Howdy Traipsers,

Does anyone else out there get post-trip malaise? It often hits me after a challenging bike trip or a long period away from home. Listlessness, dreaming, rarely in the moment.

I felt this for a few days last week after the Oregon Outback. I suspect exhaustion is usually the culprit, whether from jet lag or biking 40 hours in six days. Regardless, it’s interesting how recurring it is.

Now I’m feeling ship-shape again and enjoying my time at home with piano, garden projects (trellises), and friend visits (still novel!). I'm also looking forward to a June van trip with Chelsea. The Norcal redwoods are calling.

This week’s newsletter:

Other people and their opinions, weather research, sneaky phones, essentialism for type A people, and three weeks on the road awhile back.


My friend Jono enjoying some lupine and Mt. Hood views during day 5 of the Outback.

Stop worrying what other people think

One benefit to sharing parts of my life online is that I’m completely immune to what people think about me. It’s super nice.

Haaaa. I wish.

I of course consider what people will think after I hit publish. I edit my thoughts and let blog drafts linger because I can’t rally the conviction to share them. Walking that fine line between over-sharing and creating useful work is so hard, right?

Luckily, there’s this infographic (based on a psyche paper) to remind us how to navigate this. It also points out that it’s ok (and oh-so-human) to worry what others think of you.

A few of the items:

  1. Remember that people aren’t that interested in you. If you say something boring, you won’t get burned. You’ll just get ignored. (Heck, even if it’s not boring, you’ll likely get ignored!)
  2. Don’t try to please everyone. I’ve certainly learned that with Traipsing About. Did I want to write only about vans for the rest of my life? Fat chance. Hence this newsletter and varying the topics based on my current interests.
  3. Focus on controlling your thoughts, not theirs. Focus on the things you can control and let others do their thing.

A saying I like: those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. A solid mantra for when asshats on the internet are ranting.

Weather data for home or away

Planning a trip somewhere beyond three blocks from your house in 2021? I am! (Finally.)

If you’re heading far enough away that the weather is different from where you live, check out Weather Spark. From average temps to snow to rain to humidity to best time of the year to visit, it’s all there. I’ve already scoped out a few places.

Two things I learned about Bend from Weather Spark:

  1. The lowest average wind speed occurs around September 1st and the wind direction varies dramatically depending on the season. Note to self: bike tour in September to avoid headwinds.
  2. Our peak solar energy happens on July 2nd. The low point for solar is Dec 15th, less than 20% of July’s high. No wonder I’m so pale in the winter.
(H/T to Adam Keesling)
Garden trellis construction! Pro tip: hot metal chips + flip flops = exhilarating.

Your phone isn't listening to you

Ever wonder why you get ads for products you’ve absolutely never searched for online? Like toothpaste that your parents use, or maybe a new bouncy castle that a friend talked about at lunch. SURELY our phones are listening to us.

Nope. It’s more nuanced, at least according to this privacy tech worker’s Twitter thread.

My tl;dr summary:
Our phones have a unique ID. When we shop, when we travel, when we surf the internet, it’s all collected thanks to the byzantine privacy policies we all sign (and don’t read). We all know this. It’s the price we pay for the convenience of our phones (myself included).
The part I hadn’t thought of (quoting from one of the tweets):
The advertisers can cross-reference my interests and browsing history and purchase history to those around me. It starts showing ME different ads based on the people AROUND me. Family. Friends. Coworkers.
I bet advertisers were pissssed this year with everyone staying home. How could they sell in that environment?! Bouncy castle sales plummeted.

Skip the opportunity and take a nap


The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown is a favorite of mine. It discusses doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done.


Today Readwise resurfaced this quote from the book:

In the many hours Geoff spent resting, he came to see an interesting paradox in his addiction to achievement: for a type A personality, it is not hard to push oneself hard. Pushing oneself to the limit is easy!
The real challenge for the person who thrives on challenges is not to work hard. He explains to any overachievers: “If you think you are so tough you can do anything, I have a challenge for you. If you really want to do something hard: say no to an opportunity so you can take a nap.

This reminds me of my recent bike trip. Both Jono and I are hard-driving, type A guys, so taking it easy isn’t our natural style. We consciously elevated enjoying the day to the top of our list versus just cranking out endless mileage. (Some might say 8+ hours of biking a day is still type A. Whatevs!)

At least I took naps for two days after the bike trip, which felt like seizing an opportunity. #winning

Related: My blog post How to Escape the Busyness Trap.

Traipsing About Archives: Three Weeks on the Road


One cool aspect of sharing archive posts is that I'm revisiting my previous writing. It's still the same Dakota in those words, but I think my voice and style are more confident and consistent now.

Here's a post talking about highlights from NorCal from December 2013, eaaaarly in my blogging days. We're heading back to some of these spots this month, so I had it on the brain.

Fun to remember those early days of van travel, including me marveling that a wifi hotspot could give us access to such a lifestyle. Even just 10 years earlier, there's no way we could have traveled while I worked remotely.

Big sky and gravel. I promise I won't share Outback photos forever. Maybe one more week... :)

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About! Take a nap, choose your friends carefully (since you'll get ads for their stuff), and check the weather before your next trip.

P.S. This 17 YO girl is a badass, but I don’t think pushing a bear is my new go-to strategy for wildlife encounters. She’s lucky she only sprained a finger vs losing an arm. (Thanks, Paul.)

P.P.S. Because it's my newsletter and I make the rules, another P.P.S! The Miike Snow video My Trigger is an entertaining take on the Cold War and dancing instead of pushing the big red button. (Thanks, Eric.)

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