Chasing dreams beyond the back yard

BY NATE FERGUSON
Doing a little seaplane flying in Alaska. 
It makes for a strange day when you realize that you've become your favorite childhood toy.

I grew up in southern Indiana near the Ohio River and I had this action figure who drove around in an SUV and came equipped with a parachute, kayak, motorcycle and a lasso grafted onto his plastic pants. With some slight variations in gear choices, I became a slightly less durable version of that guy.

I also started writing at the age of 8 and developed an addiction to flying gliders at 13. No one in my immediate family flew airplanes, but it was something I had to do. That's where all my lawn mowing money went. I later became an FAA-certificated airplane and seaplane flight instructor, a commercial multiengine airplane pilot and a private glider pilot. That's where the rest of my money went.

After graduating from high school in New Jersey, I had a burning desire to head out West. I went to the University of Utah where I earned a degree in anthropology and, being forever curious, studied every other subject the institution had to offer. The training has helped me sift through the complexities of culture and discover the most compelling stories. 

With words as well as photos, I've covered Indian reservations, aviation/aerospace, high-profile crime, extreme sports, outdoor adventures and the environment for newspapers, magazines and websites. My work has appeared in numerous publications, such as The Salt Lake Tribune, Oakland Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Flying, AOPA Pilot, Air & Space/Smithsonian and PopularMechanics.com. My short fiction has appeared in Pooled Ink and Anomaly Literary Journal. See my LinkedIn profile for a complete work history. 

In my free time, I like to ride bikes both on and off road, fly airplanes and gliders, and ski at the resorts and in the backcountry. I've had hypothermia three times, wrestled an African lion and various alligators (OK, the former was a pet and the latter were small, but still!), and landed a seaplane on a tiny lake on Denali in Alaska.

I approach life with the same passion I had as a small boy who dreamed big and finally left the back yard.