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Don’t Be Denied


I can really identify with this Neil Young interview. In it, he explains how he needed to keep moving forward in his life and with his music, rather than getting stuck in the same groove. This caused him a lot of grief in his life as he moved from one band to another, from one style of music to another, never standing still, never explaining why he had to keep changing and redefining his music after he’d achieved commercial success.

[quote] “Well, all that glitters isn’t gold. I know you’ve heard that story told. And I’m a pauper in a naked disguise. A millionaire through a business man’s eyes. Oh friend of mine. Don’t be denied.”
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If you’ve followed SectionHiker for a while, you know that my interests are always evolving. You can see it in the flow of topics that I write about, the places I hike, the skills I teach myself, and the gear I review. Hiking is a lot like music I guess. There’s an infinite variety of ways to go about it and my goal in life is to follow the path it takes me on.

Like Neil, I’ve always had an intense desire to get moving when I get stuck in the same groove for too long. So, I made a few changes at the end of last year to break free, dropping all of my gear sponsors and quitting all of my part time jobs. Life had become too predictable.  I needed to cover new ground and see new sights.

The people I worked for were totally cool about it and understood exactly why I had to move on. They’re all hikers, so they knew where I was coming from and were very supportive.

The net net for Section Hiker is that I can now dedicate 30 more hours a week and 100% of my time and attention to hiking and writing for the blog.

I feel like my old self again. I’ve got free time to try new things and hike new trails. I’m not exactly sure where this path will take me, but I won’t be denied.

See Also:

What Will Happen to Philip Werner?

Living An Unscheduled Life

Life Lessons

25 comments

  1. Is this the end of “Section Hiker”, Philip? I’m not sure what you’re saying. Whatever you do, I wish you all the best, and if it is the end, I’m going to miss it a lot. I’ve learned some things, had some fun, felt a sense of community, and always opened your e-mails with interest. Thanks!

    It’s o.k. to stick around, BTW :-)

    • No, no, no. It means I will have 30 more hours a week to dedicate to Section Hiker. Section Hiker is my guitar.

      • Just trying to get a handle on this, Philip. I get dropping your part-time jobs, whatever they were. But why did you drop your gear sponsors? A good deal of your writing consists of gear reviews, which I find enlightening. Are you going to stop writing those, and only write about hikes and hiking? It always seemed to me that having free access to all the latest & greatest gear is a tremendous perk for what you do. And least importantly, did I miss my last chance to “win” free gear from you? :-)

      • There will still be plenty of gear reviews and gear giveaways. It’s easy for high traffic outdoor media sites, like SectionHiker, to get free gear, especially because people trust my product reviews. A gear sponsorship is a very different thing and usually involves a much closer relationship with a gear company that often includes confidential product testing and new product design. Mine were like that and they took up a fair amount of time that I wanted back for myself.

        I have a backlog of reviews to get out, so expect more raffles in the future. :-)

  2. Whether in life or in the woods, it’s very liberating to “carry a lighter backpack”.

  3. Live first, blog later.

  4. Well put. A corollary for me is “don’t put off till next year any hiking you can do now”. You never know what the future may bring.

  5. There is a bumper sticker I really want to get that reads “What would Neil Young do?”

  6. I’m very happy for you Philip, and I wish you the best in wherever life decides to take you. It sounds like these sort of decisions can become a pain point of financial stress at times, just like when you quit your normal office job a while back. I hope you can make it work in the long term! Whatever happens, happiness and living a fulfilling life is more important than being rich.

    With that said, I’m excited to see what happens here. I can envision expending a blog into a full featured web site, or something like that in your future. Whatever happens, happens. I’ll still be here enjoying your daily posts though :)

  7. Well I grew up with Neil as far as a fan and read Rolling Stone when it was creditable source of information like some of our former creditable outdoor and backpacking sources. I followed him along the way and I can only say he created most of his own problems and there are many other view points of Neil as well. .And I am Ok with that…I am pretty sure some Marketing Maggots were getting bit…..unfun to deal with, and maybe tried to do to you what they did over on the formerly well subscribed Marketing Platform who no longer can brag about that 3 million paid subscriptions that they were once known to have and now maybe down to less than 200,000… Just do what you want to do, and write what you want to right and you will gain the respect of the honest and true backpackers who no longer have any faith in the truth from other Marketing platforms…Thumbs up, hang in there and be your own man…

  8. What will happen to Philip Werner?

  9. Awesome. Congratulations!

  10. I dearly love hearing the music of my youth but am only very rarely tempted to buy tix for “reunion tours” There are few things I find as pathetic as old rockers who do NOTHING except perform their old hits.

    I would quickly pay to hear Young perform, ditto for PP&M if Mary Travers were still alive.

    Congrats to Phillip for making a go of it. I’m looking forward to enjoying where he takes us.

  11. Go hike, write and repeat. Good you’re chasing your dream.

  12. Wow, it sounds like your next phase is going to be exciting! You’re definitely braver than me. I’m stoked “Section Hiker” is continuing :) Congrats!

  13. I get what you are saying. It takes a lot of guts to do what you do. Live your life and if you have to do a 180 because of what you want to do as opposed to what others expect then do it.

    I have been following your website for a year or two and thank you for your informative articles. They have helped me a great deal. I live south of the Mason-Dixon line and someday I will experience some of your posts.

  14. That’s funny, I was reading reviews on some other sites the other day and it got me wondering how much influence (intended or unintended) a company can have on an individual when it comes to sponsorships. I have seen some “sponsored” bloggers only write stellar reviews of products and then there are guys like you and Stick and Brain Green that use and rave about other products even if it’s not from your “sponsored manufacturer”. I have always trusted those types of honest reviews more than others. Anyway, I’m glad you are feeling free and wish you the best.

  15. Long may you run. And hike. :)

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