An Introduction: The Goodness Of The Outdoors

The virtues of travel, dirtbag climber writes, live life elsewhere - these are all phrases clouded in the fog of pretense that have been used to describe what I hope this place will become. During the week I work, like most people reading this will, a nine-to-five gig. My job is great, it fulfills me in most of the right ways and consequently any negatives can be comfortably ignored. But there is still a hankering for something else, a longing to get out and away from comforts, to learn new things, to explore. I don't remember a time when this feeling wasn't there, and I don't imagine it will go away anytime soon. So, here we are.

Wanderer Above The Sea of Fog - Caspar David Friedrich

Each journey starts and ends in the same place, that is, the beginning - there and back again in the words of Tolkien. This is the beginning of my blog. This post will tell you a little about myself, the next a little about this place, and the one after a little bit about where I want to go with it. I've no pretense of majesty, just a want and drive to write, share my thoughts with the ether, and see what comes of it. An adventure in adventuring, so to say. Let's begin.

When I was younger every Sunday would be a walk into the great unknown. This was to a beach, sand dunes, a park - places that seem so big and foreign to young'uns. As time passed I came to know them as different things, like The Big Gun. Another invariable was The Summer Holiday, a complex logistical nightmare of maneuvering the whole Family entity to some cottage or another. What would follow was a week of incredible fun in the middle of Buttfuck Nowhere. 

I remember well driving from A to B via C and being asked to keep the noise down so the driver and the other adult up front could focus on finding the destination. Of course, it didn't matter that we went the wrong way but only that we had fun doing it. I am deeply grateful for these experiences, as they instilled in me that sense of adventure I spoke of earlier as well as the ability to navigate via road atlas (honestly, a much overlooked skill).

In later years I discovered the art of defying gravity, or as most people prefer to call it climbing. This is one of the better chance happenings of my time, as some friends were talking about it and I chewed their ears off until they invited me along. From fondling around on plastic holds to struggling up finger-splitting grit, this choice of lifestyle (and I really believe it is a lifestyle choice) has featured heavily since the days of its unearthing. For one reason or another, I haven't climbed as often nor as hard as I would have liked over the past year. This site will help to change that, but more on this in a later post.

The Alps

A final point to mention is hiking. Related to climbing, of course, but with less falling upwards. If last year saw the suffering of climbing, it saw the opposite when it comes to trotting the hills, tors, and Munros. I have spent an awful lot of time, perhaps more than can be considered safe and/or reasonable wildcamping. Sometimes by choice, other times necessity: take from that what you will. There is nothing quite like relying, ultimately, on yourself and those around you to get by. It fosters trust, a sense of belonging, and an understanding of your abilities. Consequently, I jump at the opportunity to embrace the call of the wild. I take part in fell events regularly, but more than anything just enjoy getting amongst it.

That's enough shitdits about myself. More will come out of the works in later blogs, but at least this provides a bit of grounding going forwards. Ultimately, I am a romantic for adventure and exploration. Wanderlust is a term I'm hesitant to use because of its connotations with the hipster, glass-floor generation, but its meaning hits home: a strong desire to get out there. However it's not the desire for a difference in scenery but the desire for a difference in self, to wit:
“Do you suppose that you alone have had this experience? Are you surprised, as if it were a novelty, that after such long travel and so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom and heaviness of your mind? You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate.” — Seneca
Thanks for reading. This is the first post in what will be an interesting project for me and hopefully for you as a reader too. In the tradition of many an Englishman, what will follow will be a whole lot of honesty, self-ridicule, and delight in the great outdoors.

The second post in the three-part introduction piece can be found here.


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