After neglecting this blog for some months, I thought I'd begin again with our 2005 holiday letter below.
I feel optimistic that this year our country will wake up to the dangers of poverty, climate change, and war and begin to plot a more reasonable course.
Last year was one of changes for our family.
My mother died after a long illness in August which was not a surprise but sad nonetheless. There are some photos of her and a paragraph about her life on the reverse side of this letter. Putting this together was healing for me.
Other changes were happier. Annalise graduated from high school and is having a wonderful gap year before she begins Stanford in the fall. The past months she worked with North Andaman Tsunami Relief in Kuraburi, Thailand setting up an English teaching program for villages that had been hit by the tsunami. In November she was flown back to New York where she was one of five US teens to receive a NetAid Global Action award for her work raising money and awareness of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
I visited her in December for an enjoyable five day scuba diving trip to islands in the Andaman sea west of Thailand followed by an two weeks in Burma, one the most beautiful countries we have ever visited. I am now working to support an effective NGO there that brings water, schools, roads, and health education to tribal villagers in this wonderful but troubled land. Next December, I plan to lead a trip back to trek and visit temples and tribal villages in Burma. This April, when blooming rhododendrons frame views of the highest Himalayan peaks, I'm leading a trek in Sikkim, a Himalayan region between Bhutan and Nepal. Friends and family are invited to join me.
Annalise and I led a fun trekking adventure to the mountains of Slovenia last summer, but most of my travel this year was related to the other big change in my life. After two decades of work, Breaking Trail: a Climbing Life was published by Scribner in October. I want to once again thank all of my friends for your invaluable contributions. These last months are a blur of book publicity; time spent with friends an family all over the country has been the best part.
Annalise is just heading off to the Sea of Cortez to join her dad for a cruise in his boat. Then she’ll study Spanish and teach English in Guatemala and help make a documentary on the 1961 literacy campaign, a great opportunity for her. I’m hoping to find a useful way to go back to my work on environmental chemicals. Also I am looking into adding an addition on the flat roof of my house where I have a view. Moving to another house seems too difficult and expensive, though an addition is neither easy nor inexpensive.
I wish you all a peaceful and healthy New Year, and a happy Spring too.