Garrett "Shepherd" Fondoules is creating Photography and walking for miles
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patrons

$0
per month
Welcome to my little corner of Patreon! It seems I have plenty to say on my page here, so I'll start with a simple table of contents.
i. What's a Patreon and how does it work?
ii. What kind of Creations will be shown here?
iii. The beginning of Shepherd's adventures
Now that I've taken a pause on the keyboard I see that I have written plenty here. I hope it is a worthwhile and interesting read, and that this introduction and the current and future content will be enough to keep you interested. My sarcastic side wants to warn you against encouraging me, but my curious and adventurous side really hopes some kind folks may encourage and even facilitate my wandersome aspirations!

i. What's a Patreon and how does it work?

I hope to discover this in time myself! Patreon is a service that, as of July 2014, I have only recently become aware of. It's a crowd-funding service, similar in idea to Kickstarter and other websites of that sort. It is different, though, in how it is meant to provide funding. If you strike the 'e' from the name you're left with 'Patron', and that well describes the purpose of this service. Instead of supporting a large and specific project, Patreon lets you support creators and help them continue to create their works. It's a very modern way for you to patronize artists and for artists to seek out patrons.

To become a patron of myself or anybody else featured on this website, you enter an amount you wish to fund in the top left corner of the page. In my case, this is the amount you pledge toward my adventures every month, regardless of how many Creations I put online that month. This can be any amount you want, and there are rewards for pledging certain amounts. These rewards may be patron-only digital content, or prints of some of my works, or even adventuring with me!

In my case, Patreon is a way I hope to find support for my adventures. I don't have to make a tremendous crowd-funding appeal, for example, to cover the costs of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with a short-term deadline and hope for all or nothing. Much like hiking, I can proceed one step at a time and build up available resources during adventures or in between adventures. Patreon, I hope, will help me with my direct adventuring costs such as food, transportation, and gear. I really hope it will also help me with the indirect costs like insurance and other bills - the things I need to pay for no matter what I am doing with myself.

ii. What kind of Creations will be shown here?

Most of the content I will be posting on Patreon will be photos and stories of my adventures. The typical format will be a photo as well as a story supported by that photo. I plan to start at the official beginning of my adventuring, when I started my 2013 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I have photos and writing online but it is somewhat fragmented, spread between TrailJournals and Flickr and WordPress. Revisiting my photos and retelling their stories here, or in some cases telling their stories for the first time, will be a good writing exercise.

I will be able to reminisce and reorganize my thoughts, and this will be very helpful for larger writing projects I have in mind. I hope to write a book about my first Appalachian Trail thru-hike, which happened to be a wonderful and very strange hike. Revisiting that grand and ridiculous story, as told through my photos and existing notes and writing, will get me closer to that specific writing goal. If Patreon continues to be a good thing, I expect the Creations here will also help me tell the stories that are yet to come.

Some Creations may show up that break from the chronological storytelling. Most of these would involve jumping to the present and giving you an idea of my more current exploits. Some may stretch back to some smaller adventures I experienced before my 2013 thru-hike. I may also show you some thoughts and preparations for future adventures. I have to decide how I will mix that in amongst the chronological narrative. There may even be some video storytelling down the line, but again I have to figure out how I will mix that in with the rest of the storytelling.

iii. The beginning of Shepherd's adventures

On February 28, 2013 I took a seat on a southbound train to Georgia. After a day in Atlanta I was dropped off on Forest Road 42 in Chattahoochee National Forest, my street clothes discarded and my possessions reduced to a 45-pound backpack for a while. There was one more mile of southbound travel to the top of Springer Mountain - the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. There were many beginnings to this adventure - declaring my intent to thru-hike, putting in my two weeks, buying my Amtrak fare, leaving my job, and boarding the train. Setting foot on Springer Mountain, turning around, and setting forth toward Maine was the last of those beginnings.

A long walk - a really long walk - is a time for change. Many hike the Appalachian Trail or take a similar pilgrimage as a transitional period in their life. Most often the aspiring thru-hikers are young people in between education and the working world, or between education and further education. Sometimes people who have spent years in the workforce finally get their opportunity to take this walk when they have retired. There are many reasons why people choose to hike, and why they chose the season in which they find themselves hiking. I had worked with a civil engineering firm for over 6.5 years, starting that career as an intern the day after I graduated high school. I decided to chase one of my life goals when I felt I had long since become stagnant there.

