Canoeing and Kayak Fishing Blog | Canoe Vibes | Blogging Progress

Fighting Complacency with Bonnie and Clyde

I’ve been at this canoe-blog game for a while now. Hey, if you know me…this has been a long while.

I saw my gear arsenal grow from a do-it-yourself hobby bin in the garage to more of an MTV Cribs episode mixed with a taste of A&E’s Hoarders. I suffered through the ‘How to Use a Semicolon-Gate of 2k15’ and peeked through the ever-present writer’s block and Houston rainy season to find the emergence of my tenth post and a small sense of online identity; no longer just a wannabe river bum and a template website. I smiled through seemingly countless redesigns of my canoe rigging layout, busted the learning curve on tracking a canoe straight, and played with a blog format that err… let’s just say it’s better now.

In such a rapidly changing space, it’s hard not to get pulled into an ongoing analysis of where we are compared to where we want to be. However, the analysis of where we’ve been compared to where we are now, while almost never appreciated, is somewhat critical in reaching where we’re headed next.

To continually improve and not let my procrastinatory-nature take over, I operate with a sense of ‘controlled paranoia’ pushing me forward. For me, this paranoia is a constant force of dissatisfaction with the current success that keeps me looking over my shoulder like Bonnie and Clyde on the run from Central US Law Dogs during the Public Enemy Era sprinkled with the remnants of the Great Depression. After going on their outlaw spree, Bonnie and Clyde did a pretty darn good job avoiding the police officers who were looking for them as a kid searching Mommy’s closet on Christmas Eve.

Great Clyde, this paranoia sure is doing a good job keeping the cops from catching up with you from behind. However, at some point, don’t you have to stop and reevaluate the past success you have had to successfully continue running?

I’m not telling Clyde to high five the neighbors and post a tweet about surviving another day on the run. All I am saying is find what is working for you, reflect on it, and stick with it.

While I’m not running from the cops, I am running from complacency – complacency in a budding hobby and complacency in a remotely successful blog per my low standards.

On my baby – Canoe Vibes’ – nine month birthday, a handful of real trends have caught my attention. And, unlike my outlook on paddling California’s dried up rivers anytime soon, I feel pretty confident about these positive trends. In my Usain Bolt-esque sprint from the cops with Bonnie and Clyde, I am going to take this time to stop looking over my shoulder and reflect on positive trends that are unfolding.

Paddling is Wiggling Into Every Day Life

In the beginning, being different was all the rage. Simply put, I liked my occasional canoe trips because they were different. Not only were these trips different from the hunting, CrossFit-ing, and bar-hopping alternative list available to the majority of my hometown’s young-twenty-something population, they were also different than all other paddlesports alternatives.

Single blade canoeing – the self-proclaimed red-headed stepchild of the paddlesports family – prospered in it’s heyday soon to be passed by the whitewater rage of the nineties and now the kayaking and stand up paddleboarding craze flooding the shelves of every major big box sporting goods store and tourist destination hot spot. With the improvements in all the other paddlesport alternatives and the X Games-esque desire for action packed, adrenaline fueled watersports activities in our culture, canoeing is losing its trending status exactly like how MySpace became an abandoned amusement park in Social Media Land.

Even if the sport is ignored more than the nutritional labels on food these days, it has since blossomed from a cosmetically shallow fading interest of mine to become a seemingly permanent part of my everyday life. From the ‘canoe expenses’ line item in my monthly budget to the action taken to get out on the water every available weekend, it’s ugly little soulless, and freckled face is here to stay as far as I’m concerned.

Research is Gaining Weight as a Necessity

Given the opportunity, I would make a deal with the Devil surrendering my right to ever read anything remotely sounding like a textbook for eternity in exchange for whatever loose change the big fiery red guy had in his pocket.

I hate boring writing. For the love of all that is good in this world people, put some soul into it. It’s the 21st century and millennials are here to be entertained. If we’re not entertained, we will find somewhere else to get our information – {Twitter enters stage right}.

My point – or lack thereof – is that researching river trips and scouting conditions can be pretty bland. I’m not talking about flirting with dull and tedious; I’m talking rounding third base, asking bland if she’s got any condoms.

However, this research is gaining weight in my preparations as a necessity and, well, I’m dealing with it.

Nine Months is a LONG Time

It’s a good thing I’ll never have to carry a child through pregnancy because my attention span just doesn’t stay still that long. Nine months is a long time!

This month is the ninth month of my blog’s long and prosperous life. While I only pump out a post or two per month due to my desire to write longer and more entertaining posts, nine months is a long time!

People are Feigning Enjoyment

I don’t expect a pat on the back for these posts. To be honest, this is just an outlet for me to learn to write and develop a portfolio for any future outdoor writing or sponsored trip taking opportunities that may or may not ever show their face.

However, the feigned enjoyment of readers and surprisingly busy web traffic this is getting has been a nice cherry on top.

While this will continue to be a fun outlet for stringing cheesy metaphors together and playing in the river, the mere fact that people are clicking around is cool in it’s own weird cyber-friend way.

Ps – Shout out to all of the click-throughs coming from Instagram!

Who’s excited? I am. Wait for it, wait for it. Ok, now it’s over.

While the positive pace of change Canoe Vibes as a personal blog, a hobby, and a budding lifestyle can make you want to mbuki mvuki, that’s all the positive analysis I am going to do.

That, right there, was the ‘control’ involved with the ‘controlled paranoia.’ Now I would like to get back worrying about what’s next in my battle with complacency, an approach that Bonnie and Clyde should have kept following before being gunned down by officials midday in 1934.



Mark Vlaskamp

After four years as Marketing Director for Yak Gear, Mark now partners with creative outdoor brands and pursues the gray area between freelancing and (f)unemployment. Currently, he is floating between Austin and Houston, TX - still searching for new water, cool people, and cheap beer.

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A Long Portage:

We're back after a really long portage. What used to be a roadtrip-centric canoe blog is now a bit more settled in the Texas Hill Country. We still believe canoeing is dated, not dead. And we still chase high CFS and sticky situations.

But we're not on a roadtrip battling for cell service from the backseat of the Jeep anymore. We're enjoying life off the road. The showers, hot meals, and stable jobs are nice too.

If the paddling road trip is what you're looking for, it's moved here.


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