An Introduction: Signposting The Trail

In the Introduction series so far there has been a discussion on what this site aims to be and who I am as a person. This post is to set out a plan for the near- and far-future. One trap so easy to fall into is the thought that the future's clear. Unfortunately it's rare that events unfurl in such a straightforward manner. As is often the case, life finds a way and before you know it you're wearing shoes on your hands and a hat on your anus. No plan survives contact with reality, but to avoid the planning process because of this is foolish: it is better you have 80% at completion than leave 100% to chance. Here, I lay out tentative plans for the future, which have been broken down into the immediate and long-term distances.

Untitled (My Little Bird) - Edward Wilson

It is wise to make a distinction between the two. Doing so means a plan can exist that lays out the foundations to build from. On the other hand, having a goal to work toward creates the conditions for (hopefully) new and interesting thoughts to be generated. To quote Lewis Carroll, it is wise to "begin at the beginning... and go on till you come to the end"; let's start.

In terms of what you can expect imminently, expedition reports. Usually this conjures up a sense of grandeur, as if the first ascent of a newly discovered mountain is being made. The reality is that expeditions are a journey made with intention. But every journey is different: some are made for the purposes of research or achievement, others are conducted for the purposes of war. Others are the kinds we are most likely to stumble upon. Expeditions are most often undertaken for the purposes of exploration, for coming to understand more about the man in the boots or the land we tread. One such trip is planned for the coming weekend when I will lead a group across the Peak District. There is no formal goal other than the fun of it, no purpose beyond being able to say we have been there, crystallizing in the amber of the moment.

Another aim for the near future is a how-to series. This will initially cover the how-to's of bouldering and climbing. I must stress that it is not a replacement for qualified, guided coaching, but instead a project guided by both my continual learning and what I think would be useful for a beginner. But it is really, really important that you seek the advice of qualified professionals before undertaking anything I discuss on your own. The advice of one man on the internet will never replace just how much you can gleam from facetime with somebody. Seriously, there is a time for winging it but you should never set out with this as your primary aim. Dancing with gravity is fun enough as it is.
⁣It is not what you endure that matters, but how you endure it. - Seneca⁣
Finally for the near-future, another category is the catchall "whatever tickles my fancy" type of post.  What is meant by this? Through all of the introduction series so far I've spoke of adventure as a physical undertaking. This is not always the case. Necessarily, I think this involves coming out of your comfort zone, but I don't think this is always achieved by reaching your physical limits. There are other ways to max yourself out. If you have ever been moved by a work of art, found that a piece of prose has really resonated, or had a dark night of the soul, then you will know what is being referred to by this. Certainly, other ways exist to adventure and I intend to talk more about this in the future.

Late night and wine fuelled in Rome

It is at this point the near-future and far-future distinction becomes muddied. It is easy for me to say that I am to write a report on the happenings of next week. Everything is already planned. I know where I'm going, where we're hiking, and who will be in the party. It is much harder to say with a level of certainty that I will touch on other subjects in the abstraction of the future.

If the near-distance has a level of concreteness, the far-distance turns toward the essence of the matter. The essence is this: I hope for here to serve as a repository for the things I've done am interested in. If, somehow, this can serve as a compass to guide others then it's all the more better. But, as mentioned earlier in the introductory series, a compass is only ever a tool. If you read anything here, or anywhere for that matter, and you feel a compulsion toward it then get involved.

Truthfully, you might not like any of the things I go on to describe. You might try climbing and hate it. But if nothing else you will have learned more about yourself; there is nothing wrong with deciding what we go on to discuss isn't for you. The point is in the effort, the deliberate focus of intent to leave your comfort zone, stretch your horizons, and to cope with the very unique condition that you are currently in. Unique as it is, it is also passing. You, your opportunity, all that you are won't be there forever - and there's a certain beauty to that.

In a roundabout way, what I guess is being said is that I hope this site, the posts on it, the discussions that are to be had... I hope you find something in it. A waystone in the rough, bounding forward ceaselessly.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
Thus ends the introduction! Parts one and two can be found at the start of this post, but if you're this far in and interested then buckle up. It'll be great to have you along for the ride.

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