This is a little hard for me to believe, but today is the day Proactiveoutside turns a year old. Time flies!
This has been a great outlet for me. I am passionate about writing, fitness and the outdoors. So putting together a site like this is just one of the things that just made sense to do.
A little back story: A few years and two jobs ago, I was working for Oklahoma City’s daily newspaper, The Oklahoman, which at that time was making a serious push to grow its multimedia presence. One part of that strategy was to tap into its staff and create a number of blogs.
I was asked to be part of a group of writers for a blog called Out There, an outdoor recreation site that encompassed a number of topics (but not hunting and fishing; there was already another blog dedicated to that). I obliged, but over time other writers sort of tailed off and I ended up being the only one contributing to it.
The bosses let me take it over and give it my own spin. It went from a seldom-clicked site to one of NewsOK.com’s top 10 blogs. It benefitted greatly by having a platform like NewsOK host it. But it was a great experience to work hard at making the site grow and evolve. It was my first foray into multimedia and I loved it.
It came to an end in 2011. The Oklahoman had gone through a number of layoffs since 2008; I survived two of them, but not the third. The end of my time at The Oklahoman meant the practical end of Out there (no new posts since January 2011), though it still exists in cyberspace.
I found new work, moved to a new city and got settled in. But I really missed, well, everything about blogging for Out There. It was sort of my baby, and letting it go was tough. I thought long and hard about starting my own little project, what that might look like and how it might differ from Out There.
First, the heart of it had to encapsulate my strong belief that one key to a healthy life is for people to get more active (use the body God gave you!) and do it outside. I love the gym, but let’s be honest – fresh air, nature and sunshine are way better than recycled air and fluorescent lights.
Second, the heart of the blog would be trip reports. Though they would be less frequent than other posts, trip reports are the expression of using that trained-up body to see and do cool things: Big hikes, climbs and other stuff in the outdoors. Aside from a narrative about the trip, I tried to include basic route information to help people who would be interested in doing the same thing.
Third, fitness of all kinds would need to be an integral part of the blog. So workout plans, gear tests, fitness advice, nutrition and a few videos would be used to enhance the site. Running has been a dominant theme, and it’s safe to say that running will continue to be a large part of what you will see here in the future.
Fourth, news related to the outdoors and fitness would be a part of the discussion. I like to pick news topics that seemed to be relevant to people who loved getting outside and getting fit as much as me.
Fifth, I wanted to throw a few essays in there. The mindset of exploring new places, pushing your physical and mental limits and observing what’s around you – those things fascinate me.
Last, I’d mix it up with other stuff. Some humor here, maybe some politics (VERY rare), and any cool, fun or amazing videos that I came across.
The end result has been a lot of fun. To date, the site’s 191 posts have been viewed 22,636 times; 250 comments (besides my replies) have been posted; and visitors from countries in all but one continent have clicked in.
One surprising benefit: I feel that writing for this site holds me accountable to stay active, do new things and push my own limits. I can say I’m more fit and more accomplished now than I was when I first launched the blog.
For all that, I say thank you. Thanks for taking time to read, comment, share and interact. I’d probably do this if almost no one read it (writers do that), but I’m grateful for every time someone makes the effort to use this site.
I hope it’s been useful, entertaining, informative and otherwise enjoyable to you all. Here’s to another great year!
On Twitter @RMHigh7088