Every Fall, my parents would load up our family's farm truck and take my sister and I on a long weekend of camping in the Great Smoky Mountains. In the back of the truck on an old mattress, my sister and I would play games and tell each other secrets during the long drive. Once we'd arrive in the Smokies, we'd find a campground, set up our tent, and start a fire. That evening would begin the most exciting weekend of the year for me. Our weekend would be full of hiking, falling on our butts in mountain creeks, and eating in small family-run diners. We'd laugh a lot and my sister and I would scream a lot, convinced that our dad was going to drive off the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Those weekends are some of the fondest memories of my childhood, being surrounded by family and nature.

Now that I'm an adult and live far away from my family's farm, I find myself longing to recreate those memories as often as I can, but living in a big city like New York can make it difficult to enjoy nature in the same way I did as a kid. Instead of a barn of my favorite animals, I now have Starbucks and dive bars. Instead of a pasture full of grazing cattle, I now have dog parks and playgrounds.

Don't get me wrong, I love New York with a passion that's difficult to put into words, but it's difficult to feel close to nature while living in here.

It's been my mission the past few years to get out of the city as often as possible and fully enjoy this magnificent world we live in. That means taking my first trip to Europe, spending time in Mexico and finally learning why beaches are a thing people love (long story on why I hated them for so long), and going on day hikes upstate. I was surprised at how many beautiful trails are a two-hour train ride away from the city. I also trekked 34 miles through the Icelandic highlands. What can I say? I commit.

After rediscovering my love of being one with nature, I can't imagine thinking back on my childhood and not having those amazing weekends in the Smokies.

When I started Lucky Beard, it wasn't just to throw another beard oil product into the marketplace. I wanted to find a way to give back to this beautiful world that has done so much for all of us. 

I wanted to make sure that every person has the same opportunities to create amazing memories that include nature as I do. Before I even designed the first label, I knew that giving to charity would be the main goal of this little venture of mine. I chose the National Park Foundation because of it's stellar legacy and the truly great work it does as the official charitable partner of the National Park Service.

You can learn more about the National Park Foundation by visiting the following link: https://www.nationalparks.org/