• #206
    Feb 19, 2014

    A Ticket to Spontaneity

    Crane Operator
    My Biggest Accomplishment in South Africa

    Back at my hostel, folks asked where I’d been; and I told them.

    Responses included, “They let you do that!?” and “How did you arrange that?”

    “I asked.”

    There are some big lessons in there for me—professional, relational, and spiritual ramifications that I’ve been processing since then. But on my first morning in Cape Town, I made the rest of the trip unnecessary. This would not be topped. This would be the story of the trip.

  • #204
    Feb 7, 2014

    The Adrenaline Rush I Didn’t Expect

    Chevrolet Spark
    Danger Comes in Small Packages

    If I were to measure the adrenaline rushes of my life in terms of cost per hour of participation, negotiating the Garden Route proved far more affordable than bungy jumping, sky diving, hang gliding, etc. That said, I wouldn’t mind paying extravagantly for safer ways to get my hits of endorphins, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

  • #203
    Feb 5, 2014

    The Invisible God I Saw on Vacation

    Arenal Waterfalls
    The Symmetry of Symbiosis

    My wife and I were on a romantic getaway in a jungle hotel. We toured the Arenal rain forest with a public-university-trained nature guide explaining the eccentricities of the flora and fauna that we saw as we meandered. What struck me more than anything were all the symbiotic relationships—both plants with creatures and creatures with other creatures. In their current state, neither could survive in their current form without the other in its current form.

  • #201
    Jan 26, 2014

    Bungy Jumping with Walter Mitty

    My Bloukrans Bungy Jump Leap
    Enjoying the Snow Leopards of Life

    So, while I didn’t really need to learn Walter’s primary lesson, it was the “two” of the movie’s “one-two” educational punch that hit me so hard that I got emotional in the theater.

  • #199
    Aug 11, 2013

    An Unawkward Birthday

    Powered Paraglider

    We didn’t blow out any candles or eat any cake. Nobody sang the happy birthday song—let alone had to volunteer to start everybody singing it. Greg didn’t opened any gifts; and there wasn’t a stack of cards. I don’t think I saw any table cloths. Yet, as we walked back to the equipment sheds, Greg told me, “This may have been my best birthday ever.”

  • #195
    Nov 17, 2012

    Finding Light in a Black Hole

    Grainy Darkness
    A Suprising, Uncomfortable Moment of Truth

    The fifteen seconds after my fall held a moment of truth for me. I’ve failed so many times in stressful or frenetic situations; but for a few minutes and while a few stories below the Lewisburg, WV, airport, I pulled it together and pressed through my aloneness, insufficiency, and pain to find the spoonful of composure hidden in my chest.

  • #187
    May 22, 2012

    A Different Rest for the Weary

    image purtchased from iStockPhoto.com
    Vacation Strategy

    I’m flying, floating, then riding a bus to what’s rated as one of the most grueling hikes in North America—a rugged wilderness described by trail alumni on YouTube as a place where nobody escapes a battered body. In fact, the Canadian Coast Guard and Parks Canada medevacs or otherwise rescues up to nine people a week from this stretch of ground—when only 52 people per day are allowed to enter the trail.

    When I tell people where I’m going, I get two general responses. The first: “That sounds awesome!” and more often: “Not me. Why would you do that?” For the crowd who fall in that second camp, let me walk you through the reasoning.

  • #141
    Sep 5, 2010

    Chasing My Lost Words

    Writing Around the Globe
    Writing Sabbatical

    In the fourteen years since English 101, I have discovered my personal voice, the joy in the struggle of the craft, and the wrestling mat where I make sense of the world.

  • #122
    Dec 27, 2009

    Axiom of the High Seas

    Herd Mentality
    Cruise Tourism

    Somewhere amidst the Hawaiian shirts and bridge-playing fogeys, French-fried buffets and almost-innumerable hand sanitizer dispensers, Crystal and I surrendered to tourism.

  • #119
    Nov 9, 2009

    Whimpy New Heights

    Hangliding in Ridgely
    Courage Failure

    I had not challenged myself as I’ve grown the reputation of doing, and we all knew it.

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