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photo by dan bales

photo by dan bales

recently, i was granted the opportunity to share the struggle of reaching out for mental health in the outdoor community with backingpacking.com. if you’d like to read the bts of getting word out online, as a woman, in the community, follow the link to read my interview here!

i took to the outdoors for healing based on selfish desires; i had gone through my first horrible breakup and wanted to be a boss babe that was so independent that my ex would see what he missed out on. don’t get me wrong, i do feel like a bad *ss sometimes, but i’ve come to the realization that just looking cool, taking great photos for instagram and tweeting for all your internet friends to see just isn’t fulfilling. yeah, getting lots of, “likes,” is an instant gratification, but there’s this emotional disconnect that happens when you share the moment that that was it, you hit send, and it’s gone.

i used to take an obscene amount of photos and have obnoxious amounts of chats with strangers i would never meet. i love making internet pen pals, however, when the phone goes down the need for connection hasn’t really been met. i’m blessed to travel and meet friends from all over, some because of media, some i can stay in contact with because of media. but i believe there is a healthy balance to the internet, and i am sad to say that with all the easy access to connection, unfortunately people are more afraid of being personal than ever.

i disconnected the personal mental health from this blog to stay organized; blogs were an easy file source for specific searches, making it the place for all gear reviews/tips/etc; instagram being a visual source made it easy to create images that evoked a feeling, and added detailed captions to fill in the gaps. twitter for the random thoughts that had no completion, and snapchat to communicate with those far and wide. but with all of this organization and connection, i was losing actual time outside, i was turning off the laptop and sitting at home alone, i was getting more lost in the thoughts than ever. so i began to limit my time. while that limited my content, i was genuinely enjoying the accomplishments of what i was doing and seeing, i wasn’t worried about who else saw or heard, and taking photos became an art/fun again, rather than a chore.

when i realized i was doing things for the wrong reasons, i realized how little i was actually getting done. driving out to the arches in utah to take a photo ten feet away from my car (that everyone else had) seemed frivolous when i could take the time, put in the effort, and see these local crags that had barely been touched in moab or joe’s. conversations began, how did you get there/what was it like/how did you find that? instead of short ended, “omg i love the dunes!” recognition. my time away from others became about the hunt, filling the void of shutting down the internet and suddenly being alone. my body, my brain, and my confidence grew stronger. i could go anywhere from a coffee shop to the mountains alone and not have to find something to occupy my mind.

there’s just something so very wonderful about going out into the open with no expectations. climbing a mountain, running a trail, surfing on the beach or just strolling through town. oddly enough, when there’s no pressure to, “get the shot/be cool/show the world,” the most creativity finds freedom. so while this blog is a link to another blog, my advice this week is:

  1. turn off your phone/computer

  2. go somewhere, even somewhere you’ve already been, with a new perspective.

  3. headphones OUT, be present.

whether you have found help or healing in the outdoors or in your heart through my words, this weekend turn the technology off. find your peace, the internet will still be here when you get back. if you are ever in need of an internet pen pal to vent to , for friendly advice, or to get motivated to get out there, my contact is available at the bottom of the screen.

 
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stay positive,

Xoxo

KariDane Matlock