Howdy Traipsers,

Hope your power is on, wherever you are. What a week! One of my Portland employees ran a generator over the weekend for life’s most necessary item during an ice storm: wifi for his bored kids.

Here in the Cascades, the snow presented me with a fantastic opportunity for mentoring. Specifically, I taught the punk neighborhood kids how to dominate in a snowball fight. (Ask me how, heh heh.) It felt good to pass along important survival skills.

This week’s newsletter:

Minimalism (everywhere), the best travel photos, honey badger those critics, chess and music, and a Joshua Tree throwback.


Joshua Tree with incoming storm.

Letting Go Is Not Something To Do

This short essay from The Minimalists reminded me that minimalism isn't only about stuff. Knowing what we need to work on is the first step, right? The last word struck me as strange at first, but then I decided it captures what attachment can do to us.

Letting Go Is Not Something To Do

Letting go does not require a trip to Goodwill
or a purchase from The Container Store.

Letting go is not something you do.
It is something you stop doing.

You stop pretending every thing is precious.
You stop clinging to toxic relationships.
You stop acting like busy is a good thing.
You stop posturing as if achievements make you, you.
You stop thinking new habits will solve the problem.
You stop trying to “fix” everything.
You stop turning to breaking news for information.
You stop mistaking information for understanding.
You stop polishing the facade of success.
You stop chasing happiness.

No matter the fixation—
be it possessions, people, or prosperity—
attachment is always suffering.


When you let go of attachments,
you pick up freedom, peace, equanimity.

But if you hold on,
you’ll get dragged.

Whet your travel appetite

National Geographic’s Travel Photos of the Year are out and *surprise* they make me want to go places. Beyond admiring stunning compositions, I also learned of the pallas cat, aka the world’s roundest feline. Garfield looks sleek in comparison.

At the bottom of that page, the photos of the exploding Mt. Etna volcano also grabbed my eye. Nature is not messing around these days.

A Ruth Asawa installation. The virtual tour has much better pictures!

Don't listen to the critics

Critics initially didn’t consider Ruth Asawa’s twisting, shimmering art as sculpture …because it wasn’t attached to the ground. Like the Honey Badger, she didn’t give a rat’s ass and just kept making beautiful objects.

In a testament to ignoring critics, her work is so well-regarded now that it’s a) worth millions of dollars and b) she’s honored with gorgeous USPS stamps. (I just mailed a letter with one on it!)

Don’t know her work? Check out this virtual gallery tour. I also recently read her biography, which describes her remarkable work ethic and forced internment during WWII. (Because she was Japanese-American and people do stupid things to each other when they’re scared.)

A show about chess, even for people who don't play

If you’re one of the seven people in the world who hasn’t already watched The Queen’s Gambit, please allow me to endorse it. I caved when everyone I know insisted I'd enjoy it, hopped on my bike trainer, and disappeared into the crazy world of professional chess.

It was fantastic! Beyond throw-back wallpaper (trust me) and the main character’s story of battling substance addiction, the series felt extra satisfying since I’ve dug back into chess this past year.

As a bonus, I learned how to play the haunting Erik Satie piano song (Gnossienne No. 1, Spotify) that's in episode 2. Such a beautiful tune.

From the archives

The Nat Geo travel photos randomly got me thinking about our van trip exploring Joshua Tree National Park, that wild Dr. Seussian zone in SoCal. I wonder if it snowed there this week? THAT would be magical.

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About to hang out with me for a bit. Now let's silence those critics and make good art. Or at least go get some gas for the generator... Catch you next week!

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