Alan grew up on the move, living in Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, and California. He attended Pomona College, earning a B.A. in Geology with minor concentrations in Ecology and Anthropology. He then spent time in Idaho, Colorado, Minnesota, South Dakota, New Mexico and Vermont before settling down in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1997. He earned an M.S. in Forest Ecology with Northern Arizona University's Ecological Restoration Institute in 2000. His career has been spent largely out-of doors: he has led over 100 wilderness trips, worked on a backcountry trail crew, led a weed management crew, worked four seasons in fire management, taught primitive skills and nature connection, and spent over five years working for the Arizona Conservation Corps. Alan moved to Orange County in 2013 to pursue the love of his life and now lives in Irvine with his wife and two daughters.