Howdy Traipsers,

Major maintenance mode around here lately – van battery upgrades, house/bikes/vehicles... We’re handling lingering annoyances before good weather and vaccines for everyone arrive! Fingers crossed on both.

These projects serve a double purpose: they keep our possessions in shipshape condition AND provide an opportunity to reflect on whether owning the item is worth it. Do they actually own us?

During our current phase, an expanded, complicated life feels good. (Well, most days - screw caulking.) However, priorities and focuses shift.

Who knows - perhaps there’s more extended van life in the future? Or a 1 BR apartment in Italy someday? It’ll need space for a piano, of course.

This week’s newsletter:

Drawing to reconnect, email streamlining, fear vs. caution, and popular theme songs. Oh, and abandoned bikes.


Our senior kitty, Oliver, loves to chomp on grass, but didn't have any in our courtyard. Until NOW: Chelsea planted a mini grass garden for him. Yup, we just keep getting weirder... (Custom labeling provided by me.)

Streamline your email process


Like many people these days, I spend plenty of time in Email Land.

Rather than fleeing into the mountains of India for a decade of silent retreat, I use email keyboard shortcuts, which are a major game-changer for efficiency.

I highly recommend learning how to use a half-dozen of them. My favorites in Gmail are:

  1. E (archive)
  2. G+I: jump to inbox. G+A: jump to all mail, R: reply
  3. Type / to jump to the search box
  4. To quickly send an email, hit tab from the main email body, then enter
  5. A new favorite: Hold shift+R to reply to an email. This opens a breakout reply box so I can reference the original email without scrolling. (Shift+A replies all.)

Since I’m a benevolent newsletterererer, I found a few for you to reference. Gmail. Yahoo. Hotmail/Outlook

Reconnecting with a Friend

My college friend Eric and I traveled the world together and laughed uproariously at many a joke. However, SURPRISE: when people have kids, they’re less available. It’s been difficult to maintain connection once kids and full-time jobs entered the picture, not to mention living in different cities.

One night in January, I texted him a drawing. He countered with a funny sketch. For the past month, we’ve traded a drawing each night, typically about whatever we were up to that day.

We delineated an 8-minute time limit for boundaries. His are fantastic. Mine are…evolving. It’s a creative, often hilarious way to stay in touch, not to mention excellent accountability for my neophyte drawing skills.

A challenge for you: is there someone you want to stay in better touch with? Can you send a daily drawing, a clip of you playing music, or some other creative aspect of your life that you want to share? I’m loving it!

A recent evening sketch. Yep, that day I was ripping around on a borrowed kid's scooter with the neighborhood kid gang.

Ok, I admit this is random...

We didn’t have a TV when I was young, but I watched plenty of DuckTale’s in my friend Nick’s basement. You know the theme song: life is like an aeroplane… (Stop pretending you’re cool and sing it!)

While I likely won’t ever see Disney’s reboot of it (suuure, Dakota), I enjoyed watching the new cast sing the theme song. Beyond that, this theme song that bridged worlds – when DuckTales came out in 1987, the Iron Curtain was still up. Today, you can see a group of Russian kids on YouTube covering it!

BTW, I skimmed this Vanity Fair article to learn about this.

Fear vs. Concern

Readwise recently resurfaced this quote from the bike touring travel memoir Travels with Willie. (Unfortunate title, if you ask me, but I suppose it’s better than A Man and His Johnson Explore the World.)

 Anyway, the book and this quote are good!
I live by a couplet that helps me keep it all in perspective: “Caution keeps you aware. Fear keeps you away.”
Caution is active. It seeks to solve problems, to move forward. Caution helps you make the kinds of decisions that keep you safe: to wear reflective clothing, to check your shoes for scorpions, to heed storm warnings, to avoid large groups of drunken sports fans.
Fear is passive. It lies in the pit of your stomach and festers. Fear doesn’t do anything but freeze you in life’s headlights. It stomps out dreams and makes you old before your time.

This is extra powerful when expanded beyond travel or activities. What’s the new skill, business, relationship, volunteering or whatever that we dream about doing? Is it hemmed in legit concerns, or simply fear?

From the archives

In 2014, we lived in New York City for awhile after our cross-country bike tour. While we were there, I noticed dozens of abandoned bikes in varying stages of disrepair that were locked up around the city.

Naturally, I started photographing them. This post was the result! (Main collage below.)

The abandoned bikes of New York.

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About to hang out with me. Hit Shift+R in Gmail to let me know what you thought about this edition or F to forward this to a friend who might enjoy these newsletters.
Also, lock your bike...or perhaps not! And maybe send a shitty sketch to a friend you haven't talked to forever?
I'll leave you with this note Chelsea stuck to our fridge this week.

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