The next chapter in our life together

Author: Paul Thompson

Welcome Back

Can’t remember exactly the last time I was in Borneo. Think it was with my friends Warren and Jody from Berkeley CA after meeting up with them in Bali at the start of my nearly 2 year post Peace Corps journey thru SE , South and SW Asia in 1973-75. Pretty different this time with my sleepy new wife at 3 am body time

and one more flight to go to arrive in Kota Kinabalu the capital city of Sabah, the eastern most state of Malaysia, and home to Mt Kinabalu the highest peak in SE Asia (13,455ft) which we’ll be climbing next week.

Our day began at 3 am in Auckland to catch our early morning flight to Melbourne Australia for our only significant lay over and hopeful tour in the city for 5-6 hours. However we only learned last week the need to have a transit visa to leave the airport and after 3 hours of filling out forms and sending in documents to the Aussie Govt. we receive a message that we also needed to have a personal visit with an Aussie rep…no can lah!! So the busy American couple got to enjoy the lovely Melbourne airport, playing cribbage, napping and feeling guilty about not blogging and wondering about what it was going to be like in Sabah….next time lah!

From the sky coming in and leaving the local landscape was very dry and brown and the locals we spoke to in the airport clearly pointed to the dramatic temperature increases in Australia…….the heat for us was yet to come.

The flight to Brunei and it’s capital Bandar Seri Bagawan was 6 hours, 3 time zones and one hemisphere away and getting off the plane (even though we were in the protected runway) there was that old familiar feeling of encompassing moist heat followed by the relieving cold of the “where is my sweater” terminal. Don’t get me started on air conditioning. Our 12:30am flight to KK (Kota Kinabalu) was delayed a bit by some passengers coming in from the Philippines so the 25 minute up and down flight arrived in the capital of Sabah at some blearly eyed time after a long and mostly fun day of travel.

The coolest thing about our flights was meeting Brenden from Auckland the liquor salesman who travels a lot.


On his way to Atlanta GA to visit his daughter and then take the bus up to NYC for 5 days, opps he counted and realized that it was only 4 so together with his maps, guide books and Mindy and my “vast experience” (not) of the Big Apple helped to map out his time. Reminded me of Chris and my 5 days in the city in 2001; Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown and night time atop the World Trade Center outside looking down on fireworks in the harbor. Little did we know that 3 months later those same buildings would come crashing down on 9/11. The next day a game at Yankee stadium and the surprise “Welcome to Christopher and Paul Thompson from Minnesota” in giant letters on the stadium scoreboard. Sweet memories of a dear boy.

Plan made Brenden say he wanted to come to Minnesota to experience winter and I said “you better come soon” as we agreed on the acceleration of our weather patterns. He asked about the best times and we said the end of January, beginning of February…perfect for the City of Lakes Loppet and the World Cup Cross Country Skiing Championships coming to the Twin Cities……welcome Brenden and other travelers we’ve met on this amazing journey across the seas.

Bring on the heat!!


Walking out of the airport at KK with our shuttle driver from the C’haya Hotel near the airport (bagus tempat – good place).

The view from our 9th floor window of LaSalle school and the South China Sea in the background.

We started our month in Sabah by sleeping until we got up at 9 am and headed out to find a new local phone place and SIM card and a safety razor cuz the NZ TSA pointed out that my old school injector blades were potential lethal weapons (my ancient razor handle was saved luckily) how exciting. The highlite here was finding a local kedai makan (food café) at getting Mindy’s first copi susu (coffee with sweetened condensed milk) and pisang roti goring (banana fried bread like a crepe) and OMG was that good!!

New phone in hand with the usual cell phone hard to understand plan that sounded way better than it is I called Kok Yin my former student and unbelievable driver, tour guide and today taking us to Kota Belud where another contingent of former students and friends from 48-46 years ago are waiting our arrival. Kok Yin’s family are on a trip to Korea but he said to them “I must stay to be with Mr. Paul and his wife.”