Amongst the 45 pounds of gear and food and clothing on my back were 7 pounds of camera gear - a Nikon D800, an ultra-wide zoom lens, and a portrait lens. I had found a passion for photography in the last few years leading up to my thru-hike, and I wanted to use the 2,185.9 miles of the Appalachian Trail to help me build upon my photography. I wanted to set my feet on a path toward photography while I was on this footpath toward Katahdin, the strikingly beautiful northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail in Maine. I had and still have a healthy dose of skepticism on the former path, but I figured that like most thru-hikers I would end in a different place than I started.

I did end in a different place than I had started, but while I was taking my first snowy steps in Georgia I would not have guessed where I would wind up. I reckoned I would progress from my old career to my thru-hike to something else. Instead, even as I progressed through New England with my fellow hikers, I was thinking about what adventures would come next. I had not decided what I would do with my life after this, but felt strongly that I should just keep doing this. I thought of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the Camino de Santiago. I still think of those adventures, and many more have joined that list. Finishing my last miles of the Appalachian Trail and trying to settle back down in New Jersey as the person I once had been was never successful.

What I want to do, well that is nothing too simply expressed. I want to keep adventuring, whether that is walking or paddling or cycling or moving forward by any other means. I also want to inspire other people to adventure. I don't mean to recruit people to walk one or two thousand miles, though if that ever happens I will be greatly honored. I want people to see that life is an adventure, not a routine, and to get out beyond their comfort zone to experience the wider world. Everybody has dreams or has had dreams, and I don't mean the 'American dream' of settling down and making money. How many times have I chatted with someone middle-aged or older who regretted not doing what I am doing when they were younger? It happens often when that subject comes up. My trail name Shepherd comes from this mission, to lead others to their own adventures, as well as my desire to help others in the midst of their adventures. I would like to continue doing this as fully as possible.
Rewards
Pledge $2 or more per month
0 patrons
A Closer Look... - Get some of the story before anybody else does! My public Creations will all be in chronological order, starting at the beginning of my 2013 Appalachian Trail thru-hike. If you choose to support me, I will show you more of my goings-on. This will include more recent happenings before they show up in the publicly-visible timeline, and some smaller adventures I perpetrated before the Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
Pledge $5 or more per month
0 patrons
Appalachian Trail 4x6 Print - one of the scenes from my 2013 thru-hike, to be printed and shipped in September. A selection of prints will be determined by the end of July, and you will be able to choose the print you'd like to receive!

Long-term patrons at this level will be able to select another print to receive six months after their first print is received and printed. Watch out for that selection of prints to be made available once the prior selection of prints is no longer available.
Pledge $10 or more per month
0 of 50 patrons
Appalachian Trail 4x6 Print and Story - one of the scenes from my 2013 thru-hike, to be printed and shipped in September. Each print will be signed and come attached with a short story related to the print, and I will try to keep each story unique. (This will be difficult if twenty people choose the same print, but I'll still try!) A selection of prints will be determined by the end of July, and you will be able to choose the print you'd like to receive!

Long-term patrons at this level will be able to select another print and story to receive six months after their first print is received and printed. Watch out for that selection of prints to be made available once the prior selection of prints is no longer available.
Pledge $12 or more per month
0 patrons
Appalachian Trail 4x6 Print, Three Pack - three of the scenes from my 2013 thru-hike, to be printed and shipped in September. A selection of prints will be determined by the end of July, and you will be able to choose the three prints you'd like to receive!

Long-term patrons at this level will be able to select another three prints to receive six months after their first prints are received and printed. Watch out for that selection of prints to be made available once the prior selection of prints is no longer available.
Pledge $50 or more per month
0 of 50 patrons
Georgia to Maine 4x6 Prints and Story - a whopping fourteen 4x6 prints, showing scenes from each of the fourteen states along the Appalachian Trail, to be printed and shipped in September. I will select the prints enclosed here, otherwise it may be difficult for me to keep track of where so many different prints are going! At the end of July watch out for the selection of prints that I will decide to offer - these prints will be chosen from that pool. One of the prints enclosed will be signed and come attached with a short story related to that print, and I will try to keep each story unique.

Long-term patrons at this level can expect a similar package six months after their first collection of prints is received and printed. Watch out for the subsequent, equivalent reward to be announced once this reward is no longer available.
Goals
$0 of $10 per month
Backpacking in itself is a very inexpensive thing. On the Appalachian Trail (and while unemployed afterward) I learned how to live on very little and not to find such limitations uncomfortable. The greatest expenses occur at either end of the backpacking trip - the travel to and from the locale, lodging and meals when stopped in towns, etc. A typical day walking in the woods needs only inexpensive hiker foods - instant grits for breakfast, instant pasta for dinner, and meats and cheeses and sugary snacks for in between. No expensive freeze-dried or dehydrated meals for this simple hiker!
1 of 5
Welcome to my little corner of Patreon! It seems I have plenty to say on my page here, so I'll start with a simple table of contents.
i. What's a Patreon and how does it work?
ii. What kind of Creations will be shown here?
iii. The beginning of Shepherd's adventures
Now that I've taken a pause on the keyboard I see that I have written plenty here. I hope it is a worthwhile and interesting read, and that this introduction and the current and future content will be enough to keep you interested. My sarcastic side wants to warn you against encouraging me, but my curious and adventurous side really hopes some kind folks may encourage and even facilitate my wandersome aspirations!

i. What's a Patreon and how does it work?

I hope to discover this in time myself! Patreon is a service that, as of July 2014, I have only recently become aware of. It's a crowd-funding service, similar in idea to Kickstarter and other websites of that sort. It is different, though, in how it is meant to provide funding. If you strike the 'e' from the name you're left with 'Patron', and that well describes the purpose of this service. Instead of supporting a large and specific project, Patreon lets you support creators and help them continue to create their works. It's a very modern way for you to patronize artists and for artists to seek out patrons.

To become a patron of myself or anybody else featured on this website, you enter an amount you wish to fund in the top left corner of the page. In my case, this is the amount you pledge toward my adventures every month, regardless of how many Creations I put online that month. This can be any amount you want, and there are rewards for pledging certain amounts. These rewards may be patron-only digital content, or prints of some of my works, or even adventuring with me!

In my case, Patreon is a way I hope to find support for my adventures. I don't have to make a tremendous crowd-funding appeal, for example, to cover the costs of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with a short-term deadline and hope for all or nothing. Much like hiking, I can proceed one step at a time and build up available resources during adventures or in between adventures. Patreon, I hope, will help me with my direct adventuring costs such as food, transportation, and gear. I really hope it will also help me with the indirect costs like insurance and other bills - the things I need to pay for no matter what I am doing with myself.

ii. What kind of Creations will be shown here?

Most of the content I will be posting on Patreon will be photos and stories of my adventures. The typical format will be a photo as well as a story supported by that photo. I plan to start at the official beginning of my adventuring, when I started my 2013 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I have photos and writing online but it is somewhat fragmented, spread between TrailJournals and Flickr and WordPress. Revisiting my photos and retelling their stories here, or in some cases telling their stories for the first time, will be a good writing exercise.

I will be able to reminisce and reorganize my thoughts, and this will be very helpful for larger writing projects I have in mind. I hope to write a book about my first Appalachian Trail thru-hike, which happened to be a wonderful and very strange hike. Revisiting that grand and ridiculous story, as told through my photos and existing notes and writing, will get me closer to that specific writing goal. If Patreon continues to be a good thing, I expect the Creations here will also help me tell the stories that are yet to come.

Some Creations may show up that break from the chronological storytelling. Most of these would involve jumping to the present and giving you an idea of my more current exploits. Some may stretch back to some smaller adventures I experienced before my 2013 thru-hike. I may also show you some thoughts and preparations for future adventures. I have to decide how I will mix that in amongst the chronological narrative. There may even be some video storytelling down the line, but again I have to figure out how I will mix that in with the rest of the storytelling.

iii. The beginning of Shepherd's adventures

On February 28, 2013 I took a seat on a southbound train to Georgia. After a day in Atlanta I was dropped off on Forest Road 42 in Chattahoochee National Forest, my street clothes discarded and my possessions reduced to a 45-pound backpack for a while. There was one more mile of southbound travel to the top of Springer Mountain - the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. There were many beginnings to this adventure - declaring my intent to thru-hike, putting in my two weeks, buying my Amtrak fare, leaving my job, and boarding the train. Setting foot on Springer Mountain, turning around, and setting forth toward Maine was the last of those beginnings.

A long walk - a really long walk - is a time for change. Many hike the Appalachian Trail or take a similar pilgrimage as a transitional period in their life. Most often the aspiring thru-hikers are young people in between education and the working world, or between education and further education. Sometimes people who have spent years in the workforce finally get their opportunity to take this walk when they have retired. There are many reasons why people choose to hike, and why they chose the season in which they find themselves hiking. I had worked with a civil engineering firm for over 6.5 years, starting that career as an intern the day after I graduated high school. I decided to chase one of my life goals when I felt I had long since become stagnant there.

