Why I can

Mike smiles

I used to run a very succesful blog that was page one on Google for certain targeted search terms and for which I enjoyed writing a lot and that I hope others enjoyed reading. I had a top 200 UK Twitter account. Then when I stopped photographing I stopped blogging, there seemed no reason to do it and lots of reasons not to.
My whole life has been a search for flow and for the authentic. Half done things that are done without passion and style are not a Thing. I drove myself hard for many years as a landscape photographer. Culminating in a year-long photography commission for the Wildlife Trusts in which I buried myself deeper and deeper till there was no me left. I worked hard, burning in the passion, burning the passion right out of me. I still feel no connection to photography as an art form. I reshaped my perceptions of beauty from classical romanticism to a zen like appreciation of the ordinary and everyday in which the photograph is a pale simulacrum of the real. I confused my reward system by climbing mental and physical mountains over and over and over to reward me with a cup of coffee and slice of cake in a nice cafe. There was nothing of me left. Shell like. A faint sound of the sea where my soul used to be.
And I moved to Moscow, then London, burying myself in my work for 5 years. And the only thing I felt was boredom. Not something I was used to. I refused it, refused the signs. Refused to live. Died inside, bored for 5 years. Told myself that I can’t live as there was not enough of me left to go to the places I needed to go. Scared by the cost to my soul and energy to go far enough to find something authentic. Can I? Should I? No, just stay bored, it’s easy.
Then late last year a move to Scotland. A re-evaluation of my life. Work life balance achieved, no fuck that, I only work to live now. Closer to the mountains and the wilderness, now every other Friday night a train ride to somewhere hard-edged and remote. My thoughts are consumed by the route, the gear, the quest for flow.
I still couldn’t find it in me to blog. What did I have to offer that wasn’t being said in a million other places? What did I have to offer that was authentic. I pulled down my old site in October of last year with the intention of starting a new one. The name ‘Mike on a bike’ coming from a perceptive friend 5 years ago who perhaps saw more clearly what I needed than I did. No energy to write though, it still wasn’t there.
A friend asked me last week why I wasn’t blogging about my regular adventures on bike on mountains on rivers. “I want to go on this sort of adventure, why aren’t you blogging?”. He shared a recent Casey Neistat video with me – ‘Do what you can’t’.

Why am I telling me that I can’t. I can.
Words matter. Thank you Farah and Neil.

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