I'm from Roanoke City, Virginia and was born in the closing months of the 70s.
The number 1 song in America when I was born was, "Ring My Bell." So from time to time I'll be asking for more cow bell. I created ASTC.
My roots come from Dickenson County and Franklin County, Virginia.
I have been a lot of things over the decades.
Tiger Major Colonel
Highlander Sailor Grizzly Bear
I was very fortunate to have been born after V-J Day 1945 on planet Earth. My luck continued when I was born on a highly developed country on the North American continent. On a global scale, many of my peers never made it past 5 years of age, or learned to read. So, I'm grateful for the hard work my ancestors put in which has allowed me to have a very educated and soft life. Because of my plush life, everyday I do things to harden my body and mind to prevent myself form becoming doughy, thus preserving the legacy of my elders.
The events that really started leading me towards creating ASTC, LLC happened in early 2013.
I had just 9 months left on my 6 year enlistment in the World's Finest Navy and I was looking at ways to travel. I was looking at vehicles and then I remembered that I could ride a motorcycle (it had been 15 years), and after some research I liked the minimalist foot print it offered. Faster than a bicycle, more accessible than a car.
The following year, I bought a brand new Suzuki DR650 to go travel North America. I decided to stay in the lower 48 states. From Jan-Nov, I went on three trips and traveled to many states and put over 23,000 miles on my new motorcycle. During these travels I become more interested in tourism.
In late 2014 I learned of the Mt. Adams Institute which is partnered with AmeriCorps. They were doing a Military Veteran internship for a 10.5 month program with the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, and the Virginia Regional Office of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
The internship lasted from May 2015-March 2016. I was able to learn the fundamentals of trail work, and learn more about national resource use and collaboration.
I also became a life time member of the Mt. Rogers Appalachian Trail Club.
In 2016 I moved to Abingdon, VA.
In 2017 after putting in some applications for tourism in the area and failing to get a job, I decided to use my ace in the hole, the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Before using the generous benefits I went to the very friendly Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon and paid out of pocket for some prerequisites in business.
It is always good to network with new people and learn from different perspectives, so in the Spring of 2018 I moved out west to attend the pride of Montana, the University of Montana (UM). My first stop was Helena where I joined the Montana Conservation Corps for the summer. This was a great primer to better understand the region, and it allowed me to give back through community service, which is a Guiding Principle of ASTC.
The Fall Semester of 2018 I enrolled in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, and studied Parks Tourism and Recreation Management. I also studied nonprofit administration and business, because of my interest in economic development in Appalachia.
This two year period in Montana was very good to me because it helped me gain humility due to the heavy interpersonal activity and self reflection.
In the summer of 2020, I completed a 400 hour internship with the Clinch Ranger District of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests. I completed trail asset inventory on nearly all of the trails and inputted the data on a software program. During the long hikes, I decided to become a social entrepreneur.
In December of 2020 I earned my BS in Recreation Management: Parks, Tourism & Rec Management, MAGNA CUM LAUDE.
Please consider going to the Travis Stanley Introduction sub-forum to ask me any questions.
Thanks again for visiting.
Appalachia Sustainable Tourism Collaboration, LLC.