By Anna McDermott

Travel and outdoors writer Carey Kish

On the 31st episode of The PR Maven® Podcast, Nancy spoke with travel and outdoors writer Carey Kish about how his career has been affected by social media and ways it’s made his itinerant lifestyle feel less isolated.

In 1977, Carey hiked the Appalachian Trail, by himself, when he was a senior in high school. He remembers having two dimes taped to his watch so when he finally found a phone booth, he could call home. In 2015, Carey set out to complete the AT solo once again. Only this time, he had the world with him.

Carey hiked the 2,200 miles with his iPhone. This meant not only could he blog his adventures for the Portland Press Herald but also Facebook them and read friends’ comments on his long trek. He said it was amazing to be on a mountaintop, totally alone, but feel so connected to people. His followers on Facebook could respond in real time and see what he was doing at that very moment. Social media provided a totally different experience on the Appalachian Trail and Carey found it offered a fantastic new perspective, with impressive ramifications throughout the travel media industry.

Carey also described how he followed a woman on Facebook who was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail—another long hike that was on his bucket list—and saw in relative real time her trials and tribulations, and joys and successes. He said it was like hiking the trail in virtual reality before he went and did it himself the following year. It helped educate him on what to expect and he also forged a friendship with this hiker.

“The efficiency, communication, effectiveness and connectedness of this tool is amazing,” Carey said of social media. As a travel writer, having friends all over the world is not only beneficial to his ability to get the most out of any trip he plans—he can experience various hikes or countries through someone else’s perspective and also meet with people in real life when their paths cross, which as Nancy always says, is the best outcome of social media.

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