Why I Write - Ian Standard
When I sit amongst the trees, I can feel the breeze on my skin, smell the rain that just passed, and feel the love that the forest gives back to me. It’s that love that pushes me, drives me forward, and keeps me sane. Every time I have ever entered a forest, or even a small grove of trees tucked back in the corner of a city park, I feel like I belong. This place, this home of mine, is something that I can rely on and depend on when I need it most.
As we’ve seen the world quickly realize the challenges that lie ahead, I know that there is a desperate need to push people outside. If we can get people to see the beauty and feel that same love that I feel, maybe there’s a chance.
Life has pushed people indoors and into boxes where we learn, work, eat, and sleep. These boxes block out the natural world around us, and instead, we surround ourselves with little plastic figurines that remind us of the trip to Disney we took last year. Don’t get me wrong, Space Mountain is a trip and deserves to be experienced and remembered. I’ll personally never forget the gut-wrenching drop of The Tower of Terror that my parents allowed six-year-old me to go on.
It’s just the sheer fact that we can’t get ourselves outside enough and find the time to appreciate the world around us enough to stop ourselves from destroying it.
But Why Do I Write?
Why do I feel the need to put the pencil to paper, the fingers to the keyboard, and stare at another box for hours on end?
It comes down to the way human beings naturally are. We’re a community that takes advice and guidance from others around us. Writing helps me to reach those that are just a bit further away.
Words have a massive amount of power and influence over us. Think about a time you’ve been inspired to push through a tough moment in a sports game or when you’ve felt joy from someone telling you that they love you for the first time. These feelings and actions that follow are why I write.
I write because it’s something I can do. Hours spent behind a laptop can feel tiring and draining until we remind ourselves why we do what we do. If my writing helps a single person find the right piece of gear they need to make them comfortable snowshoeing for the first time or discover a hike that will take them to inspirational views, it is enough. I hope to create and write something that helps someone take that step they didn’t feel ready for just yet.
I’ve honestly never expected to use my writing to try and accomplish this. I had never written anything but my thoughts and short stories in the beat-up old Batman journal I somehow still carry around. Something clicked, and it told me to be vulnerable enough to try and share any words that I can.
When I am in the woods, I find myself writing and feel the love I have for the space around me flow into the pages. After working as an outdoor educator and a guide in wilderness therapy for years, I decided it was a good time to put some of those words out there and see what they can do. While my journals will most likely never find their way into libraries next to John Muir’s, it’s possible my writing here will encourage others to get outdoors.
The “Save the World” manifesto may seem overplayed and all too common for the world today, but I will choose to believe that the writing we all do here truly helps. Anything that gets someone doing the things they love, indoors or outdoors, will bring more love and joy into the world. It’s that love and joy that I believe will help us all grow and simply be happier to be alive.