Ambassador Profile: Ethan James Rivera

Belong Ambassador Ethan is driven by a passion for photography and a drive to explore the world. Curious and with a strong imagination, following his passions has led him across the planet challenging him to grow and to see things differently.

Name: Ethan James Rivera

Instagram: @ethanjamesrivera

Born: Chicago, Illinois

When I first started my sport:  Shortly after my freshmen year of high school, I began running cross country for the Leyden Eagles. I noticed that I naturally enjoyed the idea of running, especially with a team. I find it to be just as much of an individual sport as it is a team sport. What I didn’t realize subconsciously at the time, most likely due to my competitive nature, is what running on those trails did for my well-being. I love exploring the state of Colorado! In fact, hiking the many trails here is a reminder of my high school days.

Superhero: Deadpool. Between his witty personality and humor, all of his adventures leave you in stitches. I personally love it when he breaks the fourth wall and communicates with his audience making the antihero persona so much more epic.

My favorite places in the world: It’s pretty hard to narrow down my favorite place in the world. If I had to narrow down my top picks I would have to say the following:

  • Croatia – I first visited back in the summer of 2017 and was blown away by the clear water landscape, the island hopping, and the delicious food.
  • Red Woods National Park - Walking amongst these gentle giants with my family back in the summer of 2016 is something I’ll always remember.
  • Electric Forest Music Festival - After attending 3 years in a row between 2013-2015, I was fortunate to photograph the beautiful event in Rothbury, Michigan in 2017. To have seen that place evolved over the years and document it, later on, was a humbling experience that I’m forever grateful for.

My perfect day: Taking my camera out in the mountains with a core group of friends and exploring the terrain. These are my top 5 photo adventures since moving to Colorado:

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Upper Piney Trail

Upper Piney River Falls (Vail, Colorado)

Isabelle Glacier

Isabelle Glacier (Nederland, Ward, Colorado)

Flagstaff Road Boulder

Flagstaff Road (Boulder, Colorado)

Mt. Bierstadt

Mt. Bierstadt (Near Georgetown, Colorado)

Greatest Accomplishment: Moving out to Colorado for a fresh start at life. For the majority of my 27 years on this planet, I have primarily lived in Illinois. I wanted to prove to myself I could make a jump like this, challenge myself to grow and discover the person I want to become. I left a life that I outgrew in Illinois and for almost 8 months now I’ve been chipping away at constructing a life that I can call my own.

What does it mean to follow my passion and find where I belong: For me, my passion lies in photography and a constant drive to explore. I associate this idea of following your passion and finding where you belong while trusting the process of continual growth in life. Following my passion for photography and exploration has led me across the planet challenging me to grow, to see things differently, and always be in a student and teacher frame of mind. I’m eager to learn more and share that knowledge and experience with the world.  To always possess this sense of imagination is to satisfy that inner child always curious about the world around us.