Monday, September 15, 2014

an #influenceconf intro

Hi y'all! I'm Annie, a 23-year-old writer and native Mitteneer. This will be my third year heading to Influence and I'm thrilled to be going again.

One part I'm excited about: Lara Casey's network members' session on Friday night. I loved her session from last year and am eager to soak up more of her wisdom.

One thing I wouldn't leave home without: my iPhone (naturally), but also, my traveling companion:

This is Tigger on our way to Influence last year. My mom bought him for me fifteen years ago and I usually take him with me everywhere.

He's still a little bitter about not getting to go to Kenya last summer or Texas last March, but seeing all your lovely faces at Influence usually mellows him out.

I can't wait to see y'all next week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

a walk through history.

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
The Capitol, Williamsburg, VA
The Carnivore Café, Toledo, OH
It stirs up differently in each of us.

Leaving county lines is a dream I entertain nearly constantly. It took me years to realize the county lines may have been determined, but the frequency with which I crossed them was a map I got to draw myself, and for those of you who keep close eyes on my travel page, you'll know I've scribbling with the furious enthusiasm of a two-year-old with a new crayon.

I've been in four states and around a fifth on over seven trips since March. It's been glorious. These are the kinds of adventures I dreamed of having all the time when I told my mom two years ago I wanted to stay at home for a couple years so I could travel. It's taken nearly all that time for me to learn how to save to make a life like that possible, but I've come a long way. I'm still learning a lot, but y'all, to (roughly) quote Benjamin Franklin, "A penny in Annie's bank account is a penny spent."

Literally. A penny.

It's infuriating that travel is so expensive, because it's so worthwhile, so broadening, and yet so shrinking at the same time. The Spanish say, "El mundo es un pañuelo," which translates to, "The world is a handkerchief," meaning it's a small world. It's an apt idiom; traveling the world brings the corners of the handkerchief closer together, and we know begin to personally know other cultures and countries and peoples in a way staying home and reading could never fully provide.

I've traveled entirely stateside this year - not entirely by choice, and I am still eyeing the Canadian border with intent to cross - and it's been an intriguing exploration into our own country's history, which I haven't studied with any sort of depth or commitment since I took AP US History in tenth grade. Not only have I seen it, but I've walked it: the halls of the largest private home in the nation, the streets of one of the oldest cities in the Union, buildings built by the WPA as part of the recovery process for the worst depression in the world.

It's magical. It's incomprehensible. We have been gifted with the ability to create, to leave traces of ourselves for posterity to discover: some of us by name (I'm looking at you, George Vanderbilt), others of us by working carefully and steadily (I'm looking at you, Depression-era builders of many of the Toledo Zoo buildings). What power in our tiny, shaking, unskilled hands.

Let's not waste that. Let's not squander this gift we have. We're building a path for posterity. Let's do so with vision.