Are you chasing angels or fleeing demons when you visit the mountains?
In this community building experiment, you can only pick one.
John Muir famously said “The mountains are calling and I must go.” It has become one of the most beloved quotes of all time because it rings true on so many levels. Each of us that “go” to the mountains has their own reason(s). I believe that there is power to inspire, educate and connect in each of those motivations. Chasing Angels or Fleeing Demons aims to explore that possibility – which begs the question, why do you go to the mountains?
ARTIST STATEMENT: THE PROJECT
Chasing Angels or Fleeing Demons was derived some years ago during a conversation over coffee and it has brewed ever since. Before that, I co-founded a mountain guiding outfitter in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The journey that has unfolded has brought me all over the world and in and out of the lives of thousands of outdoor recreationalists from all aspects of life. What I found on this business venture is not profound or new. Despite all other differentiators, there is one underlying similarity we share; what is means to be human. And, in the nuanced peaks and valleys of this shared experience we find hidden stories that allow us to relate to others, or not. This is the foundation of Chasing Angels or Fleeing Demons. Trying to understand the motivating factors of why we venture into the mountains is a way of exploring the peaks and valleys, to find likeness in the experiences and build a community that promotes authentic connection.
The forthcoming stories are the reflection of relationships that I have formed with people in the outdoor space. Through a series of interviews, subsequent conversations and many campfire brews, I am compiling their stories – as told to me and free of judgment. Each one has helped me explore the profound vastness of what it means to be human and although not all of them speak directly to my past or present, they will most definitely sing to my future. By exploring the peaks and valleys of each of these individuals’ lives it is clear that: 1. There are many reasons people go to the mountains and 2. Other people share the same reasons. Each story will reveal different motivations but in short they can be categorized into two lists: Chasing Angels or Fleeing Demons.
At the onset, I was skeptical of the black and white nature of this project – demanding one choice from two options hardly seemed fair when the line between them is blurred and ever changing. I asked myself to choose Angels or Demons and after quick reflection, I could clearly remember times when I was chasing and different times when I was fleeing. Further contemplation lead to another revelation; there were always twinges of chasing in the times of fleeing and vise versa. I realize that as my life has changed over time, my motivations have evolved to accommodate my current circumstance, and that is all right. The point of this exercise isn’t to label or pigeon hole individuals as good or bad, chasing or fleeing but rather to bring awareness to the shared struggles and triumphs and to find likeness and community in a world of constant unknowns.
DELIVERY: DOCUMENTARY JOURNAL
My initial goal is to share the stories and images in a documentary journal (book) that explores the human experience, sets the foundation for a larger community-building platform and celebrates the outdoor community. The possibilities are endless and I am eager to watch this new journey unfold organically. I invite you to join me in this endeavor in a capacity that suits your comfort level. Below you will find opportunities to share your story or to help fund this project with a one-time donation. Regardless, thank you for stopping by!
Step 1: Discovery Questionnaire
These questions are designed to make you think. Please allow enough time to embark on some self-reflection, and provide thoughtful insight about your mountain motivations. This is the first step in the discovery process. Based on your answers I will contact you to set up a shared experience to further discuss your story.
Are you a writer with a story about chasing angels or fleeing demons and want to share your story? Let’s chat!
If you find value in this project, please consider a one-time donation of your choosing. On behalf of the outdoor community and myself, thank you!
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