Archive For: Hiking

Learning to play a game with broken rules

One of the reasons I took on this journey in the first place was a fundamental disrespect for the society we live in. I find many of our societal priorities completely backwards. If anything, much of what the mainstream considers important actually makes me cringe. I have been told many times that I need to learn to compromise, but my definition of compromise means that all parties give a little. The definition of compromise in our “me” centered society has metamorphosed into “do as the more powerful party wants and learn to like it”. I simply can’t play by broken rules, no matter how much easier they would probably make aspects of my life.

It is an interesting linguistic fact that the concept of “give and take” is always expressed in that order, no matter the language. Give ALWAYS comes first. Since language is ultimately just a representation of the way we perceive reality, how is it that we tend to live in the exact opposite way. Much of the human world … especially the modern world … is driven by The Profit Motive, which is really “take and give”. Too many of us will not do ANYTHING without some sort of personal gain or recompense. We take first, and if we feel satisfied we might give in return.

Like I said, to me that is totally backwards. My personal philosophy is if someone needs something from me and  I have the resources and the skills needed, then I will give them what they need, expecting nothing in return. THis does not mean I won’t accept a reward if offered, but I neither expect or require it. In other words, I find it difficult to ask for money for something that I am willing to do for free. Admittedly this make my life very difficult at times in a “what’s in it for me?” world, but I am who I am, and frankly like that person.

A major draw of the hiking community is many understand that GIVE come first. People take care of each other, and often if one can’t “pay” for services, pay it forward comes into play. Barter is frequent. This kind of living makes a lot more sense to me, and makes for a much friendlier and happier community. Unfortunately, as much as I think this is the way the world SHOULD operate, it plain and simply doesn’t, which means I am usually scrabbling to survive (at least financially).

Basically, I need to make some money to survive in a world I don’t like. I no longer have the patience to work at a to me pointless job just to pay for bills that would not exist without the job. I have skills that I can use, but as I said, if I CAN do something for another I will … pay or no. And if I actually enjoy doing it, I might just do it for the sake of doing it. For instance, I have skill with writing and photography, and I guess I should be able to make some money with either or both. Yet it goes totally against my grain. Art, especially, is MEANT to be shared. So I dabble with selling my skills, never really getting anywhere because my heart is not in it.

Sometimes having a moral code is a pain in the butt!

In the meantime, while I try to figure out how to get paid for something that I love to give away, here is a crayon drawing from one of my trip pictures. It may not resolve any of my issues, but I think it looks pretty good and I enjoyed making it. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well. Feel free to reward me for it if you feel so inclined. KIDDING! Mostly.

Crayon mountains

The Tao of Picnic

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As I recently mentioned, this adventure is destined to be the next book project I start. Now it remains to be seen if I will actually finish ANY of my manuscripts. I seem to have fully slipped into the role of starving artist (except for the starving part apparently). I even have a coffee shop I frequent almost daily now … though I usually get fruit smoothies. I am not sure If I qualify as a writer without caffeinated products altering my bloodstream.

Anyway, I spent a few hours this morning expanding the few sentences that I realized were the start of my story. It is interesting to me, that now tha I am specifically trying to write about my OWN adventures, the writing is that much more difficult. I have dabbled in writer’s block before, but usually find that it is just my own demons trying to catch my attention. But somehow with me as the actual FOCUS of … I don’t know … reality fiction? … I am not sure what to say. I guess I want to keep things interesting without tooting my own horn too much. Didn’t expect it would be that much of a challenge. But then again little of my life in recent months has been as expected.

Possibilities for my near future: I will actually finish A manuscript. I will maybe sell some of my photos (even though it goes totally against my grain) and maybe even make a few bucks. I will do a road trip to Ohio with my partner in crime in an attempt to recoup some (or all) of the money spent in recent weeks, refilling coffers that really should not be emptying in the first place. I also am dabbling with the idea of making some web pages for folk … also with the possibility of earning from that. The first challenge is getting over the to me rather awkward concept of charging for things that I am perfectly willing to do for free. Someday I may manage to fit in this backwards culture of ours yet … though I have my doubts.

Here is the intro to what I think I will be calling The Tao of Picnic. Let me know if it is something that you might want to read:

How do legends become legends? What makes deeds great enough that they need to be shared across the land? Is it the actions that make the hero? Or is being a character of legend something we are born with? I suppose it pays to have a good advertising team. It’s all about spin.

