How did you become interested in activism?
Before I hiked the Keystone XL, I felt some responsibility to try to do something about climate change. I wanted it to be original and unique to my interests. When I got the idea to walk the whole pipeline route, I thought that such a journey would combine my interests in hiking and writing. I think we all need to think about what we're good at and what we're drawn to and try to apply it to addressing our various environmental problems.
What was the best and worst part of your Keystone XL hike?
The best part was seeing something most people never get to see. The Great Plains were stunning and beautiful and because it's all private property, I felt like I had this big old beautiful landscape all to myself. The worst part was eating the same thing every day. And the dogs. I got chased by dogs every day in Oklahoma.
And the most surprising?
I was surprised to see so much kindness and generosity from complete strangers. I had to rely on these lonely prairie homesteads for water. I oftentimes got invited in for dinner and offered a place to sleep.
What was the most significant thing you learned about America during the Keystone XL hike?
That, boy, there are a lot of kind people out there and that, wow, there's a lot of propaganda contributing to climate change denial.
Where did your love of traveling come from?
I'm not sure it's love because travel for me often involves discomfort, culture shock, frozen hands or lots of mosquitoes. But I like what I get out of travel. It's stimulating, thought-provoking, and challenging. A good journey makes you grow a bit.
What do you hope people will take away from your trips, writing, and lectures?
I hope people will ask themselves what they could do for climate justice. And I hope people will challenge themselves to pursue their own adventures.