Monday, March 04, 2019

Paraphrasing Thoreau

I read Henry David Thoreau's book "Walden" a summer go and the book resonated with me in many ways.


The below quotes, modified to fit my own message in Italics, hope to convey why I'm trying to throttle things down in terms of blogging and social media.

Thoreau:

“As for Clothing, to come at once to the practical part of the question, perhaps we are led oftener by the love of novelty, and a regard for the opinions of men, in procuring it, than by a true utility.”

“As for the choice of a Ural sidecar rig, to come at once to the practical part of the question, perhaps we are led oftener by the love of novelty, and a regard for the opinions of men, in driving it, than by a true utility.”     

I've ridden Ural Sidecar Rigs since late 2008, I am on my fourth Ural.  So much fun to ride, so easy to explore those trails that in my mind lead to scenic landscapes and adventure.  As to true utility though, reliability is not something I've achieved where it comes to Ural-related mechanicals.  I believe I've stayed with this brand so long due to my stubbornness, their photogenic look which is part and parcel of their novelty factor.  I guess a part of me hoped they'd become more reliable but the only thing I've really achieved is proving that saying: "Ural, making mechanics out of owners since the 1940s".

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”


“The cost of  blogging is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

My recent Southwester Sojourn made me finally realize that I'm riding and shooting pictures to provide fodder for blogging posts.  I'm not riding for the joy of riding (which I did experience in my first few years of motorcycling), I ride to destinations to pose the motorcycle and yes, Urals are mostly featured as I find them very photogenic, but what is the return on investment?  Of late, I'm seeing none.

I'd tried to minimize the presence of the motorcycle, believing that making the scenery the main objective is to make better pictures.  But still, why was I doing the picture taking?  Only to have something to blog about apparently.

Men have become the tools of their tools.


This is so true.  My tools were Ural sidecars (mostly) and how they've transported me to a particular scenic location and blogging about it.  Ride, take pics, blog....repeat...over and over again.  Trouble is, with the Urals, there was significant amounts of mechanical issues, related downtime for repairs and overall mental stress.

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.

Also, so true.  I've used a metaphorical BFH (the essential Ural Owner's tool) to hammer and forge my online image.  I'm just not sure now that I want to keep doing that.  

So, where does that leave me?  I don't know.

A new and different conveyance, read another possession to possess me, has joined the stable.  I look forward to seeing where Yagi, the TW200, will take me and what scenery it'll make available to me that the Urals just worked too hard to achieve, when they actually did achieve it.

19 comments:

Kari Kropf said...

Only so much time, money, life. Gotta spend it where you get the most bang for your buck. New adventures await, but be sure those adventures take you where you want, and if good pics/posts happen. Great. If not, well you had a good time and good memories anyway.

Tinabeane said...

Very good post, glad you are taking the time to reevaluate what is working for you and thinking of the why. Looking forward to the next chapter whatever that might be and hoping you find the joy. Your pictures are amazing and I appreciate following along on your travels. Even myself, I try to just take more of those magical moments in and not take a picture, just soak it in my soul.

Wishing you all the best!

Tina

RichardM said...

If you’re not enjoying it, you may want to do something else. The current focus of the blog is on riding… something. And you and your blog have a solid following. Mine has basically been a public journal. Sort of focused on whatever is happening in my life. For me, it’s something that I look forward to doing, That is the ROI. Zero comments and views aren’t a problem though comments are always appreciated.

If you didn’t have the Ural would you still have the URRV or would it just have a different name? Like others have said, I have enjoyed reading about your journey including the Ural part. It’s one of the reasons why I now have one,

dom chang said...

Thank you Kari for your comments and thoughts. I wonder about my memory being able to retain and recall memories of adventures as easily as reviewing a blog entry. Sigh.

Tinabeane, thanks for the kinds words in your comment. Definitely a less Ural-centric direction being taken by the blog should it continue. Perhaps I'll go with summaries of several events/days/rides....who knows?

