The past 8 months or so…

…wouldn’t have been what they were without the dear support of our trusted Cupcake – the 1992 Dodge Ram Van my husband and I drove around the country and lived in along the way.

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For me, a modern life of luxury isn’t about how much money I have to spend on expensive clothes or toys or anything else. It’s measured by the amount of time I have to play, even if – no, especially if – that means living in a van. And play I did.

We started in southern California at Joshua Tree National Park, and looped around the west coast through rock climbing destinations in Arizona (Tucson and Cochise Stronghold), Utah (Moab, Indian Creek), Colorado (Rifle Canyon, Boulder), Wyoming (Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone – these were more for checking out geysers, buffalo and bears), and British Columbia, Canada (Skaha Bluffs, Squamish).

Cupcake took us as far north as Prince Rupert in British Columbia, which is a coastal town almost in Alaska. Out on an unusually calm ocean, I rode in a skiff with my husband and his father and with the help of my trusty binoculars, saw a ton of amazing bird species I’d never seen before.

Our journey south from there took us through Seattle to see some friends and climb locally, and into California where we spent the hot month of August at a yoga ashram. From there, our plans to have a grand finale in the Sierras (Yosemite, Tuolumne) were sadly hampered by the wildfires eating up so much land nearby.

So, we headed to Asia a couple weeks early – yep, mid-trip we decided to go back to where we met: Tonsai, Thailand. We climbed there for two weeks and then spent a month in China. Our last week there we climbed in Yangshuo.

What does all this have to do with writing? Well, along the way I met some interesting folks to write about including Howie Richardson (I wrote a profile of him coming out in Gripped magazine next month) and Sarai Snyder (I interviewed her about Cyclofemme and am working to have an article out soon about that).

I also met an array of amazing new friends and re-connected with some existing ones. And, of course, how can a writer have anything to write about if they aren’t out experiencing life? As for inspiration – the landscapes and beauty of these places provide the greatest gift and challenge of all. How can I express in this English language all that is in my heart when I sit and listen to the red deserts of the southwest or the towering granite walls in the north? This will be my challenge, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

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