By Brooklyn Schacht

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the outdoors. I grew up in Texas, so I spent a ton of time hunting. Obviously. My parents loved to ski, too, so we spent many winter days skiing in New Mexico or Colorado. I started ski school when I stood below my dad’s waist and I shot my first bird before I could drive a car. I spent my college years surfing in California and hiking, backpacking, and camping in Oregon. After too many years chasing education and outdoor adventures in my twenties, I made my way to Alaska, where I spent my free time skiing, hunting, fishing, backpacking, camping, and running away from moose and bears. For someone that loves the outdoors…. Alaska was it. The biggest mountains I’d ever seen. The bluest skies and water. The coldest and darkest and craziest winters. It was extreme and amazing and hard and rough and beautiful. And it was sad when I decided to head back to the lower 48. But the right thing to do, for sure…

I made my way to Wyoming where my husband and I live now. The only thing better than the fact that we are home to more bison than humans? The Wyoming outdoors. I started climbing and mountain biking when I moved here, and we have some of the best in the world. And here, I am able to do pretty much all of the outdoor stuff I love – fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, and skiing. Snowshoeing is a new thing I picked up, too. It’s like hiking but in the snow and way harder.

Since I left Texas, I’ve spent the last fifteen years moving around this beautiful country and finding all sorts of new outdoor gear to spend my money on. What I’ve seen and done in that time…. I’m so lucky. I feel blessed to have a body that allows me to explore, take risks, and push myself. I feel even more blessed to have married a man that is more adventurous and outdoorsy than me. He pushes me regularly and I’ve done some pretty crazy shit because of him. Like that one time, we got chased by a bear on a bike ride. Or the one time we almost got swept out to sea via a rogue wave because we wanted to swim in the swimming hole that no one was swimming in. Yeah, maybe there’s a reason no one was there. Or the time that we got stuck in a two-person tent for nearly 72 hours because a monsoon came upon us on a 22-mile backpacking trip. I love my husband and all the awesome experiences we’ve had together.

All of these 33 years of life, my theme has been an adventure and the unknown and playing outside. And I love it.

I recently went to the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver. It was my first time attending the show and I was beyond impressed and inspired. Not only were the trade show booths and marketing materials amazing (I’m a nerd for that kinda stuff), but the people were incredible. No one sent me away when I rolled up to their booth to talk marketing. Not one person rolled their eyes when I whipped out my business card and brochure. I encountered nothing but warm, welcoming, and severely authentic humans at the show. People who love the outdoors as much (shit, more) than I do. People who are so passionate about what they do and so in love with their jobs that it just exudes in all they do. People who are so down to earth and real that there was nothing wrong with talking shop over a beer at the end of the day.

I left that show inspired more by the people than the massive trade show booths, killer new gear, or incredible wall-size photos of athletes doing their thing. As someone who has grown up outside, I yearn to spend more time with people like that. I’ll make it my life goal to see that happen.

Inspiration comes in many forms to me. A beautiful sunset that drops rays of light across a landscape of mountains and rolling hills. The sound of the ocean when I’m working to block out all the noise and stress and bullshit. A backpack that fits all of my camp food, stove, sleeping pad, bag, clothes, and toilet paper with room to spare for a little flask of whiskey. Making it to the bottom of the ski hill before my friends and looking up to watch them glide down like little talented ants on a sugar hill. Amazing people who glow from the inside out because they so love what they do and who they are in the world. Outdoor Retailer showed me this latest one. And I’m super in love.