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A Direct Path to Wonder

A Direct Path to Wonder

Last year, a highly unusual assignment landed in my lap, something I never would have thought to pitch: a children's book. How do you write for children? I am having a great time figuring it out. It's a project that necessitates cultivating an inner sense of curiosity and wonder and delight, which turns out to be the perfect antidote to the anxiety of these uncertain times. The book is about national parks, non-fiction, large-format, for kids ages 7-12. It will come out in 2018. The illustrations, by a…
Hailing the Adventurers of the Year

Hailing the Adventurers of the Year

What's it like to grow up in a tiny Nepali village with few opportunities and become one of the world's top ultra runners? What's it like to soar by yourself in a paraglider higher than anyone ever has before, topping even an 8,000-meter peak? What's it like to track down fishermen in rickety boats in the remotest atolls of Indonesia to uncover the destructive aquarium-fish trade? These are a few of the questions I had the opportunity to explore in a delightfully fun assignment: interview three of National Geographic…
Can a Denver company get its electric plane off the ground?

Can a Denver company get its electric plane off the ground?

Imagine if there were a business like Uber that, instead of cars, had tiny four-seat electric airplanes. You could hop from Denver to Aspen traffic-free, pollution-free in a matter of minutes instead of hours. This is the vision of Denver businessman and former Air Force pilot George Bye, CEO of Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation. AEAC is working on what they hope will be the nation's first FAA-approved electric airplane for general aviation. Naturally, there are a lot of hurdles—from engineering challenges to the lengthy and expensive process…
Writing for the Next Generation of Guidebooks

Writing for the Next Generation of Guidebooks

The classic print travel guidebook is going the way of the dinosaur. But then there's Wildsam... Wildsam is the hipster's take on the contemporary guide. Instead of a laundry list of bland reviews, it imparts a sense of place through historical documents, interviews with unusual locals, hand-drawn illustrations, and eccentric lists. I have always admired this series for their creativity and irreverence. (And optimism!) So I was delighted when an editor reached out to me to see if I would contribute an essay to their new Wildsam Desert Southwest Field Guide. She…
On a Mission to Rescue Alaska’s Crumbling Past

On a Mission to Rescue Alaska’s Crumbling Past

Last fall, I drove five hours on a lumpy, potholed dirt road northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska to the tiny outpost of Manley Hot Springs. Situated literally at the end of the road, this loosely settled hamlet has a year-round population of 30, a post office, some hot springs hidden on an old lady's property ($5 gets you a private soak), and a handsome 1903 clapboard roadhouse that is the local citizenry's de facto headquarters. When I arrived, let's just say the locals were less than friendly. But with some time spent…