Meet Tony Mamo, one of the co-founders of packup. Tony is a senior software engineer, designer, and outdoors enthusiast. A self-taught developer, he started out freelancing and eventually landed at a Fortune 10 company. After realizing the corporate life wasn't for him, he has since worked at several startups, working remotely, where he really found his ideal work-life balance. He enjoys the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere, which enabled him to spend a year on the road in a Sprinter van with his wife and dog, exploring all over North America. He has since settled down in Michigan, but is always dreaming up new travel locations, and is currently building out a cargo trailer as his next off-grid adventure vehicle.
Worst experience in the backcountry?
My wife, dog, and I set out to do a quick overnight along the Pacific Coast Trail in the Cascades. After hiking a few miles and setting up camp in the rain, we discovered that we forgot to bring our stove, and decided to hike back out to our van at the trailhead instead of spending a miserable, wet, and hungry night in the tent. The last few miles we felt like we were being followed by something, so we picked up the pace while keeping an eye over our shoulder. Once back at the trailhead, as I turned to get into the van, my headlamp reflected off the eyes of a mountain lion standing right at the beginning of the trail we just got off.
Would you rather camp on a beach or on a mountain?
Mountain, only because I have done a fair share of beach camping and am still finding sand in all my stuff to this day.
What is one thing you learned about yourself recently?
I've had to learn to focus more on what makes me happy instead of trying to always make others happy. Naturally I want to help everyone, but I have to prioritize my time and happiness as well.
If you could camp anywhere in the world next weekend where would you go?
I had plans to go to Banff and Jasper recently but had to cancel due to COVID, but I have also been craving the desert again, somewhere like Joshua Tree or Moab.
What are your favourite outdoor activities?
Hiking, Climbing, Backpacking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Outdoor Photography
What is one item that you couldn't live without?
No matter what the objective or trip is, I always end up with some sort of stash of carabiners and ropes/cordage, they are just so handy for random things. Other than that, I always make sure to bring the necessary gear to make a good cup of coffee!
Share about a time when you felt the most alive and fully yourself?
The year-long road trip I took in the van during 2017-18 with my wife and dog was the best thing I've ever done. I was able to work remotely the whole time, but basically live like a retired person and do what I loved when I wasn't working. Being able to finish up a day of work and then step outside to go explore all over the US and Canada to places I had never been was so amazing. It was truly the most free I've ever felt!
What injustices in the world make you angry?
Climate change, unchecked capitalism, racial, gender, economic, and social inequality... they are all linked together and it just baffles me that we haven't as a society figured out how to move past it and live our best lives together.
Is a hot dog a sandwich, and why?
I'll defer to the answer by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, who so eloquently stated, "Limiting the hot dog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy’."
What is your biggest dream in life?
To be able to travel and experience all of the places this great Earth has to offer and share it with those closest to me, and to hopefully leave it a little better than I found it.
What motivates you to work hard?
Wanting to make a difference and the desire to help people (and myself) so we can all live happier healthier lives.
Was the outdoor lifestyle something that you grew up in or was it discovered?
I grew up going camping, hiking, riding bikes, playing soccer, and generally spent a lot of time outside as a kid. My parents instilled a great sense of wonder and appreciation for the outdoors in me, but it wasn't until my first trip out west (I'm from Michigan) and seeing huge mountains that really solidified it for me.