Alan was born in the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a pre-law major, focusing on psychology, criminology and theatre arts. He was the receipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant as Artist-In-Residence and placed in Buchannon County, Virginia for one year. Here he also taught 35mm photography, black and white darkroom techniques and acting. Alan moved to Seattle, Washington and worked as a child psychologist for several years while becoming involved in mountaineering and rock climbing, inventing a new powder for keeping your hands dry and not leaving marks on the cliffs.
He represented several hi-tec mountaineering and backpacking companies in the Pac-NW and became a distributor in the United States of a line of rock climbing shoes known as Vertical Footwear which he also helped design in Italy. He was the co-founder and co-artistic director of Sanctuary Theatre Group in Seattle, a professional theatre company. Twenty years ago, he had a spiritual calling to come to the Amazon to study shamanism and listened to that, leaving the USA by land via Mexico and Central America, finally being led to his first teacher, Dr. Valentin Hampjes outside of Quito, Ecuador. The Putamayo river and a 15 meter dugout canoe for 2,500 kilometers brought Alan to Iquitos where he began his next apprenticeships with varioius maestro cuarnderos.
He has lectured on curanderismo all over the United States and Europe and has been published in Shamans Drum, Journal for Peace and Humanities, Magical Blend, etc. as well as having been a featured presenter in Conferences. Alan founded Soga Del Alma (Vine of the Soul) eleven years ago and recently finished building their second chapel on the Rio Itaya just outside Iquitos, Peru.