How To Be A Modern Adventurer
As much as we encourage discovering boutique hotels here at A Hotel Life, we also emphasize traveling, exploring, and discovering the off beaten paths that make each destination wonderfully unique. Steven Rojas has been an eager supporter of that mission as well. Having spent most of his adult life working in hospitality, he too appreciates the communal spirit of a great hotel. But he’s spent the better part of the last couple of years documenting his adventures outside of the city, getting in touch with nature and exploring parts unknown. At a time when people are re-examining their relationship with technology and prioritizing ‘experiences’ above all, we talked to Rojas about embodying this desired idea of the modern adventurer.
Rojas was joined by Paige Steele and Zelda Rojas during the interview, and shares most of his adventures with both.
You’ve been engaged with all of city culture for years, what got you suddenly interested in the outdoors?
I’ve always been into the outdoors. I’ve been into the outdoors since I was a little kid, my parents were into the outdoors. I’ve always been into it because my mom was into it, I just took it more seriously. Either I got older or the city got more boring, or a combination of both.
What was your most recent adventure?
I applied to this NASA program [to attend and photograph the launch of Osiris Rex], they only accept a handful of people, and I got lucky. Scribner’s just opened in Hudson Valley…awesome hotel. They’re all amazing people, I just don’t want it to get overrun by douch-y New Yorkers (laughs).
For New Yorkers like yourself looking for weekend getaways, what are your best recommendations?
Paige:We went to Minnewaska state park and we did the ice caves.
It’s easy, one of the easier ones. My go to with everyone is I’ll tell them to wake up early, drive to Phoenicia and have breakfast at Phoenicia Diner. When they’re done with breakfast to drive over to Kaaterskill Falls and do the hike up to the top, and when they’re done there get lunch at Mama’s Boy, and then from there head over to Hunter Mountain. You can do zip-lining, go hiking, or snowboarding if there’s snow. There’s a new brewery over there, if you’re a beer person. Then you can go across the street and have dinner at Scribner’s and have a cocktail. Stay the night if you want.
Or you can go to Hudson Valley, more Hudson Town, and stay at Rivertown Lodge which is run by Ray Pirkle. The restaurant I like over there is Fish & Gain, and the breakfast spot is Bonfiglio.
How do you get your fix when you’re stuck in the city?
If it’s a warm day you go rock climbing under the Brooklyn Bridge at The Cliffs, if you want to do indoor climbing you can do Brooklyn Boulders, or The Cliffs in Long Island City. The park is free, anyone can go to Central Park and go for a good long run. 6 miles all the way around. You can always go to Chelsea Piers as well.
As someone who works in hospitality, what do you look for in places to stay? Especially considering these quaint locations probably don’t have fancy hotels…
We’ve had good and bad experiences. There’s a teepee in Woodstock, there’s a guy who rents out his teepee in his backyard, next to a river.
Paige: We stay everywhere from a teepee to literally a Motel 6 on the side of a highway 4 hours north of the city.
If you’re going to live the true #camplife, #glampinglife, #tinyhomes, hashtag whatever these millennials are coming up with…in the back of the Jeep we have tents, sleeping bags, hammocks. We’ve slept in the car, one night we had an Airbnb so bad, SO bad that we slept in the car in its garage outside. It was freezing.
The latest thing is Mandy Coon and Peter Miszuk’s place. They have a tiny house they built for people to rent out in Black Swan Lake.
As nature photography is getting bigger, your photos has received a lot of attention, and you even exhibited for the first time last week. Was that a goal of yours?
I would do this even if I didn’t know how to work a camera. I’m not doing this to show off. I don’t think people should worry about what they’re doing for other people. You don’t like the same things you liked 2 years ago, but it happens to be that the things you like now other people like. You think it’s a coincidence? It’s a natural progression.
What’s on your trip wishlist?
Nepal, I was meant to go to Everest. I’m just going to trek from Nepal and go to base camp 1. Iceland, we’re going to sneak over there for a bit. We’re going to Puerto Rico in a couple weeks. Big White Vancouver. Yosemite, I’ve always wanted to go there. Big Sur is amazing, I reccomemend it.
DJ Mike Nouveau & Steven Rojas
With Zelda Rojas