Saturday, September 29, 2018

One Life on Earth: Colin Vestrand

Colin and his wife and kids have been our friends for many years. We've heard stories about the northern Michigan adventures through swarming mosquitoes to gorgeous lakeshore views. Now we're excited to share that they have opened a coffee shop in downtown Paw Paw, MI with a unique and inviting atmosphere, comfortable seating, and, of course, excellent coffee. One thing we like to highlight about real life adventurers is that they often have full-time jobs and accept the challenge of weaving adventure and travel into that lifestyle. Hopefully stories like Colin's inspire and encourage the adventurous at heart to try something different.

Meet Colin Vestrand

Go-to outdoor activity:

Rainy day back-up plan:
Backpacking is definitely a rain or shine event!

Favorite snack:
Crackers and cheese

Favorite piece of gear:  
This is probably always changing, but my newest favorite is my Agawa Canyon Boreal21 folding saw. They’re a game changer, especially with winter camping.

Worst adventure advice you’ve heard:  
I once read a published article all about how, no matter where you are, you likely don’t need to filter your water in the backcountry. They even went so far as to say that the water filtration industry is all one big scam to get you to buy another piece of gear you don’t need.  

Something you won’t do or are afraid of:  
I have this weird thing with bees where they like to fly at my face and sting me without provocation.

What you never travel without:  
A knife. Perhaps two.

Always on your road trip playlist:  
Thrice, God is an Astronaut, Brand New…that kind stuff.

The Interview

Many people combine more than just one way to enjoy being outdoors. What are you into?
Besides backpacking, I’m also into hunting and fishing. I haven’t had the opportunity to do it much, but combining the two for a backcountry hunting and/or fishing trip is a ton of fun and really just a totally different experience altogether.

What inspires you?
I think seeing people share things they’ve created or exhibit some sort of creativity in their everyday lives is the most inspiring thing.  

When that inspiration hits you, what do you do about it?
Depending on what’s inspired me, it could be a number of different things. If I have some awesome food somewhere, it makes me want to try new things in the kitchen; if I read about a tough trail or some secret outdoor spot, I can’t help but start planning the next adventure; when I hear new music, I have to pick up my guitar and maybe write some new stuff myself.

Tell us about a time when you tried something adventurous that resulted in a love for it:
I grew up camping and hanging in the backcountry with my dad and his buddies, but there was this period of time as a young adult where I was just kinda into other things. One of my best friends lived in California and one day on the phone he mentioned he wanted to go up to Yosemite that summer. Long story short I went online and bought plane tickets while we were still on the phone, borrowed some backpacking gear, and went after it. While we were out there we also hit up Kings Canyon, went snorkeling on Catalina Island and spent a couple nights in Las Vegas. Not only was I hooked on backpacking, but I’m really thankful to have jumped on such a spontaneous, unrepeatable trip.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome? How did you get through it?
Honestly, one of my biggest challenges has just been making time to get out and go to all these awesome places. When I was younger, I was the only one of my friends to be married and have kids so I had to learn quickly on how to balance family and outdoor pursuits. Luckily I have an amazing wife, and kids that enjoy the outdoors. So when it comes to trips that my family isn’t down with (i.e. winter or long mileage) I’ve found that I can do quick run-and-gun trips like a Friday night through Sunday night and I can do my thing without really disrupting our family time.

What’s next for you? Are you looking forward to something or working on a project?
Well, I quit my longtime job back in July and my wife and I just started Greenglass Coffee Company - a coffee roastery and cafe in Paw Paw, MI! Almost three years ago we moved to Paw Paw in hopes of really engaging our community and building new relationship. We had been brainstorming for a long time on how to turn something we have passion for into a business and found that the coffee industry was by far the best fit. So, one thing lead to another and we spent the last two months collecting equipment and renovating a space in the central business district. Now here we are with a sweet a little roaster, offering some of the best single origin coffees you can get in the area.

What encouragement do you have for the person who is ready to step out and try something new?
While I can’t recommend everyone go into business for themselves, I do think people need to not be afraid to get out of the societal flow and try something different. I believe that there is a ton of pressure in the world to fit into constraints that are really quite limiting for a lot of people. Obviously you have to have a roof over your head and probably some form of income, but beyond that it’s really debatable whether we need most of this other ‘stuff’. Bottom line, you only get one life on this earth, you don’t want to spend it thinking ‘what if’.

How can people get in touch with you or follow your adventures? (Social media, contact, blog, website)
I don’t have any form of personal social media, but I am active on Instagram @greenglasscoffee and Facebook through Greenglass Coffee. You can also email us at or just come see us in person!

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