Simple Thanks

Jill, Peggy, and Cheryl, on a Backpacking Light Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp course in the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness.

Photo: Jill (L), Peggy (M), and Cheryl (R), on a Backpacking Light Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp course in the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness.

Today, I decided to support a Kickstarter project. Not because it had a chic message or promised a journey of magnanimous public acclaim or was seeking funding for narcissistic acclaim, but because the woman who was proposing it was simply a customer that I came to know and appreciate while spending six days with her in the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness.

Her name is Cheryl McCormick and she's hiking the AT while taking pictures and writing haiku.

I funded her at a level that means a lot to her and gets a neat gift for me - a little book about her adventure that features poetry and photos.

I didn't fund her for the book, or it would have been one expensive book.

I didn't fund her for the haiku, because frankly, I don't have a lot of haiku experience (writing or reading) so can't really consider myself an aficionado, like I am of, say, coffee.

I didn't fund her because I felt that associating myself with her would advance my own self interests. I mean, c'mon, it's not like she's Andrew Skurka (sic).

I funded her because I simply wanted to say thank you to her. For being my customer, and funding me. Having faith in me, my product, and my program. And for joining a wilderness trekking school expedition in which she had a positive and meaningful impact on my other customers - the other members of my expedition.

I think sometimes we move so fast that we fail to say thank you in meaningful ways.

Your action item today: say thank you in a meaningful way to somebody.


Because it's a simple and short act of random kindness (ARK: for you Evan Almighty fans) that requires only a little self-sacrifice on your part, but can have a huge impact on others.

With an emphasis on ... simple.

thanks don't come easy
think on voids of withholding
them and issue lots.

Ryan Jordan is a university system expat and recovering engineering professor. He founded an online magazine and enthusiast community in 2001 ( but he spends most of his allocated time as an organizational development consultant with a focus on simplifying business processes and engineered systems. In his spare time, he's a Scout leader, adventurer, speaker, instructor, and wilderness guide. He guides private expeditions in the Northern Rockies by foot, ski, packraft, and tenkara, and was the first licensed guide in the United States focusing exclusively on teaching the tenkara method of fly fishing on Montana's Blue Ribbon trout streams. He has an unusual passion for big trout, but his best friend is still his wife, and they live in Bozeman, Montana. Their summer home is a truck with a canopy and platform bed that rambles up jeep roads into Wild Places in the mountains, where they can still live their dream: a dirtbag lifestyle without their clients, church friends and family finding out.

Visit Ryan online (, follow Ryan on Twitter (, or view his photography at Flickr (