The Map Box

I keep a wooden box on my bedside table. It’s cheap – an old Yalumba Wine case that I found on a curb somewhere, with a hinged lid and a shred of price tag still attached. Usually, it’s stacked high with magazines half read, a thing seldom opened and often dusty. But in all of […]

Do I Stay Or Do I Go? The Eveleth Conundrum

  Two years ago, I wrote a story for The Atlantic about my obsession with the town of Eveleth, Minnesota. I’ve never been there. But I’ve visited it often on Google Maps. Often enough to know the town really well. To know the giant hockey stick, the city hall, the big church, the tattoo shop […]

Memories in My Kitchen

It was a year and a half after my internship at NPR, and I was in the habit of calling Joanne Silberner, who was then on NPR’s staff, for advice whenever I got a terrifying new assignment. I suppose this makes her one of my first journalism mentors. At the time, I’d convinced the magazine […]

A Squee from the Field: Why I Love my Job

Sometimes, while out on the job, I have to pinch myself and think, ‘hold on to this moment.’ Because the moments that make up my workday can be truly fabulous. Here’s what last week’s pinch was for: I was squatting on the ground at the Bifengxia panda base in central China, on a cloudy but pleasantly […]

Walking in the Land in Between

I love walking. This seems like such a silly thing to say, like “I love breathing.” We’re humans, you and me. Walking is our thing. Being bipedal makes us us. But walking is also an activity that I love. It takes me places, it shows me things, it gives me ideas, it calms my nerves. […]

Plodding With My Father

The Milky Way hung overhead. The lights from the far-off plains made a faint glow in the eastern sky. I made one last visit to the pit toilet at the edge of the parking lot, put on my day pack, and began to plod. I was setting out to climb a mountain with my dad. […]

The Lies Maps Tell

I’m fascinated by those maps of places people have visited. You know the ones. Mine is below. You can make your own to show how much of the world you’ve traveled, or haven’t. There’s an element of bragging – why, yes, I have been to New Zealand, the Middle East, and more than one country […]

The Last Word

April 13-17 Ann on a recent Nature study linking dragons and climate change: “The authors recommend the obvious — increasing research in consumer-friendly fire-resistent clothing — and further suggest that monarchs desist from running around conferring knighthoods.” A sharp-eyed commenter notes publication date. Michelle on a disease affecting couples living in tipis and other small, off-the-grid […]