Any ideas? C’mon…I’ll give you a hint. It has something to do with this blog. Actually, it makes today sort of a monumental event in this blog’s existence. That’s right, you probably guessed it…five years ago to this very day I posted my first blog message on this board.
All I can say is WOW…has the time sure flown by. I entitled that little entry as “Let The Journey Begin.” Now, as I reflect back, I can definitely say this blog has been a journey. Oh, sure, there’s been a few bumps in the road. Every journey worth traveling is going to have them. But all in all it has been a wonderful experience. I must say, if nothing else, it has helped me hone my outdoors communication skills.
In that first blog post I kept things pretty short and sweet. Here’s a snippet of what I said:
At times I will likely write about my daily experiences in the out-of-doors here in southern Minnesota. At other times it will be tackling some tough issues and how they affect the outdoor world we all enjoy. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I write…in fact, a good blog site will challenge you to see things from a different perspective. I do expect, however, that the topics covered will be varied and interesting (at least 90% of the time).
Those very words still ring true today. In fact, I’ve learned that tackling the controversial topics can be very enlightening. Countless times I have taken a company to task and eventually received a response from the owner or the company’s CEO. Indeed, I can attest the power of blogging is very real. I’ve discovered that. Now, others are discovering it as it seems everyone these days has a blog.
I’ve also had folks strongly disagree with my posts and challenge me to look at a certain topic in another way. Such has been the case with my last blog entry posted to the StarTribune.com and linked to from this site. When I posted it I knew it would raise some eyebrows and be controversial in some people’s minds…that’s just how it works for some topics. Still, I’ve learned to write about what I believe in and let the chips fall where they may. Besides, if you’re proud of what you do and say isn’t that really all that matters?
Five years ago when I began blogging the outdoors communication world did not take blogging serious. Ha! Boy, have they sure learned their lesson. Today, the term new media (which includes the likes of bloggers, podcasters, vidcasters, etc.) have taken the world by storm. Many happen to have journalistic training…others, well let’s just say they produce content that appears a little rough around the edges. Still, folks are getting the word out to the best of their abilities and I have to say it’s all very inspirational.
Lots has changed in my life during the past five years while I’ve been blogging, too. I left the confines of being employed (doing ambulance work) to become self-employed on a full-time basis. Oh, it was scary at first…but I had confidence it would all work out. And it did.
Other life events also occurred. Nearly 4 1/2 years ago I married the love of my life, Roberta, who has been such a true inspiration to me. Not only does she keep me in line (somebody eventually had to do it, I guess), but she has added so much to my life in ways I could not have imagined before getting married. And let’s face it…getting married for the first time at the ripe old age of 42 had some challenges in and of itself. But, I’ve learned it’s possible an old dog can learn some new tricks, so to speak.
Then came along the next biggest event in my life 15 months ago also to this very day. My daughter, Elsie, was born and has totally transformed this hard-core outdoorsman into discovering another important life role — that of being a daddy. Honestly, I am blessed with so much good in my life at times I almost feel guilty. Instead, I choose to cherish it all and not take anything for granted that the good Lord has provided for me.
Changing gears just a bit, it might interest you to know that over the years my blog site has averaged about 250 unique visitors each day which totals almost a half million visitors during the short lifetime of this blog. To me that’s just crazy! Oh, I know many other popular blogs do much better…but these stats far exceed my expectations when I started this crazy thing.
As I look ahead, I hope to have time to do even more blogging during the next 5 years of my life. It likely won’t happen that way…but in a perfect world it would. Most of my blogging efforts today are posted over at the StarTribune.com and then linked to from this site. We’ll see how much longer that relationship happens…but, in the meantime, I hope you will continue to check out my postings on that site, too.
In closing, I want to thank all who have faithfully been along for this fascinating ride. And to celebrate this anniversary milestone, I’m giving away 10 FREE Sportsman’s Blog Caps to the first 10 people who send me their complete mailing address. That’s right…simply drop me a line at email@example.com and indicate if you want your cap to be: #1. Fishing themed; or #2. Camo themed; or #3. Blaze orange themed (only choose one). Limit one per blog reader. Available only to the first 10 parties who send me their complete mailing address and cap choice.
NOTE: The Sportsman’s Blog caps have all been spoken for…thanks to everyone who made a request. (9/22/09)
Keep enjoying the outdoors!!
© 2009 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.