Each month, on Tuesdays, I hope to write about someone in my life, in history, or otherwise who has influenced me, inspired me, or challenged me in some way (maybe all three!). To start off this blog's first round of monthly entries, I've chosen my brother, Joshua Stacy!
Growing up with Josh, we both attended a Quaker wilderness camp in the summers. Josh fell in love with hiking and dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT). After he graduated from college and moved to California to work at Exploring New Horizons he heard from high school and college friends of their experiences hiking the AT. It took a while for timing and life to arrange themselves for Josh to embark on his own adventure, but in 2012 the dream came true. In his own words, Josh wrote:
"As a Baltimore native I spent my childhood summers exploring the ancient hills of Maryland and Virginia, falling deeply in love with the earth. My curiosity was piqued in new ways and creativity took on a whole new meaning. I learned about the magic of tiny salamanders and expansive vistas. I learned the power of silence and the beauty of intentional community.
Since my summer as a wide-eyed ten year old attending Camp Catoctin, the lust for exploration has only strengthened. Whether it’s hiking Vermont’s Long Trail, playing the cello and touring extensively throughout the country, or working as an outdoor educator these past 13 years, the goal is always the same: a search for deeper connection with people and the earth. In 2012 I hiked all 2,184 miles of the Appalachian Trail. There is no greater teacher than the land and people are at their best when they find this connection. The more we feel connected to people or a place the better we will take care them."
Since then, Josh has also hiked the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and plans on hiking the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), 3,100 miles along the Rocky Mountains. He has been welcomed into a community of hikers and environmentalists who source their passion from their connection to the land. Its been amazing to see my brother come alive through his travels and through opportunities like interviews, urban through hikes, and gear testing.
In one of his latest blog posts, he shares his "ingredients for meaningful challenge and adventure:
1. Attempt something you've never done before. Set goals and intentions. 2. Stay open to connecting with the land no matter what the environment. 3. Talk to the people you encounter and learn their stories. 4. Embrace uncertainty and impermanence. 5. Accept the moment for what it is without judgement. 6. Try to stay as positive and authentic as possible. 7. Remind yourself that "beauty is everywhere."
While Josh and I lead very different lives and source our passions and leadings from different interpretations of Spirit and God, his sense of place and his trust in the inter-connectivity and beauty of life is so incredibly inspiring. Josh's ingredients are pieces of wisdom for us all, regardless of tradition or theological language; they speak to a deep sense of reverence and authenticity. Thank you my dear brother for your witness!