It’s impossible to know someone by reading a handful of paragraphs but I’ll do my best to introduce myself. For those of you wanting the abridged version, I’ll save you some reading. My name is David Tucker. I’m an outdoor enthusiast and I’ll be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I plan to hike all 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada starting in April 2017 and if all goes well, I’ll finish sometime in September or October of 2017. As I prepared for this journey, I decided this would be an excellent opportunity to raise money and awareness for the charity Christmas Box International (CBI). CBI is a charity that in their words “works to prevent child abuse and improve the quality of life for children, teens and young adults who have been abused, neglected or are homeless.” In addition to my goal of completing a 6 month trek across the country, I want to raise $10,000 for this wonderful charity. Thanks to the generous support of my current employer, Backcountry.com we’re 25% of the way. I need your help to get us across the finish line. You can make a difference by donating here.
My plan is to chronicle my journey by regularly updating this blog. I promise to take you to some amazing places, let you share in my ups and downs, and allow you the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped some truly needy and deserving kids. All of the money raised will go directly to CBI as I will be completely funding my trip. So that’s it. Simple, right? I mean other than hiking 20+ miles every day for six months. For those of you that want to skip out on my long winded explanation of why I’m doing this, feel free to stop reading here. But please, take a look at CBI’s website. Together we can make a difference, one child at a time.
“… why would you do something so crazy?”
First and foremost, I love hiking, traveling and just about anything else that gets me out of the city. Growing up in Utah, I’ve been fortunate enough to have amazing places to hike, bike, ski, slackline, camp, climb, etc., etc. all around me. I’ve also been blessed with an amazing group of friends that love the outdoors and are willing and able to travel with me around this amazing planet. Here’s a couple pics from our recent trek from Salkantay to Macchu Picchu in Peru. So the opportunity to travel in the backcountry while seeing amazing places for six months was a no-brainer.
“… but why for charity?”
To understand this, I need to give you some background about me. I had what can be described as a troubled childhood. In fact, if it wasn’t for some amazing people in my life, I’d probably be dead, in prison, or living on the streets. To those that made this difference, know that you are my angels. I owe you a life debt I can never fully repay. Thank you and I love you. As a result of their love and kindness, I feel an obligation to give back to society, to improve the lives of others as much as others have improved mine.
I decided that in order to maximize my impact on society, I needed more education. In 2012 I graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Mathematics. I chose to pursue a career in biostatistics thinking it would provide a platform I could use to contribute to society. The thought of giving back by helping to stamp out diseases was extremely appealing. So I went back to school, and in 2014, I graduated from Harvard University with an M.S. in Biostatistics. Unfortunately, along the way I discovered I didn’t have a passion for medical research. I loved math, I loved statistics, but I didn’t enjoy learning the biology of genetics, cancer, or infectious diseases. I opted for an alternative career.
After graduate school, I accepted my current position as a marketing data analyst with Backcountry.com. An awesome place to work (and shop), full of amazing colleagues that push me to be better both at work and at home. Despite having a great life, I felt partially unsatisfied primarily due to my inability to make a meaningful difference in other people’s lives. Don’t get me wrong, selling a customer the perfect snowboard can make for an epic day and create memories that last a lifetime, however it’s slightly different than helping cure a disease or prevent an epidemic.
To me, this hike is more than just taking time off to pursue a passion. It’s a chance to give back. A chance to decide how I want to live my life. A chance to set new goals and strategize on how to achieve them. It’s also a chance to pursue something I love, because life’s far too short not to. I’m reminded of a quote I read on thetrek.co
“You know what…Maybe I am crazy. Because I do choose to live in the mountains. Because I do opt to poop in the woods. Sometimes I walk through the rain. And lightning. And hail. (That’s my shower) Go ahead, judge me. Because if being “normal” means going to bed early, so I can wake up early, to go to a job that I don’t like, to do work that lacks purpose, to pay the bills for things that I don’t need and to do this… week after week month after month year after year until death approaches, and to wonder if I had ever truly lived… I’ll choose crazy every time.”
So who am I? I like to think I have a good sense of humor, I’m fiercely loyal, and I’ll bend over backwards to help other people up until the point I feel they are taking advantage of me. I’m stubborn, boy am I stubborn. I’m a smartass…love to joke. A colleague described me as the Gilfoyle of the company, a reference to my sarcasm and inability to sugarcoat my thoughts. I love to have a good time but just as importantly I love when others are having a good time. I’m competitive…I hate to lose…at anything…or anyone…ever. I’m typically a very private person, which is partially why it’s taken me 3 months to write 1 entry. I’m going to try to share as much of my experience as possible. However, I imagine/hope there will be a diverse audience reading these posts. There will also be potential employers/colleagues (if you’re in need of a data analyst/data scientist in the Fall ‘17, feel free to contact me), family, people of different religious or political views, etc. My goal is not to alienate anyone. That being said, the views expressed in this blog are solely my own and may not represent the views of companies/organizations where I’ve worked/volunteered. I look forward to taking you on my next adventure. I plan to have at least a few other entries prior to my departure covering topics, like preparation, gear, etc. You can also follow me on Instagram at dtucker_hikes.
Finally, a huge shout out to Dave White and Abraam Sant. Both are amazing web developers who made this site possible. Dave thank you for creating, hosting and pushing me to get you material for this site. Abe thank you for helping me clean up the look and preventing me from going down an endless rabbit hole. I consider you both brothers and I look forward to our next adventure. Much love. If any of you need web related services, I highly recommend you contact Dave here or Abe here.
P.S. A couple excellent films that provide great insight about the PCT. The first is 5 minutes and brings me to near tears every time I watch (the anticipation is killing me). The second an hour and a half and also worth watching if you want to understand more about the PCT. Both are exceptional.
P.S.S. Bear with me on these early entries as I’m having trouble getting good preparation photos. I promise amazing photos are coming…