It’s pretty adventurous.
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It’s pretty adventurous.
Enjoy the video? Be sure to subscribe to receive videos, articles, and essays each week!
This week’s theme focuses on how we choose to operate in the world. Will we lead with self-respect, will we aspire to be a hero, will we let physical or mental or societal impediments limit us?
Plus, three internship opportunities with outdoor magazines.
Great way to break into the industry and hang out in a super outdoorsy community.
Field Mag is “a modern outdoor lifestyle publication for lovers of good design and the great outdoors.” They are looking for summer intern(s) to help with editorial efforts, social, and potentially marketing/advertising.
Sidetracked is UK-based and features first person narrative with gorgeous photography.
Joan Didion is lyrical, a weaver of narrative, and offers critical insight into the human psyche.
To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.
Kilian talks about what drives him to the mountains, and what he seeks out there and within himself. Also, why it is important to strive to be heroes in the everyday:
What we should contemplate is that it shouldn’t be considered heroic but the natural thing inside all of us… They’ve shown us that the heroic should be the normal human thing to do, and in our individualistic and self-centered days, this is important and admirable.
I mean, shit. She’s one-handed and climbing 5.12s.
“Hey guys, I’m missing my left arm below the elbow, so I chopped off the end of a Trango ice tool, put a screw in it, and attached it to the socket of my prosthetic. Wondering if this would be okay to climb with?”
“In April 2018, a blind man with one foot robbed a bank in Austin, Texas. This is a heist story—but unlike any you’ve ever read.”
Wonderful writing. Spell-binding from the opening lines. The Atavaist is a must read for storytelling.
Out There / In Here, vol. 6
Feature photo source: Kilian Jornet
This week’s theme is around the role of the individual in the larger context of society, and how one can come to define themselves.
Also, one writer’s account of overnight success. Just kidding, it’s been over 8 years, and the progress has been quite gradual.
Lastly, I turned 31 this past week. You’d think there might be big epiphanies after all these years of existence. But that’s not the case. At least for me anyway.
The boundary between 30 and 31 came to pass, and nothing perceptible really happened. I was flooded with a sense of sadness upon waking, got caught up in comparisons to a vague sense of where I thought I ought to be, rollicked in joy at all the years I (hopefully) have in front of me, and grappled with day-to-day existence type shit, like where to go for lunch and “I should really respond to that email.”
Salmon River Writing Workshop: The Human Wilderness Experience
Brendan Leonard is one of my favorite outdoor writers as he combines humor, vulnerability, and an adventurous spirit. This workshop offers 6 days on the Salmon River, covering 90 miles and what it takes to craft a compelling story.
The mysterious flights of the Common Starling are known as a “murmuration” and it is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. This is from the same director as last week’s video.
I am constantly working to figure out how to make you acknowledge me as American, too. I refuse to be seen as poor and powerless, and I attempt to approach each day with a boldness and vulnerability that leaves an imprint on somebody. I continue to penetrate spaces where I’m not expected to be.
What narratives have you been told? How are they shaping your perception of yourself and what is possible?
The backlash to one of Kathy’s earlier posts (of which this is a rebuttal piece) is surprising. Since when could you not express the outdoors/ climbing/ your passion in romantic, sentimental language?
Failure gives you depth. It gives you mental tenacity. It shatters the expectations we often feel trapped within, the expectations that our perceptions of ourselves create. Exposing our failures lets us fearlessly show the world that we are human…. Nobody walks up the mountain to the top with a smile on their face the entire time, or without shedding a few tears, a little blood.”
I realized why I had shared it in the first place: to cultivate empathy and understanding not only for myself, but for others who might have had an experience
It was then that choosing vulnerability became an act of courage.
Art has but one principle, one aim, — to produce an impression, a powerful impression, no matter by what means, or if it be by reversing all the canons of taste and criticism.
Why do you create art? What impression are you hoping to make?
Great interview with an intelligent, open, and self-effacing writer.
The ambition got in my way at first. Because I wanted my stuff to be great, and it froze me up. But later on it was really helpful. I’m startled by the way people don’t, you know, admit [they care] … it seems unlikely people wouldn’t want to be immortal.
Simply brilliant writing and reporting.
Claire took the band and rolled it between her fingers and thought, What if someday this is all I have left?
Buckle in, this might take awhile:
In my second year of pitching stories, I made $75 from one article. I moved to Denver to work at a small newspaper—but on the side, I kept pitching any outdoor publication I thought might pay. Almost all of them sent me rejections. In late 2006, John Fayhee at the Mountain Gazette liked a story I sent him enough to publish it and pay me $100. In mid-2007, I got a part-time job writing funny 100-word blogs for an outdoors website, at 15 cents a word, two to three blogs per week.
After almost six years of trying, I started getting magazine assignments, starting in early 2011 with a story I’d been pitching and had written for Climbing magazine.
Out There / In Here, vol. 5
Feature photo source: Outside Magazine
The ethics of exploration, plastic, plastic everywhere, and organic development
This week features larger narratives around life-and-death, the ethics of exploration, plastic, plastic everywhere, and the organic development of a climbing community.
There are also two pieces offering advice for pitching stories and, trying something new here, a log of my own pitches to shine some light into the process.
“Art is commensurate with the human spirit.” – Naturalist, John Burroughs
We all have a story to tell, how are you expressing your human spirit?
Learn the fundamentals of travel writing for magazines and websites from professionals. Alex Crevar and Molly Harris are contributors to The New York Times, National Geographic Travel, and Lonely Planet magazine.
GearJunkies and NordicTrack are offering one lucky winner 5 grand to pursue a bike, hike/run, climb, or paddle trip.
From Dutch director Jan van IJken, watch the alpine newt go from a single-celled zygote into the hatched larva.
Plastic was once thought of as a long-lasting, coherent substance that didn’t make much difference to the environment outside of trash pile up. Now we know it continuously breaks down into microscopic pieces, with long-term consequences.
“A growing body of evidence suggests some chemicals commonly found in many plastics are associated with everything from breast and prostate cancer, to underdeveloped genitalia and low sperm count in men, to obesity.”
Where Not to Travel in 2019, or Ever.
Kate Harris is a fantastic writer, who I only came across this week. I’ve been reading a bunch of her articles (they are all great) and am eager to start her book, Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road.
“Chau’s escapade… was nothing more than a violation: he was just another person who believed that the world was his to do whatever he wanted in and with.”
Perhaps more headlines should have read: “Remote Community Faces Biological Terror Threat From U.S. Religious Extremist Killed by Local Authorities.”
If you like climbing narratives that are not so much about climbing, this is an insightful peel-back-the-curtain style look at the history of Miguel’s Pizza, and the enigmatic man behind it all.
Miguel said, “Art becomes part of your ego… that got to me.” As Miguel recounted, the epiphany came when he drew a cartoon character lifting up the costume of an artist and getting inside. “You don’t need a costume to be a person; you just need to be yourself,” said Miguel. “I threw that outfit out and became who I am today: a pizza man.”
Photo source: The Walrus
Norie offers tips on how, when and what to pitch:
“What’s the story? Why now? Where do you see it fitting in the outlet (what section or department)? And, why you? Stay pithy; aim for no more than a page.”
Also, something I’m probably under-appreciating:
“A rule of thumb: the earlier the better. A year ahead is not too early for a magazine feature story, nor a month ahead for a digital piece. And get to know the editorial cycle of your favorite outlets.”
To the keen observer, you may recognize the author of this piece from the Opportunities section. Alex Crevar offers up his own tips for pitching from years of practice (and struggle).
“A writer must make an editor’s job easier. Full stop…
A salesman who hopes to earn a client knows who his client is; he knows what his client is looking for; and knows he must make the best pitch possible to sell his widget…
The simple question: why would an editor want to buy my widget over a similar widget being sold by Jane Doe?”
I take comfort in outlook #2. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’ve started keeping a training journal to track my progress towards some big mountain goals I have this year. I like the idea of opening up the process and also using a public forum for some semblance of accountability.
So I’m sharing what I did this past week for pitching stories and writing.
What do you think? Is sharing a recap of pitches interesting to you?
Out There / In Here, vol. 4
Feature photo source: Climbing Magazine
This week centers around stories from people who decided to write their own adventure story, often by dramatically shifting their life’s path. The characters overcame self-doubts, fear, and other objections to find joy and understanding. Also super helpful tips on the very first things to think about when you start writing.
Live like a local in the small village of Grottole. Four people, three months, one authentic rural experience.
The Content Castle offers free accommodation + 2 meals/ day in exchange for writing 7,500 words per week (for their marketing clients).
An uplifting video on turning 35, and all the beauty that comes with growing with family, friends, and the pursuit of what moves you.
AC Shilton shares her story of transition from an endurance athlete to a farmer, and how that changed her perception of her own body.
“After giving up competitive running, cycling, and triathlon, I bought a farm in Tennessee. I didn’t know at the time how challenging—and life-affirming—growing my own food would be.”
