James was raised in “lower” Michigan. He says he has always been an admirer of the outdoors. “My family instilled in me an appreciation of nature — hunting, fishing, hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, and helping my aunt raise leader dogs for the blind. ” After finishing high school, he went to Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula, where he graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. After graduation he answered his own “call of the wild” and sought adventure in a land rich with opportunity—Alaska. James competed and finished the Iditarod in 2013 with Martin Buser’s yearling team.