Malawi to Maine

I’m in western Maine looking out over a smooth slate blue lake reflecting the burnt autumn foliage of the mountains under stormy New England skies, even as in my mind I gaze back over the past few months. Exactly a month ago I sat high on a steep hill looking out over the vast cerulean blue of Lake Malawi, imagining Tanzania and Mozambique somewhere out of sight, trying to understand my weeks in country as I swatted the persistent stream of micro ants off my dress.

Malawi caught me off guard, I will admit. I have a tendency to tip myself into adventures by dealing with the logistics but ignoring certain glaring challenges until it’s too late, so I don’t miss out on a worthwhile adventure by overthinking it just because it’s hard. (My time living in India and Micronesia were textbook cases of this, cue mini panic the night before the flight.)

Malawi caught me off guard in some ways, I will admit. 

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The freedom of the "Most Disgusting Version of Yourself"

When I arrived in Livingstone, Zambia to join African Spokes, Jen Gurecki gleefully warned that I should be prepared to be “the most disgusting version of myself.” An organizer and veteran of the 70 day trip, riding from Nairobi to Cape Town, she was on to something.

Each morning of Leg 4 started like every other day in camp; shuffling into cycling cloths in the dark, we broke down heavy canvas tent by headlamp, packing up camp while stuffing in calories and water to be ready for first light. When the sun started over the horizon we were off, covering 90km on a short day and up to 214km one special day, aiming to cover as much ground in the early post dawn desert cool as possible to avoid the intense heat to come. And the relentless lack of shade. Leg 4 which crossed a bit of Zambia, all of Botswana and northeastern Namibia had particularly nice tarmac, for Africa.

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Press - Boston Voyager

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julianne Snow Gauron.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I studied industrial design and spent over a decade working on apparel innovation teams in India, the UK, at New Balance in Boston, and North Face, before going out as a consultant four years ago. A major part of innovation work is understanding the user, and I have a lifelong love of what I learned at RISD is called embedded field research. I spend anywhere from an hour to days with people to understand how they live and think in detail, I was doing this long before I became a designer living overseas as a volunteer teacher and other means of exploring the world.

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Julianne GauronComment
A woman's right to choose

A few weeks ago I had the extraordinary opportunity to direct a film about women exercising a vital American freedom, the right to choose with Windy Films and Planned Parenthood.  Although it is very hard to believe that we are in a moment when progress could roll back, but the defense of women's reproductive health and choice stands in the hand's of two senators, Sen Susan Collins of Maine and Alaska's Sen Lisa Murkowski. 

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Sculpting with Fog in Boston's Emerald Necklace

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in Boston for artist Fujiko Nagasaki created five site specific fog sculptures throughout the Greenway, which disperse magical fog on the hour and half hour across the landscape.

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Walking together always

I have spent the last weeks in shock, dumbfounded by intensity of the sadness and pain of loss I feel with Mia’s passing.  I thought I had prepared for this, having spent so many years with her in ER’s and hospitals, she had been to more types of specialists and doctors in her short 6 years and 5 months with me than I have seen in 37 years.  I used to expect her to pass on the regular, placing my hand on her curly blond torso for the rise and fall. This so familiar, from nights with pneumonia and chronic bronchitis, surgeries and unnamed scares, that when the breath went out of her the final time in the hospital I found myself utterly unable to fathom that her tiny body was truly still. 

We had dodge death so many times, how did it finally catch us? And how had I been so unprepared to let her go when we lived so vibrantly with gratitude every day.

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Namibia, Hohewarte Guest Farm

After the African Spokes crew departed to the south of Windhoek to traverse Namibia's gravel roads on their way to South Africa I headed to Hohewarte Guest Farm for a few days, to slow down from the perpetual motion and reflect before I headed stateside.

I did not realize that this former Colonial Police Station and Post Office located on thousands of hectares of land at 1400meters above sea level would in itself be such a special experience.

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Camp, Home Sweet moving Home

One of the greatest joys of cycling across southern Africa was camping. Camping out under the African nights, which gold colder the further south we went towards winter, in start contrast to the desert’s hot days. We wild camped some nights and other nights found ourselves in deluxe campgrounds with showers and cold beers.

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Cycling, the Long and the Short of it

Days were measured in kilometers traveled, and wildlife spotted, and the butt pain meter. But most exciting was this day, and the 14 elephant day, including many babies, almost white from the salt pans.  When we passed most they raised their trunks in unison, trying to figure out what we were, bicycles not being very familiar.  For this reason we rode in packs when in elephant territory.

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Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe National Park in Botswana is famed for its abundant wildlife, best seen from a water safari, and is an amazing region where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe all come together along the mighty Zambezi River - the only intersection of four countries in the world.  This is one of many areas I hope to return to, and travel west across the Caprivi region of Namibia.

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Maple Sugar Shack, in upstate New York

On a ride in upstate New York two collies sitting in the seat of a tractor caught my attention and I stopped to meet the pups, Massey and Fergie-named for the tractor they sat in, and their owner Richard, who invited me back to see the maple syrup making process.

Today Ron, Richard and friends from his paper mill days, as well as the new generation, showed me the age old process of boiling down maple syrup into the sweet sugary goodness. 

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Spring comes to New England

I am a major lover of all things winter-in truth my only non favorite New England season is spring (I know this is incorrect grammar, as well as an unpopular opinion) because around here it is mostly a long winter followed by mud season and a week of spring before summer.

But as the weeks tick down to my departure for Africa I must admit I am chaffing a bit against our weekly storms, and the indoor bike, although I owe Keith Kelly a huge debt of gratitude for the gear which has allowed me to ride many miles to high octane films in my dining room.

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