written by Conor Foley
The creation of this blog came about through a shared love of adventure and a desire to spread not only knowledge but the genuine excitement that comes from being outside. We have endeavored to channel that excitement into our writing which has turned out to be a challenging undertaking. In accomplishing this task we have drawn on inspiration from other writers who have been using the widely shared pages of the internet to send their message that outside is a great place to be. Today we highlight one such inspiration, Lindsey Falkenburg and her blog Tandem Trekking.
In our conversation posted below Lindsey shares a worldview that should resonate with anyone with a heart for adventure. Her writing tells the story of a traveller whose every step expands her knowable world, someone for whom reaching the summit is not just an accomplishment but a vantage point from which to see the peaks of future adventures. Enjoy:
Can you tell us a bit about where you are in life and what your current adventures look like?
I am 26 years into my life. As a typical millennial I don’t have a long term direction but I do have many current passions and fascinations, which I focus my time on. Maybe one of those will blossom into a future? I am an outdoorswoman, and no, google docs doesn’t recognize outdoorswoman as a word, and yes, I just went and bought all the domain names that contain the word outdoorswoman. You never know when you might need a good domain name. Because I don’t have a decided career path I use words like outdooswoman and thru hiker to describe myself. To me those words fit better than waitress, which is what I am technically “doing” right now. But that is not who I am. It frustrates me when people ask me what I do I feel like I have to answer that I am a waitress, because that is how I am currently making money. Why can’t the things I enjoy doing be what defines me? Wow, this is turning into an angsty rant… To get back on track, my current adventures involve climbing mountains and preparing to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail. My fiancé and I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail three years ago, which derailed our somewhat directional lives, and sent us on a life long quest to keep walking. We have been filling the interim between the AT and the PCT with backpacking, hiking, and mountaineering in my home state of Washington. On May 9th we began our next adventure by travelling to Southern California to begin our thru hike attempt of the PCT.
Was writing something you were particularly passionate about before you started the blog?
Yes. I have always been a “writer”. I have never been a “speller” or someone who cares about grammar, but I have always loved expressing myself through writing. I have kept journals since the third grade (not a lot of substance in those early journals, but still interesting) and in high school I excelled in English. I was the English student of the year my senior year. In college things were a little bit more confusing. Instead of continuing down a path of creative writing I had decided to be an Anthropology Major, and found myself using my love of writing in a very different way. I found page limits infuriating and my lack of respect for conventions got me into trouble a couple of times. I actually took a Sociology class where my professor told me I was a terrible writer and that I needed to go back and completely relearn the basics. But I started writing grants and found that with a bit of help from the Writing Center I was an effective grant writer. Once I left college I started working for a Conservation Corps and my writing was delegated back to my journals. My blog has allowed me to, once again, take a more creative approach to writing.
What are you writing about now?
Lately the blog has been a mix of PCT planning posts and climbing posts. With spring and good weather we have been getting out to climb a little bit more frequently. This winter was hard because of a heavy snow year and my tendency to have to work weekends. But we just attempted Mount Hood and summited Mount St. Helens, plus a couple of other climbs, all of which have made for great posts complete with beautiful pictures. Soon we will be on the PCT and that will be our focus! We have invested in a serious blog posting setup to make blogging easier from the trail. So you can expect at least a couple of posts from us a week while we are hiking.
I find that writing about my experiences helps me to translate the fleeting moments of inspiration and joy that I experience while being outside into strong memories tied to lessons I am learning in life and eventually to my values. Do you find that your writing process has changed the way you live?
Absolutely. I have always been the kind of person who has to “write things out” in order to process. It’s as if in my head my thoughts are all jumbled and disorganized, fleeting and emotional, but the moment I capture them on paper I can start to make sense of them all. It has been through writing things out that I have solidified some of my strongest mantras, like: life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.
My writing also pushes me to live more. This might frustrate some people or make them feel like I am a fake, but the commitment to my blog and to writing epic awesome blog posts, is sometimes that extra push I need to make myself get out of bed at 2:00am on a Saturday morning and go climb a mountain. I’m not proud of that, I would rather be so unbelievable passionate about waking up early and climbing that I just leap out of bed on my own accord. But at this point the promise of writing something afterwards is all part of the adventure and it often gives me the extra motivation I need to get moving.
The biggest way in which my writing process impacts my daily life is that it keeps me honest. Nostalgia is constantly eroding our memories. Anyone who journals knows that even if you remember some part of your life one way, when you go back and read about the reality of the past, you find that your memories have become incredibly dim and rosy. Maybe it is just me, or maybe it is human, to forget all the negatives and push the positive moments to the forefront. Writing about things in the moment allows you to capture the good, as well as the bad, and canonize the truth, or as close as we can get.
Can you recommend any of your favorite blogs?
Sure. She Explores is a great blog, focused around women who do all sorts of adventuring in nature. Carrot Quinn is another writer that I follow closely on her blog: www.carrotquinn.com. She is an incredible thru hiker and writer who is currently doing the Hayduke Trail and recently published a book called Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart. Another one I love is a site called Wild Wilderness Women (wildwildernesswomen.com) which is an incredible resource for women looking for solidarity in the outdoors. Lastly, I have a good friend in Seattle who also writes about her mountain adventures. Although her style is very different from mine I am touched by her descriptions of mountaineering and moved by the way she sees the world. You can check out her blog at www.isparadiselost.com. I love all of these blogs because the women who have created them are incredible story tellers and inspirations to us all.
What advice do you have as a blogger and explorer for those seeking to pursue adventure?
I am someone who has a lot of fears. I am a worry wart. Before every outdoor adventure, before every climb, before every hike, I have already thought up a million and one ways it can all go wrong. But I refuse to be afraid. I imagine myself as having a circle around me, and everything inside the circle are things that I am comfortable with. Outside the circle are all the things that scare me. The further away from my circle you get the scarier those things become. But right on the edge of my circle are things that only scare me a little bit, and if I can try those things, push myself to do them, it is possible that the edge of my bubble will expand to take in something new. The edge of my circle is my growing edge and my goal is to grow it wider and wider and to learn to live with more and more fears. I have found that this kind of growth makes me wildly happy. It fills me with exuberance and pride and increases my self worth ten fold. I have accomplished things I would have never thought possible. I have climbed Mount Rainier, walked over crevasses on ladders, hiked for five months without stopping, found happiness in the most miserable moments. My arena for growth happens to be in the outdoors, that is where I want to explore, where I find the most beauty and solitude and reflection, but you can adventure and grow anywhere. We all have that “thing” that some far flung part of our soul is dying to try, but the rational part of our brain is too stubborn to allow. Let that fear in, adventure into the unknown slowly but steadily, let your inklings guide you. I have begun to recognize when an idea is not just crazy, but infectious, and I have begun to contemplate all the places my adventuring might take me. It feels scary but that just means I am doing something right.
What is next for Tandem Trekking?
I certainly have more of a vision now for Tandem Trekking than I have ever had before. Some of my vision is in the land of dreams, other parts of it are more strictly rooted in reality. But those are my worries, all you have to know is that Tandem Trekking is excited to take you on our attempt at thru hiking the PCT. We are also excited to announce that we will be trying our hand at podcasting while we are on trail this summer. If you want to check out the blog please visit us at tandemtrekking.com. The podcast will be available on the blog, as well as on Soundcloud. Thank you for reading and keep on trekking!
Follow Lindsey and her adventures on her blog, Tandem Trekking
Also check out Lindsey’s blog recommendations: