Choose Your Own Adventure
Social media is full of incredible photography, daring adventurers, and beautiful people from all over the world who have a tendency to significantly dwarf my backcountry experiences. I admit, I sometimes find myself getting caught up in comparing myself to others and when I do, I force myself to take a look around and re-adjust my vision. While I think it's great to be inspired and motivated by these social media adventurers, I think it's equally important to keep everything in perspective.
If you've ever been caught up in comparing yourselves to others on social media, I want to remind you that when you see a great photograph it's because that photograph is a piece of art and there were many, many other terrible photos taken before that one and after that one you're looking at. Photography is an art form and it takes time and skill to make it look effortless. Yes, there are probably those out there who were gifted with the ability to make any photo look incredible, but for the majority of us out there, it's not that easy.
All my comparative thoughts came to a grinding halt one day when I saw a photograph of a waterfall in my area that I was very familiar with. The photographer who got the shot was extremely gifted to say the least, but the caption below the post mentioned something that was so dreamy and so adventurous that I nearly laughed out loud because I knew that this waterfall was literally right off the side of the road, yet this person decided to make it sound like they found the Garden of Eden. I realized right then that I'm regularly the victim of great marketing and so began to redefine what an adventure is based on myself and no one else.
For the longest time I'd see these beautiful pictures of a backpacking trip that someone went on and immediately compare myself to them. I'd tell myself that I needed to up my game and get out there more and more and more to the point where a simple day trip into the mountains sounded like it wasn't "cool" enough. Looking back now, this is a crazy thought! Any trip into the mountains, be it for a couple of hours or a couple of days, is more than worth it. I don't care if you never get out of the car, simply being out there where life is different is good for you. A few weekends back, I had only a few hours to get out there and had to fight my own brain because I kept telling myself "it wasn't worth the drive" and "you'll never see anything cool in just a couple hours." I fought the urge to forego the trip, tossed my dog in the truck, and drove an hour to a hunting spot of mine. The moment I parked the truck, I was greeted with an elk standing not 50 yards away. After he sauntered off, I got out of the truck and hiked in about a half mile and bumped into another group of elk. I knew in that moment that had I given way to my thoughts about my day trip not being worth it, I would have never seen these animals. The forest was beautiful that day and though I only spent about an hour busting through the brush, I can honestly say it was one of the best trips I've made into the hills. It felt good to be there with no agenda, no time frame, and no one pushing me to do this or that. I enjoyed watching my dog chase down the scent of the elk and the look on his face when he knew he was on to something. While driving home that afternoon, I knew that my small excursion that afternoon was more than worth it.
My soap box speech today is simply this, don't let social media define for you what an adventure is. Define it for yourself and I'd be willing to bet that you'll find yourself getting out more and enjoying it more when you do. You don't have to climb the tallest peak or find some "secret" waterfall in order to have an experience. You're the only one that decides what is what in your life and whether or not an outing is an adventure.
Stay safe, get out there even if it's for an hour,