faire_4x6 Palmer's Lunch, Byesville Ohio Barnes Foundation Gallery Campers, Zanskar River

Two Pictures from Oregon

Fern-Ridge-Inlet Springfield-Mural

Left: Fern Ridge reservoir, drained for winter.
Right: Mural in Springfield.

From the Archives: From A (Anarctica) to Z (Zanzibar)

How do these things happen? I don’t really know, and also, I kind of do. A long unwinding of threads, with some, “Really? But how did I get so lucky?” helps explain it, but a lot of it feels like magic. As though things I didn’t know I wanted walked right up to me and said, “Hey, would you like to have a adventure you never imagined?” The answer is always — should always — I hope, will always be “Yes.… continued...

The author in Niger, 1988

Guest Post: African Reunion

“Are you going to Africa?” the driver asked as I sat down in my taxi to the Seattle airport. Were my REI conversion pants were a giveaway?

“Yes,” I told him, “I’m headed to Tanzania.”

“I knew it! When you got in the cab I was immediately happy,” he shouted.

As a college student in my early twenties I studied wildlife biology in Kenya and enjoyed an idyllic East Africa. After graduating I joined the Peace Corps and went to Niger, in West Africa—a much harder place to live.… continued...


What Does “Blogging” Mean Anymore?

Heads up. Major media wonk stuff ahead. Get out while you still can. Look over here for something shiny that has nothing to do with blogging.

I Fought The Lawn ... And The Lawn Won

I Fought The Lawn … And The Lawn Won by JD Hancock via Flickr (Creative Commons)

On November 11th, I posted the following to my Facebook page:

Yesterday I was in a meeting with the social media consultant for a new client (NOT in travel) and the idea of including bloggers in the campaign was nixed because “The content would all be pay for play, they’d just regurgitate your press release, and you wouldn’t really get much of value out of it.” The client asked how the content could possibly be ethical and/or useful given that it’s pay for play, and if that’s the case, shouldn’t they just buy ads?


My Own Personal Krampus

Every time the season appears, I think, “Oh, no, that’s not how you do Krampus!” It’s an odd thing that a suburban Jewish girl should have such opinions about a pagan/Christian Austrian tradition, but there you have it. I originally wrote this piece for Gadling.


I have a photo, printed from film, old school … my husband and I are standing in a snowstorm in the Austrian alps. The flash from the camera reflects off giant fluffy flakes.… continued...


Guest Post: Speaking in Tongues

Last year, after bidding a blubbering adieu to my Labrador, Henry, my husband and I uprooted our lives in Austin and moved to London for his next step up the startup ladder. Within a week I was consoling my dogless self by interrupting assorted cafe loungers and park joggers, asking wide-eyed and breathy if I could please pet their dogs. Be it a Frenchie, a Basset, a Chiweenie or mutt, my desperation inspired little more than concerned stares and hastily shortened leashes.… continued...

Thank You.

The Sleeping Gypsy

Henri Rousseau | The Sleeping Gypsy | 1897

Oh, hey.

Sorry, I thought I was dreaming, but I’m awake and you’re still here.

Thanks for that. I mean it.

The fact that you keep showing up here to wander around inside the messy place that is my brain means…

Some of you for nearly fifteen years.

Yeah, that long. And you’re still here. Damn.

I work as a writer, so it means everything to me.… continued...