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Get to know your guide: Nick Tilley

Heya! My name is Nick, and I’m one of the fortunate few lucky enough to call themselves Adventure Guides with Fit4Adventure. How did I get to be so lucky?

Well, it’s funny how things work out…

I was born in St. Louis, MO, and remain a Midwesterner at heart. I went to college in Chicago, and in an effort to escape the harsh Chicago winter embarked on a Study Abroad program in Australia during my 3rd year at Northwestern.

Fast-forward 7 years, and that opportunity presented itself. Having graduated and started a job with a surgical equipment company, I came to a cross-roads in my life. I knew it was one of those ‘now-or-never’ moments, one that would shape my life and who I was to become. That idea captivated me, so I jumped. I quit my job to follow my heart on an Adventure into the unknown. I planned a 2-year trip around the world, bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand and haven't looked back since.

A lot has happened since boarding that flight in 2007… I lived in New Zealand for a year, Australia for a year, spent months in between backpacking through Southeast Asia, China and Nepal. I traveled through 11 different countries over the course of 3+ months in Africa. Returning to the US in 2010, extended trips through South America and Europe followed. With that came the development of my Adventure Travel website (www.BackpackU.com). I started writing adventure and outdoor-related articles for local publications. I began guiding canoe and kayak trips on the Mississippi, Missouri and other waterways around St. Louis.

To ‘feed the habit’, I took a part-time job at REI in St. Louis. There, I met another adventure addict- a friendly chap named Joe Dann. I noticed Joe would disappear for weeks at a time, always returning with stories of the adventure he had just been on. Between boot fittings and sleeping bag sales, we shared stories and talked travel. One day, Joe introduced me to Diane while on a hike here in Missouri- the rest is history.

As I said- it’s funny how things work out…

I love being part of the F4A Team- for lots of reasons- but primarily because it allows me to do what I do best- educate, encourage and empower others to pursue their own dreams of travel and adventure. I get to be ME- the planner, the promoter, the advisor, the encourager- all the roles in which I thrive.

For me, travel and Adventure are so much more than checking things off a list or accumulating stamps in a passport. Travel and Adventure are about the experience- the perspective gained by getting ‘outside the box’ and learning about the world, the people and the cultures around us is invaluable. LIVING life- that’s what travel and Finding the Adventure mean to me.

Of course, there is the bonus of getting to plan epic adventures to incredible places and sharing those places with those who join us on Fit4Adventure trips. When someone forms a bond with a place, they know it, they feel it, and they want to protect it. In a world where such places and experiences are rapidly disappearing, this gives me hope- hope that future generations may be able to experience the same kind of wonder and awe that I was blessed to experience during my Adventure here on Earth. That is reward enough.

So, that’s me- a little about who I am and what makes me tick. I believe that Life itself is an Adventure, and I’m so thankful that Fit4Adventure is a big part of my story.

It’s funny how things work out… I wouldn't have it any other way.

2021 F4A Trips: Spring Katy Trail Ride (May), Run Wild in Alaska (June/July), Colorado High Mountain Adventure (August), Tour du Mont Blanc (Sept), Fall Foliage Katy Trail Ride (Oct), Big Bend Nat’l Park (Nov)

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