Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Looking back and looking forward

1st January 2018

In Roman mythology, the god Janus is shown as looking both forwards and backwards at once and many have thought that the month of January is named after him. The fact that new beginnings are assigned to this character has done nothing to dispel the association and everyone has their big plans for the start of a new year. Whether they become a reality is another matter entirely.

As it happens, I find myself on the first day of 2018 looking back as much as looking forward. Firstly, June marks the twentieth anniversary of my attempts at online publishing. Then, it was a simple Geocities website and things have moved quite a way since then. The web has changed hugely and so have I.

In the closing years, I was a university student unsure about his future and it took a degree of exploration before I found a way of earning a living that lasted until last summer. Since then, I have been on a much needed career break and now look to 2018 with thoughts of working again. What is needed is a new passion that will drive me forwards after a previous job eventually proved unsuitable.

Regular readers will know that the last five or six years brought their share of toil too with bereavement and added responsibilities following inheritance having altered my mindset. After all that, a longer break was needed. Good though they are, short oversea escapes and incursions into nearby countryside only can do so much.

Aside from a well needed rest, I have been catching up with reading. Books from authors like John Muir and Henry David Thoreau have featured along with others like Bruce Chatwin, Jack Kerouac and Kev Reynolds. Their works have lain unread on my Kindle account for too long and have introduced me to other parts of the planet in a way that guidebooks never would. Sometimes, someone else’s narratives are needed and probably explain why there is so much travel writing to be found.

Another aspect of my reading catch-up is that books from Phoebe Smith, Alastair Humphreys, Geoff Allan and Ronald Turnbull have got me thinking about short getaways that make use of bothies and bivvying. Too often in recent years, I have needed to book an overnight stay in order to ensure that I went on a walking trip at all. My reserves of energy had become depleted and adding in the cost of accommodation often made things more expensive so I fancy the idea of getting costs under more control and who knows where such experimentation may take me yet? It might make such outings easier to organise as well.

Aside from finding work that I enjoy and attending to Irish responsibilities, there are no big plans for 2018. Sometimes, leaving things open can allow for some memorable serendipity. Still, there are some thoughts of exploring around Glen Trool, Pumlumon Fawr, Roseberry Topping and the Black Mountain that may happen yet. The expensive cocktail of using overseas holidays to deal with an unappealing career had to stop though I still fancy seeing more of Scandinavia and the Alps while the wilder parts of North America and New Zealand retain their appeal. Life’s adventure continues and it is time to make that a happier one.

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