Our new adventure (and JOB!) starts next week

by Kim on March 17, 2014 · 70 comments

I was listening to the Ted Radio Hour Podcast (they’ve turned Ted Talks into podcasts- yay!) about success while running last week and I was struck by something that one of the speakers, Alain de Botton, said. “All success involves choices,” said de Botton. “Succeeding in one area will probably mean neglecting other areas. Right now, I’m being a bad father, but I’m being a good author, right? So I’m succeeding in the author space and failing in the father space. We’ve got one of the most ridiculous and paradoxical ideas at large in modern society – this idea of work-life balance.”

With less than a week until Brian and I begin our 7-month, 65-stop, 38-state tour of the U.S. delivering our presentation for Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out More Tour I have officially become a very good contractor and a very bad writer and blogger.

presentation notes

Presentation script and notes.

We have thrown everything we have at this thing. We are practicing around the clock. We write and re-write, repeat and re-repeat. We wake up in the middle of the night dreaming about our script. Brian opened his eyes this morning, rolled over, and told me that he’d just awoken from a dream about how tired he is. “I actually dreamed about wanting to sleep while I was sleeping,” he said.


Our makeshift practice stage.


Getting to know our new outdoor gear.


It’s not every day that someone mails you truncated dummy legs.

But you know what? After the initial panic eased, this process has turned out to be a lot of fun. To create something from scratch and  watch it grown has been quite rewarding.

The problem, however, is that I essentially outsourced my memory to pen and paper about two decades ago so my greatest challenge is remembering everything I’m supposed to say during our 75-minute presentation. It isn’t so much recalling the content as the order of the content, the small nuances and transitions from one topic to the next.

I used to watch TED talks with a steadfast belief that there was no way in hell that I could ever deliver a presentation seamlessly with no notes or prompts. Now, after writing and practicing the same 10,000 words day after day, I do see how it is possible to pull off such a feat. Not that I’m there yet (not even close), but it helps to know that it is within the realm of possibility.

So, in less than a week we will drive out to Bend, Oregon where we’ll stand for our first presentation on March 28th.  I will be a nervous wreck, that much is guaranteed, but as each day passes I feel more prepared.


Boxes of sponsor gear arriving each morning. We have officially tripled the amount of stuff we own.


More sponsor gear- socks this time. (Yep, I need a haircut).

I am so excited to hit the road again. I’ve driven across the U.S. so many times that I feel like I know it like the back of my hand. In truth, though, there are many places I have yet to explore. My feet have barely touched New England and the Southwest and I’m excited to finally make it to Glacier and Yosemite National Parks this year. I am ready to get the dirt of this beautiful country under my fingernails once again.

If you’re interested in coming out to see one of our presentations (we talk a lot about backpacking skills and gear but also share quite a few stories from our travels) you can find our tour schedule here or you can like the Get Out More Tour Facebook page where we’ll share tour updates.


Celebrating a successful day of work. (Look, I got a haircut).

If you have any tips on places we should visit, campgrounds we could sleep at, or public speaking tips (I’ve spent hours reading the Toastmasters website) please let me know. 

Life On Fire footer