Backpackers Tokyo

Podcast Episode September 3, 2021

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In this SKILLS SHORT EPISODE, Ryan and Andrew talk about strategies and techniques for creative pursuits in the backcountry: painting, writing, composing, photography, journaling, and more!

a sketchbook, two paintings of birds, a plastic paint tray, and a small brush resting in a cushion of pine needles. It’s fun to apply ultralight philosophy to creative pursuits. These are a few of the sketches Andrew Marshall has created while in the outdoors.


  • intro
  • the difference between journaling and writing
  • Ryan’s tools for taking notes in the backcountry
  • journaling with a pencil vs. a pen
  • bullet journaling
a sticky note sits on top of a pencil, pen, pencil sharpener, and small notebook. On the sticky note are a few bullet points with notes next to them. An example of the bullet journaling method Ryan uses to easily take notes in the backcountry.
  • Reconciling your journals with your thoughts afterward can be a fun mental exercise
  • Ryan’s drafting practices
  • using photos to structure a narrative
  • Rite in the Rain journals
  • long narratives in prose vs. short notes
  • Ryan’s handheld air quality meter
  • the richness of allowing a perspective to age
  • Andrew’s been painting in the backcountry
  • the benefits of using watercolors
  • use full-sized brushes or pencils
  • Moleskine watercolor notebooks
  • composing and developing themes
  • Andrew’s essay Salamander Song is a good example of work born out of practicing intentional creativity in the background
  • Andrew uses Lightroom to edit photos in the background
  • Andrew is no longer using his Sony RX100 in the backcountry
  • drop us a note describing your creative endeavors in the backcountry at

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  • Backpacking Light - Executive Producer
  • Ryan Jordan - Director and Co-Host
  • Andrew Marshall - Producer and Co-Host
  • Look for Me in the Mountains - Music
    • Written by:  Chris Cunningham and Ryan Jordan
    • Performed by: Chris Cunningham (acoustic guitar, lead and harmony vocals, harmonica),  Chad Langford (upright bass), and  Tom Murphy (mandolin).
    • Produced by: Basecamp Studios in Bozeman, Montana


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