COSTA HIKES – Venture The Unknown
Dan Costa is a 24-year-old Marketing professional who currently works as the marketing coordinator for a high growth tech company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Idelic. He graduated from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a marketing degree in August of 2018 and while he loves his current company and position, has found a new love for photography back in August of 2020.
Since August, he has been determined to grow his Costa Hikes personal brand to one day help fund state and federal parks all across the United States and use his brand to help others become more eco-conscious. His tag line is Venture the Unknown to remind people to always be ready for the unexpected and to never stop exploring new horizons.
Here is Dan Costa in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) How did you spend your childhood?
My childhood was spent hanging out with friends through video games, sports, or hanging out after school. Growing up, I always tried, and still try, to make people happy in any way that I can. I always tell myself, “if I can put a smile on someone’s face today, then I can go to bed happy”. I grew up in a great household with two awesome parents, and an older brother. We are also really close to our extended family as well.
2) When did you start hiking and photography?
I started hiking back in 2018ish. Photography was not something I admired for a long time, for reasons that I couldn’t even recall. My photography journey began in August of 2020. We were visiting Montana for an annual fly fishing trip with my family. I discovered a real appreciation and passion for photography during that time. I saw untamed beauty in Montana, and I wanted to capture it and share it with the world. After receiving such positive feedback from my images, I decided “Hey, I kind of have an eye for this, let’s keep going and see what happens”. Fast forward to now, and I have just over 3,000 people who love my work and still climbing!
3) Who has been your inspiration?
It sounds cliche, but my inspiration is my entire family, and more specifically my parents, and my brother. My parents have both been incredible role models in every aspect of life, and have wanted nothing more than for my brother and I to do what we love. They have done an incredible job to teach us what is important in life, and continue to inspire me to be a better person every day. My brother has been a role model in the sense of appreciating the small moments in life, and to take it easy. In photography, my belief is all about the small moments and appreciating what is in front of you. I don’t think I would be pursuing photography without this mindset.
4) Tell us more about Costa Hikes?
I always wanted to start a personal brand. August of 2018 is when I officially rebranded myself as Costa Hikse on Instagram. The Costa Hikes brand began by noticing how people poorly treated Ohiopyle state park in Pennsylvania. I was hiking Cucumber falls and loved the scenery. Looking closer, I noticed there was trash everywhere. Waterbottles, socks, wrappers, straws, paper towels, etc, were everywhere. It was really sad to witness people being so disrespectful to the area they came to visit. Since that day, I decided I wanted to emphasize sustainability for my brand. The goal one day will be to help fund state and federal parks to help keep them clean. Right now, I try to document my clean-up efforts as much as I can through my Instagram stories when I hike. If Costa Hikes inspires others to care for the trails that they share with many other people, then my brand is doing its job.
5) What type of injuries have you faced during your adventures and how did you cope up with them?
I haven’t really faced any injuries on any of my adventures…just some cuts and bruises at the worst.
6) Which has been your most memorable hike till now?
My most memorable hike was Angels Landing in Zion National Park. I remember every single struggle, body ache, switchback, and phrases I would say going to the top of that hike. It was definitely the most difficult I have done to date, and I glad I was able to complete it.
7) How has been your life changed after opening this brand?
My life has changed because I am not afraid to be myself anymore. I came out as bisexual back in July of 2020. That moment really started to define my true self and is what gave me the determination, courage, and ability to live my life without the fear of being judged. I have met so many awesome people, received an insane amount of love for my page and my mission, and have been able to work with some pretty cool brands along the way. It has also taught me to not fear change, and to stay uncomfortable. A lot of people think that hiking is just a leisurely walk in the park. Sometimes it is, but most of the time, it’s challenging and exhausting, especially when you’re way up in the mountains or deep into the woods. You always have to be prepared for anything, and that is what I love about it.
8) Has your family been supportive with your career option?
Yes! My family has always been very supportive of anything that I do.
9) How has life been on the other side of the hiking and adventures?
Life has been great! I currently work full-time as a Marketing Coordinator for a B2B SaaS company, Idelic. I work on an awesome content team and we love what we do and who we work for. Other than work, my family and friends are who I care most about. I do my best to lead a life of positivity. Cooking is also a favourite past time of mine, so I always love learning to cook up new recipes.
10) Tell us more about your tag line.
My tagline is Venture The Unknown. In college, I would always say, “be comfortable being uncomfortable” or “never fear the unknown”. When I started Costa Hikes, I was playing around with tag lines, and Venture The Unknown just kind of stuck. Venture The Unknown is meant to inspire people to get out of their comfort zone, and not be afraid to venture off into unknown places. I believe to experience true internal growth, and constantly break through your shell, means to challenge yourself and stay uncomfortable.
11) Where do you see this brand in the next five years?
I see Costa Hikes being near the top of the totem pole to inspire other hikers, and other outdoors enthusiasts to help maintain our trails and environment. If we want these beautiful locations to stay beautiful, then we should keep them clean whenever we can. I have ideas to expand to other social media platforms as well and start to introduce new types of content for a bigger audience. More so, I would love to be at the top of mind for certain brands, and influencers around the world.
12) How’s life in quarantine?
Quarantine could be better. If I could give one piece of advice for everyone in quarantine is to please take care of yourself mentally, not just physically. Let’s look out for one another, and be there for one another any way that we can.
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