Meet Ethan and m.e.

Ethan

I am 24 years old. I grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois wandering around the Shawnee National Forest and my family farm. After high school, I moved to Mississippi for four more years of school. There I made life-long friends and got a degree, but I continued to feel as if something was missing. I had spent time in mountainous regions, working on a sheep and cattle ranch in South Africa and traveling to the high mountains of Peru, but for some reason I kept living in flat farmlands. At twenty, I took a trip my with my roommate to hike a week in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was freezing cold, the wind was blowing ice on us, and it was paradise. After this trip I could not think about anything but the high feeling of being on the crest of a mountain. At twenty two I returned back to Illinois and operated heavy machinery seven days a week for a while after a few failed endeavors. This made the time pass, but I was never able to outrun the feeling of the rugged unknown the mountains provided me. I romanticized the idea of a thru hike and decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail that next Summer. So I did just that. I finished my west coast hike in September of 2015 and soon after moved to Nashville, TN where I am still living. I work with M.E. at a very hospitable gearshop called Cumberland Transit and spend my free time climbing, fly fishing, hiking, paddle boarding and doing whatever I can to stay outside.

 

M.E.

I was born in Nashville, TN on February 23, 1993. I grew up here, I learned how to walk here, to talk here, ride a bike, and even fall off of one. Nashville is home, and it will always be home. However, being from Nashville and having a love for all things outdoors creates a challenge, of sorts. We do not have the “Great Outdoors” in our backyard - it is more so in our neighbor’s backyard. With that said, I have learned that it takes motivation and determination to maintain happiness, especially when it is driven by the need for adventure while living in this city. Growing up, I was surrounded by this drive to get outdoors and heavily influenced by my creative parents to not just to explore, but also to create. Fresh out of high school, I was Chicago-bound in hopes of continuing my education in a new place that tapped into my creativity veins. However, I was hit hard by on particular imbalance; I was missing a key element to my survival in a city. So Nashville once again found me navigating through her trails, buying produce at her farmers markets, and drinking her coffee.

Once back in Nashville, I studied neuroscience, worked with rehabilitated birds of prey, and got certified to identify mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies. On top of all that, I adopted the greatest pup who could keep up with me and tag along on all the adventures. When I was not studying or working, Milo and I went rock climbing, trail running, fly fishing, and stand-up paddle boarding. We even frequent western New York to fish for steelies, adventure through the ‘Lake Effect’ snow, and spend time with my dad. This summer I have been able to take the fishing and paddling part a little further; I started teaching classes pertaining to fly fishing and paddle technique. I have also had the opportunity to race in local SUP races and compete (and finish) a 31-mile race through the Tennessee Gorge (whew!). Through all of this, I have been working at a charming outdoor gear shop since 2012, which is where I met Ethan, when he starting working there in 2015. I have always heard that you should never fall for a co-worker, especially when working in the outdoor industry. I figured this was because of the tension that could build from spending endless amounts of time together, but I know now that this warning more likely originated due to the crazy like-minded daydreams of amazing, far away places. Next spring, we will bring our daydreams to life on the Continental Divide Trail. We will walk side-by-side as we did paddling through the gorge, over the finish line, and as we worked every day for a year, as a team.