John E. Van Barriger

2018 & 2020 Paddler
John E. Van Barriger

Throughout his career, John Van Barriger has worn a lot of occupational hats.

In addition to founding an outdoor apparel and gear company in 2017 (The Outdoor Kind, LLC), his video documentary work has been displayed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.  While he produced a number of short-subject documentaries, he also produced, directed and wrote a full-length documentary on early American motorcycling. Additionally, John is an award-winning writer and photographer. He has had hundreds of articles and photos published in periodicals in Australia, England, Japan, and the U.S.

A lifelong outdoorsman, John is a Paddling Adventures Radio correspondent and will make weekly calls into the podcast from the Yukon River, providing reports to its 7000+ weekly listeners. John is also a former associate editor of American Motorcyclist magazine. He is passionate about adventure travel and feels outrageously lucky to have backpacked, camped, paddled, bicycled, motorcycled, snow-shoed, or gone cross-country skiing or scuba diving on five continents. He frequently speaks at leading paddle shows, such as Rutabaga’s Canoecopia, the Quiet Adventures Symposium, Toronto’s Outdoor Adventure Show, and Midwest Mountaineering’s Outdoor Adventure Expos.

In the more formal business arena, John also provided corporate communications and media relations work to numerous organizations, ranging from a nonprofit medical facility and an educational association to Fortune 500 companies such as The Charles Schwab Corporation and Pacific Gas & Electric.

John earned a Master of Arts degree in political science from Northern Illinois University, outside of Chicago. He taught social studies at the high school level for nearly a decade and served as a faculty advisor for the Key Club, the Kiwanis-based student service organization. During that time, John also created a series of school fundraisers from Boston to Honolulu that raised money for South African students and homeless children.

When not writing or traveling, he upholds Midwestern “cultural values” by brewing beer and making cheese.

Editor’s Note:  John is one of six team members that took part in the 2018 expedition and he is looking forward to returning to the Big River in 2020. Read the other team members’ bios to learn more about this unique group.

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