Greg’s #40KFarAway practice: Driving Denali

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The 40K to Far Away Challenge is coming up soon!  Just over two weeks from now (October 2), Nick, Stephen and I will take off in separate directions from Washington DC to go as far as we can with 40,000 points and $400.

I’m still trying to nail down the final pieces of my plan.  Where will I sleep at this location?  What will I do at that location?  How can I save a few more dollars?

Those things are important, but two things have weighed heavier on my mind: 1) Can I really carry it all with me? I need to pack super light because I won’t be bringing a suitcase.  Can I cram everything I need into my little backpack?  And, 2) We want our followers to enjoy the contest.  What can we do to make it feel like you are there with us?  The answer, I think, is to post pictures, video, and written observations as we go in as close to real time as possible.  What platforms should we post to?  Should we record video in portrait or landscape?  Will we have enough time and internet bandwidth?

Practicing my way to Denali

As luck would have it, my good friend Stefan Krasowski won the Denali Road Lottery (which One Mile at a Time wrote about several years ago).  You can’t usually self-drive the park, but on Tuesday Stefan can.  And I’m going with him!  If you’re interested in details, check out the official road lottery page here.

Not only is this a once in a lifetime opportunity, but it’s also an ideal chance for me to try out my packing plan, and to get used to sharing my trip live via social media.

Packing light

The practice trip will be about 3 days long, but my 40K to Far Away adventure will last 8 days.  For this practice, I plan to bring along everything that I plan to bring on my longer trip.  The goal is to see if it all works.  Did I forget anything important?  Are there any items safe to leave at home?

If you’re interested in seeing my packing plans, check out this video:

Posting as I go

Last week I tried to get Instagram stories to work in landscape mode. As you can see above, it didn’t go very well. On the left is a recording done directly from Instagram. On the right is one I recorded with my phone in landscape and then uploaded as a Story to Instagram.  I found that recording vertically (portrait) worked much better.

My current plan for “live sharing” this trip is as follows:

  • Post lots of photos.  I’ll use a social media tool to push the photos to multiple platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
  • Post very short videos to Instagram as “stories”.  I learned through trial and error that Instagram stories have to be recorded in portrait rather than landscape or else they look terrible.  I have my Instagram account configured to automatically publish these stories to the Frequent Miler Facebook page (the page, not the group).
  • Record longer form video in landscape.  Landscape oriented videos are better for sharing on the blog and on Youtube.  Whenever I have a chance, I’ll post these to both our Facebook page and our Youtube Channel (www.youtube.com/c/Thefrequentmiler)
  • I’ll share some, but not all, of the photos and videos from the Facebook page to the Frequent Miler Insiders Group.  If you’re a member of both, feel free to share the things you like too!

On the 40K trip we will additionally post updates as blog posts.  For this practice round I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll do the same.

Gaps in internet access

I’m guessing that the three of us will often be out of range of internet for long chunks of time during our 40K to Far Away adventures.  The same will undoubtedly be true in Alaska during my practice round.  As a result, we’ll have to record a lot off-line and post once we have the ability to.

Additionally I’m going to test out an auto-schedule feature in Hootsuite.  This should space out our postings even if we post a number of things in rapid succession.

Follow us

The best way to follow along “live” on either trip is via Instagram.  Please follow me here and look for my face to appear near the top of your screen, like this:

When you see my smiling head at the top, click my head to view my story.  I believe you have to click the volume rocker on your phone to hear the story.  Stories disappear after 24 hours.

If you don’t like Instagram, make sure to like the Frequent Miler page on Facebook.  Then, on Facebook, you should (theoretically) see Frequent Miler in a circle at the top when there’s a story to view.  Following Frequent Miler on Twitter will work too, but you won’t see our Stories there so it will likely lack some of that feeling of coming along with us that we’re hoping to achieve.

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