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Beginning our parenting journey with our son Heron. Crafting a living that adds to the vibrancy of life for ourselves and others around us.
We met in June 2005 while hiking the Appalachian Trail, moved in together in January 2006, and were married in August 2008. Our longest journey together was in Summer 2006 when we hiked various long-distance trails in England, Scotland, Corsica, and the Alps (see our photos here). Upon returning to the States, we volunteered at various organic farms and homesteads through WWOOF and Organic Volunteers. Those experiences encouraged us to build our own cob home in rural Southwest Virginia; the heavily forested property has been in Eric's family for over 200 years, though it has been uninhabited since the 1960s.
Melissa started a nature preschool, The Mayapple School, that has just finished its successful second year, which our son Heron attends. Currently, our son is 3.5 years old. Last year, we took him on a three week trip to Costa Rica. Formerly a math teacher, Eric is now a freelance cider professional, which entails various things from running the world's largest cider competition (GLINTCAP) to speaking at conferences across the U.S. He will attend Virginia Tech in the fall for their Masters Program in Operations Research.
In order for us to reach our human potential, we must first help others. Meaning can be found in our relationships with each other.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
We moderate the Blacksburg & New River Valley group, and we occasionally organize get-togethers to strengthen the local CS network. We were formerly appointed as City Ambassadors for Blacksburg before moving out of town, and we have also been interviewed for a local newspaper article on CouchSurfing that has helped to spread the word.
During our long-distance hikes and bicycle tours, we have often been treated to wonderful hospitality by complete strangers. The food, water, shelter, rides, and intangibles provided by these "trail angels" are what prompted us to join CouchSurfing and to help those travelers who might also be on the journey of a lifetime. We continue to be on couch surfing because we want our son to lead an adventurous life.
You can find one or both of us reading, writing, making art, hiking, playing board games, drinking cider, eating yummy food, dancing, talking with friends, and loving up our little guy, Heron. Our interests also extend to growing organic food, homesteading, natural building, environmental education, cider, puppies, and other things interesting and helpful.
- organic food
- board games
- outdoor activities
Music, Movies, and Books
We are both very much influenced by the writings of Wendell Berry. Eric prefers nonfiction books (Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Pollan, Nicholas Carr) and documentary films (Hoop Dreams, The Up Series, War Dance). For travel-related reading, Eric has found much inspiration in Rolf Potts' Vagabonding book. He also enjoyed reading Jupiter's Travels about Ted Simon's four-year journey around the world on motorcycle, and greatly enjoys the writings of Eric Newby. Patrick Leigh Fermor's recollections of his journey on foot across Europe in 1933-34 reads like a pre-Internet CouchSurfing adventure!
Melissa can be found listening to Kate Wolf and the Avett Brothers. She has a weakness for Jane Austen but reads a wide variety of books.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Eric has hiked the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, which was an incredible journey. Both of us have hiked the 2175-mile Appalachian Trail, which was another amazing trip. Our favorite long-distance hike that we have done together has been the 110-mile GR20 in Corsica. Our favorite long-distance bicycle tour has been a 400-mile ride on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. But the most amazing thing that we've done in our lives is still being realized...living in the cottage we have built, being intimately connected to our family, friends, and local community!
Teach, Learn, Share
Eric is a Certified Cicerone--the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier--and would be happy to share his knowledge about tasting beer and pairing beer with food. He also runs Cider Guide, a site dedicated to cider, perry, and other alcoholic drinks made from apples and pears. Our primary travel expertise is lightweight hiking, though we've also done some bicycle and canoe touring. Melissa is passionate about connecting kids with nature, and is happy to share ideas and journeys on parenthood and outdoor education.
What I Can Share with Hosts
In addition to the above, we are more than happy to help with small household chores such as doing dishes, cooking a meal, etc. that will help make our visit a pleasant one for our host as well. Depending on the host's schedule, we could potentially also take you out to dinner (not late, as our little guy has an early bedtime).
Countries I’ve Visited
Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States
Countries I’ve Lived In