Howdy Traipsers,

The shift to fall always puts me in a pensive mood. The slowing down, a reorganization of activities and priorities.

I have to remind myself to go with it and not fight the energy change. I hope you're rolling with it too...and for all you west coasters, cheering the incoming rainstorm. CYA, fire season!

Traipsing About edition #81 includes:

-The benefits of being an amateur
-Resources to support winter hobbies
-A new mindset for viewing others


I'm ready to downshift out of bike season, but am looking forward to more bikepacking next year!
(Colorado Trail, outside of Silverton)

Here's to the amateurs

In today’s full-tilt culture, amateur often carries a negative meaning. If that hobby doesn’t morph into a monetized side hustle, what’s the point?

PFFFFT. Half the reason I enjoy writing Traipsing About is that it’s a creative outlet vs. a business. I’ve deliberately not monetized this newsletter, although maybe I can turn my T. Rex drawings into NFTs and buy a mega yacht?

Speaking of amateur, the word has Latin roots in “love.” In both French (amateur) and Italian (amatore) it’s not about skill, but love and passion.

Historically, the amateur was considered to be the ideal balance between pure intent, open mind, and the interest or passion for a subject. The gentleman scientist (think Isaac Newton or Charles Darwin) were  amateurs in the best sense of the word.

The next time you’re going deep on a hobby and someone asks  when it'll be a business, be proud of your amateurishness. After all, nothing wrecks an enjoyable hobby like turning it into work.

I'm learning how to play the waltz from Amelie, so I decided to draw her. did her eyes get so f'd? Doesn't matter! I'm an amateur, BOOM.

Resources for winter hobbies

Speaking of loving pursuits for pure enjoyment, here are some resources I use to help turn stoke about a potential hobby into reality!


1) Skillshare – recorded classes on almost any topic you’d want to learn! At $60 a year, it’s the cheapest online university ever.

For example, I took three semesters worth of music theory from an award-winning college professor. There are also classes on finance, programming, crafts, cooking…everything. Take that, college tuition inflation.

2) italki: language learning! Find a native language speaker to learn from. For free conversations versus lessons, check out

3) Music: I started piano lessons back in April and can only say, WHY DIDN’T I START EARLIER?! Online lessons are super convenient, not to mention affordable. I found my teacher on Piano Teachers Connect.

I haven’t spent much time on guitar this year (#pianofrenzy), but Active Melody is a fabulous resource that I’ve used extensively in the past.

Here’s to launching into a new hobby or learning something fascinating as winter days roll in.

A small thing I'm digging

I'm loving using a refillable fountain pen with a nib tip. It's enjoyable for writing, smooth and silky for drawing, and satisfying to refill, especially versus throwing away a ballpoint pen.

I use a fine nib pen, while Chelsea prefers extra fine. Even with daily drawings, one ink well is lasting forever.

An evening drawing of our cat Oliver, aka the little general. Pencil allows for more mistakes, but I like the commitment of pen. Even if Amelie's eyes can't be fixed.

A mindset shift

Ever interacted with someone and thought, “Unbelievable! I can’t understand why they did that.” (If you say no, I'm calling BS.)

Well, a small shift in my mindset a couple years ago dramatically changed how I view other people’s actions. Instead of spinning out or being offended, I assume that every person is doing their very best in that moment with the tools they’ve got.

They’re trying to be happy, to survive, to feed their family. They’re tired, stressed, and doing their best.

Game changer for me.

Thanks for swooping by Traipsing About.

Unsolicited advice is like doing a 5,000 piece puzzle: usually infuriating, but occasionally the joy of finding the right piece makes it worth suffering through.

This week's unsolicited advice: be an amateur, pick up a winter hobby, and always assume people are doing their best.


P.S. I enjoyed revisiting music from The Devil Makes Three this week. Their catchy eponymous album (<-Spotify) brings back college memories of a long evening drive to Santa Cruz to see them live, sleeping for a few hours on a cliff in Big Sur and waking up in time to get to class the next morning.

Wrapping up a bike ride this week with rain falling and the trees in full fall retreat.
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