Step One: Remind yourself how large the world is


A moment from 2014 that stands out to me:

It was mid-January and my friends in Nashville had been enduring a cold snap while Chuck Ellis and I sipped bottomless pina coladas on Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. On Punta Cana in January, it was in the mid-80s all week — sunny, a nice breeze, unspoiled. We ate whatever we wanted, drank whatever we wanted, went topless, slept late, went for walks, got lost on the beach, etc. We had one of the most revelatory conversations of our relationship during a session at a swim-up bar, seriously. It was an important week for us.

But it did take me about four days to stop checking email constantly, and I never did stop checking it altogether.

At home, three colleagues and I had just launched 12th & Broad, an experiment combining media, real-life experiences, community, philanthropy and advertising. It was the first time our parent company had given me the opportunity to brainstorm, plan and launch a business unit from scratch. My background is in journalism. As a reporter, editor, columnist and newsroom leader, I had 15 years experience writing and helping craft pieces and projects about other people’s personal adventures and business ventures. But this was the first time I, myself, was doing such a thing. Continue reading

How to do Paris with your tween


When my 11-year-old daughter and I decided we would go to Paris, it was largely a reaction to our visit to India, which is not an easy place for inexperienced American travelers, one of whom was under the age of 10 at the time.

Securing our visas alone was quite the adventure and that was before we’d ever left Nashville. Getting to the Taj Mahal? Holy wow. THAT was the most difficult travel experience I imagine I’ll ever have.

So upon our return to the US after that trip (and really, I don’t mean to slag on India; we’re both very grateful to have had that experience), 9-year-old Lily asked if we could go … somewhere different than India … the next time we left the country.

Two years later, Paris it would be.
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Paris, Day 2: Bad With Maps


Paris with my 11-year-old daughter, Lily. Our second morning, jetlagged and confused, but figuring things out.

We are back in our room after leaving at 6 am to take a tour of castles in the French countryside. We didn’t make it. We missed our bus by 5 minutes even though we left an hour and 15 minutes early.

I just couldn’t figure out the subway and got lost too many times to get there in time. So we will do castles tomorrow. Lily was great while I had my tearful meltdown. It is raining and cold, and this kind of day is better suited to museums and hot chocolate anyway, she said.

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How not to feel (too) guilty about taking Trader Joe’s on a camping trip


The guitar case-induced injury sustained during Saturday night’s impromptu dance party appears to be in the getting-uglier-before-it-gets-better phase.

It’s about a two-inch (or inch-and-a-half… however long a guitar case snap typically is) slice across the top of my left knee, surrounded on all sides by a bruised knot.

I don’t know if this will heal before Thursday, when my calendar says I am to dress in cocktail attire and hang out with Prince Edward.

And I don’t know what I more enjoy discussing: My guitar case injury, or my date with Prince Edward.

That may be a polite embellishment (including the identification of this event as a “date”, which in fact it is a work engagement), but allow me to begin with the guitar injury.

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Timeless places wash away petty worries

A theory on places where there aren’t a lot of people:

In such places, there is less static separating the present from other points in time.

And because those places lack the clutter of development and the noise of people’s daily busyness, they aren’t as anchoring to the present, harried moment.

They are good places to disconnect and reflect, allowing us to remember we are occupying but a small moment in the history of this world. Whatever is weighing on us right that second is truly irrelevant in the grand scheme.

Here are a small handful of such escapes.

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This was not a mound of algae


Things I saw when I walked along the beach this morning: a retired couple collecting shells, an old lady with a metal detector, two handsome men fishing, baby poop, a sand crab, and a whole bunch of seaweed-looking sea slugs.

I was walking alone with a cup of coffee while my friends slept late in our rented condo.

With my empty mug, I scooped up one of the sea slugs (once I realized they were animals…and breathing…not mounds of vegetation swept in by the tide), and carried it back to the group. We named it Marty and I texted a photo to my daughter in Tennessee, whom I miss a great deal and won’t see for several more days, and we exchanged a conversation about how gross and weird and cool it is.

This is Day Four of a lovely, overdue vacation.

Work had been incredibly busy lately, and before we left was very nearly closer to exhausting than rewarding. My weekends were verging on the same, with plans and hobbies beginning to feel like obligations instead of pleasure or relaxation.

Like so many things, a good vacation is about timing.

I was thinking as I walked past the baby poop this morning that if I just kept walking for long enough, I’d come across something interesting and not disgusting.

Say what you will about an animal with “slug” in its name, but Marty works for me.

Life happens when it’s supposed to happen. We see things when we’re looking for them. We’ve just got to hold on, keep walking.