Amongst the 45 pounds of gear and food and clothing on my back were 7 pounds of camera gear - a Nikon D800, an ultra-wide zoom lens, and a portrait lens. I had found a passion for photography in the last few years leading up to my thru-hike, and I wanted to use the 2,185.9 miles of the Appalachian Trail to help me build upon my photography. I wanted to set my feet on a path toward photography while I was on this footpath toward Katahdin, the strikingly beautiful northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail in Maine. I had and still have a healthy dose of skepticism on the former path, but I figured that like most thru-hikers I would end in a different place than I started.

I did end in a different place than I had started, but while I was taking my first snowy steps in Georgia I would not have guessed where I would wind up. I reckoned I would progress from my old career to my thru-hike to something else. Instead, even as I progressed through New England with my fellow hikers, I was thinking about what adventures would come next. I had not decided what I would do with my life after this, but felt strongly that I should just keep doing this. I thought of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the Camino de Santiago. I still think of those adventures, and many more have joined that list. Finishing my last miles of the Appalachian Trail and trying to settle back down in New Jersey as the person I once had been was never successful.

What I want to do, well that is nothing too simply expressed. I want to keep adventuring, whether that is walking or paddling or cycling or moving forward by any other means. I also want to inspire other people to adventure. I don't mean to recruit people to walk one or two thousand miles, though if that ever happens I will be greatly honored. I want people to see that life is an adventure, not a routine, and to get out beyond their comfort zone to experience the wider world. Everybody has dreams or has had dreams, and I don't mean the 'American dream' of settling down and making money. How many times have I chatted with someone middle-aged or older who regretted not doing what I am doing when they were younger? It happens often when that subject comes up. My trail name Shepherd comes from this mission, to lead others to their own adventures, as well as my desire to help others in the midst of their adventures. I would like to continue doing this as fully as possible.

Recent posts by Garrett "Shepherd" Fondoules

Rewards
Pledge $2 or more per month
0 patrons
A Closer Look... - Get some of the story before anybody else does! My public Creations will all be in chronological order, starting at the beginning of my 2013 Appalachian Trail thru-hike. If you choose to support me, I will show you more of my goings-on. This will include more recent happenings before they show up in the publicly-visible timeline, and some smaller adventures I perpetrated before the Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
Pledge $5 or more per month
0 patrons
Appalachian Trail 4x6 Print - one of the scenes from my 2013 thru-hike, to be printed and shipped in September. A selection of prints will be determined by the end of July, and you will be able to choose the print you'd like to receive!

Long-term patrons at this level will be able to select another print to receive six months after their first print is received and printed. Watch out for that selection of prints to be made available once the prior selection of prints is no longer available.
Pledge $10 or more per month
0 of 50 patrons
Appalachian Trail 4x6 Print and Story - one of the scenes from my 2013 thru-hike, to be printed and shipped in September. Each print will be signed and come attached with a short story related to the print, and I will try to keep each story unique. (This will be difficult if twenty people choose the same print, but I'll still try!) A selection of prints will be determined by the end of July, and you will be able to choose the print you'd like to receive!

Long-term patrons at this level will be able to select another print and story to receive six months after their first print is received and printed. Watch out for that selection of prints to be made available once the prior selection of prints is no longer available.
Pledge $12 or more per month
0 patrons
Appalachian Trail 4x6 Print, Three Pack - three of the scenes from my 2013 thru-hike, to be printed and shipped in September. A selection of prints will be determined by the end of July, and you will be able to choose the three prints you'd like to receive!

Long-term patrons at this level will be able to select another three prints to receive six months after their first prints are received and printed. Watch out for that selection of prints to be made available once the prior selection of prints is no longer available.
Pledge $50 or more per month
0 of 50 patrons
Georgia to Maine 4x6 Prints and Story - a whopping fourteen 4x6 prints, showing scenes from each of the fourteen states along the Appalachian Trail, to be printed and shipped in September. I will select the prints enclosed here, otherwise it may be difficult for me to keep track of where so many different prints are going! At the end of July watch out for the selection of prints that I will decide to offer - these prints will be chosen from that pool. One of the prints enclosed will be signed and come attached with a short story related to that print, and I will try to keep each story unique.

Long-term patrons at this level can expect a similar package six months after their first collection of prints is received and printed. Watch out for the subsequent, equivalent reward to be announced once this reward is no longer available.