Monday, October 8, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Recently, I've gotten some new readers from all over the world. I can't thank all of you enough in Egypt and the Middle East for the huge outpouring of support.  Egypt is DEFINITELY on the travel list. I’m curious: where did you hear about our story?  Make sure you like the facebook page if you haven't already and sign up for the email subscription.

Which brings me to my next point: I’m overdue on providing on an update on my plans. I'm still working towards my education goal, but it's going to take years to complete. I'm really excited (having just taken the GRE,) to start applying to graduate programs and get the ball rolling. Meghan always loved school. She and her mom often told me, how, in high school, Meghan would get home from class in the afternoon and park herself at the dining room table until bedtime. Doing endless hours of homework in order to do well in high school and get in to a good university of her choice.   

I wish I had a similar experience in high school. I was lazy. I fought against any kind of work. I argued with my parents until they threatened to take away my prized stereo (every angsty teenager's refuge in high school). Determined to prove that homework didn't matter, I didn't cave, and my parents took the stereo away! The point is, early on in her life, Meghan saw the value of working hard for something without an immediate payoff. I knew that I wouldn't get in trouble the next day at school if I didn't do my homework, so I didn't do it. I didn't see that developing a strong work ethic and an ability to do things well, even if you find them useless or tedious, will pay off much later. Now, I realize that the sense of accomplishment you receive from achieving a long-term goal gives you confidence; confidence to try something further from your comfort zone, but with a bigger payoff. That’s why Meghan worked so hard when she was alive, and why I work hard now.

In the past two and a half years I have done ten things on Meghan's list that I never would have previously dreamed of, and some additional goals of my own. After college, I NEVER wanted to go back to school. I didn't want to do the work, so after the first degree, I checked that box on the “list of things you're supposed to do” and moved on. But I learned something along the way, especially through my travels. I love learning about human communication.  And I want to learn more. Through exploring Meghan's PhD goal, I figured out what I want to study. I've worked for and received a second bachelor's degree in Linguistics in two semesters (my first bachelor’s degree took more than five years).

As for the half-marathon, I walked (I would've run, but I hated running,) quickly in the opposite direction any time anyone mentioned running. Meghan always wanted to complete a half marathon and often made me go running with her at her family’s cottage every summer. So, it was really meaningful for me to tackle this goal right away. But as I’m learning with the road to PhD, training for a race is about consistently showing up, day after day, month after month. I trained throughout spring 2011 in order to run the 13.1 miles on Meghan’s birthday (July) at her family's cottage. Let me tell you, 13.1 miles (21.1 km for everyone else in the world that uses a logical counting system) is a long way to go by foot. But I did it. And I didn't stop. Now, I love running; I love the high I get from finishing a run, the clarity that comes on a long run, and I love how my body feels traveling long distances without any help. After Meghan's half marathon I went on to run a full marathon (26.2 miles/ 42.2km) in October 2011. For myself. It remains one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I am still working hard for Meghan's goals but also working hard for my own. One of mine is to stay ahead of my age in countries visited: I'm 31 and currently at 32 countries, with another planned for the end of the year. As I go about achieving Meghan’s goals, I definitely insert things I want to do, things I care about. Meghan would want me to pursue my interests. The point is to keep working hard. Don't seek immediate payoff, but when the payoff does come, aim higher and start all over again.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


this is a really great article about what to say or not to say in times of grief. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blog Published

Hey everyone, this is kind of cool. The blog is now published on kindle through amazon. check it out:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Follow up: For the Love of Meghan

This is awesome! I had a lot of fun talking with Sara, check it out and follow her blog.

That Girl...tales from the edge: Follow up: For the Love of Meghan:
It was the part of the story we all know and love...the moment where the protagonist reaches out his hand...the girl grabs onto it...they walk away from the camera...skip...ride horseback into the sunset...but this wasn't a romantic wasn't a fairytale. this...was...real...

I first "met" Adam via a news story. The reporter told of a young woman who was diagnosed with cancer at 27...Meghan. Meghan kept a list of goals...NOT a bucket list because "no one was dying"...things she wanted to accomplish in her life. And some of these items she was able to cross off her list...but not all. She left behind a sizable list of items she would never be able to accomplish...

Enter Adam...Meghan's husband...Adam was by Meghan's side as she fought the beast called cancer. Meghan tried to engage Adam in conversations about "what if"...Adam wanted nothing to do with it. He wasn't thinking what if because he refused to even consider the possibility...he was determined Meghan would be there....they would build their lives together...he would be by her side as she crossed those items off her list...but then reality slammed through the door. And Adam was alone...with his grief...and Meghan's list.

Adam was a tribute to his beautiful wife, Adam stepped in where Meghan left off. Adam found it incredibly unjust Meghan, so full of life, was gone...her list abandoned...Adam decided he would work on her list...accomplishing her goals because she would not be able.

After watching the news story, I wanted to know more about Adam. I was unsure why but he intrigued me. Perhaps, I was more curious about where he was at with this journey when I realized it has been two years since the story first ran. So, I started reading his posts on Meghan's blog. Some were just photos, some were a couple lines. And then, there was a post that took my breath away. Adam talked about grief...his grief...and the only way through it is to allow grief space...and to keep moving forward...and to be willing to accept help. Adam mentions how easy it is to shut yourself off from everyone and everything around become engulfed...and the need to step outside of your comfort zone to find whatever it is that will help you continue moving forward. For Adam, it meant facing his preconceptions and  being willing to seek out a therapist. The therapist was able to help Adam hold a mirror up to himself, to deal with the guilt of Meghan's death, to find himself and learn to trust himself. I commented on this post...I truly connected to Adam and what he was describing, the choices he was making...and Adam wrote back.

