I’m used to being a bit of a freak show. Or maybe I flatter myself. But, I have two strange names, I’m a bit short, and I have a wee pot belly. It’s covered in hair. And backpacking, it was always something I did away from my day-to-day life (except for with my Lady Friend who I co-opted by buying her nothing but backing gear for birthdays, anniversaries, etc).
So when I decided that it was probably a good idea to walk across Japan (the short way), it was greeted with a sputtering of syllables amounting too ‘yes, you have just confirmed you are a bit strange, and I’m not quite sure you will do it.’ Of course, it was more politely said, and they probably didn’t mean that, but it’s what I heard given that I felt different.
The internet is magic. As soon as I unilaterally declared myself in, or opted in, or joined the online light weight hiking community, I met people who found what I was hoping to do exciting, normal and not remarkably difficult. I appreciate this deeply.
And answers to questions! The advice and response time of the lightweight hiking community is unmatched. Not knowing how to do something is no longer an excuse for not doing something.
Sometimes the Lady Friend gives me shit about twitter. And that’s healthy, it is addicting. But in the last month I have talked to more interesting people, learned more, and felt more inspired than for a very long time (follow me on twitter!). Walking across Japan (the short way) went from being a fantasy that confirmed I was a ‘different kind of person’ to a possible, challenging, and fun reality.
The Church gets that bit right, community is powerful norm creating force.
In May 2009, I had never participated in an online community outside of facebook (stalking). Lucky, that changed. Even after just a month, it has been incredibly motivating.
Warm-up Question: What are your favorite blogs, hiking related or not?
Advanced Question: Did I misuse irony in the title?
Questions for the audience:
For all who participate, blog, comment, etc: What’s in it for you? Why do you value this online community? Why do you share your stories, time and effort?
For all reading this blog who haven’t commented and don’t usually comment on blogs: please start. Join the conversation, contribute your ideas, ask questions, get inspired. After a month of blogging I’ve cracked 1000 page views, but only have comments from 6 different people; I’m really curious who all of you are. Tell me. Right now. It’ll be fun.