Laurel“T ell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Eric introduced me to Mary Oliver, my favorite poet. And I introduced him to the joys of long-distance road trips. I must have gypsy blood somewhere in my ancestry because there’s nothing I love more than setting out on an adventure. My parents initiated me into road-tripping at an early age. I have special memories of a cross-country trip at the age of seven, stuffed into a Volkswagen bug with my mom, dad, and sister; a footlocker strapped to the top filled with an enormous Sears canvas tent, sleeping bags, a Coleman stove, and everything we needed for five weeks on the road.
You never really know someone until you’re cooped up with him or her on a long-distance road trip. Eric and I have been together for 23 years, and we’ve put a lot of miles on our relationship in that time. For what it’s worth, I’m a Sagittarius, he’s a Virgo. I tend to be late, he’s always on time; I love to meander and am easily distracted by new things, he is focused and precise; I enjoy the adventure of the unknown while he likes to know where we’re going and where we’re going to be sleeping that night. Somewhere in the midst of our opposite tendencies, we find balance, and we travel well together.
Other things I love: Being in nature (hiking, biking, kayaking), playing guitar, yoga, photography, great food, and hanging out with family and good friends. What I love most is combining all of the above with traveling.
I make my living writing about herbs, integrative medicine, and healthy living. And I’m fortunate enough to be able to take my work with me when we travel. Hurray for cell phones and Wi-Fi! I can work almost anywhere, and have. (Frankly, that’s both good and not so good.)
I’ve often thought that travel is like a moving meditation. Simply being in a new place, close to nature naturally provides the opportunity to be more fully present.
EricI ’ve spent much of my life outdoors because I realized at an early age that being in nature is what has always made me happiest. Growing up in southern California, it was easy to be outside year-round. I biked everywhere, ran cross-country in school (barefoot; those were the days before Nike), and played golf with my dad.
In my work career, I figured out how to be outdoors, first working as a golf pro, then owning a landscape business, and finally working for the parks department in Ashland, where I stayed for 24 years until I took early retirement several years ago.
In the 70s I started hiking and camping and have never looked back. When I moved to Oregon in the 80s, I added rafting, kayaking, and backpacking to my outdoor hobbies. I also became an avid birder. Birding is a great hobby—I can do it anywhere, and finding new birds on our road trips is especially rewarding. But I’m happy birding anywhere, and maintain a half-dozen feeders and birdbaths at home that keep a steady stream of feathered visitors coming to us year-round.
Beginning in the mid-90s (with the influence of my dear partner Laurel), all of these things have come together and are intertwined with our travel. I introduced Laurel to birding, and she’s come to thoroughly enjoy the hobby. It’s fun sharing that with her.
Everyday life when traveling and being in nature—whether I’m sitting outdoors with a cup of coffee enjoying the early morning light, hiking a beautiful trail in the mountains, kayaking a peaceful river, or searching for an elusive bird, I’m filled with immeasurable joy and expansiveness. Adventures like these help me appreciate all that I have been given in life.