Stavros shooting in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Stavros shooting in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Hello!

My name is Stavros Mitchelides, and I’m an American entrepreneur who has planned my life from the time that I was a teenager to enable me to work less, and explore more. I spend most of my time exploring and photographing the world with like-minded people who value living life differently. One of my passions is educating people about the importance of living in harmony with nature, rather than destroying and exploiting it. I’m an avid naturalist, transcendentalist, and ardent conservationist. I promote wilderness conservation through annual donations to The Nature Conservancy, as well as through my photography, and social media.

Currently I am on a 6+ year road trip throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada to explore & photograph the National Parks, and pretty much everything in between.  You can follow my adventures on Instagram.

I grew up in, the state of Vermont in the northeastern United States. When I was quite young my mom gave me total freedom to explore the natural areas around our home, which I took total advantage of (for better or for worse). I very quickly became an amateur naturalist; observing & identifying wildlife, identifying plants, rescuing injured animals, and voraciously learning about the natural world by immersing myself in it every single day. I got myself into some pretty compromising situations, some life-threatening, but it was the most formative time of my life, and my passion for preserving wilderness and protecting wildlife continues to this day (as does getting myself into compromising situations). I have an insatiable desire to learn as much as I can about the natural world, and to teach others about everything that I discover along the way.

When I was 10 years old, I was given a Pentax K1000 35mm film camera by my grandfather’s cousin, and this amazing gift forever changed my life. My passion for the natural world became something that I could share with everyone; through photographs. I’ve been exploring, and filming, ever since.

I hope impress upon people the importance of protecting the planet; it’s critical to the future of all life on Earth. Humans have aggressively overwhelmed every corner of this unbelievably precious planet, have devoured its resources, have destroyed most of its wildlife, and have eradicated most of its natural wilderness. The planet belongs equally to every species that lives on it, and humans treat it as if nothing matters except humanity; which is not only intensely disturbing, it’s self-defeating.

I also hope to inspire you to actually live life while you still have the time and while you still have your health. If you have adventures in your mind, don’t wait; go experience them! If you have places that you want to explore; get out there! I retired at age 30 and have been living my dream life for at least the last 20 years.

  • The thought that most people work 50 weeks each year just to be able to go on a 2 week vacation makes me remarkably sad.
  • The reality that most people in this world grow up with incredible passions, and amazing dreams; only to never live those dreams also makes me remarkably sad.
  • We all should do everything in our power to live the life we dreamed about as children; life is short, and you only get one shot at it.

While traveling:

I’m a trail-runner, conservationist, climate activist, naturalist, photographer, hiker, backpacker, explorer, mountain biker, rock climber, risk taker, snorkeler, SCUBA diver, foodie, history buff, off-roader, and bon vivant. I hope to meet people who love to explore as much as I do, so if this resonates with you, please feel free to reach out to me, or follow me on social media!

While working:

I’m a serial entrepreneur who’s been hustling since age 19 to be able to never once have a job working for someone else. I began this journey while broke & living in my car at age 18. Since then, I’ve lived many lives; and I have started a dozen businesses. I’ve owned a record store. I’ve owned a sandwich shop. I’ve been a professional DJ. I’ve owned multiple online retail stores. I was a record label and concert promoter. I owned a web design/SEO & marketing company. The list goes on. I try my very best to instill in everyone that I meet that you will NEVER be wildly successful, or independently wealthy, by working for someone else. Being self-employed is the key to freedom; both in regards to money and to time.

Although I retired at age 30, I still own a few businesses that demand a few hours a day of my time:

  • I am a luxury Realtor in Miami Beach
  • I own a pro audio/lighting/audio video/dj equipment store
  • I own a supply store for camper vans, yachts, & tiny homes
  • I am an active stock market investor
  • I am a real estate investor
  • For the most part, I am a web developer and an online marketing & SEO expert. I have spent the last two decades using online marketing to create a life where I have never once had to work for anyone else. I’m an efficiency freak (a byproduct of my Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, ENTJ) which allows me to do nearly everything in my life for a fraction of what the average person would pay; which enables me to do a lot more with my life, for a lot less.

Stavros shooting photos in Colorado

A few of my travel goals:

  1. Visit all 197 UNESCO World Heritage Natural Sites, all 31 UNESCO World Heritage Mixed Sites (and MANY of the UNESCO cultural sites)
  2. Visit all 75 National Audubon Society Sanctuaries
  3. Visit all 7 New Wonders of the World
  4. Visit Emperor Qin’s Terra Cotta Army
  5. Visit Angkor Wat
  6. Visit all 423 USA National Parks [Currently on this trip!]
  7. Visit every Nature Conservancy site
  8. Climb Huayna Picchu, Peru [Completed May 2014!]
  9. Climb Mount Hua Shan, China
  10. Hike all of the following trails:
    The Appalachian Trail, USA
    The Continental Divide, USA
    The Pacific Crest Trail, USA
    The Grand Canyon, USA
    Bryce and Zion, Utah, USA
    Torres del Paine, Chile
    The Inca Trail, Peru [Completed May 2014!]
    The Lost City Trek, Colombia
    The Snowman Trek, Bhutan
    The Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea
    The Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa
    The Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast, Hawaii
    El Caminito del Rey, Spain
    Maroon Bells South Ridge, Colorado
    The Mist Trail, California
    The Bright Angel Trail, Arizona
    The Devil’s Path, New York
    Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala
  11. Go to Outer Space
  12. See the oldest living things on earth
  13. See the largest living organism on Earth [Completed June 2018!]
  14. Discover a new Inca ruin or Inca trail in Peru
  15. Discover a new species and name it
  16. Visit Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua
  17. Visit Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Avella, Pennsylvania
  18. Find the World’s oldest living tree in the White Mountains of California
  19. Visit Goreme National Park in Turkey
  20. Visit Santorini, Greece
  21. Visit Socotra Island, Aden, Yemen
  22. Visit Iguazu Falls, Brazil
  23. Visit Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina
  24. Explore the Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii, USA
  25. Visit the Bamboo Forest in Maui, Hawaii, USA
  26. Visit Nahanni National Park
  27. Visit Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales
  28. Visit Volklingen Ironworks
  29. Visit Zhangjiajie National Park in China
  30. Visit Gunung Mulu National Park in Borneo

A few of my idols:

Kilian Jornet

John Muir

Alex Honnold

Diana Nyad

Laurance S. Rockefeller

 

Stavros at the Tomboy Mine Ghost Town in Colorado

Stavros at the Tomboy Mine Ghost Town in Colorado