Exploring the world one word…and one mile…at a time

We know how many miles per gallon we'll get on the road, but we have no idea how many words per gallon we'll write while we’re out there. Come along for the ride!


Strangers on a Plane

My boarding pass, and the Midwestern sky the day of my travels.

(L to R): My boarding pass and the Midwestern sky on the day of my travels.

I met a man on a plane last month. He was the kind of guy I’ve been seated next to a hundred times on a flight without saying more than a polite hello: a generation older than me, graying hair, jeans, tucked-in button-down shirt, sneakers. He reminded me of my dad.

We were flying Southwest, which has an open seating policy, and I happened to have A1 for the only time in my life. A1 is the first passenger to board the plane, and accordingly, I got to choose the first seat. Now, this is tricky proposition for an introvert who likes options. The entire plane is open (great!), but I’d be fully responsible for my personal placement if I ended up in the wrong neighborhood (not so great). Read the rest of this page »

Bookmarking Personal History

A sampling of bookmarks in our house: shifty, mysterious mileposts in our personal histories

A sampling of the bookmarks in our house: mysterious mileposts through our personal histories

One of my goals this year is to read (to completion) 12 books. This number seems absurdly low for a girl who used to read that many books in one week on summer vacation, but it’s a realistic reentry into a space I haven’t occupied for a while. I still read a lot of words, but they are rarely in full-book format. So before catching a plane to Utah last week, I scanned one of our bookcases and grabbed a fresh book off the top shelf, the shelf with the invisible label, “Books I purchased years ago with the intent of reading but haven’t quite gotten around to yet.” Read the rest of this page »

Business Trip or Business Adventure?

Alta adventures, clockwise from top left: J on the slopes; passing through avalanche gates; summit selfie; M sliding to a stop; cool cloud inversion in the canyon; and handy RFID lift tickets.

Alta Adventures (clockwise from top left): J on the slopes; passing through avalanche gates; summit selfie; M sliding to a stop; a cool cloud inversion in the canyon; and handy RFID lift tickets.

Returning to traditional employment after two and a half years of self-employment and creative sabbatical wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one. Believe it or not, despite picking up a challenging job at a new company managing a team of more than 80 employees, I’m sleeping better, I have less anxiety, I’m producing more creatively, and I’m generally happier. That said, I didn’t want to make the change from total time freedom to working on someone else’s schedule without holding on to some of the adventure that came along with the road trips and European tours of these past few years. Read the rest of this page »

Balancing Our Way Into Bear Canyon

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Scenes from our trail run to Seven Falls inside Bear Canyon.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Scenes from our trail run to Seven Falls inside Bear Canyon.

We’ve been in Tucson for just over a month now, and with the last of our boxes unpacked and recycled, we’re settling in to the business of exploring our new town. One of the things we love is the easy access to trails in every direction. We live just a few miles from the entrance to the eastern section of Saguaro National Park, and it’s just about a 30-minute drive to the western section of the park and other national forest recreation areas to the north and south.

This past weekend, looking to shake out our heavy post-holiday legs and enjoy a spell of warmer-than-usual weekend weather, we drove up to the Sabino Canyon parking area in Coronado National Forest, on the north side of the city. We’d been to Sabino once before, in early November before we officially moved here, and we were eager to return and try another trail. But instead of heading back into Sabino Canyon, we set out from the visitor’s center on a trail leading east into neighboring Bear Canyon with a destination of Seven Falls. Read the rest of this page »

Reptilian Initiation in Sabino Canyon

Exploring Sabino Canyon and all its friendly inhabitants, capped off with tamales and beer to celebrate not getting bitten by a rattlesnake.

Exploring Sabino Canyon and all its friendly inhabitants back in November, a full day capped off with tamales and beer to celebrate not getting bitten by a rattlesnake. Snake photo from AZ Game and Fish Department website; we didn’t stick around long enough to take one of our own.

Everyone we’ve encountered in Tucson has mentioned Sabino Canyon as a “must go” destination. By everyone, I mean our realtor, bartenders, hair stylists, neighbors, coworkers and pretty much anyone else who learns we just moved here. So on our first plan-free Saturday in town, back in November while I was visiting for the weekend, we headed up to Sabino Canyon to check it out for ourselves. Read the rest of this page »

Geeks and Freaks in Saguaro National Park


Scenes from Saguaro (L to R): Saguaro East entrance, Javelina Rocks, Saguaro cacti, “welcome” signage on nature trail and close-up of a tarantula hawk (photo source: desertusa.com)

Our unofficial summer hiatus is over, and we’re getting back on the blog train from our new home in Tucson. (Well, actually, I’m writing in this post while in Provo, Utah, where we’ve been all week. M’s on a business trip here, and I’m taking the opportunity to explore and write…two of my favorite activities! More about Provo later.) We’d been splitting time between Arizona and New Hampshire for more than two months by the time we finally made our move official the day after Thanksgiving. Our trusty companion, Sal, arrived via car carrier the next day, and we promptly swept him off on a series of local adventures. Read the rest of this page »

Exploring Acadia National Park from the Acacia House Inn

Room 5, our third-floor hideaway in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Room 5 at the Acacia House Inn, our third-floor, anniversary hideaway in Bar Harbor, Maine.

