Everyone seems to be saving the world. Meanwhile, here I am, a social worker in a mountain town, living paycheck-to-paycheck, wandering through the desert on a Saturday morning and worried about the gas money that it’s going to take to get me back home.

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Everyone I knew who had gone to culinary school told me not to go. Yes, yes; I knew working in kitchens was stressful, physically demanding, and exhausting. I’d done a bit of it, I could deal with those things.
I moved to Paris. My five month intensive cuisine program passed quickly and painlessly enough.

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When I returned home, having completed my expedition, I found that this part of my experience struck a chord with lots of people – what is it that keeps us going even when we know it is impossible to continue?

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“The eruption has started,” says the Reykjavik Excursions guide as our bus pulls up to Landmannlaugar where we will begin our four-day hike on the Laugavegur trail. The bus passengers begin to exchange uneasy looks. Obviously, most of us do not hail from an ever-changing island made completely of volcanoes and lava fields, fire and …

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Boasting over 20,000 participants, GirlTrek is explicitly rooted in community and pays homage to the women who have come before them. As the organization’s website puts it: “When Black women walk, things change. When Harriet Tubman walked, things changed. When the women in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts walked, things changed. And when we walk, things will change!”

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As we were sitting, appreciating every sip of the ice-cold coffee, I had a moment to think this unplanned rest in our morning and what it meant to me as a traveler. In hindsight, perhaps, I later realized how sporadic those kind of moments are back home. I live, undeniably, in a culture where time is linear and worth is marked by accomplishment and the amount of one’s “doing.”

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I pull my mud-splattered Subaru into the garage, my panting, wet dog sitting shotgun beside me. I can feel the satisfaction beaming from her. For the last two hours, Cholula has been bounding after squirrels and splashing through mountain creeks, wagging her white-tipped tail like it’s her job. I followed blissfully behind, lost in my …

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