An Adventure through Nepal
tasc Performance

An Adventure through Nepal

tasc's Newest Ambassador, Eric Donoho, takes on Nepal. 

Meet Eric.

Stay at Home Dad, Adventure Photographer, Public Speaker,
Veteran Advocate, and Retired Sergeant US Army
Check out his photography portfolio

Background – tasc Performance is sponsoring Eric, one of our newest Ambassadors, on the Mera 2018 Nepal Trip. He will be joining the expedition as a photographer and participant on Bravo team. The trip is headed up by Jeff Evans, Heather Thomson, and Remembrance Stabler.


We got to sit down with Eric and ask him some questions about his journey to becoming an adventure photographer and his upcoming expedition. 

As an introduction, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family[married, kids?]

I am married, 39 years old, and a stay at home dad of a 6 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. My wife and I will be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day. In my “spare time” I am Adventure Photographer, focusing on landscapes and people in the backcountry. I am also a Public Speaker, Veteran Advocate, and a Retired Sergeant from the United States Army.



What inspired you to join the military?

I really wish there was some noble reason or calling, but truthfully it was about seeing what I was made of as a person. I wasn’t entirely happy with my life and the salesman career I had chose, so at 26 years old I joined the Army. It was a decision that, for the first 4 weeks of basic training, I woke up every morning and thought, “Why did I do this…”. However, in time that feeling faded and was replaced with a new found confidence of who I was and what I was capable of doing. It was hands down one of the best decisions I have made in my life and would gladly do it all over again.



Where were you stationed during that time?

I was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska as a member of the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne), Scout/Sniper Platoon. The most amazing story I have about my duty station is actually about my first trip to Alaska, when I was reporting to my new duty station. I was flying on a Delta flight out of Atlanta, GA and it was over an 8 hour flight. My seat assignment was not great, I was in the middle seat of the middle row of seats. Unfortunately, just a couple of aisles up from the bathroom. After taking my seat, I looked down the aisle at the people walking onto the plane, when I saw the most beautiful woman come aboard. She had on a dark pin stripe business suite, her hair was wavy dark brown with subtle blond highlights, big beautiful brown eyes, a smile that lite up the plane, and carrying a brown paper Bath and Body works bag. All I kept thinking was please sit next to me, please sit next to me. That’s when I noticed I was staring and I didn’t want to be that creepy guy, so I looked down at my seat. It felt like everything was going in slow motion until I saw that brown paper Bath and Body Works bag be put down on the floor to my right. Once she was settled in her seat it took me all of 3 seconds to introduce myself and strike up a conversation. We often refer to that flight as our first date; we had a chicken entree, in which they forgot my chicken, got to watch the perfect date movie Hitch, and this June 8th will be the 13th anniversary of that flight.

What is something that you learned about yourself while deployed overseas?

This is an interesting question because just a few months ago I would have answered it entirely different from what I am about too. Two months ago I started going through the letters and emails that I sent to my wife, while at war. I noticed something significant, as the months in the country grew the letters and emails home became less. And the ones that did come home, highlighted how jaded I had become with the concept of war and what it was accomplishing. For years, I buried those feelings and emotions, fearing that someone would mistake them for disrespecting the Veterans who gave their lives protecting each other and this country. But, what I didn’t realize until recently is by not acknowledging these feelings and emotions even after leaving the Army, I wasn’t allowing myself to learn the biggest lesson of my time in Iraq; there will never be peace through war.

You were medically discharged from the Army. Can you talk about what happened?

After completing a 14-month deployment in Iraq I returned stateside. It was during my first week back that I was given a Post Deployment Health Assessment in which I scored off the charts for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). I also was experiencing debilitating migraines associated with the MTBI, L5-S1 herniated disc, and neck issues. It was at this time that I was medically flagged for my injuries and transferred to the Warriors Transitions Unit. It was here I learned that I would have to make a decision; choose a different Military Occupational Speciality (MOS) or retirement. After learning that I would not be able to choose any of the MOSs that I was interested in, I chose retirement. In February 2009, I was medically retired from the Army for MTBI, PTS, and Migraines associated with the MTBI.

Thru the emotional turmoil caused by your injury and the subsequent (diagnosis?) of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), can you briefly describe what that is like to someone who may not be a familiar with the effects of PTS?

