The Birth of Beyond
Myself (Russ) and Jane were hiking the backcountry hills one day in the Spring of 1995 and ran across an interesting bush or flower we couldn't identify. After extensive home research we finally made our identification and I had the urge to share my discovery. Jane was deep into the workings of the Internet and suggested I make a little web to show a bit of the "real" countryside "beyond" the Cote d'Azur.
I hacked away at HTML coding (it was early days then), scanned a few photos, did some research through personal memories and books, and created a small web. Early content was added at my own whim, depending on what I was eager to share. As Beyond grew, there was constant reader feedback requesting more pages on nature or certain villages or areas.
Beyond has been a very time-intense activity. This has been mainly a one-man effort, doing field research trips (great fun), reference research, photography, writing, coding, and page layout. We have developed our own content management system based on FileMaker, and development done with BBEdit.
The father of Beyond - Russ Collins, by name. I began life in the northwest corner of the USA, and raised in and around Juanita Washington (not far from Kirkland and a bit farther from Seattle) a very long time ago. In those ancient, pre-computer days Kirkland had, I vaguely remember, a population of around 5000.
Later youth included a lot of thumb-based travel around the northwest and north central USA, and eventually US Navy sponsored travel across the Pacific. Our post-Pacific era was California based, as an electronic engineer and then a freelance technical writer in the Aerospace industry. Hit by the wanderlust again, I wandered across much of the rest of the United States as a freelance technical writer, with a few months on the side as a deckhand on sailing ships in the Bahamas.
From a Winter's job in Minnesota I accepted a six-month project in Holland ... and have been in Europe ever since. Working in Holland (and revelling in Amsterdam) for a few years, a year in England, and then to France. A few years in Paris, a tiny farm in a just-as-tiny hamlet in the Berry region of France, and then to the South of France.
For many years I lived on the outskirts of Grasse, with easy access to the back country villages and mountains, but observe the world mainly, it seems, from behind our trusty Macintosh computer screen. This was when Beyond was born and developed.
Around 2012 I moved to the Gard department, west of Avignon and north of Nîmes. Hiking changes from Alps to Garrigues, and a plethora of new towns, villages and sites are to be explored for Beyond.