This Open Road

A season walking southbound on the Appalachian Trail


July 2015

I’m doing it all. Soon I’ll be headed to Maine for an extended southbound hike on the AT. I’ll continue to teach online on my ‘rest’ days. I’m so excited to be in the ancient Appalachians, a place I love and belong, working hard every day, pushing myself, being productive and meeting like-minded and -hearted souls. Here’s to life at its largest!

April 2015

I’m back in the U.S. What is the next episode? There are options. Always options. For now, I’m teaching online, blogging, running, hiking and planning. I’ve launched my online teaching site (Open Roads English), I hope to thru-hike again and I continue to write. Whatever it takes to keep moving and growing and experiencing this big, wide world.

January 2015

At the end of this month I’ll be returning to the U.S. The intention is to stay there for more or less the long term. I feel ready to continue on the path of growth and discovery in my home country. At least that’s what I’m saying now, from this futon on which I sit.

October 2014

I am back in Japan. This country fascinates and calms me. I look forward to the fall, new friends, experiences and the mystery of what will transpire in the coming months.

July 2014

It’s hard to believe my time in Laramie is coming to an end soon! I’ll continue to teach through the end of July, I’m going to run a couple of races this month, take a road trip with my friend KRC, and get to the trails! The summer has been wonderful!

April 2014

I’ve been living in Laramie, Wyoming since February – this little college-cowtown on the prairie. I’ve been quite content, just living, teaching online, waiting. This gig will last until early August when I hope to do some backpacking in the high country of Colorado before returning to Japan. We only have this one life and I want to spend it in as rich and fulfilling way as possible. I am so thankful.

January 2014

A new year. This last year has been so full, starting with my volunteer stint in Bolivia, then teaching in Japan, then the thru-hike of the Long Trail, then back to Japan. I have no idea what’s in store for 2014. Actually, I have several ideas, but nothing has been set. I’m not sure if I’ll return to Japan, at least in the spring. I’d like to be here in the fall, but I’m feeling like I need to be stateside for a longer period of time. But what I’ll be doing during that time is yet to be determined. I love clean slates.

October 2013

I’ve been back in Japan for almost six weeks, and this term I’m teaching in Nagoya, covering for another teacher who couldn’t be here. I’ve really enjoyed my time and look forward to discovering more of this part of Japan before I return to Tokyo mid-December. I’ll continue working in the Westgate office as a Senior Instructor until January 31. Between the spring and fall terms I hiked the Long Trail and it was fantastic! I’m already scheming about another trail to hike next summer.  :)

July 2013

I returned to Colorado at the end of July after a fabulous time in Japan, working as a Senior Instructor at Westgate. I’ll go back in September with the same job description. In the interim, I’m going to hike the Long Trail in Vermont. Thanks for reading!

April 2013

Bolivia was amazing. I met some great people, stayed in wonderful hostels and enjoyed a beautiful summer in the Southern Hemisphere. The posts can read by searching under the ‘tags’ or ‘categories’ sections. (They’ll also be under the ‘Recent Posts’ section for a few more weeks.) And now I’m back in Japan! I’m working with Westgate for a third consecutive term. This term will end on July 27th, then I’ll travel for a week before going back to the U.S.

January 2013

The second term teaching English in Japan was even better than the first. I settled into a comfortable curiosity and avid fascination with Tokyo. I renewed my contract for the spring term and will return at the end of March. After coming home in December, I spent my jet lagged nights researching what I would do in these intervening months. Within three weeks, I’d purchased a ticket to Bolivia and will be in Sucre until early March, volunteering with BiblioWorks, taking Spanish lessons and moving from hostel to hostel, experiencing different parts of the city. I continue to be energized by this traveling, teaching life I’m creating. I am completely content with this path.

October 2012

After finishing my term in Japan, I went back to Colorado and stayed with my parents for the next seven weeks. It was a great and restful time of connecting with friends and spending time with my family. My post, A Bundle of Summer, gives a summary of those weeks. Before I left Japan, I signed another contract to teach again in the Fall. I’m now in Tokorozawa, Japan, teaching English at a private women’s university. I’ll be here until mid-December, and then….?!


May 2012

I’m now in Kasukabe City, Japan. I’ll be here until July 20 teaching English at Dokkyo University in Soka, which is about 30 minutes away by train. My condo in Boulder sold in 62 days, listing to closing. To be here, near Tokyo, feels somehow normal, but at the same time, I cannot believe how the last few months have brought me to this place. I am so lucky.


February 2012

These last few months have been uncertain as I tried to find an ESL or library job in the Denver/Boulder area. But instead, I was accepted into a teaching program in Japan! I’ve decided to sell my condo so that I have more flexibility in my future endeavors. My city and school will be assigned in a few weeks. I fly to Tokyo at the end of April and I cannot wait!


November 2011

The last year has been a whirlwind and I feel quite satisfied with the way things have developed as I look back: I embarked on a northbound hike of the AT in the spring of 2010 and hiked 1375 miles from Georgia to New York. Then after a few weeks at home preparing for the next phase, I flew to China where I taught English to 11th graders. Then this last summer (2011) I returned to the AT and finished that epic trail, hiking 805 miles from New York to Maine. (This was my 2nd complete hike on the AT. I also thru-hiked the trail in ’98.) My time in China sparked a new interest in teaching and I’m now exploring ways to build on this experience here in Colorado. My skills as a librarian served me well and I know they will continue to in whatever capacity I find working with international students.

11 responses to “Backstory

  1. Dan February 1, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Robyn, I can understand your mindset completely and yet at the same time I am so jealous! After living in Japan during 2010, I definitely caught the travel back, and since I returned home haven’t had the opportunity to go abroad again. I’m much more keen to spend a lengthy period of time in one places rather than just a week here and a week there – I think it’s impossible to develop any meaningful appreciation and understanding of the people in such a short time. I also hope to make it back to Japan sometime in the future, so until then I’ll keep up with your ESL advernture here!

  2. Opus September 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Hi Deja,

    Wow, what an amazing adventure you have! I found your blog through Cerveza’s Trailjournal. That is about as far from the Appalachian Trail as you can get! Great stuff so far, I’m looking forward to reading more.

    I work with several researchers from China (and two from Taiwan) and forwarded your blog to them as well.

    Opus, AT 2010

  3. Crystal Schimpf August 25, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Robyn, I don’t know if you remember me, but I worked at Lafayette PL in 2008. I just stumbled across this on facebook, via a post from Betsy. Anyway, it is so exciting to read about your adventures, and I wish you the best in China. Can’t wait to read about it!

  4. Troy McConnell August 11, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Robyn! Just discovered your blog. I’m so amazed and excited for you. My son Corey leaves for Baylor next week and one of his dreams is to live in Asia at some point. My hopes and prayers are with you – and I look forward to hearing about your journey.

  5. Barb June 1, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Just now getting on…we’ve been out of town. I have a new perspective since reading your blog. You are a terrific writer. Be safe…Aunt Barb

  6. Uncle Dan April 24, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    This is so great being able to follow your progress. Keep up the good work. Love ya…………………….

  7. Leigh Shulman March 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Congrats on the new journey!

    So glad I can be hear to read and hear about it.

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