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Outside The Courtroom

Annesley DeGaris

Annesley DeGaris

Tell us about your passion project, talent, or hobby outside the courtroom.

I like to travel to unique and remote places. So, it's a little bit beyond just travel. it's travel to places that require an effort and usually do not have "cell service."

Why did you choose this particular hobby?

It was somewhat of an evolutionary process. I've always had an interest in in a variety of outdoor activities. Basically, any excuse to get outdoors was a sufficient enticement for a new hobby. As I continued to travel. I became interested in the adventure of going to more remote locations that usually involved being outdoors for extended periods of time. So, with every trip I started searching for more exotic locations.

How much of your time are you able to devote to your hobby?

Not as much as I'd like because some of the locations are difficult to get to. However, I found in every state that there are some unique locations that most locals don't even know about. You just must be willing to get out of your comfort zone.

Does your hobby have an impact on your legal career, and if so, how?

I think for the most part it is an escape from the day-to-day stress all lawyers experience. When you hike six and half hours to get to a campsite beside a lake or on the top of the mountain you just focus on that next step and everything else in your life just fades away.

How does your hobby affect your work/life balance?

I always try to have a trip planned. It gives me something to look forward to and most often I include some part of my family on the trip. It gives me one-on-one time with my children which is hard to come by with all the activities that occupy kids today.

Would you be willing to give up your legal career to pursue your passion project?

I don't think so. Certainly, I would like to have the ability to spend more time traveling, and I have a long list of places I'd still like to visit such as Patagonia and the Amazon. However, being realistic, just traveling from location to location would eventually take the fun out of the experience.

How long have you been doing this?

I've been traveling since I was a teenager. However, the adventure traveling really began when I was in my 20s and sailed on a Norwegian mail boat through the Arctic Circle, around the North Cape to a small fishing village near the Russian boarder called Kirkenes. I traveled most summers during college and law school visiting places like Indonesia and Thailand. While studying law in Australia for a year, I visited some of the wildest places I've ever been.

Who/what inspires you to do it?

My children John Annesley, IsabelJa, and Eva. My wife, Ashley, and I think i t's very important for our children to understand there's a world outside of the everyday life that we lead.You only have one lifetime to see as much of that world as possible.

Have you ever competed/ instructed etc. with this hobby?

I have and continue to be involved with the Boy Scouts of America. As an adult troop leader you are consistently involved with the scouts as you help them learn skills required to complete merit badges. In the process of helping the scouts, I've probably learned more about the outdoors than I ever would have absent working with this fantastic organization.

What's the most rewarding thing about what you do?

The feeling of accomplishment after you've made it to a remote location, climbed a difficult mountain or survived a particular nasty storm in an isolated location. It helps you realize what you're capable of when presented with difficult circumstances.

Do you feel this passion makes you a better attorney/person?

I think it has given me a better perspective on life and a better appreciation of how lucky most Americans should feel to live in this country. This summer I was hiking in the Dolomites with my son. On one hike we spent the better part of the day hiking up a mountain to about 10,000 feet. The view from the top was incredible and just as the sun began to set, a thunderstorm began to move over the mountains just to the north. The orange sunset was periodically electrified by lightning creating a surreal light show. Watching this massive storm, framed by the twilight of the sunset over massive limestone peaks was a humbling experience. The mountains have been there for thousands of years and will likely be there for thousands more. As I reflected on the beautiful display of nature, I realized I would likely never see anything like this again. I thought about how our brief time on the mountain is analogous to our brief time on earth. The only lasting beauty we can create is by helping others with the hope that our good deeds resonate for years after we are gone.
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