I sat on a bench in Savannah’s Ellis Square, rubbing my forehead with my hand (as I often do when I’m nervous or stressed), as I held the phone up to my ear with my other hand while my mom gave me one of her staple pep talks.

“Well son, I don’t think you need to jump right into dating.”

I chuckled, quickly snapping back to my mom, “Mom, I’m getting a divorce, and as far as I’m concerned, girls have cooties.”

Here I was, a 27-year old southern man, looking at a pile of debt, facing a divorce in the same year that I had worked as a clerk for a family-owned video store and telling my mom that girls had cooties. At that point, it couldn’t have gotten much worse. And so it was, on the first trip that I had taken in well over a year,  I had the first of a series of epiphanies. I hung up with my mom, set the phone on the bench and like the Ben Harper song, headed for the door and walked away…From all of it.

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This weekend saw me in South Lake Tahoe, the second visit there in as many months, for one last snowy adventure for the season. The first, in February for my birthday, saw rain and wind the entire weekend that kept us off the mountain. And anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fair-weather adventurer, save for that time I learned to snowboard in Alberta, Canada and it was -32. So this was something of a Tahoe do-over, where expectations and hopes were high. And Tahoe didn’t disappoint. But while this has been a challenging winter for Lake Tahoe, where it’s seen some of the least snowfall in years, it didn’t disappoint, with a foot and a half of snow falling over the course of the long weekend, making it ripe for grabbing a board and hopping on a snowmobile. Below is a round-up from the weekend.

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It was three years ago this month that both my best trip and best decision to date saw its final moments on a beach in Costa Rica. Seven months prior, in my “home” of the Carolinas, following several years of struggle that came to a head with a divorce, I sold and gave away everything that couldn’t fit into a backpack, quit my job to start my own business as a freelance writer, and set out to travel the world. Life had lost its luster. In honesty, I wanted an out on life.  If there was anyway I could get out of my work, marriage, home, or life, I was looking for it. So I did. I set out on a journey, with no intended tangible or intangible destination. What resulted was seven months of travel that would change my life, taking me from what felt like an abyss, to feeling like I had been reborn, seeing life with a beauty and wonder that I’m not sure I had even seen  as a child. On that beach I felt a resolve and sense of accomplishment like I had never felt before, as if I could go home and continue on with life. Except my journey wasn’t ending. It was just beginning.

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