Since @WildernessDave posted a story about his recent Grand Canyon trip and random stuff on the trail, I finally had to post this.
When we are at Grand Canyon over spring break, my wife and I got to take a good chunk of the day and hike down the South Kaibab Trail. We didn’t have all day, but, enough time to make it down the 3 miles to Skeleton Point and enjoy a snack while looking over the river and then back up. It was a great hike, and like most tourist hikes, we saw hundreds of people, most of whom were unprepared for a spring hike into Grand Canyon. As a member of a mountain rescue team, it’s very sad to see so many ill-prepared people who feel the need to tempt fate by heading out with little or no water, preparation or fitness.
Anyway, on the way back up, we were passed by this lovely bit of randomness:
South Kaibab trail hiker with a suitcase
I particularly like the clothes hanging out and flapping in the wind. But, this young man may have everything he needs in the suitcase and the shoulder bag to last for a while; maybe a tent, water bottles, a little stove, some food, etc in this lovely, bright blue, wheelie, hard case luggage. We’ll never know…
For several years now, I’ve been incredibly lucky and grateful to have spent Thanksgiving with close family and friends away from the crazy, massive, gluttoness consumption of Black Friday. And, with Black Friday expanding earlier into the actual Thursday of Thanksgiving, it makes me sad to hear of the stories of employees having to be away from their families and go to work in mostly the big box retailers. It makes me even more sad to hear of shootings and fights that happen in store lines, or when people can’t get their discount on their flat screen TV or computer. And really sad to hear of the masses of people believing that this is the only best time to buy stuff! (Reminds me of a quote from Thoreau: “There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”)
But, what REALLY bothered me is something I read in an article via the AP today about Black Friday called: Black Friday Deals Lure Shoppers Earlier Than Ever.
The entire article is about consumption and people trying to buy their happiness with products. This this small section summed it up perfectly (emphasis mine).
“You have to have these things to enjoy your children and your family,” said Jackson’s friend Ebony Jones, who had secured two laptops ($187.99 each) for her 7 and 11 year olds.
Why must we buy? To demonstrate our love for others? To add a few more inches to our televisions? To help America recover from a vicious recession that itself was born of the desire for more?
Such questions make Jones wince. “It shouldn’t be that way, but in a sense there’s no way around it,” said Jones, a nurse. “Everything ends up with a dollar amount. Even your happiness.“
I can’t believe people think they have to buy laptops or other thneeds to enjoy their children and their families. Seriously, people spending money on things to bring their families together, when really, it will more greatly isolate their children and family!
This is why I’m eternally grateful to spend time with family and friends in a remote location in Wyoming where there’s no stores, malls or movies and sometimes questionable cell service and internet. What there is plenty of, of course, is food, friends, family, fun and sometimes fly fishing.
This is really what Thanksgiving is about, not rampant commercialism. A new $187.99 laptop isn’t buying happiness – at least not true happiness that brings a family closer together. Products don’t bring families together and make them happy. Experiences do. Opportunities to experience life together do. Finding things to do together brings happiness and families together. Fly fishing with my good friend in the icy current of the Platte River in Wyoming on Thanksgiving day makes me eternally happy (as do hikes, campfire lunches, hanging out and sunsets).
Next Thanksgiving, take a break from Black Friday and do something fun as a family, and maybe save your shopping for Cyber Monday… I’m sure you’ll be much happier!
I’ve heard people say that they never have anything to talk about with regards to marketing their websites or products. That it’s always the same thing day after day and there’s never anything to talk about and that they’re too busy to see beyond the day to day activities that keep them busy.
I would disagree with this. And here’s why.
Rafting on the Arkansas River in Colorado
Many years ago I was a river guide on the most popular stretch of river in the US – Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas river in Buena Vista. I guided that river every day for almost 10 years. About year 4, I got bored with floating the same stretch of 8-12 miles every day (many times twice a day!). One day I decided that I was going to look for something new on the river every day to see what I could find. I quickly discovered that there was sooooo much more going on under my nose than I had EVER imagined! I saw ruins of old buildings, waterfalls, plants, birds, rock formations, rapids, etc. And in doing this, I was able to share much more of the natural history with my friends and passengers that I was able to get to know my passengers better and greatly enhance their trip in ways I had never imagined.
As a side result, I became a better boater too.
This is Social Media Marketing. Noticing new things every day and being able to talk about them in one social way or another. Whether you use a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or some other avenue of communication, you can be social. Find something you’re passionate about and share it – regularly.
National Museum of the American Indian Waterfall and Pool
The Pool Below the Waterfall
Outside of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, they have a fabulous water feature that is part of the entire outdoor environment. It’s supposed to be much like it used to be when the Native Americans populated the land around Washington DC. From their website:
Culturally significant to many tribes, wetlands are rich, biologically diverse environments. The museum’s diverse wetlands area—and the ducks, squirrels, and dragonflies that make it their home—represent the original Chesapeake Bay environment prior to European settlement. Chesapeake means “Great Shellfish Bay” in the Algonquian language. River birch, swamp milkweed, pond lilies, silky willow, and wild rice abounded in the dense marshes, as they do in the museum’s natural habitat.
If you get a chance to see it next time your in or near DC, I would highly recommend it.