So the best way I can describe war and PTS for me, is by using an example from the Seinfeld episode about “Bubble Boy”. When we are born, we all are born in a bubble, of sorts, and it’s this bubble that keeps us protected and innocent. As we grow that bubble becomes smaller and smaller because of the hardships everyone endures in the course of a normal life. However, when you go to war, your bubble just doesn’t get smaller it gets ripped wide open. So you have to step out of that torn up bubble, do your best to fold it up, and stuff it away in the hopes that you can repair it later. But, now you know longer have that buffer to shield you from the evil and hate that exists in this world. So you adjust and learn to not trust anyone without an American flag on their shoulder and that becomes your normal. It’s upon returning home that you realize you can’t live life this way. So you pull out your ripped up bubble to try and patch it, but it doesn’t work and there are no instructions on how to make the patch hold. So your long journey begins, trying to find the right combination of ingredients to patch your bubble in the hopes of finding your faith in humanity and restoring the joy, love, and laughter to your life.


How have photography and the No Barriers Warriors program helped you?

Landscape Photography is my escape from world. It is what I always turn too in the worst moments of my life. It’s in the backcountry that I am reminded of all the light that shines around us, I forget about the stresses of life, and I just create. It’s when I am at peace with the world the most. I find myself obsessed with trying to capture the world as I see it to tell the story of that moment. No Barriers Warriors got me off the couch and back into the backcountry. They reminded me that while it’s ok to have fear, it’s not ok to let that fear keep you from pursuing your dreams.

Let’s talk about the Nepal trip….
How did you get connected with Heather Thomson and how did that lead to your participation on this trip?

Last year while representing No Barriers Warriors, I got to meet Remembrance Stabler who is one of Heather’s closest and oldest friends. After that meeting, Remembrance in many ways took me under her wing. While I was at the Asheville Classic, a No Barriers Warriors fundraiser started by Remembrance, I finally got to meet Heather; as she was there to support the cause and to help raise money. It was at this event that I got to know Heather. Both Heather and Remembrance are truly amazing people always finding time to help and encourage veterans to start the next chapter of their life. In typical Heather and Remembrance fashion, I became a member of their tribe and both of them have taken an interest in keeping me climbing in my own life. So when they started planning this trip to Nepal, they immediately thought of me to help with the photography of the trip. It still blows me away that they believe in me, my ability to capture this trip, and to tell its story through imagery. It was a huge confidence boast and the bonus is I get to go to Nepal with some truly amazing people.

You live in Indiana…How are you preparing for a 3 week trip at 17,000 feet and higher?

Yeah that’s a great question considering I live at like 862 feet above sea level. I have been doing a lot of cross training; running, elliptical on hill settings, free weights, riding a lot on my road bike, jump rope, and lots of stretching. There’s only so much you can do when you live in the flatlands, but what I do know from past climbs is that the most important thing I can do is to be in good cardiovascular shape and so that is my main focus. I also have been focusing on my nutrition making sure to fuel my body with the right food that will help me recover quickly so that I can keep hitting my workouts hard.

What is the rough timeline of your trip and what do you expect to be the most challenging aspect?

The trip is coming up quickly; I leave on April 21, 2018. I only have 9 more weeks before I leave, which I am assuming will go as quick as the previous weeks, since learning about this trip in November. One of the most challenging aspects of this trip is the length of time I will be away from my kiddos. It is always hard to leave for extended periods of time when you have young kids, especially when they don’t understand why they can’t come. Another challenge I will face will be leaving the United States. After experiencing war, I have not been interested in traveling overseas. I have let the fear and darkness of that situation overshadow my love of travel and exploring the world. So I have some anxiety, but I know overcoming this anxiety and fear is the key to keep moving forward in life.

What is your favorite tasc Performance product?

This is a hard question because I have not gotten one item from tasc that I did not love. If had to pick favorites, I would have to go with the Carrollton Short Sleeved Crew and the Carrollton Long Sleeve Hooded shirts. I live in a combination of these two shirts and wear them everyday for workouts and throughout the day. The other product that I absolutely love is the Performance Sock. I have always had a hard time finding the right socks for running, working out, and daily use, until I tried these socks. I bought one pair to try out and soon as I finished my first workout in them, I immediately ordered enough to get me through an entire week. Truly though I love all the products as they are all soft, wear well, and hold up to the harsh conditions in the backcountry and tough workouts.

Anything else you want to add?

I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to the tasc team, for the incredible welcome as a tasc Ambassador and for being willing to sponsor me on this expedition. I could never express in words how the generosity you all have provided with your time and resources means to me. It is the inspiration I use each day to make sure I get out of bed, early in the morning, to get my workout knocked out for this trip to Nepal. Thank you to the entire tasc crew for everything!

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