The concept for Adventures With Nature LLC began to form after a visit from a Peregrine Falcon that occurred in what I thought to be the most unlikely of places. I was looking out my Jersey City office window, when to my astonishment, I spotted a Peregrine Falcon that was looking back at me. I had to do a double take. Gazing into the eyes of that bird was more stimulating than any strong coffee consumed that morning. I was instantly in awe of this wild, graceful and masterful hunter of the sky and so were most of my colleagues on the floor. Window access quickly became standing room only, as each onlooker positioned themselves for the best view of this amazing Alpha of the sky. Later that morning I learned that my office building was actually pretty famous for being a sanctuary for nesting Peregrines. You can even watch them online here.
I left work that day with a childlike anticipation of returning the next day just so I could get another chance to witness this spectacular predator. Soon, the daily sightings quickly became my daily highlights. You see, I was thankful for having a great job, but the commute and the long hours at my desk and the abundance of concrete were taking a toll on me. Finally, I had something that got me really excited each day, and it was the potential for a close encounter with my feathered friend. It got even better, when I realized there were actually several falcons who called our building home. The grind of work became more tolerable and in fact enjoyable. Yes, I actually got work done, but the added thrill of getting to spend time with an apex hunter made the work go faster. However, when they would not show up on a given day, I would become bluer than I thought was reasonable. Their absence began to magnify a growing void within me. Something vital was missing from my life.
You see that first falcon encounter not only woke me up in the physical sense, but it also awakened something inside me that had fallen asleep. Prior to my entry into the business world, I lived and worked outdoors, educating others in ways to appreciate and enjoy the natural world. From the deserts of Arizona to the temperate rainforests of Alaska, to the six-million acres of the Adirondack Park and many other wild places, I was blessed to have experienced a wild life. In a way, my 20’s and early 30’s were part of a continuing journey that began in childhood. I did not grow up in any of these wilderness settings mentioned above, but rather in the suburbs of Northern NJ. You may find it surprising, but I spent most of my young life outdoors, enjoying the streams, ponds and woods that I was lucky to call home. Shelter building, tree climbing, fishing, animal observation, and star gazing were just some of the wild activities that filled my free time. Countless cases of poison ivy, bug bites, bee stings, bruises, cuts and sprains were the price of admission I happily paid for the awe and wonder I was able to experience right outside my front door.
My childhood experiences, course work, relevant trainings and certifications set me up for a career in the outdoors, which I enjoyed for a very long time. However, life, like rivers and streams, has many twists and turns and mine is no exception. After more than a decade learning, teaching and working outdoors and a few years a Waldorf teacher, I reached a burnout point that happily coincided with a great opportunity. I joined my oldest brother in a startup adventure that eventually led me to a Jersey City High Rise and my falcon friends. It was pretty amazing how fast my life had changed. I went from leading hikes and teaching students how to build shelters and make fire by friction to spending 8+ hours a day researching business and creating sales leads. Not only did my 9 to 5 reality change, but also how I spent my increasingly limited and precious free time. I quickly found myself spending less time in nature and more time pursuing indoor activities. I was not unhappy per say, but rather something inside me was growing restless and out of balance. It became clear to me that in my eagerness to pursue my new reality, that I had removed an essential part of who I am.
In time, the falcon became a symbol and a metaphor and ultimately the inspiration for Adventures With Nature. The falcon helped me realize that wilderness and adventure exist everywhere, even on top of a high-rise building. The falcon was telling me that nature and awe-inspiring experiences exist where you look for them, even outside your window or backyard. I did not have to be in Alaska to experience the awe and wonder of the wild. The falcon was also a messenger, telling me that it was time to re-wild myself! I started to brainstorm and daydream about what I was going to do with my newfound inspiration and self-discovery. I was no longer in a position to spontaneously pack up my life and move on to the next wild place that called to me. Along with a new career, I also met the love of my life, the woman who would become my wife. She too was a Jersey native, with family all living in the town she grew up in. It became crystal clear that the suburbs of NJ were once again to become my homebase for the foreseeable future.
In the days, weeks, months and years since that first feathery encounter, I took a few baby steps to rekindle my outdoor pursuits and love of teaching. I worked a few part-time jobs on nights and weekends and even designed a few programs for others. Although those experiences were great, they were not quite right for me. Then Covid and the craziness happened, and the world went into lockdown. This terrible time in our history did have a few silver linings. Families began to spend more time together. They rediscovered simple pursuits like walking, bike riding, and enjoying their yards. Then families and individuals began to discover or rediscover the joys of camping, kayaking and so many outdoor pursuits close to home. It was during this time that my vision started to solidify.
I decided I would create my own side business that would allow me to pursue my re-wilding efforts while helping others to discover their wild side, as well as great businesses that I identified who create amazing products, primarily in the USA. I brainstormed a logo and a catch phrase and landed on Adventures With Nature LLC. Adventures In Your Own Backyard and Beyond. And here we are today. I feel like my falcon friend, perched on the edge of a new begining, thrilled at the opportunity to take flight into this new endeavor. Thank you for joining me!