About Us

Embrace the Animal

About US

Embrace The Animal regrets to announce that its founder and lead visionary, Joshua Valentine, has passed away. Over the years, Joshua has built an extraordinary legacy in the form of wilderness survival courses, adventure film and photography, autobiographical writing, and motivational podcasting. He has left large shoes to fill and will be greatly missed among the outdoor community and various other demographics.

In the wake of Joshua’s passing, his clients and colleagues have been working to ensure that the incredible organization he created will continue to prosper. Embrace The Animal is excited to reveal the company’s next steps and provide all who are interested with the opportunity to experience the freedom of the outdoors. In the meantime, stay tuned and, as Joshua Valentine would say, “Live Wild!”

Our Mission:

To embody the attitude of breaking barriers by seeking adversity, and empowering others to do so by connecting our primitive capabilities to our modern minds.

What is Embrace the Animal?

We find our best selves not through comfort, but rather adversity. In connecting to our wild, more primitive selves and surroundings, we can tap into stronger, happier, and healthier ways of living, reaching levels of toughness and achievement that we only dreamed might be possible.

What does Embrace the Animal mean?

The human mind and body are capable of vastly more than we lead ourselves to believe. Each of us has an animal within us that when tapped, can help us push beyond the limits we set for ourselves. Our ancestors had almost the exact same bodies we do now, yet it was their daily adversity faced simply in the name of surviving to pass on their genes that allowed them to thrive from the perils of ice ages into the modern society we live in today. While our modern world has much to appreciate, we are increasingly cut off from our natural setting and the requisite adversity required to navigate them. In constantly seeking adversity, we can tap into our abilities to reach our highest selves, both mentally and physically, and constantly break the barriers of possibility. We Embrace the Animal by connecting our primitive instincts and abilities to our modern selves, to thrive as human animals in a way that only our era and history has allowed.

What is the ETA Mindset/Philosophy?

There is no superhuman. There is only human, and we were not designed to simply survive in nature. We were designed to thrive there. Only in seeking adversity, and sharpening our primitive instincts alongside our modern understandings do the human and the animal become one.

Meet the Team

Josh Valentine

Josh Valentine


If there’s one question I get asked more than any other, it has to be how the hell does a Jersey boy become obsessed with the wild, and wind up with a job like yours? Shouldn’t you be from Colorado or something?

I guess it’s a fair question. My home state is much more famous for bagels, blowout hair cuts, and sopranos than it is for churning out survivalists and adventurers.

I like to say that all this started as far back as having had my diaper changed at the bottom of a canoe on the Delaware River. I won’t pretend like I realized then and there that one day my profession would be leading, training, and keeping people safe in some of the wildest places on earth.

But I did know early on that I refused to settle for a life that was anything short of wild.

Embrace the Animal is all about connecting to that deep, primal part of ourselves that knows we are built for freedom, not captivity. The part of us that leads us to break rules and boundaries en route to living our greatest lives, and consistently evolving to find our greatest selves.

This is my animal. Hopefully it inspires a few of you to find your own as well.

My philosophy is that we are here to learn until the day we die, so while you’ll rarely hear me call myself an expert, I am proud to be able to say that I’ve developed a lot of specializations and a wide range of experience in the wild. What began as my own small company teaching survival and bush craft in my backyard of the Northeast lead to guiding, instructing, and expeditions in any terrain, all around the world.

Alongside survival, mountaineering, expedition paddling, and rigging, I’ve collected certifications and training as a Wilderness First Responder, in Swiftwater Rescue, Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue, and Avalanche Rescue.

​I’ve worked on teams providing scouting, safety, logistics, and stunt work for film crews in remote and often dangerous terrain, for platforms including Discovery, Netflix, NBC, Facebook Watch, and Freeform.

Running Wild with Bear Grylls
Face the Wild
You Vs. Wild
Shark Week: Bear Vs. Shark
Hope on the Horizon: An Expedition for ALS
40 Days In

To read more about me and to inquire about Wilderness Videography or Speaking at you event, visit joshua-valentine.com.

Gwen Forti

Gwen Forti

Rope Specialist, Photographer

Hey, I’m Gwen.
I’m obsessed with coffee, climbing and my kids (in no particular order). I march to the beat of my own drum and that usually means I’m pursuing some kind of “Type 2 fun” and talking my friends into adventures.

I’m thrilled to be a part of the ETA team and work with likeminded people as Rope Safety and Assistant Photographer.

It’s pretty amazing to share what you love to do in this creative way and laugh along the way.

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
Jon Krakauer

Victor Ventura

Victor Ventura

Director of Photography

My name is Vic.
I have been a photographer/filmmaker since I was fourteen years old. I’ve also been drawn to extreme adventure and pushing limits for as long as I can remember. Combining these two things has always been a goal of mine and working with this incredible team has finally given me that opportunity!

When I’m not on location I can be found chasing big waves, steep lines and lofty fitness goals. I love winter and I live for that moment when you look out the window the morning after a huge snowstorm.

..and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

Dan Karl

Dan Karl

Diver Dan at your service,

I am a Commercial Diver by trade, but my passions include getting outdoors and releasing some adrenaline. I spend most of my work days in the NY Harbor, doing underwater inspections of all types of waterfront structures. The role of a commercial diver has also allowed me to travel the world, working in some of the most remote locations across the globe.

When I’m not working, I like to do anything outdoors that gets my blood flowing. This includes diving 200’ beneath the seas surface, jumping out of a plane at 14,000ft or anything in between. There is nothing I like more than enjoying a long day outdoors with great people.

I am proud to be a member of the ETA team and look forward to all the adventures to come.

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

John Hutcherson

John Hutcherson

Web Slinger

Hutch here…
I have a pretty wide and varied background consisting of being a Backcountry Ranger, GIS Specialist, Environmental Manager, Web Designer, and Internet Marketer… I may have issues with focusing my attention.

I’m stoked to be a part of the ETA team and hope to see you on a future adventure!

Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain

We're not meant to survive the wild... We're meant to thrive there.

Contact us to learn more...