Alec is a landscape photographer and outdoors storyteller with a zeal for pushing boundaries in the wild. He enjoys hiking, backpacking, and visiting remote places, allowing him to photograph locations from which the rest of the world shies away. In addition, Alec loves to write about his travels and craft articles that help educate and inspire others to find their joy in nature.
Alec has always been outdoorsy as he grew up hiking and visiting our unique National Parks with his parents and brother. But his connection to nature and our wild places took on a greater meaning in the winter of 2018/2019 when he was diagnosed with cancer, and those opportunities to explore were thrown into flux.
Since then, he decided to start living his values and passions, turning a hobby of photography and writing into a career. By embracing each moment and finding new places to adventure, he hopes to show off the beauty of planet Earth and bring more people into the environmental movement to protect our greatest treasures.
He resides in Seattle with his girlfriend, spending weekends hiking, playing tennis, and enjoying moments with friends and family.
Photography Website: www.AlecSillsTrauschPhotography.com
Travel Writing: www.ExplorewithAlec.com
What are your areas of Outdoor Communication?
I have two main avenues where I show off my work. The first is on my website, where I discuss gear, hiking/backpacking, travel, and photography. Secondly, I do the same topics on social media, where I’ve grown a following of over 100,000 outdoor enthusiasts across various networks. It’s been fun to use new and old avenues to educate and inspire others to find joy outside.
What drew you to the field?
I’ve always been a writer since high school newspaper and enjoy having an outlet to write my thoughts and help shape public opinion (even if it’s just a simple trail report). Words have been used for centuries to pass along knowledge to new generations, and while only 31, I love being able to educate and inform those entering the outdoors-sphere.
What enticed you to join OWAA?
Ha! Chez posted enough times about it in BaseCamp, and I pulled the trigger after a while. I wanted to be in a group where I could learn from others, network, find opportunities, and grow. Things have gone pretty well so far!
What is your favorite outdoor activity, and how did you get into it? (An anecdote would be great here!)
Hiking and backpacking (along with my camera) are definitely my favorite outdoor activities. My parents dragged us out as kids, and I did the same thing once I got older. Backpacking allows me to experience places most of the world will never get to see with their own eyes, making photos of it the only way to share untouched landscapes. By showing off these pristine destinations, I hope to get more people into the environmental movement to protect our shrinking ecosystems.
What are you currently working on?
After all these years of writing on my website, I’m finally learning SEO and reoptimizing my past articles. The first half of this year has been quieter than usual, recovering from my second battle against cancer, which required a stem cell transplant. So, I figured, why not work on something that will hopefully have a positive effect in 3-8 months? But once summer arrives, I have jobs with tourism boards where I’ll be showing off destinations across my social media accounts. I’m excited to get back to doing photography and traveling!
What have you gained from the organization?
Well, I got to experience Ireland, which was a fantastic trip. I’ve also had the chance to pen a couple of articles from organizations I’ve reached out to in this group and will be working with an OWAA member tourism board this summer.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone thinking of joining OWAA?
You have to put in the effort to see results. There are many members, but people aren’t just going to hand you gigs or assignments. I’m still finding new people to contact almost two years later.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you find yourself in Seattle, give a holler! (But good chances I’ll be somewhere in the mountains if it is sunny and 75!)
Photo by Alec Sills-Trausch
OWAA provides resources to help our members flourish as outdoor communicators and establish themselves as industry leaders. We create opportunities to make valuable industry and personal connections, sharpen professional skills, showcase work and gain access to in-demand educational resources and mentorship opportunities. Individual member benefits include:
“I’ve been in a number of writer groups — travel writers, baseball writers, pro football writers, motorsports writers — and so far OWAA is far, far better than all of them in terms of welcoming, declaring and pursuing its mission, etc.”
– Matt Crossman