a lot of my hobbies are stupid. evolutionarily, objectively, rationally, whatever. it makes no sense to leave the safety of civilization and intentionally subject yourself to the whims of nature, wild animals, and whatever else unknowns that may be lurking, moreso to do so solo, with only what you can carry on your back. and yet, talk to almost any backpacker you know and they can probably confirm that backpacking can be one of the most meaningful experiences of your life. it's a peculiar kind of risk, because most backpackers will probably say they aren't in it for the adrenaline rush or to prove that they can survive by themselves (bushcrafting remains niche, after all). it's not what you might expect from other kinds of risk-taking; there's no thrill, no gain to be had when you return from a trail, yet the payoff still remains large. a more rational person might say that this risk is unnecessary and a walk around the paved paths of a national parking lot seems a lot more comfortable instead. why go through all the trouble of backpacking when you can get better photos from national parks for instagram anyways? or why not book a camping site on a concrete foundation, i hear they even have wifi nowadays! just seems a bit stupid, maybe. motorcycling is a bit more negatively-fetishized when the risk is roughly comparable to.... swimming. don't get me wrong, it's pretty easy to thrill-seek on a motorcycle. yet ask a motorcyclist for they truly enjoy about motorcycle rides, and it could just be the simple pleasure of riding, sure. but i'd wager that you might get an anecdote that sounds similar to the backpacker, as they try to explain about the beauty of riding through gorgeous mountains or the feeling of freedom from a long road trip, instead. none of which require the motorcycle, says the rationalist, really. a car ride is much safer, can carry more, and isn't as susceptible to the weather, anyways. motorcycling is dangerous and unnecessary when cars exist, just seems a bit stupid, maybe. this isn't to insult those who enjoy camping sites with hookups, or with no interest in motorcycles. some have families or responsibilities that they aren't comfortable with jeopardizing, which is a perfectly valid and reasonable decision. but it would be an insult to equate the value of a national park campsite to roaming the backcountry or motorcycling to that of a car ride. and it's just wrong to say that increased risk is just thrill-seeking or unnecessary. some activities are inherently more risky, yes. i don't take risks lightly, and if there's a way to offset it, then i will go the extra mile (heh) every time. but the real risk might be to the sealed bubble of your car with the a/c and radio set exactly to how you like it, to the daily routine of your 9-5 cubicle, to every whim and desire easily accessible with the swipe of a credit card, to the comfort that has so easily rotten countless lives from the inside out until it's too late. so i'm not afraid to be a bit stupid, maybe.

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