Adam and I started emailing back and of the questions I wondered about was where Adam was in all of is Meghan's list he is working to where does Adam fit in? When Adam started working on the goals, he wanted to honor Meghan by completing her list and perhaps keep her spirit feel her presence even though she was gone...a way to learn even more about Meghan as he sought to understand why these goals were important to her, what she was trying to learn by accomplishing them. As Adam journeyed to far away places, he felt Meghan...he envisioned how she would feel if she were with him, what her reactions would be. And, over time, Adam started to see...he realized why these goals were so important to Meghan...he felt the challenge of stepping into new cultures, completely foreign to him...he saw the personal growth that comes with learning to commit to a task...working hard towards accomplishing a goal...sometimes, tasting failure...but to just keep going. The focus and purpose of the list, mixed with the sense of living life to its fullest...and Adam realized this list was truly becoming his own.

In talking with Adam, it is seemingly impossible not to like him. He is a man on a mission to live accomplish some hefty goals...and, yet, he has a more subtle message as well. Meghan is at the forefront of everything he is striving to he graduates with his bachelor's in Linguistics and makes plans to start working on his Masters (a PhD as the end goal) he plans to skate the Rideau Canal...a trip to Ireland...and as I read the early posts, the other articles, watch the other news stories, I learn about who Meghan was...a young girl who was loving life and had her world turned upside down by cancer. Yet, instead of hiding away, she put herself out into the help teach others...she shared her treatments, her ups and downs, photos of her surgeries, shaving her head...and, in many of the photos, many of the stories, there is Adam.

Within Meghan's story is the story of Adam...Adam's life was also turned upside down...and Adam continues to share his journey as he navigates through the what ifs he never wanted to face. Adam shares the emotions and heartache of realizing life doesn't always end up how we envision it...he shares as he navigates through painful emotions...and making important choices. Choices to continue placing one foot in front of the learn how to work through the emotions, instead of pretending they aren't there or trying to outrun them. Adam continues to share his story as part of Meghan's mission...but it is really a reflection of Adam.

At the heart of Adam's story is his desire to help others. Adam wants to reach other people...because, at some point, we will all have our lives turned upside down...and we will face similar choices: to pick ourselves up and learn how to truly live life to its fullest or to let ourselves be overcome and give up. Adam wants to share his experiences to show others there is value in being true to who you are...there is value in finding yourself...because in the midst of life's challenges, both triumphs and failures, there is an opportunity to be the best you. There is no shame in being open and honest about your struggles, in fact, the ability to admit where you are at is often the moment you are able to recognize your own strength. There is a life made sweeter and richer by giving space to the hardship...Adam uses his regrets as markers for future situations, he doesn't let them put a halt to the journey. Adam uses Meghan's list as a trajectory for his he accomplishes one goal, he sets another...consistently getting bigger and bigger. He is proud of what he has learned and accomplished and he credits Meghan's example...he wants others to find the strength to live life harder and never stop...keep pushing, keep living...don't  ever stop...push yourself to do more with what you open to seeing love all the way through.

During Adam's journey in India, his friend talked about how Meghan passed her goals onto him and not anyone else in her circle because Adam needed the path and the path is Ali Baba's key to the hidden treasure. At first, I was as uncertain as Adam about what exactly it meant...but as I sought to understand who Meghan was...who Adam is...and learn the message intertwined in both their journeys, I realized how true this statement is...and how thankful I am my path has crossed Adam's.

Follow Adam on his journey:
Blog For the Love of Meghan
Twitter @LoveOfMeg
Facebook For the love of Meghan

If you'd like to support Adam on completing Meghan's list, there is a donation button on the blog 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coming Down

This guy was hanging out above DC right before I landed last week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I ran 13.1 miles faster by 13 minutes the day after Friday the 13th, after which it was announced that the northern lights might make an appearance that night around midnight when it would be, officially, Meghan’s 31st birthday. I know that it’s possible for the Northern Lights to show up in the middle of Ontario in the middle of summer. But it’s not very likely. I’ve been much further north, latitude-wise, in much better conditions for viewing them and nothing. Seeing the Northern Lights is one of Meghan’s goals that I’ve been chasing, unsuccessfully, for the last two years. I’ve been through all of the Canadian provinces west of Quebec and both North-American coasts in winter with nothing to show for it.

I don’t put much stock in coincidences, numbers, signs, big voices in the sky etc. but these instances are, at the very least, interesting to highlight. We could see whisps like smoke poking out from the tops of the trees that would flicker on and off, similar to lightning bugs, but they weren’t the neon green ripples everyone expects. Maybe our senses were blurred by the light pollution or alcohol but the pictures I happened to take by resting the camera on my shoe pointed skyward are hard to deny. I’ll let you be the judge if cross this one off or not.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hey Canada

Nice to see you too!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Night runs

Good for your heart, good for your head

Friday, July 6, 2012


I'm so glad the temperature in Tobermory doesn't match that of DC. I was starting to get worried about the run next Sunday ... 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Goal Update!

Step 1 of Meghan's PhD goal:
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