Outdoor Hub is privileged to sit down with guitarist Ed Eason as he discusses Mentor Quest, a personal odyssey to preserve vital knowledge and skills for the next generation, particularly focusing on the outdoors. Ed plays a number of roles in his life: musician, artist, outdoorsman. None, however, are as important as his role as a father.
That is why he set out on a quest to learn from the experts and leaders in the outdoor industry (such as Buck Knives and Mathews Bows) so that his sons and others may benefit from the wealth of knowledge. His three boys are aged 10, 7, and 3.
Watch the video below to learn more about Mentor Quest:
Otherwise, let’s dive into the interview.
Outdoor Hub: One of the reasons you started Mentor Quest is because you want to teach your sons valuable knowledge. How do you think the world has changed since you were a kid and you were learning these skills?
Ed Eason: Obviously there’s a big drift away from the outdoors. Society seems to be more and more disconnected from the outdoors. That really bothers me and that’s one of the reasons I started diving into Mentor Quest. A lot of people seem to be scared of the unknown and are not willing to take a risk. People are forgetting about the thrill of the adventure.
Do you think there are any benefits living in today’s world for children, especially with the advent of the internet and easy-to-access knowledge ?
You can get on the internet now with all these different websites and online magazines that offer a plethora of information right at our finger tips. What I found was a challenge for me, though, was sifting through all that information. Sometimes there’s so much it can be a little overwhelming. You go on YouTube or whatever and you can get all these people who present themselves as experts. Who are the real experts and where are legitimate places to find knowledge? It could be a little frustrating trying to find it. But, it is still an amazing time for both kids and parents because that knowledge is at our fingertips. It just takes a little more effort to find it.
Do you think anything has changed for the worse in the modern world?
Yes. I’m especially sympathetic to people who grow up without fathers. Most of the time, they won’t have the chance to take part in those traditions that were passed down by the men in their families. It’s not a good thing.
For me an important thing for a growing child is a good example. That can include traditions and outdoor skills they need to learn. I think some people are afraid to let their kids get out into the wild, get out there and explore and be kids. I know as a dad I make sure that my children have that experience.
My own parents divorced when I was in the second or third grade. I didn’t see my father for years, however I was fortunate enough to have someone who helped to guide me. We connected and his family took me in like their own. He had all daughters and so I got to be, in a sense, his son. It was because of him that I got to go hunting and fishing and all these experiences.
It was because of him that now when I’m an adult I realize how important it is that my children have them as well. He made such an impression on my life that it’s now going forward to my own kids. I don’t want my boys to learn from random people, I want them teach them myself. This is sort of the catalyst to what became Mentor Quest.
What was the motivating factor for you to start this project?
There are many pieces to this question. Here’s one of them: I wanted to buy a shotgun and there were three different guys I asked for advice. I got three different answers. While I appreciated their opinion, you can understand how difficult it was for me, someone who didn’t know much about buying a shotgun. And then I said, “why not learn these things straight from the experts?” Then I can have valuable knowledge for my boys. It’s coming straight from the heads of companies, the top hunters, anglers. This information will be valid and reliable. Another aspect is that when I was leaving for tour a while ago, I knew I was going to be leaving my family for some time. Then I wondered what I’ll be doing with that time. I needed to invest it in something. I was in prayer a lot. Then one morning I woke up and I came up with the idea for Mentor Quest and since then its been driving me forward.
What do you like to do for recreation outdoors?
Hunting, fishing, and camping. Love going camping now. Never had a hobby my whole life. Ever since I started playing the guitar when I was 13, I’ve been consumed with that. Now I’m coming home with this wealth of knowledge that I’ve learned. My favorite thing that I’ve gotten to try so far was to go elk hunting with a bow. I’ve gone turkey hunting several times and everybody tells me that elk hunting was the same thing, but to the Nth degree. I love the proximity. It’s unbelievable that you can get close to the animal.
How do you balance that with your professional life?
I’m fortunate that on tour I have days open. I can go hunting when on tour. I’m never more tired than when I’m in the middle of it all. When I’m at home I turn off the professional side of me, and then I take off with my sons and get out there.
From meeting with these experts and learning all these cool new things, is there anything you wish you had learned or done earlier?
I wish I had dived into fishing more when I was a kid. Fishing is one of those things that I’m still getting into and there seems to be so much to learn. I’m still learning all the different types of fish and techniques and rods and reels. I wish I had started earlier and hopefully will be doing more this year.
What would be your ideal outdoor adventure?
It would probably be Alaska. That would be the place for me. There’s just something about the ruggedness of Alaska. I want to be inspired.
What would you say are the first steps for parents who want to become a mentor to their own kids?
Don’t be afraid to ask the people you know. Don’t be afraid to ask your neighbor. Ask them, “how do I do this?” If you want to go fishing ask them to take you fishing. I found that people are really receptive to that. When I humble myself and ask you how to say, tie a fishing knot, you’d be happy to show me. People want to teach. The hardest part is asking to learn.
What is next for you and Mentor Quest?
I’ve got big things in the works. Some big brands such as Buck Knives are on board with Mentor Quest and I’m talking with several production companies about taking Mentor Quest to TV. I’m very excited about the direction and opportunities that have come my way. Equally exciting are the great people I’m lining up to film. Some great people, great personalities, and great adventures are in store!
Images courtesy Ed Eason