I am the guy whose before and after images went viral after hiking 2000 miles. A whole lot has happened since and I have more stories, a thing to give away, and a burning desire to answer your questions, so AMA!
I posted them the same night I got home from hiking the Appalachian Trail, a 2000 mile footpath from Georgia to Maine. The journey took me 153 days and changed my life. Before I did that I was a consultant for a software company. When I tried to go back, it didn't work.
For five months my alarm clock was birds. I felt the sun, wind and rain on my face every day. Switching back to right angles and deadlines gave me genuine panic attacks.
I spent the following 11 months exhausting my savings and racking up debt so I could go back into the woods and work it out on paper. I took a small tablet and bluetooth keyboard into the forest closest to home and lived by waterfalls and streams again, this time putting it down in a way that makes sense, not just to hikers.
But... What I also wanted to do, was entertain. Too many hiking books are written diary style. Day 42: 18 miles. Oatmeal again. No one wants to read that.
Where's the Next Shelter? is what I brought back from the woods. It's nonfiction but reads like a novel. I've been told it's funny which is good because I meant it to be. Imagine how I'd feel otherwise. It's thought provoking, full of surprises, and most importantly, for the rest of August 6th, it's FREE.
By some miracle, enough people who weren't my mom liked it and now I get to hike and write full time. I live in the woods (literally, my house is in a forest now) and I get to work with the trail and all the wonderful people who surround it.
I teach for REI, moderate /r/AppalachianTrail, sit on the board of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, I've recorded an audio book, and have recently been telling stories for NPR's The Moth.
This is the happiest and busiest I've been since quitting my office job! One might even say I'm obsessed with the outdoors. If you're wondering how someone goes from being kinda normal to throwing it all away to go live outside, you're in luck. That's what my current book is about.
Home is Forward tells the story of my comedic descent into madness. It starts in boot camp, the first time I ever slept in a tent and takes us through jungles, over tundra and on top of glaciers. It's even a bit of a love story, too. Gross.
So thanks for looking. I've got tons of stories and plenty of opinions, and I'm ready to go. Whatcha got?
EDIT: You guys. Did we just sit here for 9 hours? No wonder my back hurts. I need to go for a walk... No wait. Bed.
This was amazing. Almost ten thousand free books went out this weekend, most of which happened today, here. I hope at least six or eight of you liked it enough to leave a review when you're done, because you just made Where's the Next Shelter? the #10 free ebook on ALL OF AMAZON. Holy shit, reddit, THANK YOU!!!