The Pursuit of Life

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Month: April 2016

Grand Canyon – Hermit Trail

Hermit Trail, Grand Canyon

In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. … Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Grand Canyon

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6 Reasons Why You Should Never Tell Someone They Look Tired


I woke up like this

I woke up like this

We’ve all heard it from someone at some point – wow, you’re looking a little tired today.  Sometimes meant with good will, sometimes with a little malicious intent, it is just not something that you should ever say to someone.  No matter how good the intent.  And here are 6 reasons why.

  1. It isn’t helpful.  Nobody can immediately turn themselves into someone who looks chipper, fresh faced and well rested.  If they look tired, it will take a solid 8+ hours of sleep and probably many other things, including stress relief, exercise and a hot bath, to not look tired anymore.
  2. It will always be taken with offense.  Even the most well intentioned mention that someone looks tired will be taken as a slap in the face.  Doesn’t matter the tone, who says it to you, or what the context is, nobody ever wants to hear that.
  3. That person probably IS tired and probably for a very good reason that they probably do not want to talk about.  If he or she wanted to talk about it, tired person would initiate the conversation, and then you can be helpful.  It is a very different thing for someone to come to you and say – oh my word, I am SO tired!  That is an open door for you to say, oh dear, perhaps you should try to get some rest tonight.  I’ll do X for you, or why don’t you sleep in tomorrow and I’ll handle Y so that you can catch up on your needed rest?  That is friendly and helpful and appreciated.  But it was initiated by tired person, not by you.
  4. There are far more effective and kind ways to express concern.  In the rare event that you are actually concerned about someone looking tired or worn down, there are any number of more effective and compassionate ways to express this concern. [And let’s be honest, most of the time this is a phrase uttered out of bored observation or mean-spiritedness.  Shame on you if that’s the case].  For instance: a simple how are you doing today would suffice.  Or how about sharing some experiences of your own lately to relate to the person who looks tired, such as: this week has been so intense around here, these late nights at the office are killer and I’m exhausted – how are you holding up?.  Misery loves company and starting a conversation that you are in the same boat as the tired looking person will be much more helpful than an attack on how they look that day.
  5. Nobody looks good tired, so you are telling someone that they look like sh*t.  It is always a bad thing when someone tells you that you look tired.  It means that your skin is sagging, you’ve got bags or dark circles under your eyes, you aren’t focused, etc., etc.  Looking tired means that you simply are not looking your best, and someone telling you that you don’t look your best is not helpful (see #1 above).  Nobody reacts well to being told they look like sh*t, so you are not going to get through any concerns that you have, if they are genuine.
  6. It isn’t nice.  All of this is to say that telling someone they look tired simply isn’t nice.  Don’t be a jerk.

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Also known as that time I took my in-laws to a nudist colony.

Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest

Ryan is obsessed with the Eastern Sierras.  He’s been a couple of times on fishing/camping trips with his buddies, and he raves about it every time he returns.  So when Ryan’s parents were coming to join us on our adventure for a couple of weeks, he really wanted to take them to the Eastern Sierras for part of the trip.  We drove our little caravan of campers up from Joshua Tree to the Eastern Sierras, which is an area of central California that falls on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains, close to Yosemite and Sequoia National Park but on the other side of the range.  It is a beautiful, remote part of the state where the mountains fall straight down into a beautiful open valley.  It’s difficult to get to, which is why it remains relatively unspoiled and off the beaten path – perfect for us!


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Gilbert Ray Campground, Arizona

In case you’ve missed them, here are some recent snaps from Instagram.  Be sure to follow @thepursuitof_life for more of the day-to-day of the #wanderingswigs!

Dutch Oven Campfire Sourdough Bread

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So how did we decide on a 6 month road trip anyway?!


Excellent question.  If you’ve decided to take some time off from work to do something different for a bit, how do you begin to decide what to do?  For us it was a long time of what ifs and how abouts and that sounds interestings.  One hears from time to time about those people who just quit their jobs, sell their belongings, and travel the world.  Actually one often reads about them in a magazine or newspaper or blog.  I certainly have – in fact I usually print those stories out and put them on my desk amidst the stacks and stacks and stacks of papers, intending to read up on these fascinating people if only I could find the time.

And then about a year ago, I said to Ryan – no, really, why not?!  And that started a semi-serious conversation about whether we could actually take some time off.

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Stats from the Trip – March Update


Better late than never, we have closed out the first month of the trip!  Keeping track of a few key statistics each month, here is where we ended up as of March 31st:

Miles Driven: 2,702 miles

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In addition to chronicling our adventures, I thought I’d make this blog a bit useful as well.  And so this begins a series of campsite reviews for the places that we are camping.  We’ll start with Black Rock Canyon Campgrounds, in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Of course for a review to be useful, it’s got to be conducted along some sort of metric, it needs to be accompanied by photos and it needs to be personal. I’ll only review campsites that we stayed in for 2 days or more, so that in fairness we stayed long enough to get a general sense of the place.

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Not to be outdone in funky-ness or prickly-ness by the Joshua Trees, the Cholla Cholla Cacti are really something to see in Joshua Tree National Park.  We stopped by the Cholla Cholla Cactus Garden on our drive to the south of the Park and I have to say that it is one of the strangest places that I’ve ever been.  All of a sudden there is a huge collection of these relatively short, skinny, spiky cacti – they are few and far between anywhere else in the Park so far as I can tell, but they grow in abundance in this one spot.  Again – this is one bizarre national park!  This cactus garden is another favorite spot of mine here in Joshua Tree.


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March 2016 - Joshua Tree, California - 2 of 2

I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.  – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Joshua Tree National Park – what a strange place!  Rumor has it Dr. Seuss was inspired to write The Lorax by Joshua Tree, and that comes as no surprise after having visited.  It is an arid park full of funky, twisty, spiky, lonely trees, interspersed with huge piles of cartoonish boulders.

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