A Tale Of Three Crashes

Curiously, this "hyper-local" Applegate Valley blog is the result of a lot of global dreams.  For decades, I've chased a love of travel and writing by starting a travel business (Deep Travel Workshops), as well as penning articles for the BBC, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and other news outlets and blogs.

But after surviving three big crashes (more on that later), I've recently become eager to stay put and explore this remote little valley we call home.  This simpler, "traveling-in-place" angle on the world is a refreshing change. Much of what I've been seeking through my travels--interesting people, good food, and wintertime sunshine--can be found right in our valley. But the biggest perk? Not having to endure a middle seat in economy class to get here.

Just like when I traveled, I have so many questions: Who lives here? and How do they make a living? Or simply: Where can I sit outside and enjoy a good cup of coffee? Living all spread out like we do can make it hard to get a sense of the place. The purpose of this blog is to learn more about where we live. Please send me your own questions and curiosities!

Now you know everything you need to know about the blog. But if you are fascinated with crash stories, read on. As an itchy-footed person, arriving at this homegrown contentment was not easy...

A Career Crash

In 2002, I graduated with journalism degree from University of Oregon with dreams of all-expenses-paid travel assignments. As it turns out, thousands of other wanderlust-filled and mysteriously-financed youngsters had the same idea, and they were happy to detail the ten best beaches on their travel blog—for free!

I did manage to hook some low paid work, but there was no getting around it: With the advent of the Internet travel blog, The Golden Age of Destination assignments (think Tim Cahill, John Krakauer) was over and my dream of writing —at least as a career—was grounded.

An Actual Crash

Well, not totally grounded. I enrolled in a paragliding course in order to research the sport for an article for our local public radio magazine, The Jefferson Monthly. One lesson turned into a dozen and soon I was hooked! I then travelled around to flying destinations and wrote monthly articles for a paragliding magazine. The travel writing career I’d dreamed of was sort of penciling out—so long as I lived in cheap places like Nepal

But after ten years of riding thermals (and writing about it!), I hit a particularly rough patch of air over Ruch, literally falling out of the sky. As I awaited rescue (miraculously uninjured!) from a treetop for two hours, I reevaluated my next step in life…

Another Career Crash

Combining my love of words and the travel knowledge I gleaned from all that paragliding, I started a business called Deep Travel Workshops with my friend Anna Elkins. For five years, we took groups of writers and instructors to places like Spain, Morocco, Mexico, and Nepal (We even got our favorite Tim Cahill to teach!)

But on the brink of our first-ever Paris workshop, the world crashed with the pandemic. International travel came to a standstill. Just two weeks before departure we canceled all of our reservations, refunded all of our clients, and mourned our dreams of brasserie dinners, cruises along the Seine, and writing sessions in Luxembourg Gardens.

Grounded here in the Applegate Valley for the past two years, I discovered an unexpected thing: I rather liked "traveling in place." There are so many things to discover here, and so many questions I have. Why is it so sunny here when it's foggy over in Medford? Who is the Jo behind Joslist? What makes Rise Up! bread so good? What is the future of winegrowing here?

What are your questions? Please send me a note and let me know!