About The Joy Trip Project

Story Sharing For A Sustainable World

There are a lot of smart people out there with all the answers.

I’m not one of them.

Photo by Chad Brown

Me? I’ve got nothing but questions. The Joy Trip Project is my ongoing search to find the answers and discover how to lead a harmonious life in balance with the natural world and the rest of humanity.

As a journalist I ask questions. I connect with knowledgeable people who have come up with some kind of a solution. In some cases I just come up with more questions, but they make us think. And hopefully these questions lead us a little further along on the journey.


Every day is a daring adventure, a trip into the joyful pursuit of our full human potential. Along this path we try, and often fail. But we persevere. We persist. Only then do we succeed. It’s an ongoing process without end. Come join me.



The Joy Trip Project is a news gathering and reporting organization that covers the business, art and culture of the outdoor recreation industry.

The Author:

James Edward Mills is a National Geographic Explorer and a contributor to National Geographic Magazine, a Fellow of the Mountain & Wilderness Writing Program of the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and a recipient of the Paul K. Petzoldt Award For Environmental Education. As a freelance journalist and an independent media producer in a career that spans more than 20 years he specializes in sharing stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living. He has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, writer, and photographer. He is the author of the new book “The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors” and the co-writer/co-producer of the documentary film “An American Ascent

James is a contributor to several outdoor-focused print and online publications such as National Geographic, Outside, Rock & Ice, Alpinist, SUP, Elevation Outdoors, Women’s Adventure, the Clymb, Park Advocate, High Country News, Appalachia Journal, The Guardian, The New York Times, Sierra and Land & People. 

With skills in audio storytelling James’ radio production credits include Wisconsin Public Radio, the Public Radio Exchange, American Public Media’s Marketplace, and the Public Radio International programs To The Best of Our Knowledge and The Tavis Smiley Show.

In recognition for his work in sharing the important history and legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers and their efforts at the dawn of the National Park Service James was named a Yosemite National Park Centennial Ambassador in 2016

In 2020 James’s book The Adventure Gap was named by Outside Magazine as one of the 10 “Outdoor Books that Shaped the Last Decade”.

Currently as a faculty assistant at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute For Environmental Studies James teaches a summer course for undergraduate students on diversity, equity and inclusion in outdoor recreation and public land management called Outdoors For All


Outdoors For All 2019 Students Cheyenne Foster, Dorthy Lsoto, (James Edward Mills) Suzy Lang, Trevor Picot and Jessica Bosch

James lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife Shamane Mills and two lovable dogs, Sasha and Mikalea