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How It All Started

Updated: Jun 9

In eighth grade, my teacher read us the book, Walk Across America. It was the story of Peter Jenkins who walked from town to town and picked up odd jobs here and there. He met so many kind strangers who helped him out--fed him, gave him a place to sleep, and connected him with work when he needed it. I thought that sounded like the most amazing adventure, and I was on board that there are so many welcoming, friendly people out there whose beautiful stories we could have the privilege of hearing.

Glacier National Park Montana

In 1996, my roommate and I were supposed to drive across the country to Glacier National Park, Montana to work at one of the hotels for the summer. She decided not to go. I went anyway. I packed up my Isuzu Trooper SUV and went on my way. I was living a dream I had had for years. I would stay with friends, family, friends of friends, old schoolteachers, and camp. I met great people at some of the campsites, and I loved how people opened their homes to this 23-year-old with her book of maps of the United States. My mom gave me a bunch of prepaid phone cards for payphones and said, "Call me each time you change locations." I complained that that could be almost every night. Looking back, I suppose my dad was marking on a map "where we heard from her last." I had not asked for their permission or opinion. I did not worry about my safety or well-being, so it never crossed my mind that they might worry about those things.

My belief in the kindness of strangers and the joy of meeting them was affirmed. That summer was one of the best of my life, and I met people from all over the U.S. and the world. This was where I met my first real "travel buddy," Pip from Birmingham, England. I wish I had not lost touch with her!

Pip and I traveled together in England, the Netherlands, and Rome. More on these adventures later!

I went back to Glacier National Park to work at Many Glacier Hotel again in 2000 since it is still one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I met Vivi from France this time who I would also visit and travel with in the French Alps.


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