Leave no trace

What Annie Dillard has to say about how to learn to write: By “ruining [the page], but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruin everything you touch but touching it nevertheless, because acting is better than being here in mere opacity.” ******* I went to the Utah backcountry last week with […]

Mexico

Every morning a group of boys probably between the ages of nine and thirteen showed up at the beach on a fancy golf cart with off-road wheels. Four or five of them crammed themselves in and held on to the back and held on to their surfboards when they left for the day. I’m pretty […]

Speak Spanish to me

I’ve been listening to a lot of Spanish music lately. Mon La Ferte and Bomba Estereo both came out with new albums this year that are fun and funky and that’s where I started but then I kept going. Back to Julieta Vanegas, Juanes, Manu Chao, Calle 13 and Shakira–the Spanish-singing stars of the aughts. […]

Time off

What makes the difference between a trip and an adventure? It is the length of the journey? Or the space between you and home? Are adventures built from no cell phone reception? Or from sleeping on the ground? Or from not knowing what’s next? From being lost–or at least feeling lost? I went away last […]

Mountain roads

I drove to Crested Butte last month. There was a pattern to the route: flat gusty plains followed by a winding mountain pass over and over again. Every uphill seemed to have more curves than the last and then at the top: a vista of snow-topped peaks. It felt beautiful and vast and remote.And there […]

La Junta, CO

Once I rode my bike from Vancouver to Los Angeles. The first leg of the trip smelled cold, wet and salty. Like fish and chips. Like morning fog. The same way northern Spain smells and sometimes New York City. The next leg of the trip smelled like dry sun. Brown burnt grass. Mexican food. Deserts. […]

Swimming rules

After three hundred years of economic expansion, we are so impoverished that we lack the wealth and freedom of a squirrel. The indigenous people who lived here before the Europeans arrived had the run of the land. They had the simple freedom to say, “Let us climb that mountain. Let us swim in that lake. […]