I started this blog in September 2015 on a whim. My husband had been after me for awhile to start my own website, and to write about our adventures Jeeping and camping in the Great Outdoors. I had a number of excuses, number one being that I didn’t know how to build a website. But, after my hub presented me with the multitude of user-friendly web-hosting options available, my go-to excuse no longer made sense. So, 'what the hey,' I thought. I can write pretty well. I enjoy writing. And I love the Great Outdoors! Plus, I talked to my friend E to see if she would write a few posts, being that she has a plethora of outdoor experience, and she was agreeable. So… “Bring it on!” I said, and for around $100 I bought this domain and a few other necessities – not a bad investment in a hobby for a year, right?! I figured at the very least I’d learn a few things along the way and that would make the effort worthwhile.
I had two main goals to start: 1. to post twice per week (this was all I knew I could manage with a full-time job, home stuff, kid’s school and activities, etc.), and 2. that each article would be unique (my main reason for quitting various blogs I’ve read has been repetitive posts or information – the same points or opinions are posted over and over again in different articles). I think I’ve done pretty well posting different types of information, and for most of the year I managed to keep up with my frequency goal although some busier months suffered a bit.
But the biggest feel-good result from the past year of blogging about Jeeps, camping, outdoor adventures, and preparedness is the stuff I’ve learned. I wouldn’t have gained this knowledge, or these skills, if I hadn’t pushed myself to research new outdoor gear or methods of preparedness so I could write about it, or to try new camp foods so I could write about it, or to research new Jeep mods or gear so I could write about it – the general theme of course being that writing about what I’m learning is the full circle, for me. And hopefully I’m inspiring others to start or continue their own outdoor adventures along the way… because I still have so much to learn and discover!!
Here are a few things I’ve learned during the past year -
I didn’t know what lockers were, or how to use them. And now I have lockers on my rig and wow do I love ‘em!
I’d never heard of flip-flop winching, and I didn’t really know how to use my own winch so I set about learning how to winch properly.
My husband said I should have a go-bag. ‘What’s that?’ I thought. So I researched, built my own, and then wrote about it.
Then I decided I wanted a lighter-weight option, so I made another go-bag that’s smaller and more portable but still super useful!
I wanted to learn about making water safe in survival situations, so I researched water treatment options, and made my own camp water distiller.
I did a snow run for the first time ever!! (And broke my first wheel...).
I learned that some Jeeps have untrimmed pinch seams. (My pinch welds are now trimmed!).
I learned how to make my own compact fishing kit.
I learned that there are way more fire-starting options than a lighter and matches (even storm-proof, strike-anywhere matches!). I learned how to start a fire with a just a ferro rod and pocket knife, which makes me feel like a badass. :)
I learned that the Stanley Panel Carry makes Jeep door removal super easy!
I made new friends at a lady drivers trail run!
I bagged my first-ever wild turkey, and learned how to cook it properly.
There was some stuff I already knew, of course, and just wanted to share with everybody – how to pack for camping, tips to make camping with kids more fun, tips on camping with dogs and puppies. And E brought on the food, being the excellent camp chef that she is!
And some stuff has stayed the same - my husband remains my biggest supporter and my best source of inspiration. Without him this website wouldn't even be a reality, and thanks to him I have constant fodder for this blog!
At the end of the year, I still don’t know a lot about building a website – but I don’t have to, I’ve discovered. The things that really matter are writing about outdoor adventures in Jeeps, treading as lightly as possible, staying the trail, being prepared, and making plans for the next trip into the backcountry.
Thanks for reading, and have a great end to year 2016! Here’s to all the new [outdoor] adventures ahead!