United States

Meet RSM Pursue Your Passion Winner: Ryan Weitz

ARTICLE

Audit Assurance Supervisor | Boston, MA

I am in love with traveling and being outdoors! For me, nothing beats waking up to the sunrise, getting a fire going, brewing some coffee, and then hitting the trail. The combination of the fresh air and sense of adventure is something I truly love.

Living in Boston and having a busy schedule, I try to take advantage of every opportunity that I have to get out and explore nature. From the casual weekend trip up I-93 North to backpack and camp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, to the meticulously planned excursions to Iceland, the Golden Trout Wilderness, Kauai, and many other amazing places that I have been fortunate to visit, traveling is clearly my passion.

Photography first started for me as a method of documenting my travels. But as I kept up with it, I was able to continue to challenge myself physically and artistically until eventually, I was able to capture nature as my eyes saw it. Flipping through photo albums of my travels brings me so much happiness as well as a sense of accomplishment. One picture comes to mind that embodies these emotions specifically. I was in the middle of a solo road trip, and on the night before I took the picture, I was sleeping in my small tent at the Big Bend National Park in Texas to the sound of wind blowing through the tall bushes and the buzzing of rattlesnakes. The plan was to wake up before the sun and hike to a vantage point with the goal of seeing the sunrise over the distant mountains. 4:00 a.m. hit and I quickly realized that it was a cold and cloud covered morning. The thought of leaving my warm and comfy sleeping bag seemed crazy, especially since I didn’t even think the sun would come out that day, let alone there being an epic sunrise. After some mental wrestling, I decided to go out anyway, mostly because even if I was not able to see the sunrise, at least I was getting out and doing what I loved. (Also, the hissing of the rattlesnakes was starting to get to me!) So I hit the trail with my headlamp and my camera. It was a cool morning with a dry breeze. I hiked along under the dark and cloudy sky appreciating where I was and that I was making the most of the cards that were dealt. With my head down, making sure I did not twist my ankle or walk off the trail, I did not notice that the cloud cover was starting to dissipate. Once I made it to the vantage point, I then saw the clouds separating, revealing gorgeous, backlit mountains, standing tall above the Texas desert. When the sun finally made it above the peaks, it illuminated the remaining clouds causing them to look as if they were on fire. The clouds exploded in colors of purple, pink and orange. It was at this moment that I snapped the picture. When I hold the picture of that moment, it reminds me of the warm sunrays against my face on that cool morning, and most importantly, it reminds me to always pursue my passions.

My passion is to explore and to be adventurous, and I cannot think of a more adventurous place than the Arrigetch peaks, deep in Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park. The Arrigetch Peaks are some of the most secluded mountains in the world and to backpack through them would be a dream come true. There is something about the jagged Arrigetch Peaks and how they cut through the Alaskan wilderness that truly invokes my passion for exploration and adventure. If I were to be selected for RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program, I would be going on an adventure of a lifetime, and have the opportunity to give back to an amazing charity.

Itinerary: There is an Alaskan expedition company that guides backpackers through the Arrigetch peaks in Alaska. The trip is 10 days and begins in Fairbanks, AK. The expedition company provides gear, equipment, transportation from Fairbanks and meals for the duration of the backpacking portion of the trip. Once I land in Fairbanks, we then would take two bush flights to Bettles, AK, a small bush community that can only be traveled to via plane. From Bettles, we then would take a floatplane to finally arrive in the wilderness to begin the backpacking portion of the adventure. The next eight days would consist of backpacking through some of the most gorgeous and secluded areas on Earth.

Giving back: I would also love to give back by using the remainder of the budget to set up an art gallery with 100% of the proceeds of my photography art sales to be donated to Birdies Fore Love. Additionally, the Boston office has a gallery display in which featured artists have quarterly exhibits. I would work to coordinate with the Boston Social Club/Gallery curator to potentially have the gallery at the Boston office.

Thank you.