Let me take a little time to introduce myself, my name is C-A-M to the E… ummmm… Actually, you can just call me Cameron. I’m the newest addition to the totally radical staff here at My Wonderful World, and I come to you in the form of an intern. My journey to this desk began years ago, when I first developed what some may call my “sense of place”. Many of you may be wondering, “What is this ‘sense of place’ that he speaks of?” It is more than just where something is, it is comprised of a multitude of factors that come together to give you a certain feeling about a space or a place. However, instead of attempting to explain the whole shebang, I’ll let you take a look at this site here.
So back to my sense of place, where did it all begin? I graduated in December, 2008, from Oklahoma State University with an B.A. in Geography. When I started my career as a college student, I also had to get a job. Luckily, I ended up at OSU Outdoor Adventure, which was basically the sweetest job that I could have hoped for. At the job, I was tasked to research maps, plan trips, take participants out into nature and show them how to safely have an AWESOME time! Of course, this lifestyle spoke to me and I thought to myself, “I have found what means most to me! I have found my sense of place!” Taking my newfound “sense of place” into account, I narrowed my academic studies down to focus on recreation, specifically outdoor recreation such as backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing etc. that takes place in our National Parks. Throughout my years working as an adventure educator and outdoor guide, I developed a deep appreciation for intact and healthy ecosystems as well as the recreational opportunities that could be had within these ecosystems. These recreational opportunities are a classic example of human-environment interaction, which is one of the fundamental tenets of geography. What are some of the ways that you interact with the environment? I’m willing to guess that every one of you that reads this has AT LEAST one outdoor hobby. Think about the ways that you impact the environment when participating in that hobby, but don’t stop there; think about how the environment affects you as well!
Personally, I am a HUGE mountain biker… a huge fan of mountain biking that is- I’m not like 9 feet tall or anything. Geographically, mountain biking is popular in certain places… mountains help. Many of you may have heard of Moab, Utah, widely considered to be one of the greatest spots on earth for GNARLY biking opportunities. But why is this so? Part of the reason is that the residents of Moab have fostered a culture of mountain biking that is appealing to mountain bikers. Why would residents do this? Any number of reasons really, but most likely, economics. Mountain biking brings large amounts of money into the town every single year. Physically, the region is characterized by a geologic feature called slickrock which is essentially like a giant natural skate park that mountain bikers can play on all day long. Other factors play a part in making Moab a Mecca for mountain biking, of course, but thoughts like this are a great start for thinking geographically!
So I task all you loyal readers with this challenge: Think back to a moment in your life where you have felt a “sense of place”. Was it your hometown or perhaps a favorite restaurant? Maybe, like me, it was some activity that you practiced in a certain type of place. Possibly it was an excellent concert or street fair. Whatever it is, let’s hear about it! Tell us in your own geographic terms about when you felt a “sense of place”.