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Biking Across the USA to ‘Leave It Better’

Seth and Abby at a Monument Packing It Out
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Seth Orme and Abigail Taylor are crossing the U.S. on bike. Along the way, they will pick up trash and inspire others to do the same.

Seth and Abby at a Monument Packing It Out

In this post, Seth Orme explains the mission and evolution of ‘Packing It Out’ as it enters the third season.

FROM DAY ONE OUR MISSION HAS BEEN THE SAME: To inspire a greater sense of environmental stewardship in our communities by raising awareness for litter conditions on America’s trails.

This mission served as our guiding light for hikes on Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.

While the statement above will remain for Packing It Out 2017, we have found ourselves adhering to a similar but slightly different manifesto. This year’s tour across the country will inspire others to “Leave It Better.”

Leave It Better: A Broader Mission

New Packing It Out Logo 2017Our mission to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards is one we are proud to follow. But we also want to inspire the folks we meet that aren’t interested in long-distance hiking trails.

By broadening our intentions, we now strive to leave everyone we meet (and every place we go) better than we found it.

What ‘Packing It Out’ is trying to do isn’t temporary. We want this contagious desire to leave people and places better to become an ingredient in everyone’s lifestyle.

We Can All Do Something

Let’s face it, apathy is easy. Often the hardest thing is seeing a situation that you can’t completely fix. What we can all do is…something. That’s been Packing It Out’s motivation from day one — to do something.

Packing It Out Bike Loaded With Trash

It would have been easier to hike the AT and PCT without burying people’s feces or packing out wet moldy mattresses. If we tried to get and carry out every single thing we found, some trash recovery attempts would have left us injured or worse. Instead, we often did something to leave the situation better.

As we bike across the country, Packing It Out will focus its clean-up efforts on scenic areas and places that are being loved to death. Will we clean up every single piece of trash from Cumberland Island to the Olympic Peninsula? Unfortunately, no. But we will do our best to Leave It Better.

Abby Cleaning Up Trash At Beach Packing It Out

I don’t think Packing It Out will be the cure-all for waste in the outdoors. I do believe that as more people begin to share our desire to leave places (and people) better, Packing It Out will be closer to accomplishing its ultimate goal: For there to no longer be a need for us to set an example.

Once Leaving It Better becomes the minimum standard, we will take our bow and begin projects that help our planet in other ways, Leaving It Better as we go.

–Check out the crew’s 2015 and 2016 efforts on our ‘Packing It Out’ page. Connect with Abby and Seth on InstagramTwitter, and their blog.

–Our 2017 ‘Packing It Out’ coverage is sponsored by REI.

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