Big Bend – 06/62 – Journal Snippets

“After 4.5 hours of driving through bleak west Texas, the Mexican border looking sad off to my right, I arrived in Marfa, the little town everyone’s been talking about.

It’s cute. Aspects of it are very hipster-chic, but I sort of love that a small town in the middle of nowhere was able to achieve that mystique. I saw a man doing hard, manual labor outside to the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack. Shine on, you crazy diamond.”

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White Sands – 05/62 – Journal Snippets

“I’m noticing how much added anxiety there is at night and any time I’m not in a place where I’m “supposed to be.” I keep thinking that a man wouldn’t have half the fears I have.

My solution for the present is to take it one day at a time. I need to keep focusing my attention on the small things right in front of me that make me happy, even if the world at large outside the tiny walls of my van is a chaotic mess. I suppose this is good advice in ordinary life, too. Focus on the good things, the little things you love, and the rest will follow.”

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Saguaro – 04/62 – Journal Snippets

“Driving days always feel like I’m stuck in limbo. Time just sort of washes over me, and before I know it, I’m in another state, and it’s 10pm and time to go to bed.”

“The day was a blur of far off desert mountains and dark highways, but here’s what I can remember about the trip: I listened to the Cautionary Tales podcast. I had a love affair with the Rilo Kiley song “Glendora.” I finished the audiobook for Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. A very sweet kid working the Chick-fil-a counter talked to me about visiting Disneyland and Star Wars Land. I listened to an insane amount of Conan’s podcast, just so I could feel like I was laughing and hanging out with friends.”

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Death Valley – 03/62 – Journal Snippets

“It’s fascinating to me how so much of an experience, ESPECIALLY in the parks, is colored by the company you keep. This drive was more boring than most I’ve had up the 14 and the 395. But, once Brian and I got into the park, he seemed to cheer up a bit, and we listened to Jonathan Van Ness’ audiobook as we cruised for an hour through the never-ending beginning section of the park.

Desolation and fabulous gay boys.”

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Joshua Tree – 01/62 – Journal Snippets

“It’s amazing how our bodies know just what to do. I started driving, parked, told my legs to hike, and had an incredible day. Even though I was alone, I didn’t really feel lonely.

I started my van trip by playing “America” by Simon and Garfunkel, followed by the entirety of the Into the Wild soundtrack. I finally graduated into audiobooks, starting Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. It’s been a great kickstarter for emboldening my often fragile nerves on this trip.”

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Brazen Backpacker – Moth StorySlam

One project I gave myself this year was to get better at public speaking. It’s a skill that I find so important, and yet I never took the time to practice. So, I obsessively went to The Moth for a few months and tried to hone my stories as much as possible. It was humbling and terrifying and overall, a great learning experience.

Here’s my first ever performance at The Moth’s StorySlam in Los Angeles, on a night themed “Surrender.”

Autumn Update!

Hello friends and co-conspirators!

I figured it was about due time I wrote you all a letter to tell you why I’ve been so sparse this spring and summer. Well, dear ones, the world of Brazen Backpacker is expanding to bigger things than I could have imagined even a year ago, and I’ve been hard at work on a series of essays and articles for places you know and love like Outside, Backpacker, Modern Hiker, Adventure Journal, and Territory Supply. Continue reading

The Ultimate List of the Most Extreme Amazing Adventure Books

You’ve probably seen a lot of listicles roaming around on the Internet, right? They claim to be the biggest and the best resource for finding your next ultra-cringeworthy adventure novel to dive into beside the campfire this weekend. Well, I’ve compiled my own reading list for trail, crag, and mountain lovers alike. Some might say it’s the ultimate, most extreme book list on the planet. Read on, if you think you can hang.

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