My name is Ryan Brown but, if you see me on trail, call me Kodak. I am a traveller and adventurer exploring the world by human power. My first journey was in 2012. I cycled the Great Allegheny Passage where I met the most wonderful people. They introduced me to a world I did not know existed. They introduced the Dirtbag Lifestyle. They also inspired me to dream big. I returned home, quit my job, and rode 2,000 miles to Bar Harbor, Maine.
With a healthy dose of adventure coursing through my veins, I continued dreaming. Back in Pittsburgh, I cut expenses. I moved into a run-down house, a squat complete with a composting toilet in the basement and a manure pile in the backyard next to the chickens. This allowed me to spend 2013 saving money for the next adventure: cycling the America's.
In 2014, a train transported me west where I began a 7,000 mile bike tour from Canada to El Salvador. The journey lasted for ten months when an almost-kidnapping and then illness (giardiasis) sent me back to Pittsburgh to recover. I intended to ride to Panama. At least for stage one. Stage two was initially reserved for South America.
In 2015, I moved into an equipment trailer at our shop. I had a mattress on the floor and an extension cord powering my phone and a lightbulb. I worked my ass off over the summer saving money for that second stage. But then, I hesitated. After the intensity of Mexico and Central America, I wasn't quite ready to leave the states. So, I decided to go for a long walk in the woods.
On March 9th, 2016, I began hiking north from Amicalola Falls in Georgia on the Appalachian Trail. This journey was so fun and amazing that I did not want it to end. I internalized the saying, "Last one to Katahdin wins," spending the entire hiking season, nearly eight months, on trail. I summited Katahdin on October 22nd. I was not the last, but I was damn close. A few people summited the next day in dangerous conditions, ice and snow.
I spent November and December of 2016 in Pittsburgh with my family before setting out again. A train dropped me in San Diego, Ca with a fat-tired bike loaded for adventure. I met a large group of fellow cyclists at a camp just before the border. Then, on January 3rd, 2017, I crossed with them into Baja California, Mexico where I spent the next two months riding dirt and sandy roads through the mountains and along the coastlines of the peninsula. I hitchhiked back north into the USA where a train took me home.
After three months of work, I was on another train headed west once more. This time, I carried a backpack prepped for the Pacific Crest Trail. The journey began July 4th, 2017 and ended early after running into a state on fire. When I crossed into Cascade Locks and Oregon, hundreds of the best miles were closed due to fire. Northern California was on fire too. So, I changed plans. I drove a friends van south to Bishop, California and hiked an off-trail route through the Sierra's, the Kings Canyon High Basin Route.
I went to work in Oregon in late September. I worked for two months then travelled to San Francisco to visit a friend. A train again across the country put me in Pittsburgh for the holidays. I am here now working on a book. Soon, I'll be riding south along the Southern Highlands Traverse to Alabama.
Why?! Because I was an anxious, depressed wreck prior. I was not happy and living an unfulfilling life. These trips changed everything. I am no longer a slave to anxiety; although, I feel it will always be with me. The difference is, now I know how to live with it. When I feel anxious, I go to the gym. I breathe. Or I go for a walk. If it's real bad, which is rare these days, maybe I'll lie in bed with the knowledge that it will soon pass. The biggest difference is I no longer wish to die. Now, I want to live and as fully as possible. I travel to be changed. I travel to learn. I travel for the story and experience.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy.