I haven’t written anything for a while. I’m not sure I remember how to.
There was never a conscious decision to stop writing at The Peaklander, it just stopped being fun. Writing posts takes a lot of time and you get very little in return. In a culture where we want to consume our media as efficiently and mind-numbingly as possible (swipe, swipe, double-tap), people don’t visit blogs unless they’re looking for something specific.
Think of the last time you went on Instagram and without going back to check, how many photos did you scroll past? How many photos did you double-tap to like? How many of those photos did you actually like? I’m noticing more frequently that if you were to ask me those questions within 5 minutes of me closing Instagram, I couldn’t answer some of them. The way you interact with it is so habitual that it makes any meaningful engagement unlikely a lot of the time. It’s like QVC for millennials. Background noise where you occasionally buy something you didn’t need.
I didn’t start The Peaklander with the idea that it might become popular (and it didn’t), but there was still something disheartening about spending an hour writing a post only for someone to tap the heart icon on Twitter without actually clicking through to the link to read the post.
So, for the last few months I’ve been away. I’m not sure I’m fully back yet, but I have a few ideas about how I might revive this thing I was once enthusiastic about. I didn’t start enjoying the outdoors for an audience and I certainly didn’t start walking the Peaks because it was cool – it wasn’t then and still isn’t, although companies like Ordnance Survey are trying their best to commercialise and market it to turn outdoors experiences into digital revenue.
What I loved about walking at the beginning and still love now is the experience. It’s the peace and quiet, the space to think, the connection with nature, the feeling that I have a place in the landscape and, consequently, in its history and future. These are the things I’m going to start writing about more. It might get a little existential once in a while, but that’s what I love about the outdoors – it gives you the space to pick away at the questions that matter.