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

Archive for August, 2012

When in Doubt, Do it All!

L to R: Contemplating our next move at Spirit Mound; downtown Vermillion heating up on a Friday night; logo of the USD Coyotes (or ‘Yotes, to you…); and the view of the Dakota Dome outside our just-off-campus motel window.

For the past several months we’ve been debating our next move.  Not where we will go tomorrow, rather where we will go in 2013 and beyond.  Once we finish our self-prescribed creative sabbatical, where will we go?  Who will we be?  How will we focus our time and energy (because we have a lot of energy…)?  Over the past month or so, we’ve effectively narrowed our search:  in addition to being happy and centered together, we’re either going back to school in search of creativity, community, higher-learning and adventure, or we’re starting our own business in an effort to help others find wellness and fitness while we make a living doing something we love.   There are many pros and cons to each of these, many risks and possible rewards. (more…)


Summertime in Central Michigan

L to R: Crossing back into the U.S. at Blue Water Bridge; Capitol Dome in Lansing; inside the Lansing City Market; and the MSU campus

Greetings from Michigan!  Michigan is the 21st state we’ve traveled through this year, and we picked up our first Canadian province (Ontario) on the way.  By the time this particular trip ends in early September, we’ll have touched ground in 26 states since March.  (As for the license plate game, we’re still on the lookout for North Dakota and Wyoming, but we’re headed in the right direction…)  I was hoping this would be the year I’d notch the last three states I need, but a lot has changed since we first envisioned this trip in the spring.  (more…)


All it Takes is a Change of Scenery

We’re down to the last month of training before our challenging series of fall races begins.  Between mid-September and late October, we’ll each run four races ranging in length from 10K to half (me) or full (M) marathon.  Our first fall event, Reach the Beach NH, kicks off in four weeks, and each of our big events takes place less than a month later.  All of that means we’re in the thick of things when it comes to our training plans…and before yesterday we were in a rut, too. (more…)


Unpacked…but Not Settled

L to R (clockwise): Our living room at the mill; NH farmstand dinner; today’s delivery=tonight’s homework; and our first apartment rainbow (as seen from the bedroom window)!

So we’ve been in our new apartment for exactly two weeks, and we’ve been going a bit nuts.  In fact, we may have each lost our minds completely at one point or another.  But we’re slowly reclaiming them, and along the way, claiming this space—and this life—as our own.  We’ve unpacked, organized, purchased, assembled, recycled, and figured out exactly where everything will live here.  Our new apartment is less than half of the size of the house we sold in May, and it’s the perfect size…perhaps even a little too big, if I dare say that.  But it’s home.  It’s also a bit loud (an adjustment to communal living in an old building) and quite scenic (the river and myriad sea birds are right outside our windows).  We walk out our front door and cross the street to our favorite coffee shop and breakfast café.  We’ve returned to our favorite New Hampshire farmstands at peak season for zucchini and cabbage and peppers.  And although we last lived in this town just a few months ago (and for years before that), our time on the road has given us new perspective on things.  Our standard running routes, which we tirelessly and willingly logged hundreds of miles on from the old house, now seem like new roads we’ve never run before since we’re approaching them from a different direction.  We are having trouble finding a groove.  Last weekend, we ran in a 5K race here in town and both posted PR times (personal records, or the best time we’ve each run in a race of that distance).  And then today, I went out for a routine 4-miler, while M set out on his longest run to date, a (crazy hilly lousy) 17-miler.  But there were no PR’s today; we both came up a bit short on both speed and distance.  I think part of it was the weather—hot and humid and stormy–but part of it was also our mental state.  Neither of us is centered.  We’re off.  We are unpacked, but we are not settled.  We’re antsy.  We miss the road.  We’re not cut out for settling down.  Or so I think. And then things happen to make me wonder if I should take a deep breath and (ugh!) settle down for a while.  After we returned home from our runs and rehydrated and showered, it started to downpour, and my first mill rainbow appeared across the river.  And then we walked upstairs and across the bridge to a fantastic new restaurant in our complex where we ate local brie cheese and beet salad and a smoked cheddar and butternut squash panini that were perfectly paired with a few local beers on tap.  When we arrived back at our apartment, there was a package waiting by the front door: a new reflective running vest (so we each have one for the Reach The Beach NH relay event we just signed up for…) and a textbook we ordered online yesterday: Essentials of Personal Training, 2nd Edition.  We both recently started studying to become personal trainers, part of a career switch and grander plan still in the early stages of formation.  But even with that direction, we’re not settled.  We leave next week for another stint on the road, two weeks across Michigan and the Midwest, visiting friends and checking out graduate schools.  At this point, we are exploring our options.  We have no idea what we’ll be doing in a year, and we’re not in a rush to figure it out.  But we are on a mission, because if we don’t keep moving, we just might go insane.  –J


Apparently We’re Too Busy Living to Blog

L to R: Logging foot miles in Prague, logging train miles across Europe, and waiting patiently in our hotel room tonight, our last night of homeless wandering.

Greetings from…New Hampshire!  We last posted from Prague more than three weeks ago.  So what have we been up to since then?  Everything except blogging, it seems.  We’ve continued to wander and travel, both internationally and domestically.  We’ve attended weddings and birthday parties, dance recitals and backyard barbecues.  We’ve hosted out-of-town relatives (a challenge when homeless…) and danced the night away at concerts in the city and to sounds by the sea.

All of that brings us to tonight, the last night of this month.  It’s also our last night of voluntary homelessness and our last night on the road for a while.  Tomorrow morning we will pick up the keys to our new apartment.  Construction is complete, and the crew is putting the finishing touches on the newly renovated textile mill along the river that runs through our town.  We will be the first ones to live in the space, and we’re looking forward to making it our own.

Several people have asked me, “Now that you’re not working, what do you do all day?”  I used to try to explain how I spent my time, as if what I was doing outside of a corporate workplace had to be justified.  I have realized over the past several months that there are so many things wrong with the question, and I rarely attempt to answer it anymore.  But tonight, in reflecting on why we haven’t posted in weeks, I took stock of what I’ve been doing with my time this month, and by extension, my life.  The answer is quite simple: I live…as fully and authentically as I can each day.  I run, I hike, and I travel.  I spend time with family and friends and strangers.  I cook them dinner, babysit their kids, and help them move.  I attempt to speak foreign languages and eat spicy foods and finish ice cream cones before they melt.  I read books that make me laugh and watch movies that make me cry.  I manage my finances, plan our meals, and research topics that interest me.  I plot and scheme and daydream about my next gig.  I take pictures, paint, write, and create.  I eat and I drink and I breathe.  I live deeply, sucking the marrow out of life.  And since I’m wired to be analytical, I count things…

In the month of July alone, we logged nearly 5,000 miles by air, 1,000 miles by train, 2,300 miles on the road, and 200 miles on foot.  We spent at least one night in 14 different cities across 3 countries and 4 different U.S. states.  That brings our tally for the past three months of wandering to 26 cities in 3 countries and 10 states.  We’ve spent nights in the homes of family and friends, in hotels and hostels, and at B&Bs and campgrounds.  We’ve milked the hotel points we earned during years of business travel, and we’ve mastered the perks of our rewards credit cards and travel-related loyalty programs.  The longest stretch in any one place was 13 nights at a friend’s house in Virginia.  The shortest—a simple one-night stay—happened in many places…11 to be exact.  Everywhere else fell somewhere in between.

After all that travel, beginning tomorrow night, we will again have a place to call our own.  And we plan to spend at least a few nights there before we hit the road for our next adventure… -J