Filmmaker | Photographer | Pasta Lover | Do more than just exist
This friendship started after I saw a video on Instagram posing the question ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’ The great music, narration and notion of pushing yourself to new levels and experiencing life to the fullest really drew me in. I was hooked and wanted more of this amazing content and storytelling. So naturally, I slid into his DMs to ask if he would be interested in an interview and to discuss his love of the outdoors and exploration…the rest is history. The stage is yours, Nick!
What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field?
I currently work as a freelance photographer and filmmaker. I got started in filmmaking when I was about 14. My friends and I would just film our summers or fun adventures we went on and I’d put together the edits of these trips. As I got older, I knew I definitely wanted to do something video related. So after high school I attended Gonzaga University and received my bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and electronic media, as well as a minor in journalism. After that I spent a year working in Italy as a tour guide and photographer/videographer. When I came back to Seattle I got a job as the head of post production of for a video production house in Seattle. I did that for year and worked on some really fun commercial work. But while working at this job I continued to do freelance video and photography on the side. After a year of basically working two jobs I was finally able to make the switch and focus on freelancing full time. And that’s what I do now!
When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?
I can’t really pinpoint a specific time in my life when I first started enjoying the outdoors. The outdoors have always been a big part of my life. However if I had to attribute my love for the outdoors I would attribute it to my Dad. He always brought my brother and I on hikes when we were kids. As I got older I always was outdoors. I spent a lot of time building bike jumps with my friends, wakeboarding and cruising around trails near our house in Tacoma. The outdoors were always (will always be) a huge part of who I am.
What is your favorite place to explore?
My favorite place to explore as of right now would have to be Peru. I was just there for about three weeks on a backpacking trip and had a blast exploring Cusco and the surrounding area. It’s such an interesting culture and has some insanely beautiful landscapes.
How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?
I believe 12. I would love to see them all someday! But for now, my next trips planned around the US are to Utah and New York! If I had to pick a favorite state I’d have to go with Washington state. You’ve got incredible forests, the coast and some of the best hiking in the world. I am little biased since I grew up here, but there aren’t many places that offer so much to someone who loves the outdoors.
How many countries, where?
I’ve been to 25 countries spanning across Europe, Asia and South America. I really started doing a lot of traveling a few years back when I worked as a tour guide in Italy. During that time I was traveling every weekend to a different country. It was a wild year, but a huge year of growth for me, especially in terms of shooting. After working there for a year I decided to do some personal traveling. My first stop was to Africa for a brief span, and then moved on to Thailand for a month. It was an incredible experience and I made some of the best memories of my life during that time.
Best hike you have ever had?
Definitely the Ausangante trek in the Peruvian Andes. This was a four day, 43 mile backpacking trip that circles Ausangante mountain. We were hiking upwards of 10 miles everyday at around 15,000 ft. It was killer, but I’ve never felt more accomplished than I did after that hike.
Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.
For summer hikes I always like to bring a camelback. The quick access to water while on the trail makes it so much easier to keep going and take less breaks. For winter hikes I always try and think about layers. Bring a good jacket but you don’t want to be overheating and sweating in the cold. That’s even worse. And then for both summer and winter make sure you have the proper shoes. This can make or break a hike in my opinion.
Most comical hike/adventure story?
I did a hike a few years back with some friends and we really underestimated how much water we needed to bring as well as how much food we would need. It was a hot summer day and the four of us split three water bottles while hiking about 9 miles. After reaching the peak we opened the bags and realized that we only packed a few protein bars and salt and vinegar chips for lunch. At the time it was miserable, but looking back on that day always makes me laugh.
Scariest hike/adventure story?
A few years ago my friend and I were on a small island off the coast of Thailand. We hiked up to a small bay known as “shark point”. While swimming there we got caught in a huge monsoon. We had swam pretty far out from the island and the storm came out of nowhere. By the time we realized what was happening the swells quickly grew above our head and we could barely see what direction we needed to swim in. After about 20 minutes of some of the scariest swimming of my life we ended up back on shore, exhausted — but alive.
Upcoming trips planned?
Hopefully Iceland in the fall and then possible Nepal later this year!
Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local?
I’m a huge fan of Patagonia products. I love what their brand stands for and how they treat their customers. I especially love their mission statement, “At Patagonia, we appreciate that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. We aim to use the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations—to do something about it”. I love that approach and think that’s something we can all strive to do. I’m from the Seattle area and one of my new favorite outdoor brands that just started is Joe Chocolate Company. They sponsor different hikers through the “Dirtbag sponsorship” and make some of the best trail chocolate in the game! They’re a great brand with a great message and one that I fully support.
What does conservation mean to you?
For me conservation means doing your part to make sure you’re not adding to the problem. This mean we all need to step up and do our part to make sure we aren’t leaving this planet worse off than we found it. Something I’ve really tried to focus on is using less plastic. There’s so much plastic waste in our oceans its absolutely crazy. And if we keep living our lives the way we do it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Doing our part to use less plastic in our daily lives is one way that I think can really make a positive change.
What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever?
Keeping our parks clean is something we should all be advocates for. That means packing out whatever trash you bring into the parks or picking up trash that you find there. Our parks are one of the greatest things that we have in America and it’s our responsibility to keep them around for future generations to see.
Follow My Tracks: @Gtcarden
Nick, thank you so much for your inspiring content and positive outlook on life. Your stories, use of the internet to spread your stoke, and an unwavering passion for exploration truly inspires not just myself, but anyone who comes into contact with any of your content. Look forward to meeting you someday, lets get a trip planned, Cheers to more adventure!