National Parks

Between September 2017 and April 2018, these are the National Parks, Monuments and Lakeshores I visited as I traveled across the U.S.

  1. St. Louis Arch
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. Kings Canyon
  4. Sequoia
  5. Redwoods
  6. Crater Lake
  7. Bryce Canyon
  8. Zion
  9. Arches
  10. Cedar Breaks National Monument
  11. Dinosaur National Monument
  12. Congaree
  13. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore



As I traveled from September through April, I tried to remember to take a photo of the front door of every place I stayed. I missed a few, and not all the photos are great, but this is a pretty cool collection of the 40+ doors I walked through.

Not pictured:

  • Crossville, TN
  • Arcata, CA
  • Madison, WI
  • San Antonio, TX
  • La Vergne, TN
  • and probably a few others


I consider myself a writer. Not because I have published a book, though that may help validate my claim in others’ minds, but because I write.

My first book was published when I was 15 years old. My second book, a journal with some inspirational commentary, was also published when I was 15. My third book doesn’t exist yet, at least not in its entirety… but one day it will.

For years I’ve had a dream to write — to be a writer — and for many of those years, I lamented that even though I was published, I didn’t feel like a writer. Why? Because I wasn’t actively writing.

Now, 20 years after my first publication, I am writing and even though I am not actively working to complete or publish a book, short story, article or any other type of concrete work, I am writing. I am noticing things in the world and documenting them. I am working to articulate thoughts, ideas and observations.

One of my favorite quotes happens to be from one of my very favorite books, “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway. He writes:

Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

And my favorite part of that quote is, “All you have to do is write…”

I often say to myself, and now I’ll say to you: You may not be a writer — but you could be. All you have to do is write.


I had an interesting conversation with a colleague this week about personality. Often in marketing we create personas to aide in planning marketing messages that will resonate with a specific demographic — say males age 35-44, or single mothers, or mature adults with expendable income. But what about creating personas that allow segmenting by personality?

While the Myers Briggs personality test (MBTI), to name just one, is not promoted as a tool for predicting behavior, it can be used to help understand motivators and desires. For example, perhaps an individual who shows up on the MBTI as an introvert would be more interested in communicating via text message rather than by in-person meeting or phone call. This is just one example but it sheds light on the possibility of designing marketing and communication efforts to meet specific personality types.

Would your marketing efforts change if you knew you were communicating with someone who is a “feeler” versus a “thinker” on the MBTI? Would you be more likely to communicate with stories rather than data?

In a world where we have access to increasingly more data about our customers, and where it may be possible to segment by personality factors, it’s interesting to consider the possibilities for personality-driven marketing.


20180317_070444I returned from Brisbane on Saturday. It was my second trip to Australia and was a much easier trip than the first time around. I knew what to expect, I slept on the plane, and I didn’t vomit. In fact, this is the first of three recent international trips on which I have not vomited. That alone was enough to promote this trip to the top of the list. Well, that and more kangaroo time.


Thoughts I had while traveling to or from (on the 12+ hour flight) or through Australia:

  • Someone needs to invent a gadget that makes it possible to attach my phone or tablet to the back of the seat in front of me on the plane to reduce tech neck pain while binge-watching videos in flight
  • I should have invested in active noise-cancelling headphones a long, long time ago
  • Coffee tastes better in Australia; something I believed the first time visiting the country and confirmed the second time
  • I wonder if using the same lavatory on the plane (as opposed to hopping around to different ones based on whichever one is available) reduces the likelihood of picking up a cold or other illness
  • They have the most amazing birds that are reminiscent of prehistoric creatures
  • The sounds those birds make in the morning is utterly astounding — screaming, cawing, trilling sounds that I had all but forgotten in the span of 19 months since my last visit
  • Jet lag is hard; it takes me three days to stop being crabby and six days to feel normal again



Things I learned — or knew at one time, forgot, and re-learned — while in Australia:

  • Australians do not have squirrels, wolves, bears or mountain lions
  • Koalas poop 140+ times per day
  • Australia is a much younger country than the U.S. — founded in 1901; claimed by the British in the late eighteenth century, but occupied by indigenous Australians for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the British
  • When you order a coffee, they ask if you want a mug or a cup — that is, a large or a small
  • When crossing the street, look right, then left — the opposite of what you do in the U.S.
  • When driving on the opposite side of the street, one tip helped me remember which lane to enter when making a turn at an intersection: “big rights, little lefts”
  • Brisbane has a nice collection of art scattered throughout the city


For seven months, from September 2017 to April 2018, I was technically homeless. I sold my home in Knoxville, put my belongings into storage, and packed my car with as few things as I could manage in order to hit the road and live like a nomad. I traveled with my best friend, Cheri, my dog, Asher, and Cheri’s dog, Norah. We drove more than 18,000 miles, checking off visits to 27 states and, I think, twelve National Parks. I also had a couple of international trips for work during this time, to Spain and Australia.
On Instagram, I used the hashtag #burritotogo to track my travel photos.
Here is a record of the trip itinerary. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of states visited in total.

