Longtime readers of Beers at the Bottom and newcomers alike may have noticed: we don't do much blogging anymore. It’s not for lack of interest. Life has simply gotten in the way.
When we first started this thing back in 2013, the idea was simple: pair our favorite hikes with nearby breweries. We kicked off with Oyster Dome and Boundary Bay Brewery — still among the most classic trail + ale pairings in the state. We eventually started writing for magazines like Washington Trails, which led to greater opportunities in travel writing around the region. We aspired to write a book, and Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest was born. In five fast years, our blogging dreams and goals have come full circle — leading me back to blogging again.
For a couple years we hit the travel writing circuit hard. I was in it to win it, attending a media trip every month and cranking out stories for Northwest Travel & Life, REI Coop Journal, and many more. The blog took up residence on the backburner for many months, serving as a portfolio of our work in other outlets. And those glossy magazine bylines paid off: by 2016 we’d been offered a book deal. While that whole fiasco is another story, we’re happy to be on the other side and looking forward to the possibilities ahead.
But back to blogging. Why am I writing this update? Because I feel compelled to, and because I can. I can write whatever the hell I want here — Rachel will only edit this if the puns get too out of control (I’m almost 30 now. They won’t). That’s what I appreciate most about blogging. There’s no high-brow editor to please, no deadline to meet, no assignment. Just whatever, whenever. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not giving up on writing for publications. That’s how I make my money these days. But I’ve been taking a much-needed break lately, reflecting, and considering my next steps. For now, that means more blogging.
I have a few posts planned out for the coming weeks. It’s going to look a little different than before, since our blogging hobby has morphed into our careers (read: we have to figure how to monetize. Don’t worry, there will never be ads on this site). Did I mention that we both work in the industry now? Rachel beertends at a wonderful brewery; her past jobs include working as a beer copywriter and as a beer/hiking events coordinator. I’m primarily a freelance travel writer, with a growler-filling side gig to boot. We ended up in each of these roles — and with a book contract in our laps — thanks to our work on this very blog.
Finally, a word of gratitude. I wouldn’t be in this position without Rachel, who supports me in (nearly) every wild-eyed idea I throw her way (although the verdict is still out on my celebrity cat-sitting scheme). I’m thankful for the editors I’ve worked with over the years — even the few I’ve “fired” for being a pain in the ass. They all taught me something, from “proper” photo formatting to the inverted pyramid to who not to work with. And some of them have been simply spectacular. Those are the editors I still work with. I admire and respect them, and hope to hold a fraction of their wisdom and influence one day.
Perhaps I shouldn't take writing so seriously. Last year we just did a fun anniversary giveaway. But 2018 has been a rough year personally, as I’ve recently lost a close friend and a family member. These experiences are painful, and they put life into jarring perspective. We aren’t here forever; what we do with our time matters. For me, that means pursuing my passions of hiking, travel, and craft beer while carving out time to spend with the people I love.
What about you? How are you spending your days? I’m gonna be hiking, beering, blogging, and chilling all summer long. See you on the trail — or at the brewery!