Back to Being Contrary?

I took a break from being a contrarian. After I left Singletracks and wound down my Over a Beer column, for the past year and a half I washed my hands of controversial writing, save for a few passion pieces here and there.

I think the main reason I left persuasive writing behind is that I ran out of things that I gave enough fucks about to invest my blood, sweat, and tears as I committed that passion to a string of written words. See, writing about trails, for instance—or even gear, destinations, what have you—is relatively vanilla. You don’t need to care that much. You just need to care enough to do an excellent job, show up, and portray the experience in the most engaging way possible.

When it comes to persuasive writing, or opinion writing, or editorializing—however you choose to label it—I think that the writer just has to care. If they don’t care, that comes across as well, in a piece of vanilla shit that nobody wants to finish reading.

I think I may have stumbled on the next thing that I’m passionate about, the next thing that I think’s worth giving a fuck about enough to write about it: getting outside.

The irony comes on quick, as preaching about the beauty of the outdoors, the thirst for the wild places of the world that’s ingrained deep in our souls, seems like preaching to the choir. My clique already agrees with me heart and soul about our inherent need to escape the confines of civilization and experience the wild beauty of the wilderness.

And yet, this belief isn’t widespread in our civilization. On the contrary, if we look at how most of humanity lives, it’s chained to a desk in a cubicle in a high rise building in Tokyo, or New York, or London. It isn’t walking beneath the trees, soaking in the view from the mountain top, it’s chasing the dollars and cents in the checking account.

While my clique may already be in sync with me, the perception in the wider world needs to change if we’re to remain human. If we’re to remain healthy and whole.  

Actually, I don’t think I’m seeking to be a contrarian simply for the sake of arguing. Rather, the best label for what I seek to portray is passion, and expressing passion naturally irritates the people that believe the opposite. And for once, I’m ok with that.

So I’m going to spend some time beating this drum. Hopefully it doesn’t get too annoying or obnoxious, and instead, it serves to send a signal that we need this. We need to breathe deep of the fresh air, to embrace the risk of adventure and feel the fear of the unknown. So let’s go, and let’s do.

PS To keep up with my latest professional writing, check out my series of articles from my trip to Indonesia with Patrol Bikes: