Here’s a Peek Into Our Collective Soul.
Which will likely send you scampering. Right. About. Now.
Truly, this page is simply links to things we like, find fascinating or horrifying, care about, or otherwise want to share with you. Our commissions are small. Or commitment is great. And the hyperbole is absolutely out of line.
Places we’ve been (or plan to go) that you might want to know more about:
Malawi: Our next adventure! Check out a map of the country. Google images of Lake Malawi, Mt. Mulange, Blantyre (the city we’ll be living in). Here’s more info from Lonely Planet.
Cyprus: We lived on this small Mediterranean island for two years. Check out a map of the country and Google images from Nicosia (where we lived),St. Hilarion, Turtle Beach, and Kyrenia, (on the Turkish-Cypriot side), Paphos and the Troodos mountains (on the Greek-Cypriot side). For more, read the Installments from our time there
Croatia & Slovenia: These countries are just incredibly beautiful. In my opinion, traveling here is a much better experience than Western Europe. We visited on our honeymoon backpacking around Central/East Europe in 2000. Our friends Rachel and Jennifer traveled there more recently in 2005; check out Rachel’s website for reports and photos from their trip.
Regularly updated, in case you’re looking for a good book and actually trust our judgment (all links head to amazon.com). What other books might we like? Send along any suggestions. Our current recommended reads include:
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
A letter from an old preacher in Gilead, Iowa before he dies to his young son. Hardened soul that I am, It’s been a long time since a book made me shed a tear. But I found myself crying by the pool in Mexico when I finished this one up. Careful — it sneaks up on you. If you find it slow going at first, hang on. It’ll grab you eventually. And then it won’t let go.
|The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness, Jerome GroopmanInsightful and readable look into how hope affects (or does not) people at death’s door. Based on his work in internal medicine, this is a well-reasoned, thought-provoking look at hope, life and death. If you have ever known someone who has died or is dying from a disease, read this book.
Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison
A sad but beautiful book about a girl growing up with her crazy family in rural North Carolina. Jimmy thinks it is depressing but I found it kind of uplifting. It moves, too.
|The Shadow of the Sun, Ryszard KapuscinskiI got this book from one of my co-workers before I left my job to leave for Malawi. Written by a renowned Polish journalist, who I had truthfully never heard of, it is beautiful snapshots of Modern Africa and its struggle for independence, beginning with Kapuscinski’s first visit in 1957. Also a chapter on his bouts with malaria that makes you not want to get it.
Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee
A South African professor loses his job after an affair with a student and ends up living with his daughter on a farm. Crime and drama ensue. There is a racial sub-plot, which I didn’t understand completely because I know the history of South Africa’s legacy and ongoing struggle with apartheid as well as I wish I did. Interesting, though, and well written.
|An Unexpected Light, Jason ElliottI read this book when I was in Cyprus, and I was blown away. Afghanistan like you have never understood it (unless, maybe, you have been there traveling through the mountains in convoys with guerrilla fighters during the 1980s). This book made me apply for a job in Afghanistan (which I didn’t get).
Plainsong, Kent Haruf
A slow but really lovely book about life on the rural Colorado plains that weaves stories of a divorced father and his sons, a pregnant teenager and two old ranch hands together.
|Between the Sky and the Earth: A Journey Into Bhutan, Jamie ZeppaPossibly, and seriously, the best travel book I have ever read. I wanted to eat this book it was so deliciously written. Zeppa’s memoir about her experience as a teacher in a village in Bhutan. Get it. Now.
The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
From several years ago, but this deserved mention because the writing is so amazing. Ostensibly about two twins and their Indian family, it is also about a lot more. You’ll feel full when you finish this book.
|Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood , Alexandra FullerI read this book several years ago and didn’t rememer that there was a part about growing up in Malawi. Anyway, an oddly written (but intriguing) book – photos included – about Fuller’s eccentric and crazy family and her childhood all over Africa.
The best running programs in all of Austin, hands-down. There is a bias at work here, since Janie coaches runners there, but still. Janie’s coaching bio.
Austin Hill Country Trail Runners
Best place to meet ultra-endurance types and find out the best trails for running in Austin.
Pikes Peak Marathon
Continuing with the hyperbole this page has become known for: The best trail race in the United States — at least that we have ever done. Held every August. Do the double — if you dare!
We really really really want to do this race while we are living in Africa. Looks like it will hurt. “The Ultimate Human Race” they call it. 54 miles through South Africa.
We really really really want to do this bike ride (They say it’s a race, weirdly enough.) too. But check out the time and the cost! Yikes. Here are some photos from the 2005 Malawi leg
Austin Flyers/Team Joy Rides
Janie’s cycling team, whose members taught her to race without too much terror. She’ll stay on as the African mascot for 2006. Her race resume here.