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The path to an adventurous life seems straightforward: Crush at an outdoor sport; amass a legion of followers who drool at your hero shots on Instagram; host TED talks exhorting people to live their best life, brah. But there is another way: the way of the Wilderness Idiot. Author Ted Alvarez built a career and an outdoor lifestyle by simply not being smart enough to say no to things that will probably kill him, or at least embarrass him severely. From nearly drowning in pro kayak races to hallucinating on solo trips across bear-and-bug-infested wildernesses, his work exists to show that the outsider Everywoman and -man can have the spotlight. In a series of hilarious and insightful essays, Alvarez shows that you don’t need to shred sick lines to find adventure—you just have to embrace the blank spots beyond your comfort zone. That way lies self-knowledge, soul-quieting confidence, and the soul of wilderness. More than most, Alvarez knows outsiders belong outside—and he wants to welcome them into the tribe. The Wilderness Idiot airlifts readers to the world’s most remote places (in reality and in the mind) and make them feel so at home they’ll start dreaming about adventures of their own.
Ted Alvarez is BACKPACKER magazine’s Northwest Editor and was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2014. Whether chasing grizzly bears in the North Cascades, fording an icy Alaska river, or drinking his own urine in the desert, he regularly goes to extreme lengths in pursuit of a good story. He lives in Seattle, Washington, where he survives on heroic doses of strong coffee.