Giving thanks


Growing up, I was perpetually troubled by Thanksgiving—a day in which we celebrate one of the world's most catastrophic genocides, in which we repaint history for our own untainted conscience, in which we demonstrate appreciation and gratitude for what we have by demonstrating that we simply can't have enough, stuffing our faces until the supermarkets are empty and emptying our wallets until our minivans are stuffed, literally trampling others for a fifty-percent-off Blu-Ray player or a buy-one-get-one HDTV. I never cared for the food nor the football, and when it came to flan, I was never a fan. Thanksgiving is a day in which we allow ourselves to feel good about pardoning one turkey though we've killed fifty million more, in which we feel good about breaking bread with a few Native Americans though we've, well, killed fifty million more.

And still, not much has changed—it's still an orgy of food and floats, of traffic and television, of self-interest and self-indulgence, American hubris and American portion control.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Thanksgiving—when stripped of all its cultural baggage—is nothing more than a day to give thanks, to truly appreciate what one does have, a reminder of how fortunate we all are each and every day. So today, obligatory pontification now out of the way, I want to take a moment to say thanks.

I feel so blessed to live the life I do, to have the privilege of yet another year, to have the opportunity to have spent that year so fully and so well. From tremendous progress on my tiny house to an unforgettable and life-changing two months scootering across the continent, from the incredible ability to have my thoughts and passions broadcast locally, nationally, and worldwide to simply relishing time spent with irreplaceable neighbors, friends, and community, I really couldn't ask for anything more.

Thank you to every individual who has lifted a hammer or hammered a nail for the betterment of the Matchbox, to every inquisitive soul who has wandered through Boneyard Studios for an open house, bonfire, concert, or story. Thank you to those who have supported my tiny house adventure from near and afar, to the many who have guided me along with their encouragement, advice, and wisdom.

Thank you to those who spent countless hours with me sharing maps, detours, and cautionary tales before I left for the road last May—I have you to thank for my safety, security, and spectacular sights. And thanks to the immeasurably kind souls who provided lodging and food and warmth and friendship during cold, lonely stretches of safari, to the friends, friends' friends, and absolute strangers who never thought twice about opening their doors to a weary traveler—I have you to thank for my affirmed faith in the awesome generosity of humanity.

Lastly, thank you to those who have been there for me during all of life's unplanned adventures, who have kept me company over a bottle of wine, who have taught me new things and made me a better person, who have taken care of me when I needed being-taken-care-of and who trusted me to do the same when it was my time to return the favor. Thanks for making my life all the richer, all  the better, and all the sweeter—thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being part of it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(Uneventful) autumn update


As I sit on my porch watching the last of nature's crimson leaves fall to the calm, quiet grounds of the Glenwood Cemetery, it occurs to me that it has been a full two months since my last update.

Autumn leaves in Glenwood Cemetery
These past sixty days have been nothing like my long, arduous sixty days on the road, all stuffed and coated with wonder and adventure—no, the peak of autumn has found me moving more slowly, with no prized goal in mind, no pursuit nor powerful passion to race toward. This is a good thing, I think, perhaps just for a short while: not a weary malaise, but simply a relaxed contentment.

And with that contentment has come both a lack of new (big) adventures and a lack of new (big) adventures to report on—in other words, a consequent lack of blog updates. But in the interest of writing something, allow me a brief update on home, travel, and life:

The Matchbox

I've often heard it said that the last ten percent of any homebuilding project takes ninety percent of the time, and this has certainly rung true in my case. The Matchbox has little left to do to be considered complete—a few remaining pieces of furniture, some painting, a few rainwater touch-ups, a bathroom, and a solar array—but progress this autumn has been slow, if only because a spending a day sitting with a good book beside the fire is so much more tempting an option than climbing under the sink and fiddling with filtration.

Boneyard Studios from within Glenwood Cemetery.
That said, I'm setting a new (and, I hope, final) target of January 2014 to, once and for all, wrap up Matchbox construction, so expect a more substantive update soon.

In other tiny house news, the Matchbox and the rest of the Boneyard Studios crew recently got some attention in Dwell and Inhabitat, with a little more press forthcoming. Brian's fully-completed house has been getting a bit of notice from the architectural community, and Lee has been making some great progress finishing siding and insulating her interior. Meanwhile, I've kept myself busy starting a catalog of photographed and identified wildlife lurking about the alley lot.

The Scooter Diaries

Taos, New Mexico.
Sorting through and processing nearly two-thousand photographs from an extended road trip is a mind-numbing experience, so I've taken a rather lengthy break from that task. Having finally whittled the collection down to nearly a hundred, however, I'll aim to share those photos soon.

But as I wrap up the aftermath of one trip, I begin planning for another. I hinted a few months ago at a continuation of my scooter journey across the pond, a summer 2014 trek through North Africa and Europe. I'm still deciding on a few key things—like whether I'll be roughing it aboard Rousseau yet again or perhaps getting about by car this time around—but I'm kicking planning into high gear this winter, so I'll have more on that in the coming months.


As a fed, I enjoyed a serene sixteen days of furlough this October, which afforded me ample time for reading, running, and relaxation. I learned to knit, took up rock climbing, was temporarily infected with a nasty bout of the Netflix, and have generally had no trouble these past few months keeping myself busy with the simpler pleasures of life ...

... to which I now return. :)

Differential grasshopper in Boneyard Studios garden.

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