We Hate The Word Busy

· 4 min read ·

Yesterday, we spent the day commemorating and celebrating the life of Ann-Marie Murray, with the launch of the Three Good Things Project. It was an important moment of reflection, and in many ways harder than last year’s remembrance, when we were all still in something like shock. The past year has made for many amazing moments for both Sheila & myself - but those moments have been made at times painful in the absence of the woman who gave so much to everyone else. Please, please visit the site and the Facebook page that Sheila has set up. Every little bit helps, and we appreciate any and all contributions made in Mrs. Murray’s name.

Busy Is Not An Excuse

Sheila & Mango outside Revelstoke in Concord, NH - one of our new favorite places!
Sheila & Mango outside Revelstoke in Concord, NH - one of our new favorite places!

It’s been a little bit since we’ve written, though we talk daily of posting. The past few weeks have flown by, and while the grass is still green outside, we’ve already seen snow flakes in the air. The chill, brought to you by late Autumn, seems appropriate. Personally, I can’t wait for more snow. Despite struggling with circulation difficulties throughout my life, I’ve always loved a good snow storm. Perhaps it’s simply that my interests in the American Revolutionary War and Greco-Roman history often had me in awe of the effects that snow had on civilizations, both past and present:

  • The Alps were for hundreds - if not thousands - of years considered to be impassable in the winter. Their glacial fury alone kept the Romans “safe” within the Italian Peninsula. Hannibal secured his place in history precisely for managing a winter crossing, using elephants.
  • On October 11th, 1776, then-loyal Benedict Arnold managed an astounding naval victory during the Battle of Valcour Island against General John “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne; despite having literally no experience on water prior to convincing George Washington to let him outfit a small fleet on Lake Champlain in the early months of 1776, Arnold’s ragtag fleet - though badly damaged - managed to damage & evade the British, which led them into a temporary naval withdrawal back towards the St. Lawrence River … which was solidified into a full-fledged retreat on *October 20th*, when it began to snow
  • Who could forget the story my dad told me of a blizzard in 1978, featuring him and his dad driving out of Manhattan to Long Island in a stretch limo during a blizzard?

Those are just a few of my favorite winter moments of yore. As the changes to our planet’s atmosphere continue to pile up, it seems the frequency of cold weather and wintry conditions is on the wane - at least here on the East Coast! We are in search of sunshine and grander vistas, west of the Continental Divide … more on that to come, for sure.

Between the launching of the Three Good Things Project and an unexpected development on the work front, things have been busier than ever. I went to meet up with a friend and old colleague a few weeks ago for a beer, and walked away with a part-time consulting job with my old company. This was completely unexpected, but Sheila and I both agreed that sometimes these things happen for a reason, and it seemed the right time.

Going back to work - if only part-time - has been a humbling opportunity. It’s been a real trip to see good friends and coworkers throughout the days that I work from within the Boston office, and I’ve been amazed at how quickly the days fly by even when I’m working from home. It feels good to be able to give back to the community that saw me through so many personal firsts, and to feel valued in the process.

Because I also work on the weekends - indeed, for many months this year, my consulting job with Linked Ring was responsible for paying the bills - you can imagine how quickly time has flown by. We’ve had the chance to reconnect and see many of our good friends while staying with them in Boston, and while we owe thanks to everyone we’ve seen and stayed with, it would be remiss not to name drop the talented Katie Karlberg of K Plus O Photo, our wedding photographer-to-be and good friend who has allowed us to stay and work from her premises on many occasions over the past two months!

It’s funny the way that time and location changes, allowing us to take new meaning from the same familiar things. I’ve just made some ginger and lemon tea for Sheila - the same tea I probably made every single day we were in Paris, loads of times in Slovenia and Switzerland, and plenty of times in England as well. Despite this, it’s a new activity now that the cold’s found its way beneath the floorboards; instilling comfort and warm both into the body and into the memories of our trip as I fondly look back on them. And that’s the crazy thing about time, too - now the trip recedes into the past: this grand adventure we had gradually replaced in thought by things like baking (this week we’ve made 3 loaves of bread, sourdough calzones, and we’re doing sourdough flatbread for dinner, ha!), grocery shopping, and now programming. Life’s like that. We’ve got bigger adventures planned, but we’ve also been grateful for this time to spend with family and friends. Particularly around the holidays, it’s been grounding to remain in one place and (try to) pitch in.

Keep your ear low to the ground for more from us in the coming days. While we try to avoid the term “busy”, much of it has been an excellent busy-ness indeed, and it will appear to you in the form of new recipes and content here as we go.

Adventure travel blog by James Simone & Sheila Murray. Travel along with them on their backpacking trip(s) as they actively explore the American West, Europe and beyond:

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