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Here’s the Wild Idea

Stacy’s Wild Idea: To experience places he and others served in war through outdoor adventures, overcome addiction and use adventure (and humor) for good.

“You might have to create the world you want to live in. If you have a vision and no one is doing it, you’ve got to create it.” – Stacy Bare

Not many of my interviews start with a story about getting kidnapped that are also comedic. But at six-foot-seven with an even bigger personality, Stacy Bare is not your average guy or storyteller.

He received a Bronze Star for his time spent serving in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, but struggled with depression, addiction and even contemplated suicide when he returned home from war. When a friend introduced him to rock climbing, however, the course of his life changed forever. Soon after, Stacy created Veterans’ Expeditions and Adventure Not War, taking vets outside and even back to the places they experienced war from the perspective of someone enjoying the outdoors. In 2014, he was named the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, a well-deserved title.

Currently the director of The Sierra Club Outdoors, the National Director of Programming and Operations at The Phoenix, as well as a brand champion at The North Face, he’s a sought after speaker and presenter with stories about him everywhere from Men’s Journal to Outside Magazine, and for good reason.

On this episode we talk about war, the power of the outdoors, how to start a movement, climbing with Alex Honnold, skiing in Iraq, addiction, and so much more.

This episode is dedicated to Ann Krcik, an executive at The North Face, and a mentor of Stacy’s, who helped paved the way for many women (and men) in the outdoor industry.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You or someone you know is a veteran.
  • You’ve ever survived a trauma.
  • You want to start a movement.
  • You love getting other people outside.
  • You want to laugh at a funny man telling a great story.

Key Takeaways

  • 2:20 – How and why Stacy was kidnapped.
  • 5:20 – How Stacy got his sense of humor.
  • 7:40 – Why Stacy joined the military.
  • 9:10 – What Stacy did after the army and why he started using drugs.
  • 12:10 – How Stacy found rock climbing and how it changed his life.
  • 17:15 –  Why Stacy decided to start an organization getting vets outside.
  • 24:25 – Why Stacy believes that the outdoors can save people and it can inspire peace.
  • 26:20 – Why he wondered what it would be like to go back to Iraq as a tourist.
  • 28:50 – How going back to Iraq helped Stacy heal.
  • 32:25 – Stacy’s advice to start a movement and make a difference.
  • 35:35 – How learning about other people dealing with fear can help you deal with your own.
  • 39:50 – What Stacy is up to now.
  • 41:25 – Some funny stuff happens on Stacy’s trips.
  • 43:40 – How Stacy stays productive.
  • 45:45 – Stacy’s gear must-haves and travel hacks.
  • 47:30 – How to get active about the outdoors right now.
  • 48:20 – You have to savor the earth.
  • 50:00 – Who are Stacy’s mentors.

Stacy Bare’s story in REI’s Co-Op Journal

Connect with Stacy



The North Face’s video about Adventure Not War
It’s Time for Doctors to Prescribe Outdoor Therapy
Get a Ski Iraq shirt
Listen to Ann’s acceptance speech
Outward Bound for Veterans
Veterans Expeditions
No Barriers Warriors
Vice documentary with Alex Honnold climbing in Angola
The Sierra Club
The Wilderness Society
The American Legion
The Phoenix

Awesome book Stacy recommends

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
The Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Open Midnight by Brooke Williams
Abstract Wild by Jack Turner



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