Friend Me

At dinner for my 18th birthday, one of my friends gave me one of those long, narrow posters filled with advice and inspiration that were popular at the time. I don’t have the poster in front of me, but there were things like this: Never wash a car, mow a lawn, or buy a Christmas […]

Guest Post: Ashes, Ashes

We’re on vacation, kayaking through mangroves near Naples, Florida. My nine-year-old is in the bow, paddling like crazy, splashing me with his enthusiasm. My husband and six-year-old glide nearby. My view is limited. Tangled mangroves line the winding watery path, obscuring what’s within and beyond. I want to go slowly, to gaze at every statuesque […]

Tea: An Appreciation

1991 or so: An overnight field trip to Wallops Island, Virginia. The tap water is hot. I convince myself it’s hot enough to make tea, and make tea in my Nalgene. Why did I even have teabags with me? I think I wanted to be the kind of person who is prepared to make tea […]

Guest Post: Filippiada, Faneromeni, Softex

I am in Greece right now, working on a series of stories about mental health in refugee camps. Yesterday I visited Softex, a military-run refugee camp outside Thessaloniki in Northern Greece where about 950 people are living in tents inside an abandoned paper factory. There were no electric lights, just sunlight filtering through a few peripheral […]

Redux: The story I won’t tell

This post first ran on Mar 12, 2014.  I was having lunch with a vegetarian friend recently, when I caught myself wanting to tell her the story. When you’re a vegetarian, a lot of people — friends, distant relatives, complete strangers — barrage you with the story. It starts like this: “Yeah, I tried going vegetarian […]

That Old Cafeteria Smell

I’ve spent a lot of time giving talks at elementary and middle schools recently, as I’m touring for my new book Unlikely Friendships DOGS (yes, that’s yet another shameless plug). Wandering those halls, with their shiny mopped floors and florescent lighting, draws up so many strange feelings—like that first-day flip-gut excitement (School! New books! Friends! […]

Market Day

Change is good. And today, here on LWON, I’m announcing a personal change. I’m coming out. As a vegetarian. Some of you may be surprised that I’m not one already. With my career focus on animals and conservation, and my adoration for all creatures great and small, it might seem wrong for me to eat […]

Guest Post: Water in Yomibato

Last November, I went to the Peruvian Amazon on assignment for National Geographic. (The story is out today). I focused on a group of indigenous people, the Matsiguenka, living inside Manu National Park. One of these people is Alejo Machipango, a hunter, farmer, and member of the water committee for the village of Yomibato. Alejo […]