Six months ago, after this year-long adventure officially ended, I packed up my car and moved to Minneapolis. This space has been pretty quiet since then — okay, completely quiet — but my life has been anything but. The past six months have carried all of the busyness, excitement, and vulnerability of landing in a new city and trying to find my legs there.Read More
Well hello, again! It’s been far too long, hasn’t it? My apologies. Pour yourself a cup of something warm, and let me catch you up on the last chapters of this wild, globe-trotting year of mine. There is much to tell…it’s just taken me a while to find the words to wrap around it.Read More
Dear Liona, I'm a few days late on this month's letter...but I figured you wouldn't mind. So: hello from Nashville! The city of Nashville is in Tennessee, in a part of the country known as the "Deep South." Here you can see lots of rolling green hills and beautiful horse farms, you can hear people play the guitar or fiddle and sing every day of the week...
This morning I woke up at sunrise and drove away from Nashville, through air lush with woodsmoke and heat, fog rising from the white-fenced pastures. I ate one last perfectly ripe peach, hugged my friends goodbye, and turned north: back on the road again. 12 places. 12 months....Read More
Dear Liona, Hello from hot, hip, history-filled Philadelphia! The picture above is a view from the center of the city. The tall white building in the middle is City Hall, and on top of it stands a 37-foot-high statue of William Penn, the man who founded Philadelphia way back in 1682 (the state of Pennsylvania is also named after him)...Read More
Hello from beautiful, green, sailboat-filled, lake-tastic, summery Madison! I can't believe I'm already here in city #8 on my 12 Places Project (only four more months — and places — left to go!)...
Dear Liona, Hello from the bright lights and big city of Hong Kong! Hong Kong is on the southeast coast of China, and its name means "fragrant harbor" in Chinese. It used to be a British colony, and still has some "British-ness" — so it feels a little like a mix of China and Europe. This bustling city is one of the world's busiest ports...Read More
And just like that, my year-long journey is halfway done. Six months down, and six left to go. I'm writing this from Hong Kong, my seventh city; but I'm only beginning to find my footing here — my head and heart are still full of the sounds and smells of Chengdu: pepper oil and jasmine heavy in the air, the clang of constant construction...Read More
Hello from Chengdu, China! I've covered a lot of miles since my last letter: 10,280 to be exact. I left Portland and drove through Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri...and then I hopped on a plane that took me to San Francisco, and another one that flew from San Francisco all the way to China....Read More
Dear Liona, Hello from Portland – the magical land of tall straight trees, long happy hikes, dozens of waterfalls, and so much delicious food! Oh, and lots and lots of RAIN (especially now, in the springtime). Of all the cities in the U.S., Portland ranks third for most rainy days each year (around 164). Good thing I packed an umbrella...Read More
It seems like about five minutes ago that I said goodbye to Cape Town: a thousand shades of green, evening walks and the scent of frangipani blossoms, endless beaches, nervous left-side driving excursions, and long orange weeks under the African sun. And now I’m here in Portland....Read More
Dear Liona, Hello from Cape Town! This month I'm in South Africa, at the very tip of the African continent. And wow — there is so much to see! I'm staying with my friends Hanmarie and Tian and their daughter Liné, and they are so excited to show me (and you!) their beautiful city...as well as the beaches, forests, cliffs, and jungles that surround it.Read More
On one of my last days in LA, I took an improv comedy class. I've been intrigued by the thought of taking a class like this for a while, ever since a friend in the film industry told me at a party, out of the blue: "You'd be good at improv." I have no idea why she said it; I hadn’t been particularly funny or quick or witty in the conversations that evening. But I found myself wanting to at least try it.Read More
Hello from Los Angeles! This city is pretty fantastic: it's got mountains, and the ocean, and warm sun and super-tall palm trees. There are lots of cool people (including a bunch of movie stars...though I haven't seen any yet!) and lots of fun things to do. I think you would love it here....
I have to admit: I'm a little bit in love with California. Los Angeles (to my midwestern eyes) is bright and clear, and so much wider and greener than I expected. Everything stands in crisp layers, foreground to background, through the window of my northeast neighborhood: succulents and sidewalks and houses and lemon trees backed by lines of palm and cypress, and the green-gray foothills, and then the pale rising blue.Read More
A new book, an open road, a fresh pen, a bare page…though I’m now officially two months into this yearlong adventure, in many ways I feel like I’m still on the wobbly first legs of it. I’m writing this from Kansas City, with the cold blue dark falling outside and a thinning slick of snow on the ground.Read More
Dear Liona, Hello from Grand Rapids! I took the picture above on the street where I'm living, on the only day that it has snowed here so far in December. The building you see is more than 100 years old, and it's a big church that has a fancy name: it's called a basilica. Grand Rapids is a medium-sized city...Read More
Just to be clear: this whole thing is rather terrifying. I might sound all confident and creative and adventurous, but the truth is, there’s a heady current of fear running through my body, flip-flopping around with adrenaline and about twenty other emotions most days....Read More
A week ago I boarded another plane and said goodbye to London: morning crumpets, everyday cakes with cream, windy blustery drizzle, soaked shoes, sunlight on pavement and hazy watercolor skylines, dinners with new friends.Read More
Liona is my 8-year-old niece. She lives in rural Wisconsin where I grew up, and like a lot of starry-eyed country kids, she's fascinated by cities and dreams about traveling and seeing the world. I wanted to find a way to share my journey with Liona and give her a little snapshot of what life is like in different places, so I've decided to write her a letter each month.Read More