My parents taking me to Joshua Tree, Anza Borrego, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon when I was a kid got it all started.
Lots of trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton (with my parents) as a teenager helped out.
Got into ruins in 2008 after a 'lifelong dream' (since seeing it in a textbook in 5th grade) was fulfilled by visiting Mesa Verde.
That's the cliff notes version of the story.
Now I take my family all over the place to visit public lands.
My grandfather had me outdoors at every opportunity when I was a kid, and I spent most of my summers with my grandparents. His best friend had a 440 acre farm with a couple of lakes, along with a mix of pastures and woodlands.
We did a lot of fishing and shooting, occasionally hunting. Cub Scouts, Webelos, and at one point a very active Boy Scout troop that did monthly camping trips contributed a lot, too.
As a young adult, whatever field time I got as a paratrooper was always my favorite thing about the military, but afterwards it was always work, work, work. I went on a short backpacking trip with a couple other guys maybe once per year for awhile, then even that tapered out as they moved or had kids.
Somewhere along the line, I started doing some dayhikes and occasional overnighters by myself, but it wasn't something I got very excited over, or thought much about.
And then it happened. Out of the blue, about a decade ago, I ended up in an email exchange with a photographer who lived in Las Vegas. To make a long story long, I got invited on a tour of Bryce and Zion, plus Red Rock and other stuff around LV. All dayhiking, but it got me hooked.
That was 10 years ago this coming March. Since then I've made 8 more trips out West, done many dozens more dayhikes, spent ~400 nights in a tent in a dozen different states, and quite a bit more than 400 dollars on gear!
My dad was a school teacher who worked in the summers as a state park ranger in California, so I grew up with the mountains. My first hike was on my mother's hip at well under a year of ago (that was long before Snugglies or child carriers.)
here's a photo of me in my second summer,,,enjoying a bath on the deck of our ranger cabin...gotta love the fact that my mom managed to raise four kids like this...
My first backpack is pictures below: Kings Canyon at the age of 12, with my 16 year old sister and her friend...and cotton sleeping bags. We loved it