Zen On Dirt

Why I think blogs are narcissistic, self-centered, and awesome


So, I made a snarky comment on this blog the other day. I generally subscribe to the policy of “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” before writing anything, but this one slipped past the filter. It wasn’t particularly kind, and it wasn’t particularly necessary.


Anyhow, WorldTrekker (Whoever they are, but I have a pretty good idea) left a comment calling me and this blog selfish and narcissistic. Which, given that the inherent nature of blogs is selfish and narcissistic, is fine. The whole points of blogs/FaceBook/Instagram/Twitter/Social Media is “Look at cool stuff I’m doing.”


And I, for one, don’t think that’s a bad thing.


Howard Thurman said:

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.


My commenter, WorldTrekker, went on to ask why I didn’t do something to benefit humanity.


I’m trying.


I think humanity is stuck in a rut of lacking inspiration to do big things because society tells us not to. We’re supposed to go to school, graduate from college, go to grad school or alternately start working jobs so that we can pay off the student debt that we’ve accumulated. We’re supposed to buy stuff with Best Buy credit cards and have the latest and greatest smart phone so that we can have a spiffy new keyboard. And we’re supposed to keep working to pay for all these things that we maybe don’t need.


A study once showed that in America, we’d rather work the same number of hours and get paid more than to keep our current salaries and work fewer hours. In Europe, the opposite was found.


A new study, highlighted over at Semi-Rad claimed that we get more joy from spending money on experiences rather than things. That one left me scratching my head, Why did we need a study to know that?


My goal: Show, through example, that our current system is flawed. We’re putting the emphasis on the wrong things.  That maybe, we don’t have to subscribe to the norm.


I nearly went the path of finishing a PhD, of going into academia, teaching, research. I seriously thought about getting a teaching license and changing the world that way after grad school didn’t work out.


A lot of those views changed with a conversation with Mara Abbott a few years ago. She’d just returned to professional cycling with a laser-lock goal on winning the Olympics in 2016 in Rio. She’d contemplated quitting cycling and going back to school because she viewed racing as selfish and wasteful. But then she decided that if she could use cycling as a platform to spread awareness about things she cared about, then it could be used for the good of humanity.


I admired the idea. Plus, she said, there’s something amazing to trying to be the best in the world at something.


I look to the people who I admire, the people who I follow, and most of them don’t contribute to society in a traditional sense. But they make people question the norm. Why can’t I work for six months and then travel for six months like Gypsy by Trade. Why can’t I ride around the world on a Pugsley like Dirt Dot Kurt. Why can’t I find some record that hasn’t been broken/attempted since the 1950’s and ride to and climb all the 14’ers self supported like Justin Simoni.


I want my life to ask the questions: Why don’t we do what we want and find a way to make it work?


If your passion is teaching, teach. If you love telling stories, write. If you love putting things together, be an engineer. If you love cooking, become a chef. If medicine and healing fascinates you, go to med school.


A steady paycheck is the biggest obstacle in the way of a good adventure.


So is it completely egotistical to think I can change the world through my blog by talking about alternate ways to live life?


If I can convince even one person to take a trip and see something new, then I’ll take my self-centered and narcissistic lifestyle and call it good.


And for my snarky comment, it probably didn’t need to be said and I’m sorry for not editing it out.


11 thoughts on “Why I think blogs are narcissistic, self-centered, and awesome

  1. I agree we have been sold a way of life that represents only one version of doing life. I think we all need to reimagine what our lives mean to us individually. Thank you for showing me another version.

  2. Well said. At least as you grow old you will not be lamenting about the things you didn’t do.i admire your spirit of adventure and willingness to push the limits. Ride on.

  3. I love reading your blog. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it takes me to places I have not been. I don’t even know if I want to go to these places, but I like catching a glimpse of them through your writing and your photos. I like the questions you ask about what’s next, maybe because I ask those questions of myself, too. I also maintain a blog, and yes, I suppose it is narcissistic. But it’s also a good space for personal reflection and to journal some of the things I want to remember later, and if people don’t like what I’m writing they can keep on moving. I think we all have our own ways to glean meaning from and experience life.

  4. “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”

    ― Gautama Buddha

  5. I love it when people make life style choices reflecting what makes them feel so alive…like you…celebrate it!!! Your blog is icing on the cake…thanks!

  6. Ever since I met you, you have been an inspiration to me. I constantly struggle with my desire just to go and adventure more verses staying financially cushioned (which isn’t happening at the moment since I’m in grad school). I LOVE reading your blogs because it helps fuel that desire to have the next grand adventure! Keep ripping and doing your thing!

  7. Narcissism was originally intended to describe a mental disorder, an erotic and debilitating fascination with one’s self, specifically their own physical appearance. In the age of social media, anonymous critics tend to throw this word around so often that it no longer has any meaning, except to describe pretty much anyone with a modicum of online presence. But Narcissism is an actual disease. Self-centered could describe the lives of nearly every human, when observing individual actions through a completely objective lens. There are of course a few truly altruistic souls out there, who fall under the category of “self-sacrificing.” But if everyone fell into that self-sacrificing category, society would cease to function.

    The world is incredibly complicated but individual happiness, as you observed, can be simple. Even here in the United States, in the first world — bleeding resources, losing wealth, accumulating goods, and becoming progressively more miserable, unhealthy, and violent as a society — more examples of individuals’ simple paths to happiness are a positive thing.

  8. Your blog, and others like it, open up a whole new world, another view of what’s out there, what’s possible. I love reading about people who are living the lives they want to live. And as far as being narcissistic, your blog has always struck me as much more about the journey than about Eszter.

  9. What you are doing is an inspiration to a lot of people, including me. That alone makes your lifestyle an worthwhile effort to improve the world.

    I took a 3month solo bike tour around Iceland and the European Alpes; I expected to use that time to figure out what to do next in life, but all along the way I was consumed with thoughts of where else in the world I wanted to go. So I found my answer- what I want to do is travel via bicycle. I’m currently working my butt off for a couple of years to fund the Next Big Adventure, which I’m hoping will be 2+ years long. Your blog is one of the things that keeps me motivated and focused. And it’s entertainment in the same way that many people follow television shows or pro sports or video games. Even though I’m working more than adventuring in this phase, I love knowing that you and Justin and others are in the phase I’m aiming for.

    So thank you for writing/photographing so religiously and for tackling so many amazing journeys.

    For me it’s Patagonia or bust in 2015!!

  10. Your blog, of all those I read, is decidedly un-narcissistic. It is actually so refreshingly self-effacing. As Jill explained above, the word is increasingly misused, like “exponentially” and “literally.” I suspect they were trying to say “self-indulgent” and really feeling “jealousy.” No matter – don’t stop.

    And good luck on the racing conundrum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s