We spend a lot of our time researching articles and news outlets looking for opportunities for our clients, so this week we asked our team to share with us what they’ve been enjoying reading lately. From articles on getting outdoors to entrepreneurs in Iraq to what it’s like aboard the International Space Station, this curated list of the Darby Team’s favorite reads this month is perfect when you’re looking for a little midday entertainment.
Social Media Strategist, Ashleigh
Why Is it So Hard to Honestly Portray Backpacking on Social Media? – This Backpacker article by Maggie Slepian is a painfully honest look at the disconnect between the adventures we see on our phones and the ones we experience in real life. It’s a disconnect I thought of often when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2017. Had all the 20-something thru-hikers I’d religiously stalked before my own trip really had a much better experience than me? One with fewer bad days and nagging injuries and total exhaustion? Or had they just carefully cultivated a social media existence that told a different story than the one they were really experiencing?
Today, as a Social Media Strategist working in the outdoor industry, I’m constantly barraged by a stream of perfectly posed action shots, picturesque mountain lakes, and perfect sunsets. Do we experience those things in the outdoors? Of course. But do we also experience getting lost on the trail for hours, being eaten alive by bugs, and wrangling countless pieces of equipment? Duh. As the pandemic drives more and more outdoor novices to outdoor activities—from trail running to rock climbing to backpacking—maybe it’s time as outdoor enthusiasts and brands that we learn to portray both the good and the bad of our favorite sports.
Director of Media Relations, Suzanne Hermann
The Best Winter Hikes in National Parks by Megan Michelson – With two small kids and COVID restrictions, we’re doing a lot more winter hikes this year to get out of the house and save our sanity, and this was a fun guide to read. The Alum Cave Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hike I’ve wanted to do for years (one day I’ll get the lottery for LeConte Lodge…) so it’s a good nudge to get out there and just go!
Vice President, Angie Robinson
The Economy Aboard The International Space Station – I am intrigued by the life of astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Once, many years ago I got to attend a Meteorological conference with a client and we got to meet (and chug champagne with) astronaut and former International Space Station resident Steve Swanson. It was an amazing experience and getting to hear about his life in space was equally impressive. So naturally, this piece on NPR caught my attention right away. I was fascinated by the fact there is an ‘economy’ onboard the International Space Station — but it’s not exactly like it is here on Earth, since there’s no need for money up there. I also loved the final part of the interview when astronaut Doug Wheelock discussed how fascinated he is by rain now that he’s spent time in space.
Account Executive, Dan Arnett
New River Gorge National Park is Made for Rafting and Rock Climbing by Emily Pennington – I rafted the New River in West Virginia when I was a teenager, and it really impressed me. The gorge has the kind of rugged, dramatic beauty that I typically associate with the West, and the New River Gorge Bridge (one of the longest single-span arch bridges in the world) is equally stunning. There’s not a ton of national parks here on the East Coast, so I was excited to see that the New River Gorge is our latest.
Account Executive, Hannah Kaminer
Pandemic Restrictions a Business Boom for Some Iraqi Women by Abdulrahman Zeyad – This story of resilience and ingenuity really inspires me. The women in this article are up against a lot, especially with the roles they are expected to play. It was beautiful to me that in the context of something so bad as the pandemic, that these women were still able to create something new – a livelihood, a community, and a business of their own!
Account Coordinator, Amath Diouf
Three Black Men Walk Onto a Beach – This feature by Adam Edwards on Melanin Basecamp was important to me because it put reflective words to feelings that have been hard to describe this past year. Finding comfort and a sense of closeness to one’s community is paramount when it comes to standing up for racial justice.
We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately that has stood out, so feel free to drop it in the comments below or share with us on social. In the meantime, if you’d like to see more recommendations from the Darby team, check our Favorite Media Coverage from 2020.