Hey guys! I’m Brian Afflixio, or some call me Brian James, and I’m the head guide, founder and owner of Upstate Hiking, which is a subsidiary of Roulette Travel Adventures and Media, LLC. I’m a New York State Licensed Hiking Guide and Adventure Photographer. In 2018 I decided to leave the corporate world of software consulting, and pursue my love for the outdoors and sharing it with others by guiding others and incorporating photography into just about everything I do.
I grew up in Tampa, Florida, and was always enamored with and drawn to the outdoors – despite the lack of mountains in Florida. I spent many days fishing with my dad and friends, as well as venturing along the nature trails at home – but I think deep down I yearned for more wilderness.
After a brief stint at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, I later studied Business and Finance at Florida State University (Go Noles!) and stayed on to get my Masters in Finance as well. I made some trips to Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina during college, but didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked hiking. After graduation, I took a corporate consulting job that would have me transfer to Albany, New York. The pay was great, as were the benefits – but my soul was suffering. Located part way between the Adirondacks to my north and the Catskills to my south, I spent any free moment I could during the corporate years in the mountains, hiking or practicing my photography skills.
After two years in the corporate life, I had had enough. I put in my notice, and walked away from what I once thought was ‘the dream’ to pursue a life that would let me be outdoors and do something that I believed in. That day in 2018 was the very beginning of what would grow into Upstate Hiking today. It has been incredibly rewarding and my true calling helping others experience the great outdoors and wilderness of Upstate New York. I believe that the world can be a better place when more people find a passion for the outdoors and a desire to care for it – and Upstate Hiking is helping to work towards that world.
What’s a hiking and camping guide do when he’s not hiking and camping, you might ask? Well, I also spend quite a bit of my free time doing just that – but other times, I’m spending time with my hound-pointer mix, Kody (yes, she has an instagram), building model cars and geeking out on anything car related, traveling, watching the old school History Channel, cooking, and taking an occasional trip to visit my family in Florida. I’ve been to a little over 20 different countries so far – Spain, Italy, Australia and Cuba were some of my favorites so far, and hope to keep adding to that list in the coming years.
Oh, I also officiate weddings too. This was an elopement last year, where the couple actually found me on Reddit!
Licenses & Certifications
New York State Licensed Hiking Guide
New York State Licensed Camping Guide
Wilderness First Aid Certified
Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED