Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Re-evaluation and Ranting

I've been a bit quiet on the old blogging front for quite some time.  I've also not had chance to do all that much walking either.  I've managed to bag a quite few day and evening walks and a few over nighters on the North Yorkshire Moors. 

Apart from the renovation of the house I'm currently living in, lots of other things have been going on in my non walking life which has given me a lot of time to consider why I walk and what I want out of walking and blogging in the future. 

1.  I've finally learned not to give a shit.

All of my blogging so far has been written with a potential audience in mind.  The audience in this case was as many people as possible.  So that blog posts were written in a style similar to that of a short article.  Non offensive and informative.  I think that this is a trap that many new bloggers fall into.  I class myself as a new blogger, there's only eighty or so blog posts here.  When I read some more established blogs such Andy Howell's or Alan Sloman's I get the impression that they write about something that they're passionate about not writing because they're thinking about their audience.  And it's good because of this.  I could be wrong and they are just fantastic authors!  So, dear reader, I'm no longer writing for you, I'm writing for me, hopefully you'll like it, if not....

2.  Turning a hobby into a business is probably a bad idea (for me).

I very nearly started up a part time business making kit.  I'm not going to do this.  Walking and backpacking are my escape from real life.  I want to be able to carry on escaping from real life from time to time.  I was self employed for five years and know that when you've got the work you have to take it.  At the expense of evenings, weekends, bank holidays etc...  When you've not got the work you don't want to clear off on holiday in case the work/money doesn't come in.  I don't want to spend time when I'm walking testing kit that I'm making.  I've got enough material to make about 20 quilts.  I will make one from time to time and sell it on but I'm not starting to get involved in deadlines and stress about something I love.

3.  I will blog about whatever I want.                                            

There was a lot of hot air about blogging about kit that had been sent to you from manufacturers/retailer.  I've done this and will continue to do so.  I enjoyed using kit that I wouldn't usually consider (see point 4 below), as long as you're up front about everything and you have a relationship with the manufacturer/retailer which is open and honest then so what.  I will be doing a few long term reports of some of the things I was testing a year or so ago and now have a fair few more miles on them.  Long term reports do show the weaknesses in products.  Nothing lasts forever.  I shall also ignore cliques and idiots.

4.  Obsession with weight is fun but pointless

Having purchased, been given, borrowed, made, messed about with a lot of really light weight kit and materials I've come to the conclusion that an obsessive urge to reduce pack weight is pointless if for the sake of carrying an extra kilo you can be warmer, drier, happier with that extra kilo  Now to great many of you reading this you will be wondering why this has never occurred to me before.  Well it has.  But the obsessive nature of things blinds you to the obvious.  A conversation on twitter recently, which I enjoyed I hasten to add, highlighted this.  We were talking about the amount of down in a quilt/sleeping bag that manufacturers use and the claims they make about comfort temperatures.  I use a quilt which weighs just over 400g in the summer with 200g of down in it.  Occasionally I get a bit chilly when high up.  Why don't I put an extra 100g in it and just be warm all the time?  Being warm all the time for an extra 100g!  Quite simple really, but not when you know people are using something lighter than you *wrings hands*.  It's not about competition, it's fun.  I really do admire the people who are pushing the limits though, their pushing and testing has benefits for all of us.  I'm just not going to be trying to do that any more.

5.  I do nothing that's "EPIC!"

And neither do you.   Most of you.


Laura said...

Good post - made interesting reading. I look forward to sharing more of your ideas....

nigel said...

Nice one hit the nail on the head re weight of kit etc. Currently sorting kit for a Wales two nighter and pack might be a huge 7KG. Why? I'm taking a extra insulated top and a pertex slip cover because it's cold this month and I want to sleep warm..

Enjoy your leisure time and keep posting on the blog.

Alan Sloman said...

Hallelujah, Brother!

It's far more fun writing stuff that means something to you, that you know may well p*ss someone else off who might be so far up their own backsides they can't see the light.

Looking forward to reading more.

I've just spent three days trying to get the loft back in my old RAB Premier 500 bag that has been totally trashed by lending it to a twerp who kept it in it's compression sack for over a year.

I always thought that that bag was at the limit for winter in the UK and had to resort to wearing down jackets inside it at times. How folk manage with skinny bags God only knows!

Shed Dweller said...

Thanks Laura!

Nigel - I do enjoy the rain in the face, being slightly miserable element of backpacking especially on an overnighter, but anything longer than that being warm and dry is priority - perhaps it's an age thing.

Alan - Good luck with the bag. I suspect that it'll never be as it once was. I'm looking forward to the pissing people off bit, by the way do I get commission for being nice about your blog ;-)

Alan Sloman said...

To be honest. I'm still in shock. The "being nice" thing... I mean... this is the blogosphere. What's going on?

Martin Rye said...

Good to hear it. I write only what I want to write. Guess what? People read it. Be your self, honest and we will read it.

Fraser said...

Well said!

Philip Werner said...

A great summation of my own blogging philosophy, or pretty darn close.