We have decided to quit tagging the locations of the photos in our feed. We want to explain why so that you don’t think we’re pretentious or weird.
Wander started as a hobby blog 3 years ago. When we would post photos or videos, the only people who were watching were our parents. And that was on the good days. As we’ve stumbled into having an audience, we’re having to slightly rethink the potential impact of what we do and why we do it so that the places we love and celebrate don’t get overused.
Over the last year we’ve done three things that we believe are small steps in the right direction.
MAKING CONSERVATION A CORE VALUE
We have dedicated the majority of the content on our blog to best practices and tips for wandering responsibly. From discussing the impact of cairns to talking about staying on trail, we have tried to weave the themes of conservation and responsiblity into our daily content. While we are head over heels in love with North Georgia, we want to be careful that we don’t over-romanticize things and instead highlight the common place beauty of the people and places that call North Georgia home. If we’re not careful, Instagram can stray to far to the latter instead of the former.
Instagram has been an amazing tool for community building and connection. This weekend alone we hung out with a dozen some odd folks that we met through Instagram over the last few years. We don’t want less Instagram and web content. We want better.
You can read more about our values here and why CONSERVATION is at the core of it.
FOCUSING ON THE PLACES THAT CAN SUPPORT HIGH TRAFFIC
We quit posting photos of obscure, hard to reach places and instead focused on places that could handle larger groups of people like State Parks. We quickly realized that if we posted a photo, a few hundred people would then visit that location in the next week. The reality is some trails and places just can’t handle that kind of traffic. So we made a decision to focus on the places that could. It doesn’t make them any less wild, any less adventrous or any less beautiful. We just chose to shine a spotlight on the places that were setup, staffed, and structured to support higher volumes of people. It doesn’t mean that we don’t think you should explore and wander and find the hidden gems. We have just chosen not to draw too much attention to them so that they’re still viable and healthy for our kids and yours.
THE WANDERING PLEDGE
We created The Wandering Pledge and made workshops a huge priority for us. This is our attempt at educating ourselves and others about how best to wander responsibly. From where you pee in the woods to what you put in your fire to how you take pictures outside, our goal is to encourage you to thoughtfully consider your impact in all it’s varied shapes and forms. Again, our goal is not to beat you over the head with or sit on a high horse. The Pledge is as much for us as it is our followers. It’s the foundation we use when we enjoy the outdoors and it’s one that we hope we model well enough that it serves as inspiration for friends and strangers. You can read more about it and take the pledge here.
All of that to say, we are deeply aware of our responsibility to the places we love. Our committment to inspiring you to discover the outdoors and all it’s benefits has not changed one bit. We are still happy to draw you a hand drawn map in the store. We are still going to be to be answering questions through DMs and email. We are still going to tell you to go and visit AtlantaTrails.com for all your trail information. We have just decided to take this one feature down in order to add one more little layer of responsibility in.
The odds are already in our favor. For every 99 people who get it and do the right thing, there is only 1 person. That’s a 99% success rate. But that 1 person is the one who goes off trail. The one who leaves trash behind. The one who goes over the fence. The one who jumps where they’re not supposed to jump.
We may not be able to stop that one person. But we do want to do everything in our power to make sure we’re not part of the problem but part of the solution.
We’re here to answer any questions. If you have any concerns, don’t be shy about shooting us an email. Even if it’s just to tell us we’re pretentious. This isn’t the only thing we’re doing nor will it be the last thing. But it’s one more step we believe we can layer in to our overall conservation vision. It’s not going to fix some of the problems that are being created out there but we hope that it helps move at least one person along the spectrum and closer to making good decisions when wandering.
As always, thanks for following along and giving us the patience to figure out what our business looks like as we mature and grow.