I would love to share the tale of a legendary character here. I would love to give the exciting details of his journey, a journey like no other. Yes I would love to share such an exciting tale, but sadly I can only work with what I have. THIS particular story is just about lil ole me. Or more specifically, some recent adventures of mine.

“Who,” one might reasonably ask, “ARE you?”

I guess that might be a good place to begin.

It all started some four plus decades ago in a classic example of industrial suburban. In Brockton, MA, halfway between Boston and Providence, a small city that grew from shoes and boxing, trying its best not to become another fallen paradise … in other words a typical small industrial city, one condominium complex bordering a large park was welcoming a new arrival. Without revealing too much too soon, suffice to say that that new arrival, a quiet and inquisitive (not so) little guy, went through the cauldron of youth in suburbia to grow into a nature loving, out-of-the-box thinking, wandering soul with a lust for learning. This is That Guy’s story.

I was That Guy. I guess technically I still AM That Guy. Yet I have learned enough throughout my personal adventures to understand that we all are like the proverbial water in a river, constantly changing, never the same we were a moment ago. The man I am now, as I navigate my current adventures, is That Guy Plus. That Guy is the foundation of who I am now, and will always be part of who I become.

Is this a sufficient introduction?

Inherent in the human condition is a visceral need for labels; reference points in our maps of reality. Since I am guessing most of my audience here will be human, I will attach a few labels to myself. I was born Steven Howard Kramer. That has morphed through many incarnations, finally mostly settling on Steve for family, and Kramer for everyone else. Until the recent adventures, that is, in which Picnic was introduced to the world. Yes folks, I am Picnic.

Ultimately that is what this story is all about. This is the evolution of Picnic.

 

Anyone for a visual journey?

Now that I seem to have formally switched from Hiker to Traveller, I have access to more of that pesky technology that I have a love/hate relationship with. Which means I can now bombard people with the millions of pictures I have (and will be) taking. OK, maybe I am exaggerating that number a TINY bit. I have picked 538 of the pics I am least disappointed about, and created a slide show for anyone who has 8 or so minutes to waste. I was going to add music and make it kind of cool, but I don’t have the patience for copyright nonsense at the moment. So pick you favorite travel music and enjoy!

If you want a better look at the individual pics, they can be found here. I am also in the process of trying to set up a website so I can actually sell prints of the better photos. If anyone has any desire to have one of the accidentally good pictures hanging on their wall, contact me and we will talk. Or you can inundate The Idiot with painting requests. I hope some pleasure is gained, and maybe y’all can get an inkling of what I have been experiencing in the last few months. 🙂

Making like a leaf and … ?

Yep. I am still in The Void. But while I existententially explore, I have also decided to at least deal with the technology issue a bit. I went and got myself a cheep computer, and now I can actually do things with my pictures … and maybe even write regularly. In the mean time, while I continue to figure out … well … what I am actually doing, here are a few more pictures of the area. I will be able to take ans post many more now! 🙂


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Damascus, VA

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Damascus, VA 36.633727, -81.783730 Yep, still in Damascus

Once upon a time …

How do legends become legends? What makes deeds great enough that they need to be shared across the land? Is it the actions that make the hero? Or is being a character of legend something we are born with? I suppose it pays to have a good advertising team. It’s all about spin.

I would love to share the tale of a legendary character here. I would love to give the exciting details of his journey, a journey like no other. Yes I would love to share such an exciting tale, but sadly I can only work with what I have. THIS particular story is just about lil ole me. Or more specifically, some recent adventures of mine.

“Who,” one might reasonably ask, “ARE you?”

I guess that might be a good place to start.

Everyone has a tale to tell. And each tale is unique to the teller, even if it may share much with another’s story. In the last few months, I have shared parts of my personal story with many different people, while learning bits and pieces of their own tales. All the snippets are blending together in a mosaic that to me display human life in all its complicated simplicity. Truth is often truly stranger than fiction.

I may still be wondering where this my adventure will take me, but it has become clear to me that wherever it goes, I won’t be going alone. A book was always part of the “plan”. The above quote might just be the first few sentences. I think I am now officially writing THREE books.

Just imagine if I not only manage to finish one, but actually get it PUBLISHED. Stranger things HAVE happened.

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