When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. (Turns out this is still true.)

When I was 21 and thinking about moving to Alaska, I paid my bills by waiting tables at a local sports bar. I had a very wise manager with whom I occasionally butted heads, due in no small part, I’m sure, to my stubbornness. I spent months waffling endlessly on whether I should apply for this teaching job or pack everything up and make for Anchorage, and one night, as I begged him to please cut me from the floor so I could go home and study, he dropped this major bombshell on me:

“When you don’t know where you’re going,” he told me, “Any road will take you there.” Continue reading “When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. (Turns out this is still true.)”

How to make a resolution

“What a great New Year’s resolution!” says no one to me ever, “How thoughtful and creative!”

My hypothetical admirer is right. I’m great at making resolutions. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been known to resolve such bold and commendable things as “Drink more water,” “Finish your damn thesis, already,” and, one I’m still working on, “Expend less energy on self-loathing.” (That one’s a work in progress.) Continue reading “How to make a resolution”

Find Your Snack (Just Don’t Eat Me)

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and dirtbags nationwide are finding creative ways to commemorate the NPS Centennial. (My favorite so far is the Dirtbag Diaries’ Milepost series.) I, on the other hand, lack artistic sensibilities, and am thus marking the occasion in the same way I celebrate everything else: by eating. Without further ado, then, I present the final installment in this series about things I’ve eaten in national parks—or, in this case, the from-the-archives time I almost was a snack. Continue reading “Find Your Snack (Just Don’t Eat Me)”

How to Rig Sleds and Influence People

During my first year of grad school, I signed up for a course in winter wilderness skills with the intention of being fully transformed into a badass in the span of one month. It didn’t work, but I did learn one crucial badass skill: how to rig and haul a sled. Continue reading “How to Rig Sleds and Influence People”

House of Hygge

I’ve never been anywhere that epitomizes the word “bucolic” like the landscape of rural southwest Wisconsin. I don’t really need to describe it for you. You’ve seen it. Picture every pastoral painting, every wide-angle shot of Middle America: the rolling hills of green grass and amber waves of grain, the fat, doe-eyed cows, red barn complete with silo. Continue reading “House of Hygge”