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Click on each ambassador below to know more about their story!
Ryan & Kelsey
Cara & Steph
We're on a mission to connect with like-minded outdoors enthusiasts from around the world. Together we can inspire more people to get out into nature, keep their roots, and ultimately be the best version of themselves. Ready to work with us? Fill out the form below and our team will reach out to you.
Outdoorsman & Photographer
I grew up in a small town in Southern Alabama. My family would go on vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year. Those trips were my introduction to the mountains and introduced me to lots of things that I still hold dear. In college I spent summers working in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Those summers cemented my love of the mountains and it’s simply not possible to overstate how important they are to who I am today.
Photography, hiking/backpacking, and mountain biking are my hobbies and passions. Another big theme in my life the last few years is striving to find a balance between living as simply as I can while still having all I need to live comfortably. In the coming years I hope to continue to grow as a photographer as well as an outdoorsman, while striving to leave as small of a footprint behind as possible.
In 2012 I chose to leave behind my career and home state to live full time in the mountains. Starting over from scratch in your thirties is a scary thing to do, but I have no regrets. Life isn’t perfect, but the past 5 years have been some of the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever known.
Traveler, Adventurer, Photographer, Kayaker
Puget Sound, Washington
I grew up in Chicago and didn't travel much further than the midwestern US I was growing up in, but I always had a strong interest in traveling the world and getting out in nature... so when I was 18 I started sailing professionally and never looked back! I love ecology, environmental science, and sailing, so I like to combine those interests by leading eco-tourism and scientific research expeditions on boats around the world. I love inspiring a meaningful connection between people and the wilderness, showing people that they can get out and explore too, and helping foster a deeper appreciation and respect for nature in others.
One of the scariest, hardest, and most important things we have to do in life is to be true to ourselves despite what everyone else wants, thinks, or expects of us. The most important choices I've made in my life-- choices that have led me to live and work on 5 continents, sail across oceans, and do things I didn't know were possible-- have required me to stay rooted in my sense of who I am and who I want to become.
Mountain Runner & Wrangler
West Little Rock, Arkansas
I grew up mostly in Arkansas where the mountains aren’t monsters but the local trail running community is about as ‘down home’ as it gets. I lived on the outskirts of West Little Rock where the city met the woods. Endless hours spent riding 4 wheelers and exploring the local trails and hills eventually turned into a passion for moving fast on these trails on foot. I also owe a lot of my love for mountain running to a small local hill known as “Pinnacle Mountain”. It’s only like .7 miles up and 700 ft of elevation gain, but it always kicks the body into gear if you hustle with beautiful views of the surrounding rivers and hills.
The thing that really set fire to my passion for my trail running roots was a through hike path known as the Ouachita Trail. This ran from Central Arkansas all the way into Oklahoma for about 223 miles, and I would start to run segments of it starting right in my backyard, getting further and further out deep into the rural Arkansas backwoods.
Im passionate about light and fast self powered movement through inspiring places, while always striving to push my body and mind to new places. The less weighted down I am, the quicker I can move, but sometimes the greater risk of putting myself in a bad situation without the appropriate gear is there too. I find the most authentic experiences are those where you border on this fine line, accept the risk, and trust your fitness and experience to get you through potential danger.
To me, “ keep your roots” speaks to knowing what most satisfies and fulfills you in life and figuring out ways to fill the majority of your time doing those things. It’s about ignoring certain external pressures and really honing in on what makes you feel the most “you”. Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living and so I say examine the hell out of your life to structure it in a way that most aligns with your passions.
Traveler, Mountain Lover, Free Spirit
Navarrese Pyrenees, Spain
I would describe myself as a person who likes to be free. I do not like being told what to do; what I cannot do, how I should behave... or feel tied to a place. I like to be able to say I'm going there, I am doing this, I sing without hesitation, I say what I feel, I smile, I follow my heart.
Every time I feel that I need that freedom, I go to the mountain. It's where I feel like my authentic self. And I do not like the easy ones either. If I feel that I have entered into a routine, I become restless again; no matter how well I'm doing, so I create new challenges. Among those that stand out are traveling. I have been living 6 months in the United States and I have traveled a lot thanks to all of the new people I've met and connected with. I'm a restless ass.
