“There’s no market for that in Ohio,” is a comment I once received when I told someone that I was pursuing outdoor adventure photography. He was referring to the fact that Ohio doesn’t have 14ers, oceans, or desert canyons. His idea of outdoor adventure jumped to one, simple stereotype: extreme adventure done by extremely fit athletes with years of training and a Red Bull sponsorship.
So sure…maybe Ohio isn’t featured as much in that narrow definition.
But having grown up here, I’ve seen and felt the strength and vigor that lives in the heart of Ohio adventurers, and it doesn’t require extremism to thrive. In fact, extremism is not only a small part of what makes up an adventure, but is entirely relative to the adventurer herself. All adventure, big or small, is a multi-faceted journey: the decision to go, to train, and to plan are all key parts, but perhaps nothing is more pivotal to a damn good adventure than the community you share it with.
Here in Ohio, there are plenty of people who embody the full spectrum of what it means to embrace a life of adventure, and our community seems to grow more and more by the day. Now our community can grow even faster thanks to the efforts of two of my personal favorite Ohio adventurers: adventure entrepreneurs Hannah Kelling and Josh Scott, founders of the new adventure startup called The Cleveland Outpost.
Hannah is the beautiful soul with whom I shared 100 full days WWOOFing and backpacking through New Zealand (a story for another time!), and her partner Josh through-hiked the Appalachian Trail around the same time. But truthfully, those formative experiences are just the tip of the iceberg for these two. Their adventurous spirits are fed by their pursuit of adventure in their daily life, right here in Ohio.
Their perspective on adventure doesn’t stop at the adventure itself, but instead is an embodiment of personal strength and resilience, drive, community support, and connection with others and with the planet. These are all pieces of every adventure, no matter how small.
The Cleveland Outpost
Hannah and Josh believe that adventure is for everyone, and they are paving the way for adventurers and aspiring-adventurers in Ohio by opening a used outdoor gear exchange in Rocky River called The Cleveland Outpost, where they will not only sell high-quality, affordable gear, but they will offer expert workshops and guided trips. Their primary focus is on building the outdoor community in Northeast Ohio, sustainability, and accessibility.
As young adventurers themselves, they’ve faced the challenges of high-priced retail gear, unsustainable industry practices, and the seemingly endless gap between them and the adventures they want to be having. It’s a relatable struggle and one that we all understand far too well – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
In addition to their brick and mortar opening up this summer, Hannah and Josh are spreading their insight on adventure and its impact on their lives through a Spotify podcast called The Cleveland Outpost Podcast. So far you can hear about Josh’s formative through-hike of the Appalachian Trail as well as Hannah’s tale of our 100 day trip through New Zealand. It’s an incredibly strong first two episodes that left me in awe and, yes, a few tears, as they recount the sense of self they felt during their adventures but seemed to lose after returning home, only to find it again through pursuing adventure in their daily life right here in (you guessed it) Ohio.
You can find their business at www.clevelandoutpost.com, on Instagram @TheClevelandOutpost, and on Facebook at “The Cleveland Outpost”. You can also find Hannah on Instagram @third.of.three, and Josh @gadgethikes.
I am so psyched to be friends with these badass trailblazers who are challenging narrow perceptions of what makes an adventure and an adventurer. Although they will undoubtedly see their fair share of 14ers, oceans, and desert canyons, they know that a good adventure is made up of much more than that, and can be found in your own backyard. Through community-building and increasing the accessibility and sustainability of an adventurous lifestyle in Ohio, they are going to alter the stereotype of adventure.