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Arrhhg! Not…a…BLOG?!?

May 9, 2013

DSCF1115So it has been a couple months or so since I started this, and as I have been writing and taking pictures and writing and sharing, I have been struggling with the term “Blog”. I can’t really put my finger on it. Blog. Not particularly irritating or uninteresting, regardless of it’s similarity to Blah. I just don’t like the term and I think it is because of MY view of what I believe it implies and invokes.

Now, the common definition after an instantaneous google search comes up as:

“Blog”

“Noun: A web site on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis. Verb: Add new material to or regularly update a blog.”

That is exactly what this really is. It is a record of experiences…on a web site…that I regularly update.

20130414_184518I spend a night in the woods. I take Max (the hiking dog) out to a trail to exercise and explore for a couple hours. It’s stuff that I would normally do, only these days with this Blog, I just take more pictures than I might usually and really try to put some thought to what there is to know about the setting of the latest excursion. I type up a description, try to add some personal elements to it, throw in some pictures, and then post it to share it with all of you. It is a web site…that is a record of opinions, information, etc…and I regularly update it.

It is a Blog.

And then I ask a friend “Hey, have you checked out my Blog?”

And they cringe.

“Yeah, I checked it out a couple weeks ago.”

“OH, so then you haven’t seen the latest post?”

Of course I haven’t seen the latest post. I care about the things in your life, but I don’t spend my time keeping track of it as you share it on the internet. You have a lot of free time to go hiking and camping and be on the computer. Why don’t you just tell me NOW about the last trail you hiked?

“…no…I haven’t seen your latest post.”

DSCF1057This isn’t really the typical response, but it is how it goes in my head. For some reason it seems to me that there is a negative stigma among the people about blogs, at least from my kiddie pool perspective. And that negative stigma seems to manifest itself in the facial expressions of people that I have just asked “Hey, have you checked out my blog?”

So is this really what happens or am I just nuts?

DSCF1119Maybe I have answered my own question, at least in the context of the situation above. This theoretical conversation would have happened with a person, more likely than not, in my life already. If I am personally somewhere with YOU, YOU probably have a lot bigger window into who I am already and what is going on with me these days than the average “Blog Reader”. You, my friend, are getting the news direct from the source than from some outdoors websi…er, blog. So can I even determine value of what I write and share from the responses of friends? There are two answers to that, and they are “yes” and “probably not”. Of course I value the opinions of my friends and am open to positive reinforcement and criticism. I welcome you wonderful people with your wonderful ideas! BUT…I have actually avoided bringing the blog up because I am sheepish about making a casual conversation on a patio over a couple of beers about my egotistical self. So in this instance, I don’t WANT to count on friends. I love you all and I will bring up the blog on occasion, but if you let me go off on a tangent I’m just going to cause you to avoid hurting my feelings. And I don’t want that. “Here, have another beer…you look thirsty. So let me tell ya about my (air quotes) outdoors website…”

526746_10200846268339962_1485727947_nSo then does it have value for somebody? That’s the real question. And then to further THAT question, does it have value for somebody other than myself? I know what I get out of this. For me, the process of writing is a therapeutic and meditative experience. It is the taking of thoughts in my head and solidifying them in a way. It forces me to focus and be creative, and that is psychologically pleasurable for me. Making something. Projecting energy. Exercising my fingers as I hunt and peck (shoulda learned to type!!!).

Yeah, it obviously has value for me. As I have written things for myself that are NOT about the outdoors, I realized that if I want to discipline myself to regularly write, I ought to follow the idea of “write what you love”. And I love the outdoors. Through that, I have found that I enjoy documenting my time in nature and (at least) feel that sharing it holds the genuine value that I outwardly see in this endeavor. Maybe through my love of it and my enjoyment in writing, that something is created with a value that can be shared with others. My friends. YOU, ya “reader”.

20130413_124857So maybe you can find, and possibly already have found, some value in it. I really hope you do. I really love being in the forest, and I think you should to. Our connection with nature is something that really is part of every aspect of our life cycle. The way in which we live. The way that we treat other living things. Fundamentally we are just animals that decided to come inside somewhere along the way. And I hope that at some point, something I have said will inspire somebody to get outside for a bit. Get your shoes dirty. Get some exercise. That’s the hope.

Lower Rock Creek

And as much as I will try to convince myself to refer to it as an “outdoor site”, it is a Blog. It isn’t the online catalog for anything. It isn’t an officially sanctioned website for information. It’s just me and my dog, and sometimes family and friends, getting out into the forest and taking a few more pictures than I normally would and then writing about where we went and putting it on here. It’s a Blog.

377451_2675415365380_2087416579_nAnd I hope that you find value in it. I tell you one thing…it’s an odd thrill when you get a Facebook notification that your Mom likes your Blog’s Facebook page. That made me grin.

And be warned, that if you are ever out in the forest with me and I’m taking pictures, you can expect to see yourself up on here eventually.

So give me a smile, ya stinky, sweaty, outdoorsy-person. Thanks for reading!

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6 Comments
  1. This is a great post! One thing you might add is that by documenting your adventures in nature you will leave a path for others to follow. Is not that what we hope to leave our future generations? My personal dream is to have my boys walk the same paths I enjoyed one day with their children and find peace. This was a wonderfully insightful blog :)!

    • Thanks man! Yes, documenting the adventures so that it will leave a path for others to follow is a great way to put it. My primary goal is to try to convince people to get outside and see what’s around. To gain an appreciation for nature, or strengthen it.
      On the subject of our children walking the same paths, I have been lucky enough to have some permanence in the St. Louis area since I was 13, so now I find myself hiking the same trails with my kids that I did with my parents. It really is pretty cool!
      Thanks again!

  2. yeah I hate the word ‘blog’, sounds like bog, or slog, and makes me think of bogey! Totally get what you are saying about the painful ‘have you read my latest post’ conversation! Such a difficult one to have, I just assume no one ever reads my blog (which is probably accurate) and tell them everything I have written word for word. One day, someone might actually stop me and say, ‘yeah, I read that in your blog’. And I will have made it! Great blog by the way

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one! You mention your blog, and the eyes roll and they sigh…and it is justified. Maybe we all need to write about more exciting things?!? I don’t know. I do know that there is an unspoken negativity attached to the word “Blog”. A buddy of mine suggested that if I like the term “Site”, to just call it that. My problem is that I don’t want to give the impression that it is something it isn’t. Is it a blog, is it a website? It’s both and more. The term “Blog” just bothers me and I have to get over that.
      The more important goal for me is to just produce content with value for people beyond just myself, and I think I’m making my way to that, like I’m sure we all are.
      Thanks for checking it out!

  3. My daughter is 22 and I am 46. We have really never connected. She is a hiker and I am a camper. We have decided to put both together and just head out for some hikes which includes a few overnighters. Any suggestions on where is wjhat I am looking for.

    • Well Bob, I guess my first question would be “Where do you live at?” I live in St. Louis County, Missouri…and so far, a lot of my excursions are within about two hours from my home…with special occasions taking me slightly further. I am pretty familiar with that some of the places within that radius, but have a lot to learn about beyond that.

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