I come from a village of 7 inhabitants of the Navarrese Pyrenees (Spain). My father has lots of animals: cows, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, horses, chickens, pigs. So, I think that sense of freedom I have now, I have felt since childhood. My desire to know, experience, and explore more also comes from that. I never last 365 days in my town, but I know I will always come back to it and him too. When I'm there, I love that tranquility of knowing that I am surrounded by mountains. Because I love traveling, I always say that I am from so many places that I no longer know what my site is. I feel that I could call Boulder, Colorado home and I have not lived there.
I love the mountains. Snow. The good moments. Dancing, running, climbing, and descending mountains. And above all, trying new things, learning a new language, and meeting new people. Overall I just love spreading love and warmth!!
I relate to the motto Keep Your Roots, because, I always remain faithful to what I think, but with the possibility of changing and improving in values, which is connected to the daring aspect. You will never see me say that there is an absolute truth (except that wine and Coca-Cola together is the best ally), but, really, I am always willing to discover and discover myself with every step I take. Also, I've always been a little black sheep in my house, so I'm used to being true to what I feel and think. When a person knows me, he always says the same thing: Teresa is fire, she is free!!
I grew up in northeast USA and I now live in Florida. So we are talking cities and sea level... But I now prefer nature and mountains!
So I grew up in a loving Italian American family. As a kid, I had big dreams of traveling the World. I remember family dinner together being a mandatory occurrence. My parents often stressed the importance of hard work and setting goals. Another frequent topic in our household was education and making my family generation greater than the last. Throughout my teen years and into my early twenties, I focused on education, which was only concluded by being admitted to the practice of law.
Now everyone has some form of personal struggle, but my own occurred when my father was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Through conversations with my father, I began to realize that despite my successes, I had not really truly discovered myself. It wasn't until a dinner conversation amongst family and friends that my father told us all "Omnia Mea Mecum Porto," that I truly understood. The idea being material possessions will always come and go but knowledge and life experiences are the things that we will always carry with us. In that moment, I remembered exactly where I came from and the very next day my adventure travel journey began.
Like most lawyers, I am very competitive. When I travel, I am always looking for the most difficult challenges and once you start completing a few of those challenges it gets harder and harder to top the last. I like to say the only difference between those other lawyers and I is that I am competing with a mountain rather than a golf course. In the past few years, I have begun embracing my dual identity, sort of a Clark Kent/Superman juxtaposition. A few times a year, I get to trade in my briefcase for a backpack. But the same is true for both, I am still the same person and I am still carrying the exact same things with me. In the past year, one of my goals has been to inspire working professionals to travel. That it is possible to balance a successful career and see the World.
I choose to balance career and travel. It's nearly impossible anymore to find a travel blog or even an Instagram page where a person is balancing both a professional career and traveling the World. Generally, travel is often considered an "all or nothing" concept wherein these individuals are constantly traveling the world, promoting hotels and other products, and influencing others to believe that travel is a full-time job in and of itself. It definitely doesn't have to be. I am not a "live for the weekend" type of person nor will I ever view travel as a relaxing vacation. I believe in living life to the fullest and since career and travel are both substantial parts of my life, I have never considered walking away from either.
I was born and raised in Portland, or where my family still lives. A through and through urban girl. I spent the past 5 years in Corvallis studying Digital Communications, until I made the decision to drop out of my senior year of college. Beginning of my senior year I met this guy one night at one of the local bars during their Wednesday night pint night. We spent the whole evening chatting, and I fell pretty quickly for him. He was a climbing instructor, white water rafting guide and mountain climbing enthusiast. His passion for the outdoors got me curious. It took about 3 weeks of knowing each other, and he had me outdoors on a rock wall climbing a 5.9 as my first climb, and I did it (though it wasn't pretty). I continued to immerse myself in all the sports he loved and they quickly became sports I love.
Continuing to attend college I was no longer feeling fulfilled living in Corvallis and decided to postpone a degree when an opportunity to move to Bend, OR presented itself. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to pack up my bags, hop in the car and start a new adventure where the mountains and rivers are conveniently located.
