Pursuing My Journalism Career While Paying Off My Student Loans

Less than a year out of college, making barely enough to cover my student loans and no-frills living expenses, I only wore shirts that covered my elbows.

I desperately wanted to put money aside to travel internationally, move for a better job, and get ahead. So twice a week, I drove to a clinic at the edge of town, rolled up my sleeve, turned my head and squeezed my eyes shut as a technician stuck a needle in the crook of my arm and siphoned my plasma. I was not proud of this. It felt shady. It probablywas shady.

This was the price I paid to pursue a writing career in journalism.

Summiting Old Rag Made Me Fall in Love with Solo Adventures

At the end of the ninth switchback of Old Rag, I sat on a rock to drink in the view as I nibbled on fruit leather. I talked for a little while with a woman who seemed to be about my age. I don’t remember anything that we said, but I remember being fulfilled by it. We would never see each other again, but the kind pleasantries we exchanged mid-gruel were enough.

We each, on our own, were enough.

Read the rest of my story at Hiking Project.

Where to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse in August

For the first time since 1918, the path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse will sweep from sea to shining sea. People in a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will see stars in the middle of the day as the entire sun is blocked by the moon for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Grab a pair of eclipse glasses and head to one of these areas on August 21 if you haven’t yet made plans.

Read the rest of my story at TravelChannel.com.

The Little Sleeping Bag Brand That Could: How Big Agnes Toppled the Giants

Outside the outdoor industry, in cities where people wear dress shoes to work and their blazers are blazers, not technical jackets in disguise, “dirtbag” is a dirty word. It’s an insult not taken kindly.

But here, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, it’s a badge of honor and authenticity. It’s a word you might use to describe the roots of Big Agnes, which has expanded so quickly since its founding in 2001 that it has outgrown building after building, creating a sprawling campus, of sorts, of commercial spaces and houses converted into shops and offices. Late last year, the brand moved to consolidate into a building that will accommodate the majority of its staff members. People who had typically communicated via phone and email, even though they were working just a few minutes away in the same small town, are now mostly all in the same location, which will increase the efficiency of an already well-run machine.

Read the rest of my profile on Big Agnes at SNEWS.

Cuba: Sustainable Farming in a Gas-Driven World

The farmers pour in after sunrise and leave before sunset. The workday is one to two hours shorter than a typical day for a government employee, depending on the season, and the pay is higher—much higher.

Organiponico Vivero Alamar (OVA) is an organic, sustainable farm just outside Havana, where its private business status allows farmers the freedom to make smart economic moves and attract the best and brightest farmers, scientists and researchers to improve daily operations. Visitors come from all over the world to see the farm that countless bloggers have praised for its high wages (compared to government jobs in Cuba) and other benefits.

Read the rest of my story at The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

Colorado Town Unfamiliar with Attention Deals with a Flood of it

The last time this tiny town with the big sexting scandal made national news headlines was probably after the forest fire that burned most of an iconic tourist attraction nearby, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The time before that might have been a shooting, residents said. They could not remember any recent escapes from the high-security prisons that surround them and employ many of the townspeople, but they also could not remember any good news that had put the town in the national eye.

Read the rest of the story at The New York Times.