How can you use your own struggles and redemption to tell a story?
Sometimes it’s not about the money.
“Last year, according to a nationwide survey of incomes across the U.S., I made less money than a part-time doughnut fryer in Maryland and a hospital clown in New York.”
Tim Moss shares his week-long hitch-hiking adventure on a £100 budget.
“Too often we restrict ourselves, hold back on our dreams or rein in our aspirations with the perceived constraints of the world – time, commitments, lack of expertise or knowledge, money.”
What excuses might you be telling yourself?
When thinking about your places in the travel writing world, it’s helpful to understand the larger context. ATTA shared their list of trends to look for in the coming years:
“The United Nations World Tourism Organization recently reported there were 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals in 2018, a 6 percent increase over 2017, and the organization predicts there will be a 3-4 percent increase in 2019”
“In 2017, the Global Wellness Institute reported only 7 percent of all leisure travel consisted of primarily wellness-focused trips, and adventure travel operators have an opportunity to fill this niche.”
Former Guardian science editor, letters editor, arts editor and literary editor Tim Radford shares his tips for writing. Wide ranging insight and immediately practical.
1. When you sit down to write, there is only one important person in your life. This is someone you will never meet, called a reader.
3. So the first sentence you write will be the most important sentence in your life.
10. So here is a rule. A story will only ever say one big thing.
11. Here is an observation. Don’t even start writing till you have decided what the one big thing is going to be, and then say it to yourself in just one sentence.
Illustration by Pete Lloyd
Say what you will, but Kerouac is one of my favorite authors. These illustrations by Pete Lloyd are fantastic.
Out There / In Here, vol. 3
Main photo source: airbnb
This week features a bunch of opportunities to fuel your next adventure (which make great stories, of course). There’s a fantastic feature on Bernd Heinrich, a leading naturalist, data about the economic might of climbers, and a charming little cartoon. Enjoy!
aka a 14-day travel writing trip for “3 aspiring travel writers to go on assignment in Portugal and be mentored by professional travel writer and contributor to The New York Times, Tim Neville.” This looks like an incredible opportunity.
Also, be sure to read “The Art of Travel Writing”, a free travel writing how to by Tim, which I’ve found to be immensely useful.
Photo source: American Alpine Club
You don’t have to be a professional climber or pursuing a FA to win this climbing grant. All you need is a clear goal and the aim to level up your skills. Grants are awarded from $200-$1,000.
The purpose of this grant is to support and promote unforgettable experiences for climbers—to dream big, to grow, and to inspire others.
Stay Wild magazine is offering to fund your next road trip. They are offering funds and goods to make your auto-powered jaunt a reality.
Bernd Heinrich is a leading naturalist and one of history’s fastest ultramarathoners. Now 77, he’s settled in the backwoods of Maine with a wood stove and in his natural habitat.
The author writes, “We live in an age that affords little time and space for communing with nature. We’re busy. Our days are fragmented. But Bernd has dug in his heels against this collective drift. He has recognized where he wants to be in old age and settled in, with purpose. “ (emphasis added by newsletter curator)
“A naturalist,” he e-mailed me, “is one who still has the habit of trying to see the connections of how the world works. She does not go by say-so, by faith, or by theory. So we don’t get lost in harebrained dreams or computer programs taken for reality. We all want to be associated with something greater and more beautiful than ourselves, and nature is the ultimate.
Because it’s hard to pay your way solely from your art. That’s the game we play. But it doesn’t mean you aren’t an artist, or that you can’t make art because you damn well want to. And who knows, maybe some day you will be able to live solely off your art.
“Real artists have day jobs, and night jobs, and afternoon jobs. Real artists make things other than art, and then they make time to make art because art is screaming to get out from inside them. Screaming, or begging, or gently whispering.”
We know the outdoor industry is a contributing economic force to be reckoned. In 2016, the outdoor recreation economy contributed 2 percent ($373.7 billion!) of the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
Climbers are making their impact in hyper-local areas around popular crags that normally wouldn’t get much traffic, like Chattanooga or the Red.
The economic-impact study found that visiting climbers (not including residents, whose spending is considered part of the regular economy) spent $6.96 million in Hamilton County during the 2015/16 fall and winter season…
These numbers put dollars made from climbers on par with revenue from major special events held in Chattanooga, another boon for area tourism. Held in late summer every year, Ironman Chattanooga brings in $10 million, with the race occurring in one weekend and many of the participants staying up to 10 days.
Out There / In Here, vol. 2
Feature photo source: Outside Magazine