With Kok Yin is Lim Suat Hong my initial friend on Facebook and constant source of energy and encouragement for us to make the journey to Sabah, She is also very involved in KK Basketball and a nurse and midwife.

We are constantly amazed at the kindness and support coming our way from this wonderful community of folks that have been touched not just by me but a lineage of volunteers from Canada, UK, NZ, and the USA. Thanks here goes to our former senator “the happy warrior” Hubert Humphrey who pitched the idea of young Americans making a difference serving overseas to JFK who got all the credit.

As is often the case, the volunteers who serve often receive way more than the people they serve but here the two way street of giving and receiving is clearly evident. Last night at our reunion party of about 30

Mindy shared about her experience of the impact Kota Belud had on my life (and amazement that 3 years of 70 could be so significant) and how it has shaped much of who I have become to what I do. Last night’s gathering was so sweet with hugs, 60 year old men and woman asking if I remembered them and telling me of the things they remember about Mr Paul and our times in Kota Belud 48 years ago.

Mr Eng and Kok Yin asked me to say a few words which often ended in tears and sniffles but I started by apologizing for the long absence in returning to Sabah and giving them a sense of how my experience here shaped my life from my career as a teacher to my interest in policy work and love of travel and adventure. Farida (holding her before photo, our English teacher and local author)

asked me how did my Sabah experience help to shape my life. That really opened up the emotions that sometimes are hard to express but in a loving community of people who clearly loved me it felt very safe and welcome as I shared about my life and the global awareness that living in Sabah had given me.

I joined their “WhatsApp” group, they all showed support for viewing our film “Saving Snow” on May 12 when we return to KK and enough folks said they could help to find a location and invite others (“please bring the youth” was their homework assignment) to make me feel like yes it will happen.

Following our speaking and them presenting Mindy with a “Sabah” necklace and me with a handmade keyholder with miniature native artifacts and personalized name plates then at the end of the evening they handed us a red chinese envelope with way too much RM (Malaysia Ringgit) which is so appreciated given that his trip will perhaps find Mr Paul joining the teacher ranks upon our return to Edina….but worth it…of course–lah!!

Mr Teo presenting the key holder, he was our Geography teacher now retired.

Then my gift to them…… the slide show that I spent 3 months scanning old Kodachrome and Ectochrome slides with the wonderful support and equipment of my friend Jonathan Gross in Morningside (our home). With no large screen available I hand held my laptop for each table as they gathered round to watch, laugh, point out, argue over who that was while the Ken Burns soundtrack continued to provide a strange ambiance to the 8 minute show. It was the least I could do and watching their faces light up with the old memories and seeing the connections being made between old friends that were now re uniting was the best gift I could possibly provide….after all we are in this thing together.

Sharing two of the photos from 1971-72 from the slide show

Mindy’s first Chinese breakfast.

Ally, our contact at River Junkies, the travel org arranging our Mt Kinabalu climb.

Mindy sharing a story with the local dress merchant helping her find a local baju kurung to wear to the party

Street scenes in KK, the capital of Sabah, East Malaysia and formerly Jesselton, North Borneo.

Handcraft magic at an art craft festival in KK, good timing and I had to restrain myself mightily.

Finally some time to relax on the roof of the Chaya Hotel, this is definitely not New Zealand.

Off for KB (Kota Belud) on the old road please, more to come from Borneo.

How do travel bloggers do it?

Photos and blogging and travel, oh my!  We have been on the go so much we haven’t found enough time to catch up on our blog.  There’s still more to tell about New Zealand from talking to skiers in Wanaka to traveling south to Invercargill and Bluff.  Then through the Catlins to Dunedin then north to Ashburton, Christchurch, Kaikoura and Picton.  Ferry back to Wellington, reunite with friends in Waikanae, hustle north to the giant Kauri forest then back to see Hobbiton and Kiwis, return the camper van, get on a bus, board the plane…whew!

So you can look forward to hearing about all of that later.  And more about so many great people we met along the way.  A few photos in the mean time – not in any particular order.

