The desire to explore the world on my own is unnervingly inescapable, chasing me down in unexpected moments. And so, amidst a world of “be carefuls” that are generously granted to me, as though this world is more dangerous than beautiful for a small woman by herself, I routinely step out solo. Whether for an hour or a week, standing alone on top of the world … Continue reading Be Careful: Traveling Alone as a Woman
When we step off the Zodiac, it feels as though each of Nanortalik’s 1400 residents has come out to greet us. Children run and wave and flirt, giggling, tempting their new visitors to come and play. My roommates are swept away by two small boys to tour their school and play soccer. Young men nod at us. Older men and women smile openly and say, “Welcome … Continue reading Nanortalik: Welcome to Greenland!
I have just returned from hiking 45 miles in 3 days along the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland, when National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions deliver me to the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s largest tourist attractions. My right foot has a pain in the arch that stretches up into my ankle and calf. My hamstrings feel stiff after sitting for too long, my … Continue reading The Powers of the Blue Lagoon
As I step out of the Zodiac and onto the rocky beach, I am acutely aware that over 1,000 years ago, a crew of Norsemen—loyally following their exiled leader, Erik the Red—stepped onto this very beach. I pause and look around at the beckoning green hills that stretch beyond the lower fields and wonder what fears they may have held tight in their hearts and … Continue reading The Viking Ruins of Brattahlid: From a Teacher’s Perspective.
“Heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.” ~David Whyte The heart of a girl with wanderlust is a messy place. Never content with stillness, in constant battle with unmitigated yearning, I am always wrestling with restlessness, looking for the balance between … Continue reading The Messiness of Wandering
A few weeks ago I lay in my sleeping bag, under the stars, on the playa of Oregon’s Alvord Desert. In the distance, purple lightning lit up the stretched skies while the moon rose over the nearer horizon. With the taste of bourbon on my lips and the smell of dust in the still air, I listened to my friend’s mandolin catch the wind, haunting its … Continue reading Memorizing the Denmark Strait
“How was our day?” I ask my dinner companion, an older, distinguished retired doctor. He rolls his eyes and sighs. “I’ve been on numerous National Geographic trips, and I can undoubtedly say I saw nothing unforgettable today. I stayed for an hour and returned back to the ship, entirely bored.” He is talking about our first short excursion off our National Geographic/Lindblad Exploration expedition ship, … Continue reading Flatey Island, Iceland: Unforgettable Moments.
Standing at the copier, I hear her practical, navy blue pumps coming around the corner. She forces a smile, which feels more like a smirk, and says, “Cute dress.” But her tone drips some sort of latent judgment that implies otherwise. I give her as genuine of a smile possible and nod a thank you. “A couple more years and you will be too old … Continue reading La Belle Francaise (or, How Parisian Women Taught Me to be Beautiful at 40)
Our tandem kayak is a giant tub of a boat, difficult to manage and incredibly heavy. But it was free, and it carries both of us, so without looking a gift horse in the mouth, my husband and I step into the cold Atlantic, gentle waves sloshing up around our calves, climb in, and venture off the furthest Eastern coast in Souris, Prince Edward Island. It … Continue reading Gentle Giants of PEI
As more stories of heartache arrived on the news every day from New York and New Jersey, my husband and I drove south to help with Sandy victims & recovery efforts. I’ve been asked how we got involved–or how it came about, and I’m afraid my answer may be disappointing–there is no complex or deep reason. It’s rather simple, actually: There were people suffering six hours away … Continue reading Rockaway Aftermath