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    As a 20-something outdoorsman, adventure writer, and photographer, I'm inspired by people like Sir Edmund Hillary,  Ansel Adams, and Amelia Earhart, but I find my mantra from the chorus of rapper Childish Gambino’s intro track, “Outside" on his 2012 debut album “Camp." The chorus goes “ there’s a world if we can visit if we go outside, if we follow the road....”

    Cruising around in Grayson County
    As a military brat and avid traveler, the roads I have traversed have exposed me to life where I have seen a fair share of the world's natural beauty. These experiences led me to pursue a lifestyle that captures the visual tempo of the Earth's beautiful people, vistas, and sights.

    My arrival in rural Kentucky in 2010 to attend Campbellsville University, an institution located 80 miles from a major metropolitan area, made me instantly realize Kentucky was underrated in regards to ecotourism/natural tourism. Kentucky is world renowned for bourbon, bluegrass, and basketball; while places like Gatlinburg,  Yosemite, & Sequoia National Forest are celebrated as the ish for outdoorsy people. Our state has so many beautiful destinations like Green River Lake, Knob State Forest, Red River Gorge, The Breaks, The Mammoth Cave System, The Pinnacles , the Kentucky State Park system, waterfalls, and countless natural wonders that should be on every adventurer's radar.

    For me, Kentucky is a land of over 120 counties with over 55,000 miles of waterways, over 1,000 miles of trails, countless number of historical sites, cultural experiences and with over 4.5 million people to experience it with.. a true treasure trove for exploration. When I moved to Louisville this past June; having never lived in a metropolitan area, I immediately noticed that for many Louisvillians the concept of “outside“ may involve a jog through the park or a visit down to the Riverfront, social outings revolved around a club, or some kind of concert venue that involves loud music, tight spaces, and hordes of people.


    I noticed so many Louisvillians were unaware of the beautiful areas their home state offered, and it seemed I was an anomaly in a city of hundreds of thousands. However, in the past few months Explore Kentucky, (the visual/social movement I created as a senior at Campbelsville University to inspire nomadic exploration of Kentucky) hit a zenith.  I noticed EK’s social media accounts climb into the  double digits of activity, with 11k followers on Instagram and over 48k photos of amazing Kentucky adventures being shared. Interestingly enough, Louisvillians started reaching out to me via explorekentucky.org's  email, my Twitter, and Instagram about following EK’s journeys and desiring to go chase waterfalls, discover abandoned train bridges, and to find “dope trip ideas”. I was humbled and I knew what I had to do. I sought out the folks at Louisville.com to see if they would allow me to serve as an Ambassador for the open road, for the trail, for the paddle, for the climb, and for the pitching of a tent; they graciously agreed.

    Did you know that I-264, I-71, I- 64, and other local roads can lead you to Jefferson County’s very own 62 foot waterfall, Fairmont Falls? You could venture out further and discover the Red River Gorge National Ecological area, the 3rd most popular place in the world to climb. You could hop on a SUP board and navigate the Floyds Fork. Perhaps you don’t know where to go and need a starting point; that is where I come in. Starting next week, join me weekly on Louisville.com, as I share visuals paired with a trip idea or guide that will encourage  you to channel your inner Indiana Jones and experience the Kentuckiana region from the “Outside” perspective.

     


     

    Gerry Seavo James's picture

    About Gerry Seavo James

    Gerry James is a visual story-teller, adventure photographer/ writer & is the founder of Explore Kentucky, a movement created to inspire nomadic exploration of Kentucky's wonderful land. Check out the adventures of Gerry and his team at GerrySeavo.com & ExploreKentucky.org

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