Having moved to Bend I'm finally in a place that has me feeling ignited again. I'm motivated to pursue my passions of writing and photography, and I'm currently saving up to buy a bus so my pups, man and I can travel all around the U.S. One of my favorite photos is of my grandad and it's him, my Grammy, their two dogs, four kids and two birds all packed into a VW Bus as they were getting ready to travel across the U.S. My grandad had his banjo, cowboy hat and pipe tobacco in the picture, and it's always just resonated with me. That nomadic lifestyle whether they were in the car or on their sailboat has always been a goal of mine.
I've really connected with Rooted Shade and this brands motto because constantly pushing myself to move forward and out of my comfort zone in order to pursue my true passions has brought so much happiness into my life. Having this attitude of "do more" is incredibly challenging and rewarding all at the same time.
Mountain Biker, Photographer, Skier
I grew up in Victoria, BC and have lived on the island my whole life. I've been riding bikes ever since I was little and began to mountain bike when I was about 9. Along with riding my bike, I have also been skiing since I was very young. Living on the island has allowed me to practice both of my passions all year round! On my 13th birthday I remember getting my first camera, it was a Kodak point and shoot camera that had the ability to do both photos and videos. I brought that camera everywhere with me and my interest in photography started to grow fast, soon after I started to grow a little more of a camera collection. I owe who I am today to the beautiful place I've grown up in and the outdoor opportunities surrounding me, I'll be forever outside with my camera!
I have always been extremely passionate about mountain biking and currently, my main goal is to get back into racing downhill this year and see where I could go with it. My love for photography has grown with the sports and activities I do. I would really like to start printing photos and sharing more of my work, the idea of photography becoming a side job sounds amazing to me!
I was lucky to find my passions when I was young and I've always stuck to them. I always try to stay true to the things I love and I like to push my self to achieve every goal that comes my way within those activities. I believe I relate to Keep Your Roots because even 30 years down the road from now I'll still be me, doing what I love.
Hiker & Adventurer
Appalachian Mountains, Maryland
I am a hiker/adventurer, who also loves to ski during the winter. I was raised in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland, but have lived in many different states. Wide open spaces like the mountains have always been an attraction for me which ultimately led me to move to Colorado!
I am passionate about the outdoors and love hiking, backpacking, and all types of camping whether it’s in a tent, car, or RV! If it gets me closer to nature, I’m happy! I relate to the Rooted Shade motto because just being in the mountains makes it easier for me to let go of all the small worries life throws my way. I am my true self in those moments.
Ryan & Kelsey
Rochester, NY & Philadelphia
We both grew up on a few acres in the woods, so we both have a deep affinity for spending time on the trail amongst the trees. Ryan spent a lot of time going to the beaches of New Jersey and has surfed since he was 10 years old. His deep love for the sea was passed down from his Dad, who also loves to surf, and his grandfather.
We're passionate about living out our dreams and not letting "life" get in the way of the things that truly matter. We also try to live as sustainably as possible with regards to our environmental impact and our own personal spending and consumption. Consuming less and adventuring more is what we're all about. It's a motto that we've lived out the past two years as we've sailed around the world.
We keep our roots by standing for something regardless of the opinion of the majority. We could easily default to being a stereotypical travel vlog or sailing series that glorifies travel and doesn't actually help its viewers in accomplishing their own dreams outside of providing inspiration. But for us, we're sharing our journey so others can see it and say if these two can do it - so can I. Then we try our best to educate our viewers on how we are able to travel full-time and how it all comes down to how we choose to spend our money.
Cara & Steph
Multidisciplinary Artists, Adventurous Travelers, and Avid Thrill Seekers
New York, NY
We grew up with a combination of fast passed creative city life, and frequent upstate escapes for ski trips and to be out in nature. We never had the opportunity to travel during our childhood, often feeling like we were in a NYC bubble, wondering what else was out there. That feeling of wonder and that childhood wish for freedom is what drives us to explore the world and go on trips every chance we get. Feeling free will always be our motivation.
We are passionate about changing the way people view life and help break the boundaries of what holds them back. Through travel, photography, videos, and art, we strive to inspire others to live there best life, go after their passions, and stay authentic to themselves.
We have an insatiable appetite for experiencing cultures around the world while embracing our differences and connecting on our similarities. We hope that sharing our travel stories will help broaden our community's view about certain places and people, challenge prejudice perspectives, and create a feeling of familiarity and respect between different cultures.