– Mindy

One of Those “Dreams Come True” Experiences

We made it out safely from our 3 day Routeburn Track in time to find our vehicle safely tucked away in the Lake Marian car park. Thanks to Mike and Kiyomi at Trackhoppers for great service in transferring our camper van and allowing us to get to Milford Sound. As the sun was setting I rushed from the parking lot to capture this photo of the famous Miter Peak.

There are spectacular places on this earth that I have visited ,  Mt. Everest (Chomolongma or Sagarmatha in Tibetan or Nepali), Yosemite Valley, the Giant Sequoias on the western slopes of the Sierras, Kilamanjaro in Tanzania and Kenya. Milford Sound (really a fjord we learned from our Kayak guide, carves by glaciers, not rivers) has always been one of those places for me and now it was our turn.

After a few snaps in the waning sun we found our camper van site for the night at the Milford Lodge and it was time for our celebratory dinner at the fairly swanky Pia Pia (Maori for Milford) restaurant. Our server Mariah was from Excelsior MN and Sam, the host, knows our friend and Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg’s son Robert. Once again you can run but you can’t hide from our vast network of friends and family. Mariah convinced us that the King Crayfish (actually a Spiny Rock Lobster) was the way to go with some local beer for Paul and rhubarb lemonade for Mindy….it was a meal fit for the occasion.

After the meal a hot shower was a poor second place to no hot tub but still wonderful to wash off 3 days of hiking and the important setting of the alarm clock for 5:30 am to not miss our 7:15 am date with Roscoe’s Kayak Cruises. With my new iPhone set we slumbered off to a very needed deep sleep. When I woke up thinking the alarm should have awoken us sooner, Mindy asked “what time is it?” and I turned on my phone in the dark….6:47 OMG I had set the 5:30 for pm not am and the fire drill was on.

We actually got there and met Toby the host at 7:07 and were early arrivals.  Deep breath.

Our group numbered 4 couples and Clay, our fantastic guide from Madison, WI who also overslept on his last day. We went thru the basic protocol for new people kayaking, dress, gear, safety, paddle handling and gear storage in waterproof dry bags. An added attraction to our preparation was a visit from a Kia, the mischievous native bird that steals and shreds whatever they can get their beaks around, no photo sorry…see the  guide books.

time to load the boats and push off into the fjord. 

We got on the water before the large and small tourist boats started their cruises and it was silent and the surroundings so massive.

Our guide Clay pulled us together and pointed off to Sterling Falls in the distance (not the one in the photo) and asked “how far away do you think that is?”  I said a mile and a half, another tour member said 2 km. He told us 9 km. Gives you a sense of the size and immensity of our surroundings.

We visited the other permanent waterfall in the Sound where most of the hydropower for the Milford village electricity comes from (around 98% of NZ electricity is hydro generated). The wind from the 150+m falls soaked us all as we paddled right up to the rocks near the bottom of the falls. To dry off we paddled up the north cliff coast learning about the history of the sound and the relationship between the plant life and the cliff geology when there is a landslide (Kiwis call it a slip). The root systems are so shallow that when one tree falls it can take a huge swath of the neighboring vegetation along with it leaving bare rock that will take over a hundred years to rebuild with natural vegetation. The heavier rains of the climate enhanced era we are now in are having an impact on the area. The week before we came, Milford Sound received 750 mm of rain and wind gusts of 175 knots.


The conditions for the paddle were ideal. Clay says the best time is right away a big rain strom when the sound is filled with hundreds of small waterfalls filling the sound. With tides and rainfall the water level varies greatly in Milford. While paddling Clay told us of a local kayak climber who was scaling Miter Peak (one of the world’s most photographed) while we were on the water. Couldn’t see him but cool for me to know he was up there alone and that this area and all over NZ is where Sir Edmund Hillary got his climbing experience before attempting Everest in Nepal.

Side note, Hillary’s climb in 1953 was one of the dreams I had as a boy in Minneapolis to see the highest mountain in the world and was a deciding factor in which country I chose to do my Peace Corps teaching. Malaysia because it took me as far away as I could go and I could see the world, and Everest 1974, on my way home.

