Meet the man who left corporate America to live in a treehouse

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A photo posted by Foster Huntington (@fosterhunting) on

Foster Huntington lives life on his own terms. After working as a designer for Ralph Lauren and being on the fast-track for success in corporate America, Huntington made the calculated decision to stop working for the man, and start living out of a van. From there, the 28 year-old Oregon-native started #VanLIfe, a hashtag that has since turned into a nomadic movement to get people out of their desks and on to the open road. But the young traveler soon decided to change course yet again, and root himself elsewhere for his newest project: building his own dream treehouse from the ground up (literally).

Towering on a massive fir tree, The Cinder Cone -- Huntington's multi-platform treehouse -- is fully immersed in the natural landscape of Washington state. The full set up includes a skate bowl and a wood fired soaking tub as well, proving to be the epitome of #wanderlust goals. But for Huntington, the real highlight wasn't his new home, but the memories he made while building it alongside some of his closest (and most skilled) carpenter friends; it's what has validated this entire experience for him.

It's safe to say that at this point Huntington's major risk paid off big. He's now the author of three books, "The Burning House," "Home Is Where You Park It" and "The Cinder Cone Build Book," runs an viral Instagram account that has caught the eye of over 1 million avid followers, films and directs his own documentary-style videos, and makes the time to go off the grid in search of his next big adventure.

We recently spoke to Foster Huntington about what it was like to leave his conventional life behind, where his love of the outdoors first began, and more!

And if you want even more Foster Huntington news, head over to at 12 p.m. ET to see more exclusive features, including his perspective on Instagram.

6:45 AM

A photo posted by Foster Huntington (@fosterhunting) on

What was your background like before you started A Restless Transplant?
I started that blog in 2008 when I was in college in Maine. I didn't had a typical college experience because I went to a small school where everyone lived on campus and I wasn't really into that. I lived off campus and was really interesting in going around Maine and taking photographs. A Restless Transplant became a great outlet for me to document the things happening around me while traveling. I really had no idea what I wanted to do after I was done with college. What ended up happening was that six months into doing A Restless Transplant, a designer from Ralph Lauren saw it and got in touch with me. The next time I was in New York I met with the design team there and ended up getting an internship doing concept design from mens sportswear. My job was really picking photos for inspiration and creating mood boards. I interned there and then at the end of my summer internship they offered me a job, so I went back a finished school and as soon as I was done I moved to New York and worked for a year and a half there.

Looking for a place to camp

A photo posted by Foster Huntington (@fosterhunting) on

I loved living in New York and I was really good at my job, but I realized that having a corporate design job wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. So I decided to pursue some other projects, and while I was still working I began The Burning House which was a Tumblr site where people could submit photos of their belongings that they would take with them if their house was burning. It was a small portrait project that ended up blowing up, and afterwards I was approached by HarperCollins to turn it into a book. I realized that with the money I received from them was enough for me to fund my fantasy of buying a van and traveling, surfing, and backpacking. This was back in 2011 and Instagram was in its infancy then, but I identified it as a platform that I wanted to focus on and showcase my photos on. So I lived in my camper for three years showcasing photos, and then I decided that I wanted to set up a home base and tackle a different project. So that's how the idea of the treehouse came to life.

Surf Safari

A photo posted by Foster Huntington (@fosterhunting) on

What was the reaction from people you were working with when you decided to leave Ralph Lauren?
They were really supportive, but also a bit shocked. People didn't really leave the job that I had; I was on the fast-track and one of the youngest people to ever hold that position in the design world. Some people definitely spoke out and said, "What are you doing? You're blowing this!"

New York City is also a tough place to live if you really need to be in the outdoors too. It's hard to escape city life once you're in it.
I mean New York is amazing and I loved it. I would live there again and when I think of it, I have such fond memories of my time there. There are so many cool, super talented people who live there. I just needed more visual inspiration and needed to be outside and active and it was hard to do that in Manhattan -- unless you have a ton of money but I was broke when I was there.

Was being in the outdoors something you grew up on?
Yeah! I grew up outside of Portland [Oregon] snowboarding a ton. And when I was in high school I wanted to be a professional snowboarder. Also, my parents were super into backpacking growing up, so I had this big connection to the outdoors that I unfortunately lost touch with when I was living in Manhattan.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 12 pm EST for more exclusives on Foster Huntington, including his perception of Instagram.


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Meet the man who left corporate America to live in a treehouse
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