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For most people, the idea of dangling from a cliff-side 200 feet in the air doesn’t sound appealing, and some would consider the act to be downright insane. But for Adventurist Tyler Mackey, that risky notion is a worthwhile goal.

Raised in Northern Los Angeles, Mackey discovered his love for adventure while roaming around California. “I feel like I’ve always liked to travel,” he admits, “and I’ve been to a lot of places but never internationally for some reason because California always had a lot to offer. I feel like traveling doesn’t have to be about distance but more about the destination.” For budding travelers, Mackey advises to start locally. “Really get out there,” he says. “Get out. Go see a part of the world you haven’t seen even if it’s in your own backyard. Sometimes you don’t need to travel very far to have an adventure. It’s all about living.”

TylerMackeyHis outdoorsy father and the Boy Scouts contributed to Mackey’s curiosity with nature and the world. “My dad got me into backpacking and the outdoors at a really young age,” he explains. “Any outdoor sport I’ve been into is because of my father. I then started in Boy Scouts when I was in fourth or fifth grade. I started backpacking and camping as soon as I could carry a backpack. I then got into rock climbing through the Boy Scouts. When I turned 18 I realized I was addicted to it.”

As an adrenaline junkie, Mackey doesn’t look at rock climbing as just a sport — it’s also a lifestyle for eccentric adventurists and climbers who chase after landscapes and rocks that most of us would cringe at the thought of climbing. “Having a love for an outdoor sport really pushes you to get out into the wilderness more,” he says. “On top of that, the actual sport gives you a rush; that certain feeling you get when you’re dangling from a rock and climbing. It sounds a little extreme but, the closer you get to death or the more risky you get, the more you feel alive.”

Mackey’s most recent trip took him to Southeast Asia where he spent three months in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia. “I went over with a couple of friends [but], after they left, I was by myself for the rest of the trip,” he recalls. “The one thing I would suggest to anyone [traveling] is, if you can, travel by yourself at least for part of the time because it’s a completely different experience … [When] you get put in situations where you have to make all your own decisions, you find out a lot about yourself.”

So far, Mackey’s favorite place to visit is the Eastern Sierras in California. “I try to take people there as much as I can,” he notes. “[The Sierras are for] anyone who’s open-minded and would enjoy getting out into the wilderness and getting a little dirty. You drive about four hours and hike about five miles in, and you see things that look like they’re directly from any page of National Geographic. Anyone who loves the outdoors needs to get out there and see it at least once.”

Nature provides a safe haven for Mackey, as he feels most at home when exploring the outdoors. “One place I can really associate myself with … is always the mountains,” he admits. “I think the best part about being out there is the feeling of being one with nature. It gives you the feeling of freedom…. There are a lot of social influences in the rest of the world, [but] when you’re out in nature you let go and become free for a brief time.”

Mackey’s vast experience as an adventurer can inspire newbies to rock climbing. “Rock climbing is not as easy to get into as some people think,” he says. “You have to have a certain mindset for it, and you most certainly can’t be afraid of heights. If you love the outdoors and a challenge, rock climbing is one of the best sports you can do.” And for those thinking about traveling, Mackey says there’s no better time than the present. “Some people say they are going to wait to travel [but] you need to really treat your life like it’s the only one you have because it is and you only live once,” he advises. “It’s hard to grasp the concept of only living once but, if you can, you will understand that if you want to travel, [you should] do it now. It can change your life.”

Follow Tyler on Instagram @tmack11