This week, Her Campus UCI met up with Ethan McCarty, a senior with a major in cognitive science. With graduation quickly approaching, soon-to-be UCI Anteater graduates such as Ethan are ready to embark on travels across the globe and take on challenges that push their limits.
Knowing Ethan’s previous experiences with hiking and backpacking, we were excited to learn more about his plans for the upcoming year. Originally from Redding, California, Ethan has had many experiences with travelling along the West Coast.
“I like road trips a lot, so I’ve been to a lot of places on the west part of North America, especially California and Alaska. I’ve been to Chicago once and the East Coast a couple times, but I haven’t spent much time there. I’ve driven up and down from Mexico to Alaska, not all in one drive, but many times on different stretches.”
With all the sites he has visited, Ethan was bound to have several landmarks that were especially near and dear to his heart. For him, it was San Luis Obispo. “I think it’s the perfect mix,” he said, “There’s stuff to do, but it still feels small and you feel like there’s a community you can meet, and everyone is super nice because everyone is either in college or retired. So they’re happy!” Another destination he noted was Castle Crags Mountain in Northern California. “It would be just a favorite place to be at, or Alaska because it’s beautiful,” said Ethan.
To visit these sites, travelers would have to do a bit of planning, but to prepare for extensive traveling and backpacking, Ethan advises beginners, “Go on some short backpacking trips. If you’re doing an extended one, go on something first so you can see if you like it and know how it feels. And do your research and see if it will work out. You would have to do a lot of organizing and cooperating with other people. Otherwise, it could be dangerous. For shorter ones, you can just put on a backpack and some random stuff and have fun!”
With all the excitement that comes along with traveling, being away from home and familiar surroundings for long periods of time can be difficult for many people from all backgrounds. Yet over the years, Ethan has managed to adapt to different surroundings. “I love my family and I love my home,” he said, “So I miss them for the sake of whenever I’m not there to see them. But I’ve lived away from home [for] so long now, so it’s the usual to not see them. I’m from [NorCal] but I’ve been living down here for three years. Even before then, I’ve moved to a whole bunch of different places so when I’m traveling or when I’m not traveling, I’m still not with them.”
As the last few days of college at UC Irvine come to a close, we were longing to hear what Ethan has in store for the upcoming year.
“This will be my year off because this is my last year [in school], so I’m going to go hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes from Mexico to Canada. I’m going to do half of it, from Canada down to Redding. It’s about 1,200 miles, and I’m going to do that at the end of July. Then I’m going to visit some friends in North Carolina and fly one-way and drive back because I haven’t seen much of the middle of America. And then, I’m going to go to Europe in the spring and backpack for as long as I can afford to backpack out there…so probably a couple months. I’m going to do it the cheap way, so that will be fun. I’m going to see a lot of Europe and maybe some of Asia. And then as many road trips as I can fit in between there. And I’m going to Zion and the Grand Canyon in a week. Traveling galore!”