About The Author

My name, is Mario Smith-Mena. I was born in Hospital Mexico in San Jose Costa Rica to an American Lawyer and a Costa Rican Saleswoman.

At the age of five, I moved to the United States with my Father and began, unbeknownst to me at the time, a grueling academic career.


It was during this time that I was introduced to the world of “Nature Documentaries.” I became fascinated with travel, mesmerized by adventure. I would stay up late just to watch a special on The Discovery Channel. I had a National Geographic magazine subscription that, with a new issue, marked the start of a new month for me. I dreamed of trekking through the Amazon, machete in hand, slapping away at mosquitoes and testing fate with wild animals. I envisioned expeditions that took me miles under the surface of the sea, exploring a new world within our existing one. I couldn’t wait until I had the opportunity to see different cultures, taking me to the far ends of the earth.

Well, I’m 27 now and I haven’t really done any of those things yet, but I have begun to build a sturdy foundation.

No, I don’t really take myself this seriously.

I graduated from The United States Naval Academy in 2012 with a degree in Ocean Engineering and am currently stationed in Japan, just south of Tokyo.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to a good portion of South and Central America, Western Europe, and Asia, and the United States, of course. I have hiked 8 glorious mountains in Japan now, and would be lying if I said it was anything other than an addiction. In my spare time, if I’m not at the beach, and aside from hiking/traveling of course, I enjoy tasting new coffee beans, maintaining my small aquaponics set-up, and learning Japanese.

Favorite Travel Book- “Cloud Forest” by Peter Matthiessen

Runner-Up- “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

On top of Mt. Asahi, 2291m (7516ft)

Enough about me, I’d love to hear about you. If you consider yourself a hiker, a traveler, an adventurer of any sort, send your story in with some sweet pics to YamaKataGo@gmail.com and we’ll see about adding you to the team. Look forward to hearing from you. See you on trail.