all the little moments in life. I long to be out on the trail and go out hiking and backpacking whenever I can. I have been like a kid with a new toy and hogged all of the new outdoor experiences to myself. In the coming years, I hope to include my family in some of my adventures. My wife isn’t the type to enjoy backpacking, but she would be up for more car camping trips. And I really hope to get my daughters out on the trail with me!

The author at a favorite location – the Roan Highlands

My dream right now is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, but unfortunately, I do not see a way for me to complete a thru-hike anytime in the near future. Family, career, and financial restraints kind of put a damper on that. I could probably take a month off at a time and hike a section of the trail at a time, and I have considered that as an option. I would love to be able to thru-hike the trail in the next 10 years, possibly with one (or both) of my daughters. But in the meantime, I will go on as many adventures as I can!

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Comments 3

  • Chris : Dec 28th

    You’re like me, trying to get in hikes whenever you can and enjoying the outdoors more. Also hoping to thru hike the AT in the future. Your wife is also like my wife,.. not big into camping, but wouldn’t be against car camping.

  • Sparky : Dec 29th

    After years of doing for others (wife, son, daughter in college), and finally retiring at 70 I decided it was MY time and I expect to “attack” the AT this coming April 14th. I have been studying and setting up my pack, I walk a minimum of 1 loop of my hilly subdivision a day (4 miles) and often 3 to 5. Now it’s my time for what I want/need to do. Go for it buddy, finish or not at least you will have taken up the trail and I hope its a good one for you! I expect to go Georgia to WV, then fly up to Maine and back down to WV for my hike.

  • GearNerd : Dec 29th

    I remember that five-year-enlistment for special school stuff well, lol–probably further back than you can count though! Best of luck getting out there–it’s the best.


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