Bryan Snyder grew up exploring the rolling hills and shady creeks of upstate New York. A year abroad in Scotland, filled with hitchhiking adventures in the highlands and journeys to ruined castles convinced him that he needed to find employment outdoors. So after college, Bryan taught natural science to young students at various environmental schools from Maine to Hawaii before settling on the West Coast.
Through practice, Bryan learned how to find renegade campsites and travel on a limited budget, which enabled a series of summertime odysseys in the Rocky Mountains. His email newsletter detailing various close encounters with cliffs, storms and wildlife led to an opportunity to write a summer column, “Off The Map”, in Chenango County, New York’s Evening Sun newspaper.
One decade later, Bryan continues to tempt fate in the thorniest of natural landscapes. Compilations of his adventures can be purchased at Amazon.com. Additional photos, trail descriptions, maps and contact information may be found at www.facebook.com/offthemapbooks.
The author currently resides in Santa Barbara, California.
What I Do
What I Do
I write about what can go wrong in the wilderness. If I could spend a peaceful week contemplating the restorative qualities of nature, I would probably write about that. But I can scarcely step foot into the wild without cliffs, storms or wild animals appearing to complicate my travels. You write what you know.
My passion is for mountaintops and unique geographic landscapes, like the white sands of New Mexico, the slot canyons of Utah, and the tousled contours of the Northern Rockies – the places that can be found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, while exploring these places, I tend to push the boundaries of how far I can go, how high I can climb, how much daylight I have left, and so forth. This unconscious habit makes for good stories, but it’s terrible for my health.
I think part of me likes to operate without complete control of my surroundings. It’s a nice change from our normal lives, which have been shorn of physical risk. And within this space of danger and uncertainty, something magical has a chance to arise. I can experience things no human has experienced before… gaze upon vistas that no human has ever seen, just because I’m on the side of a cliff when the sun goes down instead of back at the trailhead where I’m supposed to be.
In the era of smartphone maps and satellite imagery, it’s hard to find undiscovered territory. I call my series “Off The Map”, even though you can’t really go off maps in a literal sense anymore. Digital maps are infinite. But you can still find ways to step into the unknown, and that’s the space from which I write my stories.
When I return from the wilderness and share my tales of recklessness and wonder, I hope they will inspire others to take risks… not necessarily physical risks… but risks that lead them past the edge of their comfort zones, into the realms where magic and mystery still reside.