First Walk in Madrid

I arrived at my hotel jetlagged, grubby, and tired (I only let myself sleep 4 hours on the plane to help me adjust to the time zone here). But it was a pleasure to unpack, do a bit of handwashing in the sink, take a shower, step out of my airplane clothes and into shorts …

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The Camino Walks You

It’s my last full day at home, time to let go of months of preparation and to embrace the actual experience before me. Regardless of what I hope this experience will be for myself, my two co-leaders, and for the women hiking with us, I have no idea what it actually will be. For instance, …

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Last Hike Before the Camino

At Bryne-Milliron Forest in Corralitos today with our visiting daughter Eliza Bristol Davis. Walking again felt great. I can’t imagine better company or better weather. It was a perfect day.

The Value of Excellence

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. Tell me about something you do or have done with excellence. Describe it in detail, and with pride.

My Feet

I’ve had the funny experience of going around Santa Cruz the past couple of weeks and when I see people I know, they often greet me with, “So how are your feet?” My first thought is, “How did you know?” But then I realize—oh yeah, I wrote about it! Two weeks ago, when my feet …

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Welcoming the Editor

“I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.” —Blaise Pascal Take a first draft of something you have written, that you like, and cut it by a quarter. Then cut it by another quarter. Do four revisions, each time cutting it further. (It’s okay to add …

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Foot Bath. 6 AM.

This morning, I’m soaking my feet in epsom salts and lavender essential oil while reading a terrific book I was gifted for my birthday: The Emerald Mike by Kevin Fedarko, all about the history of the Grand Canyon and the river guides who run it. And the politics of dam building and conservation and a …

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Five-Minute Sprints

“I give assignments to my writing classes because it’s hard to make something up out of a clear blue sky. . . . It doesn’t have to be anything. It can contain a character who shows up out of breath. It can contain a lake and a bunch of swans. There can be conversation or …

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