Some of the best ideas are often created by people seeking a solution to a problem they have run into. Mark Walsh, creator of the Barefoot Wallet, set out to make a durable wallet that could withstand just about anything. They are built for adventure travelers who may be ripping down class five rapids one moment and rappelling down a mountain next. The wallets are made with a thin, light, waterproof material that protects your goods in style.
Carri: How did you come up with the idea for the wallets?
Mark: At age 16, my only goal in life was to live on a sailboat and cruise the Caribbean, so everything I did was with that end in mind. I was working as a sailmaker during college, and skipped the first two weeks of my last semester to race sailboats in Key West. It was there that I watched my wallet go overboard, and spent that subsequent period of wallet-lessness thinking of features to build into my next design – pencil holder, oversized commercial Velcro, matching color combinations – all of which laid the groundwork for BareFoot Wallets.
Carri: What types of outdoor activities do you most enjoy?
Mark: I grew up on the coast of Mississippi, where both the land and water are pretty flat. Without any waves or mountains, my outdoor activities were limited to camping, sailing, and organized sports – soccer, namely. I’ve since spent time on the East Coast and in Antarctica, and now enjoy (attempting to) surf and snow skiing. I also like long distance swimming, road and mountain biking.
Carri: Tell us a little about your background and what brings you to Antarctica.
Mark: I have always made it a priority to explore new places. I studied Physics at the College of Charleston, and spent some time on St Thomas installing weather stations for their Astronomy department. The professor whom I was working under introduced me to the US Antarctic Program, and I found an immediate interest in it. After teaching high school for 5 years, I deployed to Antarctica to Antarctica in 2009, and now work as Weather Observer. I’ve done four seasons with the Program, and have just finished my first Antarctic winter.