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

Geography

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.” (more…)


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. (more…)


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. (more…)


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. (more…)


Geeks and Freaks in Saguaro National Park

Saguaro

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. (more…)


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. (more…)


Revisiting Rothenburg

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L to R: The streets of Rothenburg; The famous wall; Delicious Schneeballen!

I’ve spent four months of my life in Germany. I visited my family here for one month when I was ten years old, another month when I was sixteen and about two months spread across three visits over the past three years. The large time span between visits has allowed me to experience the strange intersection of memory and reality. Nowhere was this more evident than when I visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber last week with T, S & J. (more…)


Brötchen and Handball: Our German Stay-Cation

L to R: The TVG handball team; morning along the Main; garden scenes and fresh bounty.

L to R: The TVG handball team; morning along the Main; garden scenes and fresh bounty.

We’ve been in Germany for more three weeks, and our spoken language skills have progressed to the point where we can order dinner and drinks in a restaurant (confirming that things are meat-free as needed), handle travel on the bus and train (including reading the many signs indicating the once-mighty German rail lines are running late again), decipher pop songs on the radio (and Adam Sandler movies), and make (limited) small talk.  I can also rattle off most fruits and vegetables and kitchen verbs, thanks in large part to cooking several dishes from a German recipe book. But the true test of our German skills is tackling the morning visit to the local Bäckerei for fresh breakfast rolls (Brötchen). (more…)


Wandering Around Wϋrzburg

L to R: Riding the rails into Wurzburg; street scene on our way to Kult; tasty vegL to R:gie finds; Bavarian beer; posing with the locals (it's election season here...)

L to R: Riding the rails into Wurzburg; street scene on our way to Kult; tasty veggie finds; Bavarian beer; and posing with the locals (it’s election season here…)

A few days ago, M and I took advantage of a regional train pass that allowed us to head anywhere in the state of Bayern (Bavaria) for a combined fare of €26.  We first rode the bus to Aschaffenburg where we boarded a two-hour local train to the city of Wϋrzburg.  We hadn’t done much research before selecting it as our destination for a one-night adventure (inexpensive, interesting, and semi-local were our main requirements), and we weren’t sure what to expect.  Perhaps for that reason, we were quickly captivated by the place. (more…)


Grüße aus Deutschland! (Greetings from Germany!)

L to R: Our flight from Dublin to Frankfurt; practicing my German;

L to R: On our flight from Dublin to Frankfurt; practicing my German at 38,000 feet; the main street in the town where M’s family lives; exploring the Johannesburg Castle in Aschaffenburg; and the cast of “Spring Awakening”…auf Deutsch.

We’ve been in Germany just ten days, but it feels like a lifetime…in a good way.  We left Ireland last Tuesday after a fantastic week, capped off with two active days in Dublin.  It was a short, productive flight to Frankfurt; M worked on the poetry book he’s co-editing, and I practiced my German (which needs a bit of practice).  Our flight landed nearly an hour late, but M’s uncle and cousin were waiting patiently for us just past customs.  We had initially planned to take the train, but after a long week of travel, we were grateful for their offer to pick us up.  We chatted all the way back to their house in a small town along the Main River south of the city of Aschaffenburg.

We stayed local the first few days, getting used to another time zone and catching up with M’s family.  We’ve traveled here each of the past two summers, but in prior years, our visits have been planned around M’s cousins’ weddings.  It’s a nice change of pace to be without a formal agenda on this trip. (more…)