We feel that Rooted Shade's motto connects deeply with our goals and passions. Travel helps you discover new aspects about yourself and become more conscious about the planet and people around the world. It makes you more daring and adventurous, and sparks that moment when you say, "I feel Alive."
Traveler, Adventurer, Video-Enthusiast
Salt Lake City, UT
My family and I are originally from the UK, but moved to the US when I was young. As a kid, I got to travel to and from the UK once a year and that planted the seeds for my passion for traveling.
I love living life the best I can. I travel full-time taking groups to different countries. I love exploring and seeing parts of the world less visited. No matter where I travel I always love coming home. Whether that is Salt Lake City Utah, or England I always make sure I spend enough time at home. Some of the most beautiful adventures are in your backyard.
Skier, Coach, Photographer
My roots are in a small mountain village, called Hafling, in Northern Italy. At the age of 2 I started skiing. My dream was always to become a professional ski racer. I had the opportunity to travel a lot, to see a lot of different places and also to win the Italian national championship. Unfortunately after anfew injuries I had to quit last year.
I needed to find new goals and new challenges so I started to work as a coach for the team I was previously training with. What makes it so special is that we have athletes from 9 different nations, who are skiing on the highest level. While traveling and being on skis almost every day is a dream come true, coming home is always special. It's not just the place, it's the feeling you have. Family, friends, the mountains; that’s my roots. Being surrounded by nature helps to keep me grounded, which is why I have recently picked up landscape photography over the past year.
You should follow your dreams, set goals to achieve them, and sometimes make the impossible possible. At the same time you should never forget where your from and where your roots are. In hard or even beautiful moments I think your roots can give you a lot of power. These shades are not just shades to me.Every time I see them they remind me of those things.
Adventure Enthusiast, Outdoor Photographer, & Avid Hiker
Saint George, Utah
I am a small town girl through in through grew up in the mountains of Arizona, spent some time living at the Grand Canyon as a young girl. My whole family is big on being outdoors, so no matter where I am the outdoors is home. I am passionate about everyone being outdoors, having less screen time, and enjoying real relationships in the beautiful world God created for us.
I think the easiest way to find yourself is to get outside yourself, do things outdoors that cause you to reflect on your dreams and passions. When you are outside you don't have to worry about how perfect your hair is or how many followers you have. You get to be your raw self and challenge yourself to new heights!
Unconventional traveler, Sailor, Explorer
Pacific Northwest, USA
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest enjoying the outdoors and the natural world. After my first trip abroad, all I wanted to do was to explore every inch of this big, beautiful planet. Instead of buying a house, my partner and I learned to sail, bought a boat and are now off exploring the world!
My passion lies in the ocean, the natural world, and how we are all connected to it. One of my goals while sailing is to connect with the local people and places beyond the standard tourist sights. I want to learn about the local communities, their relationship to where they live and share my experience.
My journey is deeply connected to my small floating home, life on a sailboat is stripped down and simple and I only have space for the most essential parts of living. Staying true to my goal of exploring other cultures helps me to constantly refocus on my simple lifestyle, which depends on sustainability and self-reliance, as well as interaction with local communities.
Girly-Girl Adventurer & Big-City Hick
I've always considered myself a girly-girl adventurer, big-city hick, as who am I today is all encompassing of where I've come from, where I've been and where I'm going. I'm the kind of girl that lives for the thrill of beating the sun to the top of a mountain, but still loves to flip through fashion magazines while waiting to board a plane.
Whenever I'm asked where I'm from, I usually say small-town PA, because at this point, I'm a Johnny Cash song-- I've been everywhere. I grew up just outside of Harrisburg, Pennsyltuckey (Pennsylvania, but if you heard my accent, you may think I grew up somewhere between Alabama and Louisiana). And I figured that if I didn't take the opportunity to leave when I did (college), I'd probably find myself still there today. But the coolest thing about me, isn't anything I've seen or done, but rather my trusty sidekick, Tutshi (too / chi), which means deep or dark, as on the surface, nothing is ever as it seems; she's my daily reminder to seek adventure and make the most of life.
So Tutshi, combined with my adventurous spirit, my passion for life, the desire to see the world and the ability to connect with others have all equally contributed to how I live my life. I find that pursuing things that make me happy lead to a better understanding of my purpose and I hope that in my efforts to find my own fulfillment, that maybe I can inspire others along the way.
