Howdy Traipsers,

I'm still home alone with Signore Gatto while Chelsea is away. Oliver, who typically ignores/tolerates me, now sometimes sits on my lap while I play piano.

This is a) quite cute and b) not conducive to stellar performances. We figured out a happy middle ground with him sitting on a chair next to me and affectionately head-butting me while I play.

This week’s newsletter:

Be the light, better to watch speedriding than try it, ten breakthrough technologies, habits vs goals, and Madeira vibes.


P.S. I made
these roasted chickpeas yesterday from Oh She Glows and they are a delicious savory snack.

Don't worry, Chelsea has other animal friends to hang out with up in Idaho! (Yegads, moose are so impressive.)

Be the light or reflect it


I love it when I discover creative people whose work makes me say YES! Authors, musicians, or amazing stuff I can’t even describe…
Austin Kleon currently sits on high on my list. His post from 2018,
Be the light or reflect it, is such a good reminder to stay positive. At least outwardly. Like the old maxim (kinda) says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, at least be quiet.”
From the post:

"Edith Wharton said, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

You don’t have to have your own light. You can reflect someone else’s. We all want to scream into the void. We all feel the need to express the dread.

But, it’s like Zadie Smith says, “Go and ring a bell in a yard if you want to express yourself.” So either be the light or go find some and reflect it.

Don't try this at home

Right when I thought all these thrill-seeking whippersnappers can’t up the game anymore, I watched this Redbull video (via Tim Ferriss). The athlete’s skills are just mind-blowing and the cinematography is almost as impressive.
Another positive: after my mom watches it, perhaps she’ll no longer worry about me mountain biking. Risk is relative, amiright?

Speaking of mountain biking, spring riding fever is upon me. First ride this year from my house this week!

Ten tech breakthroughs

Social media, green tech, AI… The tech breakthroughs on this list got me thinking.

For example, I’m not a good enough dancer to be on TikTok, but this flared a glimmer of hope in me about social media:
The algorithms that power TikTok’s “For You” feed have changed the way people become famous online.

While other platforms are geared more toward highlighting content with mass appeal, TikTok’s algorithms seem just as likely to pluck a new creator out of obscurity as they are to feature a known star. And they’re particularly adept at feeding relevant content to niche communities of users who share a particular interest or identity.

Maybe my piano performances with a houseplant jungle in the background (plus the occasional prowling, yowling cat) can find an audience after all!

The only way to deliver new results

The below quote from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, resonates big time with me. As I dig further into piano and learn Italian (and deal with the accompanying brain pain), I’m buoyed and inspired by the knowledge that consistency leads to progress:
"New goals don't deliver new results. New lifestyles do.

And a lifestyle is a process, not an outcome. For this reason, your energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results."

Speaking of that, I have 10 more minutes of my daily piano routine to do after I publish this newsletter. Tonight: chord progressions in Db and F#. Two months ago, my brain melted in those keys. Now, it’s almost second nature.

Habits work! What can you chip away at, day by day, week by week?

Traipsing About Archives: Adrenaline and Beauty in Madeira

Hard to believe it was almost two years ago that we pivoted on our Spain/Portugal bike tour and headed to Madeira. Surely that was last year?! I feel like 2020 deleted a swatch of time.

Flipping through photos of our Madeira trip reminded me just how beautiful and different a place it is. If only the airport wasn’t the most dangerous in Europe…

A misty, stunning hike along the spine of Madeira.

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About! Be or reflect the light, DON'T speedride, and definitely work on your moves for TikTok.

P.S. Speaking of amazing creative work, these balloon animals are phenomenal.

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