Blogging in Dark Times

As I write this, I’m thinking about the war in Ukraine.

Yet, almost two years ago, I wrote about the weirdness of “living on vacation” and writing about it when the rest of the world seems like it’s on fire (George Floyd had just been killed). I’ve blogged about my nomadic life during the worst of the pandemic, throughout the most-recent presidential election, and (I don’t know why this one stands out, especially) the emotional moment I learned that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died.

That’s when I took a brief break from blogging. I wrote, “The news cannot be ignored, and my silly little travel blog is not a venue for addressing it.”

Yet, I do keep writing. I like writing. And I like keeping a log of where we’ve been and how I felt there.

A reader recently accused me of being self-absorbed. It guess that’s true.

Shortly before Tracy and I got married and we began this adventure, my life quickly went from 11 on the dials of responsibility and stress (thank you, Spinal Tap) to … something very different. Having a direction for myself after several family members had died is one reason (among bigger ones) why I wanted to hit the road, and writing about it is a way to spend my time thinking about the present instead of the past.

So, yeah. My subjects do not include world news, or my son (who’s always on my mind), or my marriage, or gas prices. This is a travel blog about my personal responses to life on the road more so than geographic information or what might be helpful to other travelers. My reflections on travel are what I like to write about.

And yes, I include a lot of photos of myself, but that’s because I’m often the only face nearby to use as a focal point.

It’s my blog, and there’s a lot of me in it. I’m not thrilled with that, but it’s what I have to work with and what I choose to work with.

Hiking in Arivaca

So, while the world turns, what have I been up to, here at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona?

I went on my first serious hike since I was sick with the coronavirus. It was splendid. We hiked all morning, first along a currently dry creek bed with large cottonwood trees in a long line through the desert, then we chose a trail that wound around and up a peak, about a 1,000-ft elevation gain. I lagged behind Tracy, but I made it to the peak and took this video for you.

I wish I could name those mountains as I show them, but we’ve had a hard time finding topo maps with mountain range names on them here. I know that to the west are the Quinlan Mountains with Kitt’s Peak (with a national observatory on top), as well as Baboquivari Peak, both which we can see from the campsite. To the east are the Cerro Colorado Mountains, and at north are Las Guijas Mountains. Due south we can see the border wall from one view (although I haven’t shown it here).

What you can see in the video most clearly is the dark line of Cottonwood trees where we began the hike.

Banjo also hadn’t hiked with us in a while, and she was excited enough to pull Tracy up the steep climbs on occasion. And she resigned herself to walking behind him on the way down: this kept her from pulling Tracy down and allowed her to still feel ahead of someone in the pack (me). Tracy and I both thought about just letting her off leash on the way down since we couldn’t see anyone for miles, but she wants so badly to follow animal tracks off the main trail that who knows where she could have ended up. So Good Girl Banjo (for the most part) stayed on leash and climbed the peak.

The Future of this Blog

It’s a hell-on-fire world out there, and here I am showing you photos of blooming ocotillo (that’s the middle photo above: check out the red blooms at the tips of the branches). Later I’ll show you the tiny house I’m working on. And in a month or so I may share an audio version of our travels so far in the form of a concept album I’m making with the help of my son.

I will never feel entirely comfortable putting this content out into the world when I could be being more productive with my time; when my mind is occupied by bigger things; when I’m aware that some readers don’t know me well and misinterpret me. That’s something I’ll have to get used to. Yet, as the world continues to fall apart and gets knit back together, I’m going to keep on blogging, probably more than anyone wants to read and certainly more than I’d planned when I began. It’s a way I choose to spend my time, and if you check in on me occasionally and give me feedback (other than that I’m self-absorbed), I appreciate that.

18 thoughts to “Blogging in Dark Times”

  1. Well, I’m enjoying your blog exactly as it is. There are plenty of other sources for world news!

      1. Shelly I enjoy all your blogs and YOU in them. I love following you two on your adventure, and Banjo

  2. It took me some time to love looking at desert landscapes. “Hope I have a little house with a desert view.” I also love the smell. Definitely not the Great Eastern Forest we grew up in. Blog on.

  3. A blog is what *you* want to write about, not what some rando thinks you should write about. There will always be people who think the internet exists solely for them and their interests, the rest of us enjoy peeking into what others think and not bothering with the ones we don’t enjoy. Personally, I fail to see what there is to complain about here but if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last couple years it’s that some people are crazy entitled and self-absorbed and aren’t afraid to show it in public! Like your Airstream mate from the other day.

  4. I also love it. Lovely. Interesting. Those thoughts come to mind. Self-absorbed — never. Brain did a couple of process loops on seeing the word. Ah. OK. I guess someone could say that, but really?! Keep doing what you’re doing.

    1. Thanks, Eric! I have an interesting map for you – I believe Tracy said you might like it. Shall I save it? It’s a hand-drawn, detailed, squiggly, doodley topo map with Mordor, NAFTA, etc. in it.

  5. I add my agreement to all the comments. You’re retired and get to write what you enjoy. My sons, when I thought about a blog, indicated you should pick your topic and target audience, and focus on those, not random disconnected topics. Your musings provide a service – information for fellow travelers, whether true or armchair variety, and a pleasant distraction to help us all emotionally survive a serious (too often sad and angry) world. We may need to be informed but we also need safe neutral havens from reality, however temporary.

      1. Never did. Can’t keep up with the hobbies I’m already doing. And between figuring out the mechanics of setting it up, and the fear that once I write it will no longer be fun, it keeps getting pushed to the back burner. Someone at NGS asked what I was going to do in retirement, and I answered, “Finish something!” Well, I did finish a few things, but I find I still have more unfinished than finished. At least now it’s fun stuff!

        1. Well, your patios and bathroom look wonderful. And you guys are traveling again! And seeing family. All sounds good. Poo on blogging.