A few years ago, on a very lucky Friday the 13th, we eloped to Maine, specifically to Northeast Harbor, a tiny village at the mouth of Somes Sound, where the ladies in the Town Clerk’s office were giddy and gracious in hosting an impromptu wedding for us on just a few days’ notice. They served as officiant, witnesses, photographer, and florist, presenting me with a bouquet of fresh-cut daffodils from outside the building. We spent the rest of the weekend exploring the island by bike and foot. When we arrived back home, we sent the Town Hall crew a thank you note with Portsmouth chocolates and our favorite picture from that day. And so began our May tradition of adventuring on Mount Desert Island.

This weekend, we arrived on Friday for four days of hiking, running, writing, sleeping, and eating. Acadia National Park is the frequent site of the first three activities, while the Acacia House Inn is our preferred site for the last two. We’ve written extensively about our national park adventures at Acadia, but we’ve been remiss in writing about our favorite B&B, the place we stayed that first spring and almost every year since. Let’s correct that right now! Read the rest of this page »

4 Things I Learned From Today’s Running Mix


L to R: Me and J pre-race; Me at mile 5; J at the finish line; Me “penning” this post

Today was my first road race of 2014, the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in Cape Elizabeth, ME. While I was working through the last few miles, I thought about this blog post to avoid thinking about the fact that I was pushing my legs harder than they wanted to be pushed. In many ways, this post is for me, but I think there’s something universal about it, too. It’s a point of reflection as I consider my goals for the remainder of the year.

I’m poised to take several new risks in 2014. J and I will grow Destination Fitness in ways that will test our merit as small business owners. We’ll contribute our time and effort to organizations that we believe in; we’ll resurrect some of the skills we picked up in our prior professional lives; and we’ll put our creative output into the world to be sometimes accepted and often rejected.

As I ran today, I listened to the songs on my iPod, and I realized that there’s a lot to be learned and applied from what I chose to put on today’s mix. Read the rest of this page »

An Inspired Run with Six Women Who Weren’t There

Me, after this morning's run, and the six ladies I had the pleasure of "running" with: Meg, Sam, Suz, Mary, Heather, and Mona

Me, after this morning’s run, and the six ladies I had the pleasure of “running” with: Meg, Sam, Suz, Mary, Heather, and Mona

I just returned home from a chilly, hilly 10-mile run on the winding country roads that blanket the New Hampshire seacoast.  It was a planned run, capping Week 2 of an extended marathon training plan and testing my readiness for a 10-mile road race I’m running in two weeks.

The first mile of a long run is about waking up the body, shaking off the cobwebs, and getting a feel for the road.  It wasn’t until somewhere in the second mile that my mind started to wander, and I remembered that today was the #megsmiles event I had read about online.

When I set out this morning, I had no intention of logging my miles as part of the event.  I didn’t print a bib or share the details on Facebook.  I didn’t seek out new running buddies or organize a group run.  I’m a bit introverted and not a natural joiner, so jumping on the bandwagon in the wake of a tragedy seemed inauthentic.  The idea floated away.  I kept running, but my thoughts kept returning to Meg.  Read the rest of this page »

Back to the Alternative Grind

L to R: Threesunset scenes in Florida; 5K racing on my birthday; my October photo project; and M's new poetry blog

L to R: Three sunset scenes from Florida; 5K racing on my birthday; my October photo project archive; and M’s new poetry blog

We realized today that we haven’t posted an update in close to two months. How does that saying go? Time flies when you’re exhausted, confused, and energized by new ideas? We arrived home from Germany at the end of September, having traveled for 12 of the 15 preceding weeks. Six weeks spent road tripping across the Canadian and American west followed by six weeks in Europe, with three weeks at home in between to do laundry, repack, and taper for the marathon. By the time we finally returned to our cozy apartment in New Hampshire eight weeks ago, we were jet-lagged, burned out, and ready to slow down. And we were supposed to leave in six days for our next adventure: two weeks of national park hopping in the Pacific Northwest. Read the rest of this page »


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