A little celebration at my house, with a caveat
A short while ago I put out a post to my top supporter Dear Readers that I finally have launched a new business. It appears to have legs BECAUSE of my age, not in spite of it, which is in and of itself a celebration.
In the middle of all that, in about ninety minutes a crew is arriving at my house to rip much of it apart because of a toilet overflow. Everything is now in big piles everywhere, and my dream of settling in gets to wait another few months as we tear out tile and wasted walls, and rebuild.
Look, it's just another adventure. I've been celebrating being mobile, having hands and feet which largely work as designed. This time last year I was recovering from a hand surgery, a shattered kneecap and a surgery on my left foot. The ensuing year has been something else again with fits, starts, stumbles and some very dark moments.
Those are the prices we pay to grow.
For those of you who have been with me for a good long while, I had a lot of dreams for Walkabout and many- okay most- of them didn't pan out. That's the nature of giving something a try. There's no guarantee when we begin that what we plan will work out, and that we will be able to deliver what we hoped. Life happens, and it's pushed me in some new directions.
The support, encouragement, private messages and phone calls from you were lifesavers.
Last week I spent five days in Tucson and Phoenix courtesy of Outdoor Writers Association of America. It was a press trip. I am now responsible for writing a series of articles for those organizations and concessions I visited. Then I attended the last day and a half of the America Outdoors conference, a community made up mostly of rafting guides with a few others mixed in, like dude ranches.
There I sat at a press table with a little card with my name on it. And got a bum rush.
I had outfitters lining up to talk to me, this old biddy with a busted-up body, to ask me to consider doing their adventures and writing about them.
Okay, not making this up. I didn't see that coming. They told me again and again that their interest was precisely because of my age.
Did NOT see that coming. Just....okay. Can I please breathe now?
So after all this- the twelve years of adventure travel, the injuries the mistakes the flops the brilliant moments the horrible accidents the transcendent transformational events, all of that came down to this:
This is an industry that has finally begun to embrace the reality that us older folks are still up for adventure.
We have the time and money (tagging Randy Roig and Leo Notenboom and others here) to head out, and the only thing in the way of most folks is their physical condition. That's just one of the many reasons I write, so that people are inspired to get in good enough shape to do the softer adventures.
This is the door that is opening right now. I've got people willing to pay me to write about their outfits, which is what I was doing overseas. I now have the chops to sell my services because there really are very very few women my age who have done what I've done. Finally I can turn that into something of value.
This past year had its fair share of dark nights of the soul. I am not out of the woods on my body, but I can hike flats and ride horses and ride a bike and I can paddle. I may not ever go back to the extreme level of sports I did before, but after all those surgeries and repairs, I'm just so bloody glad to be able to do what I can do right now.
For me to be able to reboot a business I had to come up with a hot brand, launch a newsletter on a more public site where I can swiftly build a brand presence (essential for me to work with clients), and write enough articles under that brand to start getting attention.
And keep writing for Walkabout and put out posts as promised.
That along with all the rest, the PT and the training and the gym and the busted HVAC system and the upside-down house with the water mitigation which has turned into a full-scale whole-home makeover. And the busted hip, which was the cherry on top of all the rest.
Which parallels my entire life, if you get my drift.
But even that, damn it. I would rather that I bust my hip and write about what it takes to get back in the saddle, than have it happen to anyone else. This way I can talk about osteoporosis and osteopenia and training and weights and how all those things affect our last third.
So Dear Readers, thanks for your patience and your support. Largely because of you I launched Too Old for This Shit back in early September. By the time I went on the press trip it had already begun to establish itself. The name of the newsletter absolutely hit a responsive chord in my community.
How this touches you:
The material there is free for now. For my top supporters at $10 a month and up, I started cross-posting today, so you will see everything I post over there free of charge. At some point I will go paid on Substack for some material, the travel material will likely remain free.
Top supporters will continue to get everything I write on Substack for free. I just need to figure out the tech to do it.
You can head on over and see what you think, if you haven't already.
I am keeping Walkabout right where it is because you just never know.
For all of you who count on my deep-dive material, I am not going anywhere. I've lost a few followers recently to various reasons, some of which may well be due to the fact that the demand on my time to reboot has limited some of my productivity. I sincerely hope that you will find out that the effort was worth it.
If you are the $5 or $3 level, you can access all my current Too Old material for free. It shows up on LinkedIn as well. The travel material will remain free. If you choose to head over to Substack, and if you choose to support me over there, thank you. That is strictly up to you.
I do recommend that you take a look around. You might discover other writers whose work you appreciate, if you haven't already (chances are you have).
In an hour I head out for a five-mile walk. This morning I did 1600 stairs. The body is coming back. Still sore in places because for the kinds of surgeries I had, healing takes a damned long time. That said, even the broken hip is little more than a blip at this point. More on that follows.
So this Christmas, this is what my house looks like:
For someone who is compulsively neat, this is a horror show. So I've had to simply acknowledge this as my reality- as it has been for quite a long time- and look forward with great pleasure to setting everything up with walls in colors that I selected. That's it's own bumpy journey.
Again thank you for walking this path with me. Jim Stutsman wrote me this morning that finally, the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train. Aging is its own oncoming train and I have been trying my best to train for it, pun intended. Much of that has paid off.
There will be more trains. That's inevitable. Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy finding that perfect sage for the walls in my bedroom.
Now, here's to all the work put into rebooting and hoping that pays off. I will just keep walking towards that light. I hope you walk with me.
Dear Walkabout Saga Reader:
Thank you so much for taking a few minutes out of your life to read my work. WalkaboutSaga is an act of love and devotion, and I hope that you found value in it.
If my work appeals to you, may I kindly invite you to consider joining those Patreon supporters whose generosity keeps the gas in my tank as it were.
Such articles take time, resources, research and effort. Even a small amount of support truly helps me keep this going. In challenging times, I recognize that even a small amount is hard. Those who can give, I appreciate it. Those who cannot, I hope my words are helpful.
My purpose is to Move People's Lives. I can do more of that with your help.
However you decide to partake of my writing, again, thank you.