Now the cruise ships were out and we had fun bouncing around in their wake as we made the 2 km crossing to the south side of the sound. We scurried across the transport lane and now the morning sun was warm, the sunglasses came out and we snacked on our dry bag goodies. Mindy was kind enough to let me be the bow man so I could take photos and videos. At the end of our tour a offered to send many of the photos to all and they all signed up to receive them. Clay especially wanted to remember this day as it was his last tour of the season and he heads back to the States soon.

Here’s one for your wall, Clay, and thanks for an unforgettable day in Milford Sound.

and for all of us, whatever floats your boat….GO FORWARD AND GET IT!!!

– Paul

Into the Wilderness

And it rained, and rained, and rained on the West Coast of the South Island…over 600 mm, for you non-metric folks that’s over 2 feet….and as we left Haast passing our new friends and Peace Runners

from the Sri Chinmoy Peace Runners, we wondered if we would make it to more stable weather. As we approached Wanaka we understood what a weather curtain the mountains are for this central region of the South Island.

It was curious for me to meet the Sri Chinmoy group here is NZ. The Lake St Marshall Bridge between Minneapolis and St Paul is named in his honor, and it reminded me of earlier days with “World Runners” and “Ski to End Hunger” friends as we did what we loved and worked to make a difference.  Could it be that this is as good as it gets?

The Peace Runners are running across New Zealand as part of an ‘around the world’ run to stimulate conversations for peace.  Their leader Jim Lawless

and I really hit it off talking about working with youth and forming a connection between a NZ School and a school in Edina to foster communication and learning across oceans and cultures.  At 68, Jim is still a renewable energy engineer and talks to kids about climate and healthy living as his work with Peace Runners.  He even is working on a project in Tawau, Sabah where we will be in 3 weeks.

The rains in the mountains where we are headed for the famous Routeburn Track (trek) have cancelled the tramp for the past 2 days.  The reports say the rain will end today and the track is open just in time for our 3 day, 2 nights in the South Island wilderness.  Though the bridge is out at the end of the tramp, so we may get in some extra walking if we get turned back.  There are Department of Conservation folks along the way who will let us know and communicate with the folks moving our car as needed.

So Mindy is packing up while I share the last few days from the West Coast, to Wanaka where we be presenting “Saving Snow” on Sunday to the local ski club and hopefully others that we have been meeting in the area.  And then on to Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of the world where every bathroom stall door invites you to bungy jump, rope swing, skydive or jet boat with the admonition “is THIS checked off on your bucket list yet?”  As I realize how engaged (buried?) people are in their search for adventure and the next cool thing to excite their nervous system; I am more aware than ever how important our conversations with other travellers and local Kiwis on climate action are.  And how the shootings in Christchurch has elevated people’s thinking about what’s important.  So many have mentioned that they were disappointed that the shootings covered up much of the overage on the Student Strike 4 Climate.  Perhaps it’s another one of those silver lining happenings that force people to awakened to the reality of what is happening right in the middle of their vacations.

I am please with the responses I am receiving and Mindy is being reasonably tolerant with my penchant for conversing with campervan neighbors, tour guide workers, campground hosts, money changer staff, really no one is safe while I am awake.  Actually I have found great pleasure is connecting with them around our trip, their work, the weather (wow is that easy here!!) etc. before sharing our climate work and community building ideas.  My CCL training seems to be working.

The West coast seems a bit in the past now but our stop in Punikaiki and my 2 hours alone at the “Pancake Rocks” on a quiet morning was quite remarkable.

Further down the coast we stopped at both famous glaciers the Franz Joseph and the Fox Glaciers.  The former we had to walk to a look out point still a good distance from the foot of the ice.  The retreat of both of these unique low altitude glaciers has receded so much it is shocking.  One of the info signs says the retreat of the glaciers in 1.5- 7 meters A DAY!!!  Guess we should feel lucky to see such giants while they are still impressive…but for me there is sadness and more conversations for action.

We still have time…3 weeks in NZ and for me the biggest thrill is to come this Saturday after the Routeburn tramp….we booked a sunrise kayak tour on Milford Sound…3-3.5 hours touring around all parts of this magical piece of ocean that captivates all who go there.

