Y is for You … Thank You!!

After how wonderful this month has been, I don’t think I could have picked anything other than you, my dear reader, for the letter Y.

Seriously.

I expected this challenge to be fun, crazy, and mostly, just a way to prove to myself that I really can blog (almost) every day. I never expected to find so many fascinating blogs, meet lots of fun people, and see more traffic in one month than this blog has seen ever. Ever. I hardly believe it, but without readers, that wouldn’t be possible. So it’s you I have to thank! Thank you for reading, viewing, commenting, and more! Continue reading “Y is for You … Thank You!!”

X is for Xylophone, and Avoiding Clichés

After consulting multiple dictionaries and word guides, it was difficult to find an English word that suited my purposes and started with X. (No joke, there is not one word that starts with X on Merriam-Webster’s list of 3,000 English core words.)

No matter how hard I looked, I kept coming back to “xylophone” — the X word most of us learned as children from our alphabet books.

And the ubiquity of xylophone led me to think of a related topic: clichés.

Much like the prevalence of xylophones in our childhood memories, clichés are everywhere. And that’s why we have to avoid them. Continue reading “X is for Xylophone, and Avoiding Clichés”

T is for Trails

I remain convinced that one of the best ways to see a place is on foot.

Hiking connects you to a location in a way that no fuel-powered form of transportation can. While I can’t help but appreciate the modern wonder that is planes, trains, and automobiles, hiking affords more natural and up-close adventures. Much like the reasons for my love of kayaking, I enjoy being in nature, taking in my surroundings gradually.

Probably my favorite hike ever occurred in Mount Rainier National Park. Continue reading “T is for Trails”

S is for Short Stories

Lately, even though I mostly write novels, I’ve been playing around with short stories. I’ve been doing this:

  1. For the challenge of it. It’s fun to shake things up and develop new skills.
  2. For improving my writing. Condensing a story into just a few pages or paragraphs takes discipline and subtlety, and I’m hoping this close examination of short stories will improve my longer ones.
  3. For the sake of submission. Is it just me, or are there more contests out there for shorter works? With society’s growing inclination for shorter things, I think it makes sense to learn how to write well in a short space, especially if you want to publish.

Continue reading “S is for Short Stories”

R is for Realistic

As much as I love adventure, escaping reality is impossible. For those of us who love to dream and fantasize and plan the next adventure, setting realistic expectations can be difficult.

However, being realistic about a project or a novel or a vacation can be key to enjoying it. If you set up lofty, unrealistic expectations, experiencing disappointment when they’re not fulfilled can be crushing. Similarly, underestimating how long something will take or how much you’ll spend on a trip can cause problems like missing deadlines or overspending. Continue reading “R is for Realistic”

P is for Passport, And My First Trip Out of the Country

I love the concept of passports.

A clear proof of citizenship, a gateway to the world, a reminder of all the places you’ve been and have yet to go to, and a repository of amazing memories abroad and less pleasant ones of going through customs — that little passport is essential to a traveler.

I got my first passport at the age of 15, a few months before I took my first trip out of the country to Ecuador. It was a very exciting time for me, as not only would it be my first time out of the country, it would be my first time traveling alone, and I was thrilled with the idea of so much independence.  Continue reading “P is for Passport, And My First Trip Out of the Country”

O is for Overthinking

I wonder at what point the term “overthinking” was coined. Because you’d think thinking can’t ever be bad, no matter how much of it you do.

And yet, one of my biggest obstacles to productivity is overthinking.

Overthinking stops me from getting past the idea stage of writing and on to actually writing. It keeps me locked in the planning stages of a trip, without ever really crossing over into enjoyment and engagement when I’m on the trip. Continue reading “O is for Overthinking”

M is for Mythology (And Midway through the Challenge!)

Mythology has always fascinated me. Since first reading Bulfinch’s Mythology in late middle school, I’ve enjoyed reading all types of old stories and legends, from classic Greek and Roman mythology to more obscure mythological traditions like Basque stories to fairy tales and urban legends.

Continue reading “M is for Mythology (And Midway through the Challenge!)”

K is for Kayak

Some of my earliest memories take place near water, and my favorite adventures usually involve some kind of interaction with it. My family owned a boat when I was growing up, and I learned to love all things aquatic at a young age. I’ve manned or been a passenger on many types of watercraft, but I think one of my favorites is one of the most simple, and it’s the kayak. In fact, I think kayaks are one of my favorite ways to travel.

Continue reading “K is for Kayak”