I find that when I take time to really be aware (present in the moment), when I go after things that seem impossible, and when I stand firm in my beliefs and core values, I feel most alive, and I think that makes it so easy to stand by the Rooted Shade brand and its motto, "Keep Your Roots".
Actor, Producer, Athlete
Los Angeles, California
My roots are in Toronto (dual Canadian/American citizen), but have lived in 5 countries and 4 states; Canada, Germany, USA, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Georgia, Ohio, Indiana and California.
I grew up around all types of people and I think that's one reason I love LA so much; there are so many different types of people, languages and cultures all over this city.
My passion is movie magic. I love bringing stories to life through film. And my current goal is the completion of two films I'm producing this year, and long term goal is to produce a TV show.
What really echoes with me is Rooted Shade's motto, Keep Your Roots. No matter where you go in the world, it's important to remember where you came from. For me, that's not necessarily one place. My roots are my family and the morals and values they instilled in me. Although you're always growing and learning, it's important to remain authentic and grounded.
Adventurer, Roller Blader, Photographer, Dog-lover
Hermosa Beach, CA
I grew up in the North East Kingdom, which is a small section in North East Vermont. Now I live in Hermosa Beach, California. When I first moved to LA I had never even visited. I stepped off the plane with two suitcases in hand and my dog. I ubered to my Airbnb in Hollywood, where I was working. But once I found Hermosa Beach, I knew I had to live here (most likely forever!).
I'm very passionate about photography. I hope to travel the world and take pictures that people love. I want to make this world more beautiful by sharing my art, which ironically is all about showcasing our beautiful planet. This beautiful world deserves to be taken care of better, which is why I volunteer to help preserve it. My first environmental goal is to make Hermosa Beach #gostrawless. Then, I hope to make us go completely plastic-free. On a larger scale, I work with the Progression Foundation where we are educating our youth on issues on topics from animal captivity to trophy hunting and going #PlasticFree!
To me, Keep Your Roots reminds me of how I grew up in a small town in Vermont and how, especially out here in Hermosa Beach, it makes me who I am. It's something I'm proud of.
Peakbagger, Traveler, Skier
I was born and raised in Ohio, where I was an avid sailor on Lake Erie and loved all things on the water (kayaking, jet skiing, snorkeling, etc.). But I also went on ski trips to Colorado every year with my family, and by the time I was a teenager, I had already skied about half of the ski resorts in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Those memories of my time in the mountains led me to eventually move to Colorado in search of a new pace of life.
I'm passionate about pushing myself physically, which is why I've been on a mission to summit as many 14ers as I can. I had set a goal of 20, which I recently reached, but I'm going to keep that number climbing. I also am hoping to visit many or all of Colorado's most iconic places (and have been planning road trips and backpacking adventures accordingly), as well as the national parks of the West. I'm seeing and doing as much as I can pack into a week or weekend.
My roots have shaped me into the person I am today and taught me to live simply, to be resilient, to be curious, and to not take precious time for granted. Living a semi-nomadic life on a sailboat prepared me for living a semi-nomadic life as a dirtbag in a tent or a ski bum sleeping in my car. For me, honoring my roots keeps me centered and makes me appreciate how far I've come in life and as a well-rounded person.
Photographer, Nature lover, Adventure seeker, Vegan
České Budějovice, Czech Republic
I am from The Czech Republic where I was born and grew up. I am from the south part of the country where we have beautiful mountains and the Sumava National Park.
I spent almost my whole childhood running through the forest, swimming in the lakes, and going for small hikes with a scout group. My mum was teaching me about the plants, how to recognize them, and what uses each of them have. But then I went to a university for school and didn't have much time to go out and explore. That is until I found the love of my life and husband, Huy.
We decided to go abroad together. Since then we lived a year in Ireland, 6 months in Malta, and over a year in New Zealand. We're now back home for a few months planning our adventure in Canada since we got our one-year working holiday visa! I just can't wait to get into the Canadian wilderness and explore in an entirely different environment. Hopefully, we get the chance to visit California on our USA road trip after spending a year in Canada!