There will be more as there always is…thanks for following our journey and wherever you are enjoying your precious slice of the world and people in your lives.

A special shout out to my sister Sue and her husband Tom as she continues her recovery from a stroke and our colleague J Drake Hamilton also recovering from a head injury from an ice slip in February.  We are keenly aware of the blessing we have with healthy bodies and minds as we get up and see this astoundingly beautiful country and share with our experience with friends and family around our planet.

See you on the other side of the mountains.

– Paul

More pictures coming later 🙂

Conflicting Worlds of Love and Fear

March 15 was one of those days that are hard to reconcile.  March 15, 2019 – the first birthday of my son Christopher since his suicide last April. Chris turned 29 as I had many thoughts of last year when Chris invited Mark Odegard, his stepdad, Peter and Ricki (my brother and Chris’ uncle and his wife) and myself to help him celebrate his 28th birthday. Looking back I was beginning to notice some odd behavior from Chris as he would disappear for 10-30 minutes with no explanation when he returned. At the same time Chris was seeking more connection and acceptance from family members. So hard to understand mental health when you are not the person experiencing the paranoia (in Chris’ case). I ended the day spreading some of Chris’ cremains in the field behind Adam’s home and honoring the memory of Chris and our wonderful times together during his 28+ years on the planet. Thank you Chris and may we all keep learning how to help each other….. together and apart.

On the New Zealand end of March 15th was this incredible outpouring of student engagement for the Student Strike 4 Climate, a global event with 30 different locations in New Zealand with thousands of youth hitting the streets asking for climate action from their leaders. Around the world over a million young people did the same and I can only hope that this kind of action will stimulate the kind of action by our elected leaders to address the magnitude of what’s needed. One report after the global action had the UN Secretary General announcing a special session on Climate Change which seems unprecedented and totally outside the “business as usual” way of doing things. Here are the young stars in action.


Mindy and I spent most of the day supporting Maha and Maya (our host family 16 year old twins) and the youth along the Kapiti coast,  making posters, developing chants, listening to speakers (including us) and marching around the town. The energy and empowerment of the youth (ages 6- high school) was dramatic to watch and the message of continuing action and outreach hopefully understood. See the photos and videos of the day.

Near the end of the day Maya mentioned that there was a shooting in Christchurch and I heard it has “oh dear God, not here in this beautiful, peaceful, tolerant country.” But indeed the cancer of hate and intolerance as been exported even to such a place as New Zealand. The response from the Prime Minister to the victims in the Muslim community was heart wrenching and full of compassion and “there is no place for this kind of behavior in our country.”

It was well said by Russel Norman a Greenpeace staff person here in New Zealand:

“Together we will keep hope alive and stand for peace and cooperation. We will stand against hate and oppression, and work to promote peace, in this country and around the world.”

and what better way to show this than by working with youth to give them the power to create the political will necessary to bring forth  what we know to be true. As Greta Thunberg the Swedish 16 year old who has emboldened this movement with her Friday Strikes for Climate Action says “we know what to do, now it is a question of awakening the people”

This is something I resonate with.

That’s how March 15, 2019 was for me.

– Paul





Kayak to Seal Island with Cary RICHMOND

Cary in his kitchen making dinner for us

One of the baby seals on Seal Island just off the main shore of Abel Tasman National Park

Cam, our guide, shared stories of the history of NZ, the behavior of the seals and native birds that we saw on our paddle. DYK that some seals can run up to 25 mph on land and swim up to 50 mph !!

Part of our day long kayak trip with CARY RICHMOND our old MN BWCAW friend who now lives in Cable Bay 20 minutes outside of Nelson NZ

We called Cary from the airport in Honolulu thinking he was still living in Hawaii.

When he responded to my message the following week he said he was living in NZ!

