Jen’s asked me to be a guest blogger on her website so I thought I’d start by telling everyone what I’vebeen up to. After seven years of teaching middle and high school History, I’m taking a break. I love teaching and there’s a good chance I’ll end up teaching again. But the chance to travel with Jen and Charley, see the country, and make a living together was too great an opportunity to pass up.


So what are my roles? I have four of them. First, I am Jen’s booking agent. I reach out to potential venues- outdoor stores, public libraries, city and state parks, universities, high schools, and hiking clubs- to see if they’d be interested in hosting Jen for an event. Don’t tell them this, but I almost always email from Jen’s email address as if I am her because we realized early on that she had greater success booking than I did. So about 95% of the venues we’ve booked from August on have been my doing.


The second responsibility I have is that of chauffeur. Jen’s not a bad driver… but, well, let’s just say she’s alot better on the trails than on the roads. I’m kind of a control freak. And I love our new used Prius (amazing car, incredibly smooth ride, 50 mpg, leather heated seats, it’s AWESOME!). Also, I’ve got a much better sense of direction than Jen and I am, as Jen put it, a “parking Jedi.” I can parallel park almost anywhere. So I have that going for me… which is nice. (free Zamberlan stuff sack to anyone who can name the movie and actor I just quoted!)


Third, I am a nanny, Mister Mom, or just plain good dad. I spend quite a bit of time with our little bean Charley and I love it. Most days, Jen and I divide up our work time into morning and afternoon. One of us will work while the other watches Charley. Usually when I watch her, we crawl around on the floor of the hotel room, lobby, or children’s section of the library. And during Jen’s talks in the evening, I take her on strolls in the kid pack we got as a hand me down from Mike Mason (shout out to Mike for finishing 8th in the Wasatch 100 recently!) Charley’s favorite activities, besides crawling and people watching, seem to be pulling children’s books off library shelves, awkwardly crawling into other kids’ personal space, and shoving rocks, leaves and other inedible objects into her pie hole. But we have a great time together and I wouldn’t trade that time every day for all the money in the world.


Finally, my fourth responsibility is to be eye candy at Jen’s talks. Charley helps with this. But during the last 15 minutes of Jen’s presentations, when she answers questions, she calls me up and invites people to throw questions my way. And though they rarely do, Jen feels that people like seeing me and Charley up there. And I think she’s right. Truthfully, I love being a part of Jen’s presentations because I think it’s kind of symbolic and shows that we’re all in the tour together as a family. We visit with people after the talk, too, answering questions and letting grandparents get their kid fix by cooing at Charley or making sure she doesn’t tumble off the chair she’s climbing on.


In short, we’ve put a lot of effort into our “workation” (that’s what we’re calling it) but we’ve also had a blast. I love Carolina Day School where I taught these past two years, but I love Jen and Charley more and these past three months and the next 9 to 12 will be some of the most memorable of my life.



Stay tuned for future blogs from me, as well as a list of all the great breweries we’ve visited since mid-June.