Besides traveling, my passion is photography. I have been shooting since I was a child, but I started to focus more on sharpening my skills in this field about two years ago. Getting better is a continuous and never-ending journey; I love the limitless nature of it and setting higher and higher goals for myself! My main dream is to become a destination wedding photographer and I am constantly working to get my skills to that level.
When I first heard the motto, Keep Your Roots, I immediately knew that it was the motto I wanted to share with others. To me it means to stay true to myself, never play tricks on myself, and to go out and explore the world, while at the same time staying loyal to my home country. To care about our planet because mother nature is the one who gave us life and all those beautiful spots that we can explore. To be as conscious as I can be and to live with the motto: reduce, reuse, recycle. To leave as small of a footprint on the planet and all the creatures living here with us. Lastly, to always be kind to others.
Photographer, Adventurer, Dogmom
I'm originally from southern California, but I spent my childhood growing up in Hawaii. Those 8 years definitely shaped the person I am today, and my love for the outdoors. After moving back to SoCal I knew I wanted to someday move to the PNW, so ten years later my boyfriend (now husband) packed our car and moved to Washington state.
I am passionate about the outdoors and pushing myself creatively. Every week, no matter what crazy thing life throws at me, I set a goal to spend a day outdoors. Wether it's hiking or just exploring a new park with my dog. It keeps me sane and brings so much joy to my life. The same goes with trying to do something creative, photography is usually my go to outlet, and my dog Cricket is my daily inspiration.
It's so easy to get caught up in the Social Media game, “Keep Your Roots“ really stood out to me. I have always tried to keep my work authentic and true to myself, I put out post and photographs that inspire me and make me happy. I think that's the only thing that should really matter. I recognized that in Rooted Shade’s motto, and that's what really drew me into the brand.
Skier, Climber, Mountain Biker, Hiker, Adventurer
Crowsnest Pass, Alberta
I grew up in Southern Alberta! I spent most of my childhood adventuring around Waterton National Park, Beauvias Lake Provincial Park, and the Crowsnest Pass. I am lucky enough to call the Crowsnest Pass home now. It’s a small mountain town on the Alberta/BC boarder. I am most passionate about my time spent outdoors!! My current goals are tackling some new lead climbs and some black diamond biking trails! The Rooted Shade motto is exactly what I live by! I stay true to myself by always taking time for myself. My “me” time is always best spent outdoors. Whether that’s a short hike after work, or and weekend out camping and climbing!
Hiker, Traveler, Photographer, Full Time Camper-Life
New Orleans, LA
I was raised on the bayous of Louisiana. I will always call New Orleans my home. Those southern Oak roots run deep 😉. After law school, I opened my firm and began to travel full time in my camper.
I've lost a lot of people very close to me in the past few years. It's made me passionate about living. The young losses I've experienced makes me realize that no one is promised tomorrow. That is a lot of the reason we gave up the "American Dream" to live life out on the road. I'd like to think I'm passionate about life because I've experienced so much death. Nature is my biggest passion. In nature, I've learned a lot about life, but most importantly I've learned to heal.
"Keep your Roots" resignates with me in a couple ways. First of all, I've traveled all over the world, making friends everywhere I go. But, everyone I've met knows how much I love New Orleans. I can't help but talk about my love for the people, the culture, the food, and the football everywhere I go to anyone who will listen. I love that small town big city. It was one of the hardest things to give up for this nomadic lifestyle.
I also relate to the "Keep your Roots" lifestyle in another way. I like to think with my lifestyle change, I've learned so much about myself. I used to think the "American Dream" is what meant you were successful. But I've had that dream as a reality, and to be honest it seemed more like a nightmare. Everyone thought I was crazy to leave that life for this one. But, I think the true mark of success is putting your happiness first and staying true to yourself.
Traveler & Photographer
My roots are in Spain. I think consistent hard work has been the most important attitude in my life. It has given me a career and the opportunity to travel around the world.
Traveling is hands down my passion. Almost everything I do and work for is to enable my nomadic lifestyle and explore places I’ve never been before.
I always try to focus on a goal (like the next place on my list to travel to) and I work incredibly hard to achieve it. When I travel, I am always conscious about minimizing my impact on the environment and leaving it better than I found it. That's why, when I travel I do my best to take care of the places I'm visiting while discovering new cultures and countries.