The Story Behind THE WANDER TREES
By: Amber McDermid
It was October 2014, when my whole life changed. I moved to Asheville, NC just after spending 4 months thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. At the time, the plan was to return to the trail in the Spring. I spent the days of winter exploring a new life of locals while working at one of the town's favorite outfitters. We were settling in quite well to the colorful and spirited town. My husband, Stacey immediately started thriving in selling outdoor gear, there were new friendships and traditions, and I even re-opened my ETSY shop, Opal and Wonder. Yet, through all these exciting things, I was growing dissatisfied.
IT WASN'T LONG before I REALIZED JUST HOW MUCH THE TRAIL INTENSIFIED MY HUNGER TO WANDER.
Deep inside, I wanted more; to see more, learn more, feel more, give more … have you ever felt this thrill? I was itching to get back out in the woods and praying for Spring to come fast. Eventually, Stacey and I started crunching numbers. We wondered if it was financially possible to continue our hike earlier than planned. However, our plans changed (like they usually do) after we were blessed with an insane opportunity. An offer had been placed on our table to travel all over, working as reps for some of our favorite outdoor brands! Considering everything, it was a tough decision, but we ultimately decided that Springer Mountain was just going to have to wait . . . hey, the trail isn't going anywhere, right?
THIS IS WHERE THE WANDER TREES IS BORN.
Like many other thru-hikers, as I walked along the trail, I often dreamt about my next adventure. I thought about backpacking Europe, thru-hiking the PCT, and grew extremely interested in building a tiny house. However, with each thought that crossed my mind, there was always one thing I felt I needed to chase first, and that was growing a business. The idea of living on the road and weaving business into adventure has filled my bucket-list, daydreams, journal pages, and deep hopes for a long time now. After Stacey took the job as a travel-rep, I knew that this could very well be my open-door.
I HAVE ALWAYS HAD A PROBLEM WITH SITTING STILL.
I still create from a place of child-like wonder and fascination. This time, it all started with the plan of expanding Opal and Wonder into a mobile shop; however, God, the originator of new things, had bigger plans. Day after day, He continues to be the creative Artist behind The Wander Trees by strategically placing pieces and people in my path to collaborate with and learn from. Caught by surprise, my mobile shop vision was turned into a community. There was nothing left to do but connect more dots and edit the business plan all to launch a Nomadic Artist Collective! So, here I am; here we are. Draw from your spirit's well! Set the creative free!
-Amber McDermid, Founder and Creative Director