“Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world … These discoveries are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.” – Roman Payne
While we are deeply rooted, we refuse to have a life defined by possessions. Instead, we want to live intentionally – to be rich with experiences. We are grateful for nights filled with food, drink, music, and laughter; counting ourselves incredibly lucky to love and be loved by many.
We enjoy calling the “mitten” our home and are proudly a blend of West and East side. We appreciate this states’ “roll up the sleeves” attitude and the value placed on craft. It shows us the payoff that determination and hard work brings.
As often as we can, we go outdoors. Spending time in nature resets us, offering up clarity and peace. It brings us closer to our God who guides us, sustains us, and provides hope. It makes it abundantly clear that we are all connected and have value – reminding us to treat others with respect, care, and grace.
Together we dream of living simply, a life focused on purpose over prosperity. For now, that purpose is to hike 2,190 miles. There are lessons to be learned on this journey. But in order to do so, we must take the first step and wander.
An engineer in civilian life and a crew chief in the Air National Guard, Ben loves systems. When he’s not building spreadsheets or preflighting jets, he has a camera in his hand. His work has even been published in the Smithsonian Air & Space magazine. Obviously, Ben loves aircraft. If something is flying above, you bet he’s stopped to identify it. Ben also loves backpacking. As their “tech guy”, Ben’s responsibility is to thoroughly research equipment. So if something doesn’t work well, let’s blame him. During a hard day on the trail, he also tends to be the motivator – something Kate doesn’t seem to fully appreciate in the battle of the moment. Finally, Ben lovingly takes on the role of “web breaker”. Meaning he hikes first. If there’s a web across the trail, he’s the one to break it.
With her degree in photography, Kate has been photographing professionally since 2009. Her work has been published multiple times in Dogs Unleashed magazine. She loves the way photography connects the past to the soon-to-be future. Kate has also spent the last two and a half years working at their church, an incredible experience that has helped to ground and prepare Kate as she planned for the trail. Kate loves food and takes the role as the camp cook, attempting to be creative given the limited resources. What role won’t she have on the trail? Navigator. Despite her best efforts, Kate has no sense of direction. She does, however, make a darn good tracker and will often point out interesting things to Ben.