Currently living/working: We are still wintering in Alaska, and November was a freakin busy month with writing deadlines, book madness and finishing up Leave No Trace. So we spent a lot of time hibernating in our cabin hunched over our laptops.
Backpacker Magazine: We submitted just about 100 items for the holiday gift guides, all of which you can check out here: Main, Under $25, Adventure Travel, Beginner Backpacker, Car Camping, Ultralight & Dog. I’m so ecstatic Between Each Step made one of the lists! We also submitted our reviews this week for the print Spring Gear Guide (won’t be out until March 2021), so are awaiting the dreadful editing phase.
Leave No Trace: We wrapped up our latest LNT contract, which lasted from July to November. Even though we weren’t on the road like usual, I think we ended up doing 25 events or so. It does feel good to have one thing off our plate because this month was pretty stretched.
Currently amazed by: For so many years, we applied to work as one of the traveling teams for Leave No Trace. In 2018, it finally happened and now we’ve worked for LNT on 5 different contracts since then!! Pretty sure this was the last one for us, which is bittersweet to say goodbye to our “family.” But we will always be LNT superfans! The whole staff did a really nice sendoff, then we enjoyed a Happy Hour on our last day with the other teams.
Current mood: I’m going to do a whole post about the November/December darkness and waning light in Alaska, but wow, it is hitting us hard this year! November is always a very busy month for deadlines, which doesn’t match the desire to stay in bed until the sun “rises” at 10am …
Current confession: We had a big trip planned to Colorado and NJ to see our families for the holidays, but we made the hard decision to cancel it. A colleague-turned-friend, Abana Jacobs, died this month of Covid, and her family has no idea how she picked up the fatal disease. Even though we selfishly wanted to visit family and thought we could be safe about it, Abana’s death was a wake-up call that you just never know. This too shall pass! Together apart! Wear a mask!
Onto a lighter note …
Currently regretting: I’ll probably do a whole post about this at some point, but in order to save a buck, Justin & I decided we’d be able to wait until next summer to hire someone to pump out our 55-gallon drum full of you know what under our outhouse. Well, we kind of forgot how things freeze and expand and now we find ourselves worrying about an overflow of you know what.
Current guilty pleasure: Justin has been wanting to buy a truck for probably as long as I’ve known him. I always swayed against it because I didn’t see the need … until we moved to Alaska. Not only is it necessary for all the hauling (i.e., garbage to the transfer station), but 4WD is nice to have when you live in a place where winter lasts for 6-7 months! And I know we are known for churning our cars, Justin assured me we’ll keep this one for more than 3 years (seriously, we haven’t owned a car longer than 3 years since 2010).
Currently thankful for: Podcasting friends!! We have a friend (Casey the Beef) who is a co-host on TWO sports podcasts. And he’s been pimping out my book every chance he gets. Mind you, he is not a hiker, but he does an extremely great job of talking it up. If you enjoy college football, go give “Sluggo” and “Chop’N Beef” a listen!
And, I haven’t listened yet, but I’m the guest on the latest episode of Orange Blaze, which is typically a podcast about the Florida Trail. I really don’t like listening to myself speak, but I believe there will be more podcasts with the book, so I guess I need to get used to it!
Currently accepting: Well, since we’re not traveling for the holidays, we had to improvise since we don’t have our Christmas decorations (from storage). Thankfully, we have plenty of trees in our backyard!
Currently worried about: Another one bites the dust. I have a broken tooth. I know it’s my fault, as Justin says, and I fully admit, I do not take care of my teeth as much as I should (in all fairness, I have gotten better in the past 2 years). Anyway, I’m going to a new dentist in Fairbanks next week and hoping it’s an inexpensive fix (said no one ever about dental work).
Currently proud of: We’re almost on the other side of most of our biggest deadlines, but I’m proud of how Justin & I have become a pretty well-oiled machine for our joint projects. We capitalize on our individual strengths and teamwork makes dreamwork!
Currently not excited about: EDITS! We’ve submitted our Spring Gear Guide reviews (18 in total) for Backpacker, and now we get to go through the back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.
Currently excited about: My sister, Janice, is finally settled in a new house! It was quite a stressful and complicated process and I won’t go into details, but I am so relieved for her.
Currently reading: I started the month by rereading Between Each Step, this awesome trail memoir that just came out. Then I read Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail by Barney Scout Mann. It was great, and of course, it makes me want to hit the trail! I also read another fiction from my friend’s stack she sent me: American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson. It was fine, but again, not my typical go-to genre. I just started Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom, but it’s like 500 pages, so it may take me more than this next month!
Currently watching on Netflix: We finished Money Heist, and highly recommend it. Then we watched Queen’s Gambit, the very popular series about a female chess prodigy during the 1960s, which we also highly recommend!