I’m not a new-year’s-resolution person. Rare are the times I am moved to state such aspirations formally, and rarer yet are the years when they survive to see the next changing of the calendar. Still, I will frequently look back on the past 12 months as that milestone approaches each year. My reflections have been more rewarding than usual this time around.
A Good Year
2019 will be remembered by me as one of inspiration and growth. The main force behind this time of change has been my joining the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. I first heard of AGLOW just over two years ago, and soon started working toward fulfilling membership criteria. By June of this year, I had earned my way toward joining as an active Media Member, specifically as a Digital Media Specialist (for work relating to this website). Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it turns out I didn’t know how much I needed it.
This September’s AGLOW conference in La Crosse gave me a huge catapult forward in the world of outdoor communication. The rather modest investment to attend has already paid (and will continue to pay) dividends in my professional development. In addition, the chance to make personal connections with other communicators and outdoor professionals has been extremely valuable in simply understanding the industry. I cannot overstate my gratitude for all I gained there in four days. Considering my journey over the last three and a half months, I truly look forward to seeing where I am another year from now.
Looking To The Horizon
As previously stated, I am not wont to adopt new year’s resolutions. All the same, it seems one or two could help me build on my successes and keep rolling with my professional momentum. So, in addition to generating content for my website and YouTube channel, including a video log (a new venture inspired by the AGLOW conference), I’m currently formulating rigorous writing goals for the upcoming year. Ideally, said goals will push me as a communicator and businessman, but will not prove to be unsustainable for 52 straight weeks. This level of productivity may be set as a quantity-based quota, or perhaps as a dollar-based target. I cannot decide as of yet; disparate considerations tend to steer the goal setting process in different directions.
One thing, however, is already clear: the more I branch out and do, the more new challenges will crop up. I am determined not to be discouraged by any of these former roadblocks. Instead, I will overcome and/or learn as much as possible from each one. It’s easy to say, but I know now some of these challenges will require far more effort than any one writing project, and none is likely to offer monetary compensation.
Making Dreams Come True
As regular visitors to this site already know, I love to get into the outdoors to do something new. In fact, that’s probably my favorite outdoor activity: something I haven’t yet done. I get to research, see new places, learn new things, and have a renewed sense of adventure every single time. What’s more, I love to show that you don’t have to be an expert in anything to engage with the outdoor world.
Some things I’ve done- like smelt netting– are fairly easily accomplished and will likely be revisited in the future. Others- like catching and eating an eelpout- continue to elude me. But every adventure has been worthwhile, no matter the size or the outcome. And now, another year of new outdoor adventures and goals awaits.
The following is a partial list of my outdoor goals for 2020. Do you have any experience with these, or perhaps you have some resources you’d like to share? Do you have any tips you’d like to offer, or new ideas for me? Leave a comment or send me an email. Then be sure to check back and see how they unfold. I hope to make 2020 the best year yet!
Catch and Eat an Eelpout– When a fish is known as “poor man’s lobster,” how could I resist?
Catch a Catfish Through the Ice– Cats are tasty, but sometimes finicky. Past disappointments will not keep me from trying.
Catch My First Brook Trout– It seems simple, but I am not a fly fisherman and opportunities are relatively few across Minnesota. It will probably require a trip to the BWCA, either summer or winter.
Multi-Night Winter BWCA Trip– The 2018-19 winter was a weather disaster that offered me no good chances. I will be watching again for my window.
Harvest a Spruce Grouse– It might not seem like a novelty to some, but this bird which has so far eluded me. This could involve a backpack hunt with my dog.
Find and Eat Five New Mushrooms– This could require a good deal of time in the woods, probing new parts of the state, and some keen taxonomic work.
Top Secret Foraging Goals– Some things are better left unsaid, mainly because I don’t want my best ideas stolen. But I will say that one will require some serious groundwork. It also may not be possible in any one year, depending on growing conditions. Wish me luck!