I think my Dad thinks I’m weird but he’s the one that wanted to go the Intermountain Logging Conference.
In fact, I can guarantee he thinks I’m weird because I asked him on the 5-hour drive from Anaconda, Montana to Spokane, Washington the other day.
“Dad, do you think I’m weird?”
He didn’t even pause to think about it.
He doesn’t get the travel thing. In fact, he thinks it all sounds fairly miserable and he would rather be at work any day.
I should also mention here that my dad is a logger.
“You know Rachel, some people spend thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles to see the places we get to work every day.”
This would be appreciated if I hadn’t heard it a million times.
And although I'm weird to him, we may be more alike than he wants to admit.
So, when my Dad asked me to go to the Intermountain Logging Conference with him, I figured that’s probably the closest we’ll come to traveling together and I should go.
I was just coming back from a one-month yoga retreat.
Then, my Dad and I went to a Logging Conference.
It’s hard to say which was more culturally diverse.
Loggers are a unique group.
Logging is less of an occupation and more of a mindset.
Loggers have to be stubborn to fight the elements, broken down machinery, a fluctuating timber market and environmental regulations changes that can change an industry from boom to bust overnight. It’s not an easy way to go, but most of them wouldn’t change it if they had the chance.
The only thing that isn’t unique about them is that they all seem to be named John.
So we spent a few days with a bunch of Johns looking at logging equipment, talking to vendors, and occasionally drinking beer.
Actually I drank beer. My dad drank Bud Light which only sort of counts.
What struck me while I was there, is how much everyone seemed to be all about logging. It was kind of like an exclusive club where everyone knows everyone else and everyone is talking about the same thing, which was work.
When you’re in safety, like I was, only the really weird people are all about safety… especially at a conference.
To quote a logger my sister interviewed for the news a few years ago, “Logging is one of those things that just gets in your blood and after a while you can’t imagine wanting to do anything else.”
Travel is similar.
But I was currently traveling with a logger who wouldn’t think of leaving the woods for travel so maybe he knew something I didn’t.
You can see why all the hipsters want to be just like them now.
I laughed when I thought of going out in Portland, Oregon where lumbersexuals, the Ken-doll version of lumberjacks, dominate the dating market in factory-distressed flannels and beards that have more grooming than my hair ever dreamed of. They talk a lot about sustainability and vegetarianism.
Loggers wear out their own flannels and depend on a sustainable resource for their incomes so you might say they understand it. They just don’t talk about it all the time.
I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I may not be a logger, but I thought about this lifestyle at the conference. The way most of them choose the freedom and uncertainty rather than working in a predictable field. This travelling around from place, vista to vista, sleeping in camp trailers and trucks and taking cold showers (when they shower) but generally living life by their own rules.
It sounded a little familiar.
Travelers do the same things. We all talk about where we are going, where we’ve been and sleep in ungodly places and take cold showers to see the next site.
So, yeah, I’m weird. But the good thing about going traveling with my Dad is I know exactly where I got it.