Canyon of Compromise: A Parable

Canyon of Compromise

Two backpackers met for coffee to discuss their next backcountry excursion. One backpacker was a father. A blue backpack rested by his dusty hiking boots. The other backpacker was a daughter. Her red backpack was bulging with gear.

Father laid his map on the table between their mugs and directed their route to the top of the mountain. Daughter rolled her eyes and pointed to an alternate route.

Father said, “No. This one.”

Daughter exclaimed, “No! This way!” Continue reading

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Life: Who’s Got the Map?

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We had been paddling all day. I sat in the front of the canoe, slick with sweat from exerting myself beneath the Florida sun. I was hot and tired, and where is a lady to use the bathroom while paddling in a canoe for hours around the thousand island region of Everglades National Park? I could hear my friend’s paddle splash behind me. She possessed the map and compass, humming as we navigated through the salty water. Continue reading

Searching for Meaning this New Year

Searching for Meaning

Each year, as the clock approaches midnight on December 31st, I delve through a quick mental scan of the past year.

It’s what we all do, right?

Even those of us who don’t make resolutions. Even those of us who do, but drop them a week or a month later.

We still reflect. New Years is a forced opportunity for each one of us to look in the mirror and say, “What am I doing here?” Continue reading

Last Days of Summer

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The air was hot and stale in the bus and so crowded with people I stood for the entirety of my journey. Muted French voices swirled in the atmosphere around me as their host’s bodies swayed to and fro with the curvatures of the road. I felt sick. With each twist and turn, it seemed as if the bus would tip onto two wheels and proceed to roll down the rocky cliffs and land with a splash in the blue sea below. The driver drove aggressively, honking and shaking his fist at the other vehicles inhabiting the road. Continue reading

Travel Blunders Got You Down?

Travel Blunders3

The night before, I felt as though I was suffocating beneath a thick blanket of Northern Australian atmosphere. Sweat pooled without conviction beneath my corpse-still body, and moisture was so thick in my lungs, I thought black mold might be the ultimate cause of my suffocation. Continue reading

67 Reasons to Cheers this Summer

67 Reasons to Cheers this Summer

I’d like to raise a toast.

A toast to summertime.

Cheers.

Cheers to the great outdoors. To sunshine kissed skin and freckles. To running through the rain without getting cold. Continue reading

Australia Will Kill You: and other life lessons

Australia Will Kill You

Ever since I was very young I wanted to visit Australia. I’m not sure why, out of all the places in the world I became fascinated with this destination, though I suspect it had quite a bit to do with the wildlife. I love animals. I especially love wild, exotic, and strange animals. Australia is filled with wild, exotic, and strange animals. Continue reading

The Most Important Job in Wilderness Therapy: An Ode to Miss Tammy

5 Tips to a Healthy Winter

Student at wilderness therapy program: “Does Miss Tammy own this company?”

Wilderness therapy instructor: “Why do you say that?”

Student: “Everyone’s always saying that she’s the most important person here.”

Instructor: “Well, that’s because she is.”

Wilderness therapy is the ultimate Hero’s Journey dance; a cyclical pattern of communication, efficiency, and passion.  It is a process that is always brought full circle, whether it be in reality or by metaphor. Continue reading

Because I Took the Plunge

Because I Took the Plunge

I was lying naked on a broad flat rock. My legs were sprawled out in front of me and my feet rested at the edge of the river. The water flowed steadily downstream inches from my toes. Continue reading