RichardM, don't know about a solid following....perhaps I'm too hung up about comments and the sometimes lack of them. Lately, I'd joked to Martha that its always the same six people who comment...so all that work (yes I called it work) for six people....why?
The URRV will remain thus, after all, there's a chance it'll be towing the trailer with a Ural sometime in the future....
As to my blog being one of the reasons you now own a Ural, my apologies. :) I have benefited from your experience with yours, as you're quite the mechanic.....
Interesting you mention the act of blogging as your ROI. Of late, the only benefit I've seen from blogging is being able to recall what the heck I was doing months or years go....

Philip and Sharon said...

Very well thought out and written.

However, I must disagree with the statement that you have been seeing nothing in return for you blogging efforts. I, for one have enjoyed your posts immensely.

On a personal level, I have been going through a very similar transition process. But in my case it involved a sailboat and sailing to out of the way places in the northern, eastern, Canadian maritime Atlantic. In such places I looked for the best possible photo opportunities that conveyed the wonder of the area, and if I was able to get the boat in the shot for perspective all the better. That said, internet access was very sketchy at best and I often found myself spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to put blog posts out there. On top of that I was finding the yearly maintenance of the boat to be a financial drain which I was having difficulty with in my new retirement.
So what am I doing about it: Well sadly, I am selling the boat. I will Really miss going where few people go in the northern Atlantic. However, we are outfitting a 4x4 cargo van for camping so that we can continue our adventuring ashore (mostly in the West). Yes, it is a switch from one set of clothes to another but we hope this new set will be less of a financial burden (less of our life drained into it). We just are not ready to give up exploring out of the way places yet. Also, sadly I have given up blogging --- it just took too much time. Instead, I post photos on Facebook with short explanations. No, it is not nearly as nice as the old blogs but I am still able to share my experiences with those who are interested. For whatever reason, it seems that posting on Facebook takes a lot less time then doing the same post on a blog.
So in summary --- we too are switching clothes --- yet we hope we are simplifying our life so that we may actually live it more.

Carry on --- but don't let the work of it consume you. I think you are on the right path. Hope to see you along the way.

And thank you again for your efforts --- they are not unappreciated.

Philip and Sharon said...

PS: Don't think that a lack of comments means a lack of interest!!

I am sure there are many people out there who enjoy your blog. Look at the "view" numbers that are available as part of the blog service. If you find that your views are down then make sure you are adding as many "tags" as possible to each posting so that people can find it when googling.

Also, I put the link to my blog below my email signature, so that every person I send an email to has a quick and easy access to my blogs.

In this rush/rush world most people do not find the time to respond with comments. It does not mean they are not interested.

dom chang said...

Thanks Philip and Sharon for taking the time for your comments....sailing to distant shores, sounds very cool but yeah, I've heard boat ownership can be expensive. I believe you'll have fun with your 4x4 camping van conversion, the URRV can't get into some of the places I'd like to camp at....

Jason said...

Dom, this is your most captivating post yet! I look forward to what's next for you and where these questions will take you. Those Ural's have been a huge part of your identity here in this space but the man (or woman, or gender neutral explore on >1, <4 wheels) that makes the machine. We give the tools life yes, but they can pay us back in kind. Be it be a blog, or bike, or a BFH.

My greatest reward in Blogging is the exchange of ideas. That and documenting things I don't want to forget. Oh, and meeting all you wonderful folks here in the moto-blog sphere, if only just as pen pals.

Onward!

Jason a.k.a. Ride North

dom chang said...

Thanks for the comments Jason, the online meeting of like-minded folks is indeed a benefit of blogging....thanks for reminding me.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Balance is one of my favorite words and has become an increasingly appreciated concept. Here's hoping you find the levels that suit you Dom.

SonjaM said...


Dom, in times of information fast food such as instagram, facebook and the likes blogging, like writing a letter on a piece of paper is on the brink of becoming a lost art. It's old fashioned and time consuming. In the long run one has to like it or leave it.

During travels I take old fashioned notes, and I take pictures, but I travel offline. No laptop, no tablet, no TV. My once two-wheel-centered blog has become a journal of sorts. I write because it's fun and keeps my language skills somewhat sharpened. I am glad if people take the time to read or leave a comment but I do not keep track of statistics.

Do what's the best for you. Cheers and all the best, SonjaM

Kathy Kirkpatrick said...

