Ciao, Traipsers!

I spent the last two weeks grappling with the Colorado Trail, a mountainous route from Denver to Durango. Other than needing a 2.5 hour nap yesterday, I emerged fairly unscathed, though twelve days of bikepacking/pushing my bike uphill crushed me under its boot heel a few times.

Overall, the trip's terrain was beautiful and the people along the way lifted my face into a smile many times. I'm already dreaming of future trips, so Type 2 fun was minimal!

More about Colorado once I digest the experience and go through pictures. For now, I’m remembering how to type, play piano, eat something other than Oreos, and sleep indoors.

Traipsing About Newsletter Edition #75
Sayonara, Instagram (a post I've wanted to write forever!); 107 years young; wombats rule; if you want to write; tidbits; streaming music.


(Speaking of bikepacking, if you missed my posts on the Oregon Outback or the Three Sisters, Three Rivers trips, check 'em out!)

My friend Mason heading down from 13k' at sunset on the Colorado Trail.

Sayonara, Instagram: Why I Left Social Media

I remember the glee and rush of dopamine from my first hits of Instagram in 2012. People cared about what I shared! (And not only my biggest fan—hi, Mom.)

Beyond travel blogging I cranked out in 2005 during a world trip, Instagram was my first foray into sharing creative work with strangers. It encouraged me to put my own personal touch on a place, an experience, a vista. Filters, yeahhh.

Our three-year van trip coincided with the platform’s rocketing popularity, so although I was new to the ‘Gram and Chelsea wasn’t comfortable with the look-at-me approach, any photo with a van, a #vanlife and a pretty view yielded hundreds of likes. AND LOTS OF DOPAMINE.

On top of this like-induced rush telling me to love it, I also thrilled at the opportunity to meet driven, compelling people. The possibility of meeting intriguing people in-person initially hooked me.

And yes, hooked is absolutely the right word. Instagram felt irresistible. My good intentions to set boundaries with the app and post in the mornings and respond to comments (aka check likes) in the evenings spilled into, no, flooded, any free moments I had throughout the day...

Read the rest of the post.

Goals for when I'm 107

I recently spotted my first gray hair, a wayward strand on my head. Mid-life crisis underway! Corvette ordered!

Nah. I’m fine with looking my age (31…ish) and don’t plan on dyeing my hair. Plus, if I can live 68 more years and play the piano like Collette Maze does at 107 (!!!), I’ll happily deal with any future gray hairs. She released her first album at 82, no big deal...

Yet another reminder that we can continue to do amazing things as we age so long as we keep putting in the time and effort. Curiosity and a thirst for learning go a long way.

Tired on the Colorado Trail! Sometimes even Fritos and (yet another) freeze-dried meal can't make up for poor fueling earlier in the day.

Wombats are wise

Speaking of curiosity, This Oatmeal comic about wombats is hilarious and also taught me a lot about the magnificent creature.

A few facts for those unfortunate enough to not click through to the most-excellent comic:

-Wombats can run at 25 mph, weigh 80 lbs, and a group of them is called a wisdom

-Their poop is cube-shaped. They stack it on rocks as a communication tool. Neat party trick much?

-Their butts are a layer of skin, cartilage, fat and muscle that results in a Wombat Butt Shield. When attacked, they run to their burrow and block the entrance with their butt. Do your worst, predator: Captain Wombat’s shield is impenetrable.

And now you know 1,723x more about wombats than you did 30 seconds ago. It’s not just bikepacking around here, people. I also drop (cube-shaped) wisdom.

Enlargement of the soul through creativity

A friend recently gifted us a 100-YO book on writing called If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit by Brenda Ueland. It’s fabulous! (By "write," she means create.) I’m underlining practically every other paragraph as I read it, but here is one section I loved:

"It is our nasty twentieth century materialism that makes us feel: what is the use of writing, painting, etc. unless one has an audience or gets cash for it? Socrates and the men of the Renaissance did so much because the rewards were intrinsic, i.e., the enlargement of the soul.

"Yes we are all thoroughly materialistic about such things. 'What's the use?' we say, of doing anything unless you make money or get applause? for when a man is dead he is dead.' Socrates and the Greeks decided that a man's life should be devoted to 'the tendance of the Soul' (Soul included intelligence, imagination, spirit, understanding, personality) for the soul lived eternally, in all probability.

Yes! Curiosity and creativity for the intrinsic pleasure of it is enough. Can’t recommend this book enough.

Two useful links and some pretty pictures

  1. If you’re concerned about the security of sending passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information, check out One Time Secret. Think of it as the self-destructing message from Mission: Impossible, minus having to read it after soloing a cliff.  (via Recomendo)
  2. How many times has a houseguest asked you, “what’s the wifi password?” Skip the trouble with – print out a little card for your guest to use the QR code and WHAMMO, they’re connected.  (via Trevor McKendrick)
  3. Whoa, the photos in this Bird Photographer of the Year competition are mind-blowing. I wonder how many combined hours these photographers spent in blinds or lying flat on their stomach on the cold ground… (Seems worth it.)
Then there are the moments like this where allll that hard work is worth it.

Thanks for swinging by Traipsing About. Find (and disregard) a gray hair, make a pro/con list for social media, dream of wombats, follow your curiosity, and I'll catch you in two weeks!

PS Ever wondered how much each streaming music platform pays its musicians? This visualization from Information is Beautiful nails it. (Spoiler: Spotify: $0.0044, Amazon $0.0040, YouTube $0.0007. Ouch. That’s $4,400 for one million listens on Spotify.)

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