Things We Are Not Taller Than

“Excuse me, would you mind taking our picture? We have a little tradition we do—just hold on and we’ll get into place.”

It started as a little gag—Tim had once put me on his shoulders and I said I was taller than anything else around. When I came to Aachen to visit him, I found a stat on how the Aachen Cathedral, when built in 798, was the tallest and largest structure north of the Alps. “I want a photo of me sitting on your shoulders next to it. It can be something we are not taller than.”

Tim paid it back to me on his visit to San Francisco in December. We drove up to Hawk’s Hill and walked the viewpoint to the Golden Gate Bridge. Onlookers laughed as I springboarded off a nearby log and scrambled onto his shoulder, whacking him in the face with my gloved hands.

And thus came the tradition. Every vacation we go on, we try to find one thing that we are organically not taller than—and someone kind enough to wait while we struggle into position.

For two years and ten countries, this guy has walked beside me, driven me crazy, swept me off my feet, and yes, carried me on his shoulders, both literally and figuratively. We’ve both got road left in our shoes…I can’t wait to see where we end up.



Scotland Part 2: The Panoramic Highlands

It was impossible not to look everywhere at once. Deep grey skies. Scotch-brown grasses that covered the mountains like ratty blankets. Tree-lined roads that erupted into steely blue expanses of the lochs, castles sitting heavily on their edges. We’d drive until we hit water, get out, take it in, listening to the strange silence of being nearly completely alone. And then turn we’d turn around and drive back again.


Eilean Donan Castle
The view from Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye


Waiting for the Hogwarts Express