There are so many great bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, and photographers out there creating amazing outdoor content on a daily basis.
Not only did I want to personally get to know them better, but I also wanted to explore outdoor influences and passion for nature.
Thus, we’ve launched the I Love The Outdoors Interview Series.
If are interested in participating in the series, please contact us and let us know!
Hiking With Shawn
1. Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you? Where are you from? Where do you live now? Are you married? Kids?
My name is Shawn Gossman.
I’m locally known as Hiking with Shawn because of a YouTube channel about local hiking that has sort of taken off.
I’m 37 years old. I live in the Metropolis, Illinois area in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest.
My town is also Home of Superman. I was born, raised, and have always lived in southern Illinois.
I’m not married but I live with the love of my life, Michelle and her teenage daughter, who I treat as my own. We also have a lot of cats who are like needy teenagers as well.
2. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
My favorite outdoor activities are hiking and biking.
I hike more days out of the year but I bike more miles than I hike each year.
Cycling led me to hiking and hiking just balanced out the two to ensure I didn’t burn out.
I’m mainly a day hiker and me and Michelle average about 7 to 10-miles each hike. We do some overnight hikes in warmer weather when we want to go backpack camping in the Wilderness areas.
3. Where is your favorite trail?
This is always a really hard question to answer. For biking, Tunnel Hill State Trail is my favorite. It is a 45-mile rail trail that got me into outdoor recreation from the start.
For a quick day hike, I really enjoy Heron Pond which is a short loop hike around an Illinois natural swamp. That trail is what got me addicted to hiking.
For my favorite long hiking trail, I’d have to say Trail 049 in the Shawnee National Forest which is a 10-mile loop featuring everything National Forest that you can imagine.
4. Where is your favorite camping spot?
Our favorite camping spot is definitely around H-Rock or Big-H in the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area located on the east side of the Shawnee National Forest.
It is about a 4-mile hike from your car but you can make it much longer if you wanted to.
5. What was your first outdoor memory as a kid?
I’ve always been interested in the outdoors.
I played outside as a kid and was lucky enough to grow up in the outside generation rather than playing video games.
I guess my first outdoor memory was at a family reunion at Giant City State Park here in southern Illinois. I had to have been 5 or 6 years old. I remember we hiked a small trail and played tag around the woods.
6. Who was your biggest outdoor influence?
The people of southern Illinois and my fans. They are what made me invest a lot into this.
My girlfriend is also a big influence. She was a fan, that’s how we met and then she filled a void in my life that was there for a very long time.
7. What was your all-time best camping or hiking experience?
Best camping experience was at Lusk Creek Wilderness Area last year when after hiking 7-rugged miles, I realized I didn’t pack the right tent.
We both camped under the stars that night knowing that the Forest Service may not have the last feral hog in the wilderness.
A whippoorwill called above us all night long and kept us awake with its beautiful but loud squawks. But I loved every minute of it.
8. Who is your favorite person to camp or hike with?
My girlfriend Michelle. I’d rather hike, bike, and camp with her any day than be alone.
If not with her, then it has to be my best friend Bob from Two Bobs’ Adventures, a fellow YouTuber that I met with my channel.
9. What is your favorite piece of gear and why?
Has to be my camera. I use a GoPro Hero Black 10.
I get to video everything and show the world which is what got me into this.
10. What do you love about the outdoors?
I get depressed when I am not hiking or biking. I’m the happiest when I do the two.
I haven’t watched TV for about 4-years because I’d rather go outdoors.
11. What outdoor places are on your bucket list?
Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.We’re going there next month!
Expect some fun videos from that.
I really want to see the Sequoias and Redwoods out west. I’d love to bike the Katy Trail one of these days.
12. What is your goal as an outdoor content creator? How can we support you and where can we find your content?
My goal is to support local businesses in southern Illinois and the tourism economy through the focus of the Shawnee National Forest and our local state parks.
I want you to come to southern Illinois to enjoy our forest and parks while spending money on our local Mom and Pop places that make this area as cool and unique as it is.
You can find everything about me at www.hikingwithshawn.com/connect.
Shawn – thanks for the great interview and participating in the first ever I Love The Outdoors Interview!
If are interested in participating and sharing your story, please contact us and let us know!