Finding Paths to Happiness

How do people who battle anxiety and/or depression find peace and happiness?

I have found answers to this question through reading the wisdom of some brilliant writers whose works I have featured here. (Click on “more books” in the menu to see them.)

But I have found some of my life’s most enjoyable times on the long-distant trails in Europe. My story about my first such journey became an adventure memoir, Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.

I am finding this happiness again in England on the South West Coast Path. Sue and I are about a third of the way through our 260-mile trek from Minehead to Land’s End. Here are a few scenes from England.

The Salt Path: A Book Comes to Life in England

The path plunges and rises with the valleys, over and over.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then walking the South West Coast Path is indescribable.

I am reading Raynor Winn’s best-selling book, The Salt Path, while walking in her footsteps on England’s South West Coast Path.

Except I am hardly following her lead.

Winn walked after she and her husband Moth lost their home in a business deal gone sour. Plus, he had just gotten news that he was dying from a neurological disease. They camped, mostly, and she wrote that they lived off 48 pounds a week. In two segments, they trekked almost all of the 630 miles.

Sue and I are fortunate that we are healthy and will return to our Oregon home. We have a shower, warm bed, and pub meals at the end of each day. We are carrying everything we need on our backs, sans the tent, sleeping bags and stove. Finally, should our script play out, we will hike “just” 260 miles from Minehead to Land’s End.

But, like Raynor and her husband and all who venture here, we are astounded by the glory of England’s southwest coast. The steep path challenges, but our senses bask in this experience.

The Asian American Male: Who Is He?

What is it like to grow up in the United States as an Asian immigrant male who was born in Manila, Philippines?

For Alex Tizon (the photo above was on the inside book cover), it was a lifelong struggle to overcome the shame he felt as he faced popular stereotypes that portray Asian men as weak, short, and unsexy, among other characteristics. While growing up, he collected memories and files of evidence that he believed refuted those stereotypes.

The culmination of his effort was Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self, a powerful, brilliantly illuminating and sometimes humorous story of his life and of Asian men in America.

A Pulitzer Prize winner and ground-breaking journalist at the Seattle Times, Tizon’s last career stop was the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication.

When a book touches me, I write to the author to share my appreciation. But I was shocked and saddened when I looked for Alex Tizon’s contact information and discovered he had died, of natural causes, in 2017, at 57.

You can get his book by clicking here.

Sierra Nevada: A Beer Story Like No Other

Imagine having the opportunity to sit down with Ken Grossman, founder of perhaps America’s greatest craft beer company. As you sip one of his many brews, he tells you how, in 1980, he started a company that would eventually produce a million barrels of beer a year. As he tells his story, though, you sense that he is trying not to sound like he is betraying his humble nature. That is what it is like to read Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

With his bare hands, ingenuity and unflagging commitment, the longtime backpacker and bicyclist, now in his 60s, overcame obstacles that would sink mere mortals. He built a company with quality and sustainability as his guideposts; his brewery in Chico, California has become the city’s biggest tourist attraction. Sierra Nevada added an even more impressive facility near Asheville, North Carolina.

Ken Grossman’s story is remarkable in many ways. And his book came out before 2018’s fire that destroyed Paradise, just up the road from Ken’s brewery. His (and Sierra Nevada’s) response to that disaster reminded me of his dogged determination that created Sierra Nevada nearly four decades ago. He called a special brew Resilience and is donating all sales (not just the profits) of the beer to the Paradise recovery. And he convinced breweries across America to join the effort.

Beyond the Pale is an inspiring story and you can shop for the book by clicking on the cover above.

(In the interest of disclosure, my son works for Sierra Nevada in Chico.)