by dylan

Outdoorism works in small doses

May 7, 2013 in Inspiration

Could just a glimpse of the outdoors provide a little of that recharge effect we crave? Oliver Burkeman writes that it does indeed, and this raises some interesting questions.

by dylan

Is there another place for outdoorists online?

July 12, 2010 in Investigation

I hate to admit it, but part of living my outdoor dreams has been the realization that I don’t have the online time to write about my experiences here the way I had hoped. Initially I thought that this site might help me (and you) earn income in outdoor-oriented ways, and I have found my own way to do it, but haven’t learned much about what others do.

I do know a few outdoorists have gathered here, and are interested in talking about how we can integrate the outdoors into our lives effectively. It seems like most of the online outdoor social networks are focused on gear or “extreme” activities, but I’m sure we could find a home elsewhere online if I decommission this site. Does anyone have any votes? or a Facebook group come to my mind – any other alternatives we should look at?

by dylan

Outdoor Health Care

March 21, 2010 in Investigation

I’ve finally taken the leap and launched into a completely mobile lifestyle, working online and living with my wife in our camper. We’ve been getting lots of outdoor time in new places. The joy of this is tempered a bit by some of the chaos swirling around us. We left New Mexico in the midst of a budget crunch and found much of the same news in Arizona. Debate rages about a looming health care bill. Staying in a park near a congresswoman’s office in Tucson, protesters mob the street for hours once a week.

Meanwhile, as we research outdoor destinations in Arizona, we find a list of closed and partially closed parks among the many signs of budget cuts.

If there is one thing that’s crucial for an outdoorist, it’s public land. We still have a lot of it in the US, thankfully, but I don’t think we can afford let any of it slip away. I’d even put it on the same footing as health care, because I know my health depends on it. I wonder how many other people depend on public land for their physical fitness? No health care system can work without a healthy population, yet the debate doesn’t seem to focus much on the things that keep us healthy. Without public lands more of us will turn to gyms, and gym memberships may very well compete with health insurance in our budgets.

Is there any evidence to support this theory? I haven’t found any specific studies, but I think supporting statistics could be mined. Look at the American College of Sports Medicine’s fittest city list, and it compare it with CNN’s list of cities with the most parks. The top 20 entries in both lists have 11 cities in common. What other evidence is out there?

As an outdoorist just getting started on new path in these uncertain times, my prevailing thought is: public land is health insurance.

by dylan


February 2, 2010 in Inspiration, Weekend Warrior

Our dedicated Weekend Warrior Kate Calder announced her new photo blog, Kate’s photos have always been a source of outdoor inspiration for me, and now we can get a regular dose of them, presented in her own way. Thanks Kate!

by dylan

Outdoorism Lives

January 8, 2010 in Realization, Weekend Warrior

Greetings! True to my word, I’ve remained quiet but dedicated to outdoorism through 2009. I’ve continued to work toward independence in the Weekend Warrior mode by developing a clientele as a location-independent freelance software developer. I couldn’t have done it without solid support from my wife in her more reliable day job. After a year living in a home office, we’re now back in our camper and making plans to cut loose! The future is foggy but enticing.

I know a few underground outdoorists still make it to this site now and then. I believe we should keep track of each other and our lessons learned. I’ve made it easier to register for this site, and I’m totally open to letting others write and edit the site. As a WordPress developer, I know that the software running here will give us even more ways to collaborate in the coming year.

Happy new year all, from my 4-wheel-drive software laboratory!

by dylan

Treading Quietly in Hard Times

April 16, 2009 in Inspiration, Lifemaps, Retiree, Weekday Warrior

Outdoor values can suffer when economic, physical, or emotional hardship sets in. This is evidence that the outdoors has evolved from our source of life and survival to a conquest, from a conquest to an abstract idea, and from an abstract idea to a leisurely adventure. Hardships tend to press us back down the chain, most likely from our leisurely adventures back to a focus on our livelihood in mainstream society, where outdoor life is once again an abstract idea.

I’m no exception. I reveled in life as a Weekday Warrior while it lasted, but I’m back to chasing income during the week. Success in my work is paying less, and I’ve struggled with physical ailments. I’m still freelance while I can manage it, but writing about outdoorism has receded into the background for now. I think it’s okay to let the site be quiet for a while. Some of my favorite outdoor experiences have involved extended quiet times.

I break the silence for two reasons. One is to refresh my own commitment to outdoorism by writing a few of my recurring thoughts here. The other is to remind anyone else out there who may need to hear it that at least one more outdoorist continues to press on. Outdoorism remains a primary focus and value for me, even with fewer opportunities to express it. Should the hardships continue, I take some comfort in the fact that our most basic survival is rooted in an outdoor life, even if a few of the labyrinthine structures we’ve built on it collapse.

by dylan

Rock and Ice Lifemaps

February 8, 2009 in Lifemaps

The latest issue of Rock and Ice magazine has a feature article on jobs in climbing jobs that follows the Lifemaps format closely, and is based on a survey of 300 career climbers. You can read a good portion of the article online. There are some surprising contrasts in incomes and job satisfaction, but most of the participants said they were able to spend a good amount of time outdoors.

by dylan

Home Media Inspiration

January 15, 2009 in Inspiration

Sometimes I think I should leave all my gadgets at home when I go outside. Do I really get a full outdoor experience when I’m fiddling with a camera, a GPS receiver, or an MP3 player? Often, these things distract me from what I love most about being outdoors. Then I’ll be at home surfing and see something like Cookie and Paul Do America. All the best aspects of my outdoor experiences come flooding back, and I’m incredibly thankful they carried gadgets on their hike. Then I get some ideas for new things to do with my camera, and I have a lot of fun trying them out. Here’s my latest homemade outdoor media. Where’s yours?

by dylan

Outdoor Calendars

December 1, 2008 in Inspiration

One way I inspire myself to keep heading outdoors this time of year is to put together a calendar made of my favorite outdoor photos from the past year. It gets a little easier to do every year, and now it’s pretty easy to share and even sell your creation. Here is the official Outdoorism 2009 calendar:

I know at least one of our fellow outdoorists, Kate Calder, has done the same. Anyone else? Do you have other favorite outdoor calendars?

by dylan

Cartographer Bryan Conant

November 24, 2008 in Investigation, Weekend Warrior

Maps are a part of almost any outdoor lover’s life. For some of us, they grow from simple planning tools into an almost mystical art form. We start to feel the potential for endless new outdoor experiences when we look at the printed image of a map. As we use them, our maps can invoke an ever-deepening pool of rich memories. They become beautiful, and a few of us start to dream of creating them.

When I ran across Bryan Conant’s website, I knew I’d found a map-loving Outdoorist’s dream come true. Bryan has produced the definitive trail maps for the wilderness areas outside Santa Barbara, California. I arranged a phone interview with Bryan to find out how he accomplished this, and what it might mean to the rest of us.

Bryan Conant Interview mp3

Thanks to for the groovy intro music.

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