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Meet Zach Davis of The Trek in Golden

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zach Davis.

Zach, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2010, despite having a good life on paper, I was deeply depressed and in need of a major change. In 2011, with no backpacking experience whatsoever, I set out to hike the all 2,181-miles of the Appalachian Trail. In late 2011, I accomplished this goal. In 2012, I published “Appalachian Trials”, a guide to psychologically preparing oneself for this half year backpacking trip. In 2014, I quit my job and started my own company “Appalachian Trials LLC” a website geared toward long-distance backpackers. In 2015, we rebranded to The Trek, which has grown to become one of the most popular backpacking media brands in the world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Anything but. I’ve made just about every mistake in the book. It took two years (and eating through 95% of my savings) before the company became financially feasible.

I started the company primarily out of desperation to vacate my previous job without any idea of how to earn enough revenue to keep the business afloat. Without enough money in savings, moving home to live with my parents, or being willing to eat a Thanksgiving-sized portion of humble pie, failure would’ve been the inevitable outcome.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Trek is a media company geared specifically toward long-distance backpackers. We are a website, youtube channel, and collection of podcasts that inform, educate, and celebrate the bizarre world of cross-country backpacking treks and thru-hiking. For clarity’s sake- we define a thru-hike as hiking either the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail (or any trail of similar length) from end to end. Typically this takes somewhere in the range of a half year.

The website features two primary categories of contributors. We have more than 300 active long-distance backpackers writing about the ins and outs of their lives on the trail. We also have dozens of former thru-hikers who share their best practices, advice, and reviews on gear. TheTrek.co is a one-stop shop for anyone looking to dive into the world of long-distance backpacking.

We also produce a series of podcasts. Our flagship show, Backpacker Radio, features interviews with some of the most prominent personalities in the world of backpacking and adventuring. Trail Correspondents is a podcast that features updates from a couple of dozen hikers taking on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.

What separates us from our competition is the same thing that I’m most proud of as a company. We walk the talk. The site’s founder, Managing Editor, lead developer, social media guru, podcast hosts, and hundreds of our contributors are all thru-hikers. The content is authentic because our team is deeply passionate about the subject of long-distance backpacking.

What were you like growing up?
I was not outdoorsy whatsoever. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago and my idea of a good day was playing video games and watching the Chicago Bulls. It might go without saying, but I was a fat kid.

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