Marc Zboch is a business executive and philanthropist. Through his charitable endeavors, Zboch has been able to provide important support to community organizations dealing with hunger, poverty, and disease. He has made journeys to many parts of the world that are suffering from natural disasters, war, and infectious disease, like North Korea, Cambodia, and Haiti.
Zboch believes that the key to improving people’s lives is giving them the tools to accomplishing it themselves. His organizations are not known for coming into a community and imposing their will on the people, but rather for working directly with community leaders to decide on their greatest needs.
Marc Zboch is a man of faith, and he believes that his missionary trips are the expression of his religion. He is an increasingly important figure in the charitable field, and he will continue to provide support to community initiatives around the world.
What is your hobby?
Hiking is my favorite hobby. Since I travel so much, it is great for me to have a hobby that can be practiced everywhere I go. I believe that being in nature is a spiritual experience, and I love to see the world and the way it changes with the seasons.
How did you get started with this hobby?
I started hiking with my kids when they were young. It was an activity that the whole family could enjoy together, and it required very little equipment to get started. There are many gorgeous natural areas near my home. We have family bonding time out on the trail, and I know we are making lasting memories that can’t be achieved in front of a TV or on a smartphone screen. This is especially important if you have teenagers at home. All too soon, they are out of the house and your opportunities to spend time with them are diminished.
Tell us what you love about your hobby.
Hiking is a way to experience the beautiful world we are a part of. It can be a spiritual experience if you slow down and appreciate your surroundings. It is also an excellent workout and helps me stay in shape, which is important since I travel so much, and I would rarely get to the gym with my schedule.
I am part of the American Hiking Society. This is an advocacy group that works with local communities to preserve and protect trails and other natural areas. This group is involved with environmental activism as well. I believe that it is making a positive difference in the world.
What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?
When I started hiking with my family, I didn’t think I would need many supplies. As we got more experienced, we realized that we would need to invest in good-quality hiking boots. Tennis shoes just aren’t supportive enough for most trails, and they don’t have as much traction as hiking boots.
After hiking boots came a large selection of wool socks for every weather. I have summer wool socks and winter wool socks. My wife is always laughing at my sock collection, but it is particularly important to take at least one extra pair of socks with you whenever you hike.
I have a nice hiking backpack which takes some of the pressure off my shoulders. I recently bought a set of backpacking stoves so my son and I could have hot meals on the trail. That can make all the difference in your comfort, especially on a cold or rainy day. You can even make coffee or tea on the trail.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?
I get nearly all of my supplies at REI, though sometimes I go to local outdoor shops. REI has a consistent quality for the price and they always have a good selection. It is a fun store to look around in and find possibilities for new activities to enjoy.
How much money have you invested into this? How much would a beginner have to invest to get started?
I believe that when it comes to safety, one should not hold back. Investing in materials that will help keep you safe is important. I highly suggest researching what you will need for your specific hiking trail.
Are there any good books for beginners?
I recommend Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. The book is some years old now, but it was a huge influence on our parenting. Children shouldn’t be cooped up inside, being out in nature has important developmental effects.
I also recommend the State Hiking Guides series. It can help you find amazing new places close to home as well as trails that you can check out while you are traveling.
Are there any online videos you recommend to help beginners?
If you’re really interested in learning about everything you will need to begin hiking, researching is definitely important. You can also search YouTube for some videos by hiking experts.
Here is one that is Hiking 101 for Beginners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edElLWvSVLk
How has your hobby changed your life?
Hiking brings me closer to nature. It is a perfect hobby for someone who travels a lot. I wouldn’t be able to get very much done with painting or woodworking since I am away from home so often. It has brought me closer to my family, and it has given me a refreshed outlook on life.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Get well-fitted hiking boots and proper wool socks before your first hike. You will be sorry if you get a blister, and it might prevent you from going out again. It’s also absolutely crucial to pack the “10 essentials” when you go hiking just in case you are caught out and have to spend the night in the woods. Too many hikers end up needing to be rescued because they are not competent, and that leads to a waste of public funds.
The 10 essentials include a map, compass, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra clothes including one or two pairs of extra socks, a flashlight or headlamp, a first aid kit, a firestarter, matches, a knife, and extra food. This system is taught by the Boy Scouts and it is only common sense.