A few years ago I went to North Korea to write about the country’s first, best, and only luxury ski resort, a story that made it into Best American Travel Writing. Before I hit the slopes, though, I spent a few days in and around Pyongyang visiting the sites we foreigners are allowed to visit, including a stop at the Fatherland Liberation Museum dedicated to the north’s wildly inaccurate version of the Korean War. While at the museum I met an army officer named Miss Rhee who doubled as a tour guide. She was by far the most memorable person I met on that trip namely because she was so…lovely. World Nomads let me write about her. Here’s a link to story I’ve been wanting to publish for years.
My grandmother, Granna, would have been 98 yesterday. Of course I miss her but it’s only been after her death — and as I watch my own child grow — that I’m truly beginning to understand how remarkable she was. An Appalachian hillbilly through and through, Laura E. Kilgore White never finished high school and may have been a bit mischievous. She grew up poor, lived poor, and died poor. For years I think she served “soup beans”, corn bread, sliced tomatoes and fried potatoes for dinner, which I later loved, along with her sweet tea that would have an inch of sugar settling at the bottom. She married an abusive, philandering alcoholic and suffered. She would wring her hands with worry anytime an ambulance went by or there was lightning. (Her church van got stuck once). Even so, she managed to raise three kids who broke that cycle and today her grandchildren are thankful for it. Toward the end, in the grand scheme of things at least, she started giving everything away, including this little blue glass bird. She thought a neighbor had given it to her decades ago. For the past 15 years or so, it has sat where I can see it when I first wake up, on a nightstand or windowsill. It traveled with me to Switzerland, where Evie was born, and then back. Upon opening our boxes after our return, I was crushed to see the bird’s thin glass tail had been shattered. I tried not to let it bother me but it did. Then this Christmas, Heidi, on behalf of Evie, found the broken bird a companion, another blue bird, a new blue bird. Each, on its own, on some level is just a silly gift. But put them together and they carry more meaning than I can sometimes bear. Happy 98th, Granna. I love you. Thank you.
Fulong ski resort, Chongli, China. Met a guy in the gondola today who nearly fell over when he heard I’d come from the US to China to ski. This is my third trip to ski here and it’s happened every time. They want to know why, when we have bigger mountains and more snow. If that’s all that skiing were to me then he’d have a point but it’s not. It’s everything that goes with it too. Schlepping my skis through the Beijing metro at rush hour, meeting new people who love the sport as much as I do and then getting invited back to their homes, an après session with hot pot and moonshine: these things happen everywhere, I know, but then you add the seething energy of a place like China into the mix and the whole experience becomes something else entirely. What a great trip. . . . #mountainlove #instamountain #ourplanetdaily #unlimitedplanet #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #travelog #mytinyatlas #exploringtheglobe #chinatrip #skiing #chinagram #travelinchina #chinatravel #unlimitedchina #onassignment
My three loves. Heidi and Evie making quick work of the summit bowl off @mt_bachelor on a gorgeous day. My home ski area has been going off these past few weeks, which means spring is going to be epic. 🙏🏼 . . . . . #naturelovers #awesome_earthpix #wintersun #mtbachelor #mtbachelorstoked #mountainlove #summit #instamountain #nature_perfection #skiing🎿 #landscape_captures #unlimitedplanet #ourplanetdaily #schralpthegnar #instanaturelover #ig_mountains #mountainlife #pnwonderland #bestoforegon #oregonexplored #bendoregon #ski #thisisbend
When on deadline, bake.
Super moon with cabin; Methow Valley, Washington. . . . . . #naturelovers #liveauthentic #livefolk #mountainlove #instamountain #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #moon #flashesofdelight #travelog #mytinyatlas #washingtonstate #pnwonderland #washingtonexplored #livewashington #cabinlife
It’s that time again! So excited to announce that @worldnomads has opened the travel writing contest again and this year we are off to Portugal! Judges will pick the three best essays and send those writers with me on a trip whereby I pretty much divulged everything I’ve learned in 17 years of freelancing. And that’s the lame part. After that, they get to travel around the country and practice what I preached. So many people have helped me along the way and I can’t express how grateful I am to be able to pay some of that debt back. Here’s the link to type in: https://bit.ly/2UJxl3d. Good luck! . . . . . #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #flashesofdelight #travelog #theglobewanderer #contest #essaywriting #forahappymoment #exploringtheglobe #travelon #awesome_earthpix #visualoflife #awesome_naturepix #roamtheplanet #planetdiscovery #discoveryearth #portugal_em_fotos #amar_portugal #portugalalive #amoteportugal_ #portugal_lovers #travelwriter #travelwriting