Required Reading

Reading takes discipline. There’s always one more load of laundry to fold, or a carpet crying out for a vacuum, or a batch of gluten free cookies that, for obvious reasons, desperately want to be baked. But the truth is, folded clothes and clean carpets and cookies won’t help me become a published author. Reading will.

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“The Phantom Man” - Laura Killingbeck

After frightening experiences in both solo hitchhiking and cycling, Laura's no stranger to fear. But the ‘Phantom Man’ doesn’t keep her from exploring. “I don't think every woman has to bike across the world,” writes Laura. “But I do think that every woman who wants to, can.”

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“Joy Felt in All My Cells” - How Laura Killingbeck Set Herself Free

One week Laura was feeling stuck at her job in a nightclub, the next she was cycling alone on her first-ever bike tour... through Iceland. She’s now pedaled over 12,000 miles through a handful of countries, both solo and with cycling partners. Laura said she feels a deep joy in moving through new landscapes, and that "this joy is both felt and stored in all my cells."

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Writing Update: How's That Memoir Comin'?

You’ve heard it before: writing is a long, slow process. The first draft looks nothing like the final one, and there can be years and years between them. Why? Because the process is slow enough that the writer is actually living into new experiences, becoming a new person. It’s not just the words on the page that I’m revising: it’s the stories I tell myself.

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Bikepacking from Colorado to Alaska - Emily Dell

Whether she's recalling a stranger's homemade cookies or the time she was nearly caught in a men's locker room, post-shower, by an entire hockey team, Emily brings the delight and humor of bicycle travel to this interview. Her adventures make me want to try bikepacking... the more hard-core, light-weight, off-road version of bicycle touring. 

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Whatever Gets You Through the Night

The blackest night I’d ever encountered had effectively erased all my belongings from this earth, leaving me with just three possessions: a quickening heartbeat, a nearly dead headlamp, and the sleeping bag I was curled inside of… it was going to be a long night in Tennessee.

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The Scariest Experience

On her first ever bicycle tour, during her first ever stay with a Warmshowers host, Emily Loberg found herself alone in a basement with a man who was alternatively propositioning her, sharpening a chainsaw blade, and asking to take her photo. In other words, Emily was suddenly living inside of every female traveler’s worst nightmare.

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Waking Up Alive

Surviving a creepy night alone, fraught with strange noises and dark imaginings, makes for a euphoric morning. “I MADE IT,” I wrote on more than one occasion in my journal. “Survived another night!!!” Those three exclamation points only seem ridiculous if you’ve never spent 8 hours on your back, breathing shallowly through the shrinking space in your throat, every bit of your body tingling with terror.

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Why Cycle Solo? - Emily Loberg

Riding your bicycle alone for thousands of miles isn’t for everyone… and literally anyone can tell you that. But in this interview, Emily Loberg offers a few compelling reasons why she’s glad she pedaled solo across the United States in 2016.

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Gratitude - For All of You

Thank you to all the women who shared their stories of bicycle travel with me this year. Whether you recounted trips to the grocery store, surviving abuse, impressing yourself, or riding across the continent (or around the world), I’m inspired by each and every one of you.

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Do it Your Way - Emily Loberg

Emily Loberg grew up bicycling and traveling, but she didn’t put the two together until college. As a freshman, she went on a guided Spring Break trip to Kentucky and discovered a lasting love for bike travel. After graduating, Emily worked for several years to save enough money to make her dream come true: a solo bicycle tour across the United States.

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“You ABSOLUTELY Can” – Ashtyn

Ashtyn didn’t believe she was capable of biking across the country… but over three thousand miles later, she’d proved herself wrong. Here are Ashtyn’s tips, encouragement, and inspiration for anyone who dreams of traveling by bicycle.

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"Divine Intervention" – Ashtyn

When I asked about miracles on her bicycle tour across the country, Ashtyn responded, “Oh gosh, there were so many!” Here are some of her favorite memories of “divine intervention,” after riding across America with her brother Justin last year. (My personal favorite? The Powerade Miracle.)

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“I Got My Confidence Back” – Ashtyn

Ashtyn never thought she could bike across the country. But at twenty two years old, she was lacking motivation and direction. A recent college graduate with no future plans and a waning confidence, Ashtyn decided to attempt the impossible. She texted her older brother, Justin, who also happened to be a Type One diabetic, and asked if he wanted to join her on a cross-country ride to raise awareness for Type One diabetes. Justin’s response? “F*#k yeah.”

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Adulting

I’ve got a resting “baby face.” I’m pushing thirty, but strangers often ask if I’m in school… and they don’t always mean college. Last spring, when high school graduation rolled around, several customers at the plant nursery asked me if I was excited to be done with high school.

“Yes,” I replied. “And I was even more excited ten years ago, when I graduated.”

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PNWA Seattle Writer's Conference 2018

I was embarassed. After all, I’d gotten everything I wanted and more: a supportive circle of new writer friends, 9 agents and editors interested in my manuscript, and a new plot-charting technique that will help me write faster, forever. To top it off, my submission in the PNWA literary contest had won me a spot among 9 Finalists in the Memoir/Nonfiction Category. But as I sat in my favorite purple dress at the Awards Banquet, my heart thumping loudly against my sternum, they announced the first, second, and third place winners in my category. And none of them were me.

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Nan's Advice for Women Bike Touring Solo

With thousands of miles under her belt, Nan has some advice to share with anyone who's hesitant to embark on a self-supported bicycle tour. Especially women. “I don’t have many mechanical skills,” writes Nan, “But, YOUTUBE!”

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Accidentally Alone - How Nan's Cross-Country Bike Tour Turned into a Solo Adventure

On her first ever cross-country bicycle tour, Nan didn’t want to go alone. So she joined forces with another bike traveler, a stranger she met on Adventure Cycling’s “Companions Wanted” page. Unfortunately, he was grazed by a car on their first day of riding together, and had to quit the trip! Nan, determined as ever, decided to pedal across the country alone. What she discovered about solo travel, and herself, surprised her.

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