Stephen Hance believes the one thing you can buy that makes you richer is travel.
Hance, who has hiked and climbed through places like the Sierra Mountains, Overland Track in Australia, the Canadian Rockies and Mount Rainier in Washington, just to name a few, won't have to pay a dime for what might be his greatest adventure.
The Oklahoma City resident recently won the Backwoods “Ultimate Outsider” contest and will receive an all-expenses-paid 21-day trek in Nepal. He will hiking through the Himalayas to the South Base Camp of Mount Everest, where climbers begin their ascent to the top of the world's tallest mountain.
“It's a definite bucket list item to get to see the biggest mountains in the world,” said Hance, a surgeon at Equine Medical Associates in Edmond.
The “Ultimate Outsider” contest was open to residents in the nine states where Backwoods stores are located. Hance had to provide photos and videos for the contest to explain his love for the outdoors.
He said it's rare even when he travels on business that he doesn't take a sleeping bag, backpack and some type of tarp along.
“If there is any chance for an adventure, I will take it,” he said
As one of the nine finalists selected by Backwoods, Hance then conducted camping seminars at the Oklahoma City store and led a group on a hike through the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge to help seal his victory.
“Stephen, through extensive video content and photography, really showed us what it is to be the 'Ultimate Outsider',” said Jennifer Mull, chief executive officer of Backwoods.
“He invited the community to join him in the outdoors and presented everyone with the tools to do so through clinics. An avid traveler himself, Steve implanted the ‘go outside' bug in all of us.”
Hance doesn't consider himself “a full-out mountain climber.”
“I just enjoy being outdoors,” he said. “I spend a lot of time on hikes, extended days out. It's a passion of mine. I love the mountains. I love the visuals. I love the ridges. I love getting above the tree lines.”