December 2017

Now that the technical stuff is out of the way … as a seasonal employee working in the outdoor recreation industry, work (i.e. income) is feast or famine. The same holds true for time. In fact, work and time are inverses of one another in this context. An increase in (job) work = decrease in (personal) time. A decrease in (job) work = increase in (personal) time. The same could be argued for a traditional 40-hour job. You work more and, therefore, have less time to play. However, I imagine the shift is more subtle and measured in hours per week of change whereas I experience an extra 4-8 weeks of unpaid vacation every few months.

Believe it or not, though, in my 25 years of adulthood I’ve only held a year-round, full-time job for about eight of those years (and four of those were while I was serving in the military!). I have a bachelor’s degree in communications and an associate’s degree in business (among other feathers in my cap). I could go out and get a dependable job with relative ease. So, how is this possible? Why am I not destitute or homeless or up to my eyes in debt? Why do I continue to embrace this financially risky lifestyle?

One answer to that question is easy. I’m just too stubborn and arrogant, and I generally don’t like taking orders from other people. Blame it on my military experience or, maybe, it’s a direct result of being raised an only child and learning to be fiercely independent. Another answer to that question is that I have a dream of becoming a financially successful artist and writer one day. But probably the most relevant reason (albeit a highly abstract one) I choose to live this “starving” artist’s lifestyle is that I simply want to defy the odds and forge my own path (and hopefully inspire others to do the same). Much like Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, minus the lobotomy, of course. “But at least I tried!” he says after attempting an impossible task (for him).

Looking at Red Lake Peak from the route to Winnemucca Lake near Carson Pass on December 5, 2017.

We are not bound to any one path. Life is choice. But we have to be willing to make sacrifices and be vigilant against those people and activities that threaten to derail us from our vision. Obviously none of this is easy to accomplish, and definitely won’t occur overnight. However, in the words of Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

Anyway, I made lots of progress on projects this past month since there hasn’t been enough snow to open up the cross-country ski center where I work (i.e. I had lots of personal time to get stuff done!). Keep scrolling to see my shameless plugs for all of the stuff I created.

Four new Tahoe Swag designs … I created icons of a Black Bear and an Osprey. They look great on shirts. I’ve also had requests to include “Nevada” on some of my posters since Lake Tahoe is actually split between California and Nevada. The poster on the left is the first of that option. FYI, there are product options beyond posters at RedBubble, so check ’em out.

Here are the articles I wrote for Tahoe Trail Guide last month. In addition to my series of backcountry planning articles, I’ve begun another open-ended series related to documenting your backcountry trip and outdoor adventures. Topics of discussion will include photography, drawing and painting, journaling, capturing video, and philosophical considerations when documenting your experiences. As with the backcountry planning series, I won’t be posting “Share Your Story” articles every week or on any specific schedule. I’ll post them in-between the other articles I’ve been writing. Again, this will be an ongoing series. Click an image to read its article.

If you’re running short on holiday cards, here are three simple but elegant designs I created. Also from RedBubble, they are printed on heavy card stock and feature a slight gloss to them as well as blank interiors. RedBubble usually offers discounts when ordering multiple cards.

I recently opened up a shop at Creative Market. Creative Market is mostly geared toward graphic designers, but if you need to create any type of graphic design project you’re sure to find cool digital tools and stock photography at this site. Here are three small photography bundles I offer.

Although the snow hasn’t fallen quite as much as I would’ve hoped by now, there still is plenty in the higher elevations to cross-country ski. Yesterday was my first official day of the season, and I had a blast. I cross-country skied from Carson Pass to Winnemucca Lake. The snow was a bit crusty and wind-scoured in many areas, but there was plenty of coverage to make the trip worthwhile. For information about this route, read my article about it at Tahoe Trail Guide.

Ok, last one … you can still order copies of Color the Tahoe Rim Trail for the holidays with plenty of time to spare.

Thanks for being a part of my life. Until next time…

-Jared Manninen

Tahoe Trail Guide is an online magazine for sharing my knowledge about hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, as well as information about traveling to (and through) the Lake Tahoe region. I refine that information for a younger audience and produce it in a printed format under the title Wilderness Activity Books. Lastly, Tahoe Swag is a collection of art and design products I create based on my love of the outdoors and appreciation for Lake Tahoe.

Categories: Newsletters
Tags: #2017

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