The Art of Pilgrimage

“Pilgrimage is a metaphor for any journey with the purpose of finding something that matters deeply to the traveler.” ~ Phil Cousineau I picked up a book during my travels in Nepal. This is nothing new. I am always buying books, especially when I travel. If something catches my eye, or my heart – it becomes a sort of verbal souvenir. I’ve also found that many times, local shops in foreign countries carry small press or

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So There I Was…(a.k.a. Half-Dead in Nepal)

When pilots get together to tell their stories over whiskey, it tends to start with “So there I was…” Of course, their stories only have to be 10% true I'm going to tell you a story that is 100% true. I'm also going to ask for a pass from any old fighter pilots who might be reading this, mostly because I've got a glass of Jameson's in my hand as I'm telling it (which tastes far better

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The Far Side of the Mountain

  Standing naked in my kitchen one day, making some salmon fillets and a microwave baked potato, I was forced to think about my life and my choices. Ok ok. It had nothing to do with the salmon. Or the baked potato. Most people have something they don't like about themselves. Mine is an apparent inability to figure out what I want out of life. Ok that's not entirely true. I know exactly what I

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Beauty From Ashes. Literally. What it means to be a survivor…

I was fourteen when Mt. St. Helens last erupted. I remember my brother, who lived in Eastern Washington at the time, telling us how the ash fell like snow and they were scraping it off their cars. The devastation near the mountain was incredible. None survived within the blast zone, especially not the hardy old Harry Truman, who refused to leave Spirit Lake when evacuations were ordered. Foremost researchers and volunteers died that day. Fifty

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What the heck is a YURT? a.k.a. Motorcycle camping for the wet and wild :)

Yurt camping is kind of the best of both worlds – you get the experience of camping but with several of the comforts of home – like the ability to stay warm, and dry which – in the Pacific Northwest – is not always easy to do. It also gives you a bed off the ground and all you need is your sleeping bag – no pad, no tent, no worries! This trip was kind

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Thoughts Along the Way – Changing Perspectives

I was walking along the beach on my last motorcycle trip, picking up rocks and shells and looking at the things the ocean had left behind. I picked up a particularly  beautiful light green stone that looked like it would be much more at home on a beach in the  Mediterranean than the Pacific Northwest, and I wondered how far it might have traveled through the seas. I wondered what its journey had been like.

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Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History…

    I think the thing I hear most often when I'm traveling by motorcycle is: You're riding alone? Most of the time the answer is yes. This time I shared the first day's ride and then camped with a friend. It was only a 2 day adventure but I covered 433 miles with plenty of stories and a bunch of gear to review because of it!   Setting out from Portland I went north

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The Time Has Come. The adventure begins.

Tomorrow I will load out my bike with all the camping gear I have slowly amassed over the past year. I will undoubtedly overpack, then set out on an overnight “dry run” with my friend Shannon. The two of us are planning a 10 day bike trip later this summer that will take us through Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alberta (Canada) then back through Montana and Idaho before returning home, a total of just

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We were together, and this was just a part of our life…

We were sitting in a cafe last night about 11 pm having a little pastry before bed (because in Madrid you can do that, and because when you're on vacation, calorie counting is sacrilege) and my daughter asked me what the most memorable part of the day had been for me. I had to think about it. I'd had very little sleep in the last 48 hours so my brain felt fuzzy and even the

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Day 1 Madrid – My Own Year Of Magical Thinking

And so it begins. My own year of magical thinking. Not exactly like Joan Didion's memoir, but yes, grief is a part of it. I don't think you ever get to the middle of any story worth reading without encountering some degree of conflict, some measure of pain, some leggy seedlings of wistful regret. But this isn't a time for nurturing regrets. It's a time for putting the past in perspective, and then leaving it

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