Why do geeks love the wilderness?


Tom Christiansen, a Perl guru whose documentation has helped me out more times than I can remember, recently shared his personal photo site with me. There's some beautiful shots in it, like the one above from Alaska, some from Crested Butte or this fearless fox. It got me wondering about the connection between hackers and the outdoors. Maybe it's the circles I move in, or the demographic of most techies, but most of the really good programmers I know are crazy about getting out into the wild.

I guess what really surprises me is that comparatively few Los Angeles residents even know they're surrounded by a massive wilderness, but it seems like geeks are much more clued in. For myself it opens up different ways of thinking. Biking or hiking hard, surrounded by beauty, empties my mind and brings a sense of wonder. That often leads to insights on problems I've been staring at for too long. I notice the quality of my decisions dropping when I've been stuck indoors too long.

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