Adventure School is a resource for you, run by me, Chris Allen. I’m here to teach you valuable skills and knowledge to get you out living life in the wild enjoying outdoor adventures of all kinds – but why do I do it?
Who is Chris Allen?
AND HOW DOES HE KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF?
I’m a family guy in my thirties who grew up in Utah on a healthy diet of outdoor adventure. I’ve done just about everything out there and have gained a whole wealth of skills and knowledge along the way.
One of my greatest joys in life comes from sharing the outdoors with others. I find life outdoors to be healing, relaxing, awe inspiring, and just plain fun!
The first significant outdoor adventure I can remember was a backpacking trip with my dad and brothers in a remote wilderness area. I remember the feelings of amazement at the grandeur and beauty of it all and the strength and confidence I felt after conquering what we set out to conquer. The trip involved route finding, braving bad weather, finding wild food and clean water, and many other skills. It was enlivening and left me wanting more.
I’ve since lived decades of adventures all over the world and plan to continue to be a student of nature and all manner of adventure craft. I also want to teach others to enjoy nature the way I do. I thrive on the energy I draw from my time outdoors – I’m a bit of an adventure addict!
A story of healing through nature
I’ve always been drawn to the wild, but a crucible event in my life has created a deep and poignant connection between me and all things wild and natural. This story started not long after I had graduated from college and moved my family across the country to start a new career at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. Life was great. I was getting in my groove out in Minnesota and finding good mountain bike trails and hiking trails through the hardwood forests. I loved how verdant the landscape was all the time. My adventures soon came to a halt as I fell ill with a mysterious illness that left me largely bed-ridden. I needed a cane and a wheelchair to get around and I really couldn’t do much more than walk from the bed to the couch. I just happened to be at the best place in the world for medical mysteries, but even the experts at Mayo couldn’t figure me out. Eighteen months past and I was still sick. My life had largely been taken from me and I was mostly resigned to a life of doing little more than staring out the window at and dreaming of all the adventures that I still had left to live. My identity and purpose had largely been taken from me and I came near the point of giving up on life altogether, but I never lost the hope and faith I had that I would somehow regain my health.
At long last, I miraculously found the root of my medical mystery and after getting on the right medication, I was up and walking around the block within a week and running a mile within a month!
It. Was. An. Absolute. Miracle!
I had spent so many months dreaming of being better and being able to do little but lay in bed and stare at the wall and writhe in pain being unable to sleep more than a few hours at a time that I cannot begin to describe the excitement and energy that I felt. I had huge goals at this point. I was going to not only get my life back by recovering my health, but I was never going to take my health and energy for granted again.
I set my sights on some lofty fitness goals and began putting my still weak and flabby body through some serious work. I decided I was going to race in and complete the Xterra offroad triathlon National Championship course at Snowbasin Utah. I swam and biked and ran mile after mile working toward my goal and it felt so good!
After about a year and a half of training, I felt ready. I signed up and showed up on race morning ready to roll. That day was an absolute dream come true as I reflected back on the many months I spend dead in bed.
I felt alive again!
This race marked not only a high point in my physical healing and recovery process, but also a huge milestone along my mental and emotional recovery process. My life had been taken away, but I was able to fight, work, and struggle to get it back.
It’s been many years since that long dark chapter of my life, but ever since I recovered, I’ve vowed to never take my life for granted and to use every day to the fullest. The way I do that is to turn to nature because that’s where I feel most alive and most fulfilled.
No feeling can match that of freely roaming the planet without anything holding you back. That’s the feeling I get when I’m flying down a trail on my bike or navigating my way to the summit of a mountain peak or into the depths of a dark cave. It’s these moments when I’m exploring the natural world that I truly feel alive and it’s these moments that I feel most fulfilled.
My mission with Adventure School is to share the passion and the connection I have with nature with everyone else. I want to give the incredible gift it is to be confident and safe in the outdoors to those who lack the skill, experience, and knowledge to enjoy the wild right now.