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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Steve Johnston: Solo Tripping Meets Social Networking (An Oxymoron?)

The following article was written by avid paddler and Badger friend, Steve Johnston. It is entitled: SOLO TRIPPING MEETS SOCIAL NETWORKING (AN OXYMORON?) where Steve gives us his insights on "Facebooking in the forest". This post also marks the first in a series of articles to come from various talented writers with Steve being our very first ever, Guest Blogger!

Guest Badger Blogger, Steve Johnston (Thunder Bay, Canada)
Steve Johnston is an avid paddler who spends much of his free time on the water. He doesn't yet own a Badger Paddle but he would really like to. When he's not paddling you will find him blogging or Facebooking about it. Steve is engaged to be married and is also destined to be the first official Team Fat Paddler representative in Canada. Which he is understandably stoked about! Steve’s main stomping grounds are in the beautiful waters of Lake Superior where many overnighters and longer trips take place.  His long term goal is to explore and camp at as many lakes as possible in Northern Ontario and Minnesota.  You can join Steve’s adventures on Facebook or check out his blog


Ahhhhh....Solo Tripping, a chance to get away from it all, the traffic, the work, the house, the chores, the people,  the telephone. Wait a minute, back up, the telephone?

Like the popularity of the calculator when it replaced the slide ruler and or abacus, the smartphone is taking the world by storm. While having a mobile device is not necessary to live, living can be made easier by having one.

Never will I advocate that having access to the internet in your pocket is better than preparedness. Mobile technology comes with plenty of limitations. Battery life, reception, weather conditions, or the ability to simply use the device… just to name a few. 
Having a mobile internet device (like an iPad) can be
comforting when going solo into the wilderness.
Having a cell phone or mobile internet device can be very comforting when going solo into the wilderness, so can having a good sense of direction, maps and a compass or GPS.  I had my smartphone with me on my last solo trip and it alerted me that it was too hot to use and had to be cooled down before it would work (much like myself at that time).

Recently in my neck of the woods, the cellular network was expanded so that no matter where I ended up, I had excellent service. I have the ability to play movies or music right from the net. I can play games, download new apps and keep in constant communication with whoever I need to. Which brings us to social networking websites. Some people are for them and some people are dead against them. I will sum up my thoughts about that very quickly. Social networking allows me to organize ( and waste ) my free time.  If I want company on a paddle, all I have to do is post where and when and people will show up. The key word is sharing. I love to share all the fun that I am having with as many people as I can.
One of Steve's extra paddles stays protected in a Badger Paddle Sock.
I belong to a couple of paddling communities here in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For each, there is a "group" on Facebook. New paddlers are joining the groups daily and looking for fellow paddlers to paddle with, do some tripping and/or learn new skills. There is a very strong sense of camaraderie amongst the paddlers both new and old.  Pictures and videos are posted from most events so that everyone can re-live their adventures. This is what seems to "drive the machine" for a lot of paddlers I know. It inspires them as they realize "Hey, I could do that!"
Steve looks relaxed & comfortable with his feet up on deck.
On the flip side, a lot of people are addicted to social networks, spending hours updating their status, posting photos and videos, sharing links and playing games.  As a social media commando, one often feels it is very important to be the fastest, sharpest or wittiest commenter out there in cyberspace. If you find yourself relating to this, you are missing out on the beauty that you came out to enjoy in the first place.

I use social networking sites for practical purposes as well as entertainment.

For example; THE TICK

Up until a few weeks ago, I'd never seen a tick. All of a sudden, I had to remove seven of the little nasties off me. I was a little nervous (ok a lot nervous) about the whole thing, having heard the most horrible terrifying stories about the deadly diseases they carry, so I posted my plight on Facebook. Within minutes, I found out the type of tick, and the many various ways of removing them along with a few jokes at my expense.  Even though I was in the middle of nowhere and a half day paddle back to my car, I knew I was going to be just fine.

Thanks to some Facebook Friends, Steve's mind was put to ease
so he was able to relax and enjoy his trip after removing
7 "nasties" (a.k.a. ticks) from his own skin while out solo.
So, assuming that you have the time, space and battery power to bring your social network with you..... I say "Why NOT"?

Written by Steve Johnston (of for Badger's Blog, July 2011.
A special thanks to Steve, from our whole Badger sett, for taking time out of his busy paddling schedule to accept our invitation to be a guest writer on Badger's Blog and for giving us his thoughtful (and entertaining) insights on the ways that mobile technology is changing the way we are exploring the out-of-doors. If you would like to be a guest writer on Badger's Blog, please contact us by email.

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Note: Comments and opinions of our guest bloggers do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Badger Paddles and are the expressed writings of the "guest" only. All content has been published on Badger's Blog with permission of it's author and is original to the guest writer. All copyright inquiries should be directed to the guest writer/blogger where necessary.


  1. Great article....though sometimes I think I spend too much time online, either on Facebook, writing a blog, or any of a number of canoe related forums I frequent....that I should get off this conmputer and go for a right now....
    Paddles up until later then

  2. Luckily they weren't the dreaded Aussie Paralysis Ticks! ;)


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