Yesterday I got into an interesting Twitter exchange with some great outdoor bloggers which all started with Bex Band who blogs at OrdinaryAdventurer posting this. It really got me thinking. For a while I’ve felt a little disenchanted by the world of blogging and adventuring; a lot of professional adventurers (i.e. those whose main source of income is through adventuring and reporting on it in some form) are saturating my Twitter and Instagram with what appear to be increasingly unobtainable enviable lifestyles. Far from being inspired I now feel disheartened that my version of adventure isn’t ‘enough’.
Originally, I started the blog as an online diary, mainly for me and my friends and family; to practice the art of writing, to share my adventures and travels and as an outlet for the photographs I take on these trips. However, I found myself being drawn into what, overall, is an incredibly supportive and encouraging online community of like-minded people. At first this was brilliant; lots of inspiration and reading other people’s work helped me improve my own. Now though I feel there is a vast quantity of posts, pictures and articles but often at the expense of authenticity and quality. I have recently cottoned on to the tricks that people use to keep their feeds constantly full and their pictures relentlessly exciting. There has been an explosion of ‘how to blog successfully’ articles and the general impression that anyone can do it, and even that anyone can make a living from it (with the subtext of so why aren’t we?).
There are many, many bloggers that still have full time jobs that may not be as exciting or glamorous as ‘full time adventurer/blogger’ but are no less valid. In fact, dare I argue, that there are many, many jobs that contribute far more to society than jetting round the world and documenting it. There is space for all, but I would love to see an increase in honesty and diversity within the adventure community.
Honesty in terms of full time adventurers showing their down days, their administrative struggles to get trips off the ground and an openness of the doubts they surely must go through about their choices. Diversity in the form of representation of all age ranges, all walks of life, all ethnicities and all current situations (financial or otherwise). Above all, I want to feel proud that I manage to fit in any adventures at all alongside a full time PhD, seeing family and friends (not all of whom wish to have that meeting up a mountain), keeping the house running and fitting in non-adventurous, non-blog worthy exercise. I appreciate that a lot of that feeling needs to come from within rather than demanding that everyone else change, but I hope there will be a shift away from the current trend for ‘fake news’ in adventure to a more realistic, and thus more aspirational version of adventure that everyone can believe they can partake in.
Finally in the spirit on honesty here is the reality of the main photo; still pretty cool but perhaps I’ll lay off the filters a bit in future.
A few wonderful examples of the adventure community beginning to acknowledge this came out of our Twitter chat and I hope there are many more to follow!
Instagram: @youdidnotsleepthere #realadventureselfies (started by @erinbastian)
There is a great interview with Luisa Jeffery who started the @youdidnotsleepthere account here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this; meanwhile I’m off to update my about page to up the honesty factor.