Travel

A much-needed boost

How's this for a mood lifter?!? Flightbucks posted this graphic to its Facebook page to announce the winner of its "worst travel delay" contest.

How’s this for a mood lifter?!? Flightbucks posted this graphic to its Facebook page to announce the winner of its “worst travel delay” contest.

Recently, I’ve been in a bit of a writing rut, and it’s been eating away at my professional confidence. Every time I’ve sat down to write in the past couple of months, I’ve second-guessed myself with every sentence, and awkward uncertainty and self-doubt have hung over my keyboard each time I’ve sent off another article to one of my editors. They’ve had nothing but positive feedback for the content I’ve turned in, but still I’ve been plagued with frustration and anxiety at the abilities that I see, in many ways, as core to my identity. For awhile now, I’ve needed something to pull me out of this funk, give me a kick in the pants and get me back on track.

Last night, I got exactly what I needed from a totally unexpected source: a company of legal professionals who work to protect the rights of European air travelers. Flightbucks helps passengers get compensation for delayed European flights as allowed by European Union regulations, and the company hosted a contest on its Facebook page asking air travelers to share their worst flight delay story. The winner would receive roundtrip airfare to Europe. I had two unusual stories to share, so I wrote them out and posted them to the Flightbucks page. And I won. Continue reading

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Categories: Adventure, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Renewal

Not gonna lie, I found it pretty weird to be on the subject side of an interview! Many thanks to Taylor Wyllie for her kind words :).

Not gonna lie, I found it pretty weird to be on the subject side of an interview! Many thanks to Taylor Wyllie for her kind words in this profile :).

One year ago this week, I stood on the porch of my beloved old farmhouse in Leesburg, Virginia, sweeping off the steps in the sunshine, when a moving truck pulled up and a guy stepped out. His U-Haul at the bottom of the steps matched mine in the field, as he was the new tenant moving in that day and I was moving out. We chatted for a few minutes, and since I was there, he asked if I could show him any quirks with the house that he might need to know. I agreed, and we spent a few minutes walking around and talking about how to keep the pipes from freezing, where he could find the breaker box and water shut-off valve, the cheapest place I’d found to buy firewood for the two wood-burning stoves and a few tricks I’d learned to help coax the stubborn old lawnmower into submission. He thanked me and began carrying in boxes while I swept off the last few steps, then I hit the road.

As I drove away, it didn’t escape me that I knew how to manage that house I was leaving, but by and large, I had no idea how to do the thing I was leaving it for — a life of freelancing and freedom and travel. Sure, I knew how to pitch an editor, write an article, book a night at a hostel and find a cheap shower on the road, but I didn’t know how to monetize a website, publish an ebook, pay taxes as a full-time self-employed person or do lots of the million other things I needed to know to become successful as a freelance writer. Essentially, I had decided to jump and hope the net would appear. And I had no idea whether, or how, it would. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, National Parks road trip, Personal, Travel | Tags: | 8 Comments

Revised plans in the wake of sniffling

Not a mountain, but I'm not complaining.

Not a mountain, but I’m not complaining.

Somehow, it’s been nearly two weeks since I got sick with this lingering bug, which has morphed from the flu to a sinus/upper respiratory thing to laryngitis, so this big national parks road trip I had planned to kick off over New Year’s is temporarily on hold until I’m back to 100 percent. I was really looking forward to my planned New Year’s Day hike in Acadia National Park and witnessing the country’s first glimpse of the sunrise in 2016 from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, but maybe I can do that next year. Still, definitely a drag.

On the positive side, the quarantine has given me some good time with my folks and my dog that I would have otherwise missed out on, and I’ve been able to work on a few assignments from the comfort of a recliner versus the back of a station wagon or a crowded coffee shop filled with distractions, so that’s been helpful!

Since the reason I wanted to start in Acadia was tied to a specific day and I missed that, I’ve shifted some plans around and am now planning to start local and then head south. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, National Parks road trip, Outdoor Recreation, Parks, Travel | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

Kicking off a new year of adventure

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

In addition to icons like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service also oversees lots of amazing places that many people don’t know exist. For example, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve features a 19,000-acre dune field high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado.

A few years ago, Subaru ran a commercial in which a group of friends travels to the easternmost point of the U.S. each December 31 to be the first in the country to ring in the new year. That idea has stuck with me since then, so with 2015 rapidly drawing to a close, I did some research and learned that the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the very first spot in the U.S. where you can see the sunrise in winter. As it turns out, that works perfectly with the adventure travel plans I’ve been developing for next year.

August 25, 2016 marks the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the National Park Service Organic Act and the founding of the National Park Service, an action that unified the nation’s existing parks under one umbrella and laid the groundwork for the preservation of America’s future federal lands. To celebrate this Centennial, and frankly to bring to life a dream I’ve had for years, I’m going to spend 2016 roadtripping to all 59 national parks and as many of the national seashores, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, parkways, preserves, recreation areas, scenic rivers, and other National Park Service sites as possible. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, National Parks road trip, Outdoor Recreation, Parks, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Things are about to get interesting

In the summer of 2009, Paxton and I hit the road for a month and trekked all over the country.

In the summer of 2009, Paxton and I hit the road for a month and trekked all over the country. There are more stories out there than one person could ever write in one lifetime, but I’m aiming to tell as many of them as I can.

A few days ago, I saw a tweet celebrating Robert Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken, which was, according to the article, published 100 years ago this month. The timing struck me as particularly apt, because I’ve recently decided to take an unconventional path of my own. When I look back on my life in 50 years and consider the choices I’ve made, I hope this will be one that “made all the difference.”

For six years now, I’ve worked as a magazine editor, and although writing articles has always been part of my job, I’ve had to devote less and less time to writing as my career has chugged along. Although I’ve enjoyed learning about and handling the other tasks necessary to put out a magazine every month, my main passion is researching new subjects and interesting people and sharing what I’ve learned through the written word. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Personal, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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