Glenn and Trista have some seasonal patterns. Summers are spent in the water, winters over the snow. Fall and spring come and signal transition, resting periods filled with meticulous planning and preparation for the coming season. This is their map, a course that meanders around the country and off its coasts.
Owner Profile: A Life of Adventure
They’ve been charting this course for years. Decades ago, Glenn stumbled into a discovery, which has since become a north star of sorts.
“I bought a Suzuki Samurai in college in the '80s. In fact, I conducted my own little scientific survey, anytime I drove around Salt Lake and I saw a Suzuki Samurai, I would look inside and see if they were smiling. They appeared to be,” Glenn recalled.
In 1985, Suzuki introduced the SJ-Series Samurai, a four-wheel-drive offroad mini SUV that became intensely popular in the world of offroading. Critics called it unsafe, but Glenn’s attention was on the person behind the wheel and whether they appeared happy.
Glenn, of course, bought the Suzuki.
“That was my research,” he explained.
If there’s any outward sign steering Glenn and Trista’s lives, it’s probably a smile.
Salt Lake City-based Glenn and Trista have made a life centered around the activities that bring them joy. The Utah mountains, just minutes from their home, provide endless opportunities for adventure and thousands of miles of trails for mountain biking, trail running, and offroading. As the seasons change, the couple swaps two sets of gear for two more, exchanging boots for snowshoes, bikes for boards.
“If you go into our basement, it's basically set up like a shop,” explained Trista. “We like paddleboarding too. We've got a couple of lakes up here that we paddleboard on. There's a rack for the board. We have a raft for scuba and a raft for everything.”
“I enjoy pushing things a bit, introducing people to new activities, new sports and just getting outside,” added Glenn.
In 2014, while living in Mexico, Glenn’s friend, who spent his time as a sailing instructor in the Sea of Cortez, the Gulf of California, invited him sailing.
“I just went out with him for the day,” said Glenn. “I thought, ‘This is pretty cool. This is fun.’”
Smile acquired, having conducted his research once more, Glenn had a decision to make.
"I'm maybe a little bit of a risk-taker, so sailing by myself was comfortable for me. I bought an inexpensive old monohull boat and basically taught myself how to sail.”
Unlike Glenn, whose instincts propelled him organically into new adventures, Trista taught herself, using her twenties to push herself away from her comfort zone.
“I decided to just start living life once I hit my late twenties and the early thirties,” explained Trista who had to overcome anxiety in the process and ultimately found healing in her adventures.
“I started booking trips with friends. Everything was great, things kept happening and more friendships led to more adventures. Even though those first steps are scary, it is so worth it.”
Eventually, one of those trips took her to the Bahamas, where Glenn was anchored expecting some friends from Utah to stay with him on his new Leopard Catamaran. After acquiring his first sailboat, an older monohull that kept him in the Sea of Cortez, Glenn had begun pining for a boat that demanded less of his time and energies.
“I lived for eight years in Mexico. I was sick of working on an old boat all the time. Everything needed to be fixed, and I just was getting tired of it. I’d thought about a new boat, like a new car.”
It was 2016 then, and Glenn, having learned to sail proficiently on an older monohull, traveled to the Caribbean.
Explained Glenn, “I had taken a bunch of friends sailing in the British Virgin Islands, and it just so happened that the end of that trip coincided with the Miami Boat Show. So I went to the Miami Boat Show.”
“And he bought a boat,” added Trista.
Not long after, Trista agreed to join some friends as they flew from Salt Lake City to stay for a few days aboard a Leopard 44, anchored in the Bahamas, owned and captained by Glenn.
“When I bought the boat,” Glenn described, “my intent was to take it all over the Caribbean and then maybe through the canal and across the Pacific. I had these grand plans to go anywhere and everywhere.”
“A big part of this boat is me having my friends come out. Almost every week, I have a group of friends or family.”
How They Met
When Trista came along for one of those trips, they hit it off just as two individuals who are always up for a challenge would. Life took them back to the mountains of Utah, where Glenn’s passion for offroading and motorcycles had inspired him to start a metal fabrication shop and business that manufactures custom parts for a variety of 4x4 vehicles and where Trista’s work as an interior designer frequently takes her to the West Coast and Midwest.
For this always-on-the-go couple, summers aboard the Leopard 44 offer a slower pace of adventure.
“The boat is not adrenaline-fueled, but it's so nice to just get away from work, and get away from cars, and traffic, and society, and park in front of a beach and read books, and lay in the sunshine,” explained Glenn.
“Thinking of the wind, and the waves, and the weather, and navigation. There is some challenge to it, but I don't really feel there's much danger to it.
Trista learned the finer points of sailing quickly.
“It brings you back to the center and helps you appreciate everything in life. It's also for me a learning experience, learning how to adapt on the boat and work quickly. If something needs to happen, make it happen,” she recalled.
Never a Dull Moment
Since its purchase in 2016, the Leopard 44 has moved around the Caribbean, playing host to dozens of groups filled with family and friends. These visits, according to Glenn and Trista, are invigorating, allowing them to share the joy they’ve found with the people closest to them.
“We can go for 8 to 10 weeks and have 8 to 10 different groups of friends come the entire time,” said Glenn.
Sitting out on the deck with a guitar, guiding their friends through pristine waters, spearing and grilling lionfish or conch at night, bushwhacking through the islands, these are the moments they share, moments that sometimes challenge them.
“It's always fun for us to see them experience everything as we've experienced for the first time.”
It’s been a long time since those college years spotting Suzuki Samurais on the highways, but the north star hasn’t changed. Seeing their families relax over turquoise waters and beneath orange skies at sunset, finding a smile on their faces, that’s their research these days.
It would appear they’re still on course.