Welcome to This Open Road!
I’ve had several lives, sometimes one dovetailing nicely into another; at other times one suddenly bouncing off into a completely new direction. All have brought me to the place I am today with my experiences, successes, do-overs and strong impulse to explore the next thing.
For the last several years I’ve aspired to create a life that is in line with what my heart calls me to do. I’ve had a variety of jobs (waiting tables, backpacking guide, working in medical facilities, tagging salmon for the Forest Service in Alaska, a paid internship during graduate school), but my main work was as a librarian. I made a shift in 2010 and went to China to teach English to high school students. In 2012 I accepted a position with the Westgate Corporation in Japan, teaching university students. I worked for Westgate for seven terms – five in Tokyo (teaching in the classroom and working in the head office) and two for the E-Learning program. I’ve also taught Russian students online since March 2014.
I’m drawn to new countries and adventures, but my first love is the Appalachian Trail. I hiked 700 miles in 1994, then returned in 1998 and started over, completing a northbound thru-hike (2,168 miles at the time). In 2010 and 2011, I hiked it again in two sections (Georgia to New York / New York to Maine). On January 19, 2016, I completed a southbound hike, something I’ve wanted to do since my first thru-hike in 1998. That beloved, revered trail calls me and I always feel at home and the happiest when I’m in those beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
I also love living simply, and while I can’t call myself a minimalist, to some it might seem that way. Throughout the last few years, I’ve purged most of my possessions. In 2008, I donated my car to a charity. In the spring of 2012 I sold my condo before going to Japan, and moved the remaining boxes into a 5×5 storage unit. In January of 2013 I purged more things, emptying the storage unit.
As a backpacker, I know how little is required to be content on the trail. I try to apply the same principles to the rest of my life. In addition to the A.T., I’ve also backpacked the Long Trail, the Colorado Trail (2 1/2 times), 41 of Colorado’s 14,000+ ft peaks, and have trekked in Nepal.
Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments.
The inspiration for the name of my blog comes from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of the Open Road,” whose opening lines speak to those with a traveler’s soul:
“Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”
The poem can be read in its entirety here.
contact – rcrispe (at) gmail (dot) com.
Banner: Mt. Katahdin, Maine