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Hey there! Explorer At Large (XAL) founder Josh Bernstein here. I am writing this in first-person, as the creation of XAL is very personal to me, and I feel this is the most authentic way to capture the reason we’re here. So perhaps you’ll indulge me as I share our "origin story." Warning—this is a bit lengthy! Thank you, in advance, for listening.

Part 1 - Wilderness & Traditional Living Skills


My first career was in the wilderness education industry, where I developed a deep respect for the skill, beauty, and wisdom of indigenous cultures and the power of nature to teach. If you're not familiar with BOSS, the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, perhaps check it out. I began at BOSS as a student then as an apprentice and an instructor. 


Like many outdoor programs, BOSS students (ages 18-80) spend up to a month in the wilderness learning outdoor skills. Unlike other outdoor programs, though, BOSS teaches traditional living or 'survival' skills—like making fire without matches or building shelter from the forest. BOSS students do not bring backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, flashlights, or even matches on courses. The goal is to turn the clock back several hundred if not thousands of years to help people reconnect with a more primal state of living with the earth.


Born and raised in New York City, I found BOSS to be a completely alien and fascinating world, a world that deeply attracted me and gave me a sense of connection to the earth and to those who lived in harmony with it. While I studied anthropology and archaeology in college, BOSS offered access to 'experiential archaeology' insights


After college, I moved to Boulder, Colorado to open up an office for BOSS as its Marketing & Administrative Director.


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