September 2017

  • Friday, Sep 22 – sold house in Knoxville, TN (country # 1 – USA)
  • Saturday, Sep 23 – flew to Barcelona, Spain (country #2 – Spain)
  • Friday, Sep 29 – flew to TN, spent the night in Crossville, TN
  • Saturday, Sep 30 – drove to Leitchfield, KY (1)

October 2017

  • Sunday, Oct 1 – drove to KS via IL and MO (2, 3, 4)
  • Monday, Oct 2 – drove to Colorado Springs, CO (5)
  • Wednesday, Oct 4 – drove to Crested Butte, CO
  • Saturday, Oct 14 – drove to Trinidad, CO
  • Sunday, Oct 15 – drove to Gallup, NM (6)
  • Monday, Oct 16 – drove to Las Vegas, NV via AZ (and the Grand Canyon) (7, 8)
  • Tuesday, Oct 17 – drove to Fresno, CA (9)
  • Thursday, Oct 19 – visited Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
  • Friday, Oct 20 – drove to Davis, CA
  • Saturday, Oct 21 – visited Napa Valley
  • Sunday, Oct 22 – drove to Sacramento, CA
  • Wednesday, Oct 25 – drove to Arcata, CA (via Redwood National Park)
  • Thursday, Oct 26 – drove to Lakeside, OR (10)
  • Sunday, Oct 29 – drove to Bend, OR
  • Monday, Oct 30 – drove to Boise, ID (11)
  • Tuesday, Oct 31 – drove to Salt Lake City, UT (12)

November 2017

  • Saturday, Nov 4 – visited Antelope Island
  • Tuesday, Nov 7 – drove to Brian Head, UT
  • Friday, Nov 10 – visited Zion National Park
  • Monday, Nov 13 – visited Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Tuesday, Nov 14 – drove to Moab, UT
  • Wednesday, Nov 15 – visited Arches National Park
  • Thursday, Nov 16 – drove to Dinosaur National Monument and Laramie, WY (13)
  • Friday, Nov 17 – drove to Lincoln, NE (14)
  • Saturday, Nov 18 – drove to Madison, WI via IA (15, 16)
  • Sunday, Nov 19 – drove to Barrington, IL (17)
  • Wednesday, Nov 23 – drove to Lafayette, IN (18)
  • Monday, Nov 27 – drove to Baileyton, TN (19)
  • Wednesday, Nov 29 – drove to Myrtle Beach, SC via VA and NC (20, 21, 22)

December 2017

  • Friday, Dec 22 – drove to Orlando, FL via GA (23, 24)
  • Wednesday, Dec 27 – drove back to Myrtle Beach, SC

January 2018

  • Monday, Jan 8 – flew to San Antonio, TX (25)
  • Wednesday, Jan 10 – flew back to Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Friday, Jan 26 – drove to Orlando, FL
  • Tuesday, Jan 30 – drove to Knoxville, TN
  • Wednesday, Jan 31 – drove to La Porte, IN

February 2018

  • Saturday, Feb 3 – drove to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and then on to Holt, MI (26)
  • Thursday, Feb 8 – drove to Leitchfield, KY
  • Saturday, Feb 10 – drove to Charleston, WV (27)
  • Sunday, Feb 11 – drove to Winston-Salem, NC
  • Thursday, Feb 15 – drove to Knoxville, TN (via Asheville, NC)
  • Friday, Feb. 16 – drove to Leitchfield, KY

March 2018

  • Wednesday, Mar. 14 – drove to Nashville, TN and flew to Los Angeles, CA
  • Thursday, Mar. 15 – flew to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (country #3 – Australia)
  • Monday, Mar. 19 – drove to Montville, Queensland, Australia
  • Tuesday, Mar. 20 – drove to Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia
  • Friday, Mar. 23 – drove to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Saturday, Mar. 24 – flew to Nashville, TN and drove to Leitchfield, KY

April 2018

  • Sunday, Apr. 1 – drove to Nashville, TN
  • Friday, Apr. 6 – drove to Waynesboro, TN
  • Monday, Apr. 9 – drove to Leitchfield, KY
  • Sunday, Apr. 15 – drove to Knoxville, TN
  • Wednesday, Apr. 18 – moved into an apartment in Knoxville, TN (3 mo. lease)