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Day 3: Hiking from Kosovo to Montenegro

Day 3: Hiking from Kosovo to Montenegro

As we drove from the village of Drelaj toward Leqinat, the starting point for the third day of the Peaks of the Balkans trek, my heart sunk a bit. We were rolling over rough dirt roads, climbing higher and higher into the mountains and I couldn’t help but feel like I was cheating. The Belgian men I had met were going to spend the day hiking along the section that I just bypassed by riding in a four-wheel drive. Was I really going to get...

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Day 2 of the Peaks of the Balkans Trek

Day 2 of the Peaks of the Balkans Trek

It didn’t take long for things to get tougher on the Peaks of the Balkans trek! I woke up around 6:30 a.m. on the second day, with breakfast scheduled for 7:30 a.m. and a departure time of 8:00 a.m. Given how hot it was on the first day, I wanted to get an early start to try to avoid the heat as much as possible. Really, I would have been happy leaving even earlier, but Mentor (my guide) seemed reluctant. As it turned out, heat was not an...

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Day 1 of the Peaks of the Balkans Trek

Day 1 of the Peaks of the Balkans Trek

It wasn’t long after we departed Peja before the scenery became dramatic. The four wheel drive carrying me and my guide, Mentor, carefully navigated winding roads surrounded by green mountains until suddenly, we came to a stop near a turn in the road. This was it. Time to start my eight day trek through Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania following the route known as the Peaks of the Balkans. I first stumbled across the Peaks of the Balkans...

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Queuing at Wimbledon

Queuing at Wimbledon

Once upon a time, I was afraid to try to go to Wimbledon without tickets in hand. The idea of queuing for hours (the way that the majority of people gain admission) and then not getting in just seemed too risky. So I made my first trip to “The Championships” in 2010 when I was lucky enough to get Centre Court tickets for the first Thursday through the Lawn Tennis Association ballot. I went a day early and queued for grounds passes on...

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NYC Marathon Training: Week One

NYC Marathon Training: Week One

Monday marked the start of my official marathon training for this fall’s New York City Marathon! This will be my 7th marathon overall, but possibly one of my hardest, given my injury issues over the past year. I will also be raising money to support buildOn and the great work they do to build schools in Mali and other developing countries around the world – your donations are greatly appreciated! Here’s a look at my first...

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I’m Running the NYC Marathon for Charity!

I’m Running the NYC Marathon for Charity!

When I ran my first marathon back in 2008, I raised money for the American Cancer Society and trained with their training program. I did so because I felt like I needed the support of a group training program to get through my first marathon and because the American Cancer Society meant a lot to me, having lost a number of loved ones to cancer. Now, seven years later, I am getting ready to run my 7th marathon. On November 1, I’ll line up...

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Taking the Train from California to Chicago

Taking the Train from California to Chicago

After taking the train across Russia in 2011 and most of the way across Kazakhstan in 2012, I added another train trip high on my “to do” list – crossing half of the United States, going from Chicago to California. As it turns out, a work trip took me to San Francisco just before Memorial Day weekend so it seemed like a good opportunity to make the trip, albeit it in the opposite direction. Bright and early on Saturday morning, I made my...

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A Weekend in Kalamazoo

A Weekend in Kalamazoo

Living in Chicago, I have easy access to a lot of the Midwest. However, despite living here for 14 years, I really haven’t taken advantage of easy train and bus connections to explore much of the surrounding states. So when the opportunity recently arose to head to Kalamazoo, Michigan to visit my friend Sally of Unbrave Girl, I jumped at it. I left late Friday afternoon, taking the Amtrak train out of Union Station, conveniently...

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Life is Too Short, Make the Most of It

Life is Too Short, Make the Most of It

I wasn’t even two weeks in to my year-long career break trip when the news came through my Facebook feed with little warning: a friend from law school had passed away suddenly. He was a year behind me and while we were friends in school, we had lost touch since graduation, only reconnecting through Facebook. Just weeks before, when I was home in Minnesota before leaving on my trip, he had liked one of my status updates. And then, as I was...

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Binder Park Zoo: A Taste of Africa in Michigan

Binder Park Zoo: A Taste of Africa in Michigan

I have been to a lot of zoos in my life. Growing up in Minnesota, trips to Como Zoo and later, the Minnesota Zoo (a/k/a the “New Zoo”) were pretty frequent. Here in Chicago, I have easy access to the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the only free public zoos in the country. And once I started traveling, I sought out zoos in places I visited. The idea of zoos, though, has become increasingly controversial. Do they serve educational and...

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