Ah, the quandary. I’ve been thinking about stuff differently, too. I miss blogging for many reasons, one of which is that I don’t have much documentation to chronicle my life over the past couple of years. I have to rely more on memory, and the older I get, the worse that gets. I know what you mean, though, about feeling like you did things specifically so that you would have material for the blog. When something becomes an obligation, it loses its appeal. And then there’s the nagging question... is anyone even reading my posts? Like Sonja, I’ve never really tracked statistics. I like comments, interacting with readers, making new friends, etc., but that was never what drove me to write on my blog. I did it because I wanted to. When that desire waned, for whatever reason — still trying to figure that out! —the blog posts became less and less frequent, and then appear to have stopped. Sigh. Here’s hoping you are able to find your balance.

dom chang said...

Thank you Kathy Kirkpatrick for your comments and yes, pretty much the debate going on in my head these days. There's a trip out East coming soon, perhaps that will provide some elucidation.

Jan Daub said...

By asking the questions, you have already turned the page to a new lifestyle. Standing in the doorway of your new adventures, unsure of where they will lead, but knowing life has been fully lived in the previous room, your future lies in the shadows ahead.

Embrace the shadows, explore the dimly lite hallways... grand surprises and joys await you. Hopefully your heart will feel the moment to share those new adventures with your blogging fellows.

Dom, you are part of our life experiences by your journals and blogging. We share your joys, disappointments and adventures. Ride on into the future my friend. God speed.


dom chang said...

It's turning out to be a time for many changes Jan.

Trobairitz said...

Blogging seems to have an ebb and flow. There was a time I blog at least twice a week for a few years, I would create blog fodder and look for photo opps wherever we went. Now I rarely blog, but work hours have changed, commute times have changes and I rarely take a camera with me when we go anywhere. I just try and enjoy the moment and blogging has become an after thought.

I do find I miss it at times and even now feel like I should blog more often. It gets in your blood. I do appreciate looking back at what we did and when we did it. Without the blog we wouldn't remember even half of it I am sure.

There are always two sides to the coin, do what feels right to you.

dom chang said...

Thanks for the comments and feedback Trobairitz....as a record of one's activities, or log....since that's what the original intent of Blogs was (weblogs)...that's where I think I'm headed.

Steve Williams said...

Interesting post Dom. Lots of things to think about that are relevant to riding and blogging. Thoreau might have been a blogger were he alive today -- his reflections captured digitally rather in a book. Who can say....

It's important to ask the questions about being enslaved to things and becoming the tool of tools. As you point out -- stubbornness can really throw a wrench into the process of making sound choices. I have similar issues.

Regarding blogging -- I recognize all the times I have ridden solely to produce fodder for a post. But often during those rides a thought, problem or existential concern arises that would not have happened had I stayed at home. Writing about those thoughts has been therapeutic for me and not merely documentation of a ride. If there has been a shift it's in the realization that I don't have to post so often. Somehow it got into my head that I had this little blogging job and HAD to post a couple times a week. That's nonsense.

So now I post when I genuinely have something to share. And most of the time it's something important to me and not generated out of some perceived need to feed the beast.

Anyways, blogging still have value for ME. Me. If others find something entertaining or useful, that's just gravy.

I'll have to pull Walden out again. And Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance too.

dom chang said...

Thanks Steve for the comments and insights.

Truly, I also got it in my head that postings had to occur often and riding ensued to fill the files with material. Weird isn't it? In my case I think it was a mix of "I'm still here and look at this" and "will folks like the pictures" motivations.

Riding did provide time to think on other things, but rarely in my case. When traveling, I wanted to see what was down the trail....but mainly, would the Ural make it there AND back. Not many cycles left over for deep thoughts. My penchant for going down "roads" the rig didn't really belong on probably didn't help things....during such episodes, all focus was on driving and staying in one piece.

Thoreau might have been a great blogger, but I wonder what he'd think of comments on his stuff by others? :)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was a book I struggled to get through, took several attempts and I finally finished it as an audio book while trapped in an airplane...it didn't resonate with me as Thoreau did. Quality vs Simplification....