Small chance that we would see him and bingo he was right on our path. Now we are talking about meeting in 3 weeks on our way back to the North Island to play golf while Mindy hunts down a world class spinning wheel from Ashford in Ashton NZ

– Paul

Rising Sun in Auckland

Up early at the Jamaica Blue coffee shop in Auckland near the Ibis Budget Hotel near the airport where we get picked up at 11 am for our journey to Rotorua to meet our rolling home for the next 40 days.

Minnesota nice must have gotten the name from New Zealand. My overwhelming impression from our day in Auckland is some of the most friendly, helpful people I’ve ever met…from the barber, Meha, who shared all about where to find a rugby game,

the 2 women at b-fast who couldn’t stop sharing specific places to visit, the kind of wine to find , or the woman at the bookstore helping to locate another store that had the last copy of the trekking guide that we were looking for.


We definitely got our 10,000 steps in wandering the cosmopolitan city,

learning to use public transport with our new French friends (and Cool Planet converts), Eric and Albane,

cruising fisherman’s wharf with amazing yachts and sailing vessels,

stopping into interesting shops

and a wonderful dinner at the Zookeeper’s Son and a fantastic waitperson, Helena, from Korea

who warned us of the sheep and cow poop on the way to the top of Lone Tree Hill in Cornwall Park that we climbed at sunset for a breath taking 360 degree view of Auckland to end our first day on this island nation.  

Dream Becomes Reality

Before I get too engrossed in being here in New Zealand I wanted to share  a bit about my / our process in creating this grand journey we are starting on.

  1. Mindy has been fascinated with and wanted to visit New Zealand for along time.
  2. I’ve always wanted to return to Borneo to visit my former Peace Corps location of Sabah, East Malaysia.
  3. Mindy had wanted to bike across the country before she was 50.  She completed this at 48, so what to really do for 50?  Sights became set on going to New Zealand.
  4. When I turned 70 last August Mindy made the comment that there would be a 6 month window when I was 70 (8/29/48) and she was 50 (2/12/69) and that celebrating our 120 years would be an auspicious occasion.  And traveling right after the Birkie would be good timing for the southern hemisphere.
  5. At the Edina Community Foundation’s ” Connecting with Kids” b-fast in 2018 the guest speaker was Hugh McCucheon, the U of M volleyball coach,  and native of New Zealand. We chatted briefly about his homeland and I was totally sold on visiting.

Let the planning begin….as the Winter turned cold and colder (see Sabah Flag photo) and the record snows of February built our shoveling muscles.







Mindy hit the magic 50 while our training for the Birkie (55 km ski marathon, Paul’s 38th and Mindy’s 3rd) took most of our time we were counting the days to “March Fourth” with increasing anticipation and considerable stress as Mindy and Paul completed their work as Regional Co-ordinators for CCL (Citizens’ Climate Lobby) and Mindy as administrator for her job with Ignatian Associates.

Paul spending hours digitizing his Kodachrome slides from 1971-73 at friend Jonathan Gross’ home studio…thanks Jon.







2 other things worth noting in the preparation…On Mindy’s b-day after skiing 42 km I took her out to a b-day dinner at French Meadow for a lovely meal and a surprise break in to Millie my 2004 Prius…OUCH!!! 

Mindy lost her backpack with lots of cords and small items but had luckily removed her brand new iPad, and the perpetrators did not look in the back seat (doors locked) where my brand new camera was untouched…PHEW!!


So adding multiple days of getting the window replaced and the necessary body work to Millie added to the  stress of preparation. So the obvious thing to do is to announce our wedding date of 9/21/19 and then decide to get married on March 2 at Pat Corcoran’s B-Day and Guthrie Dinner Party with our neighbor Rev. Molly Cox as the wedding officiant and 8 friends.

It just felt right so we made it happen, a little like this trip.


Skiing the Birkie while carrying the cremains of my son Christopher who died of suicide on April 13, 2018,

visiting my sweet sister Sue recovering from her stroke

 before leaving and following the Caring Bridge of J Drake Hamilton also recovering from a head injury during an ice slip is a constant reminder of the preciousness and temporary nature of our lives together. I am blessed to be partnered with Mindy Ahler, my wife and travel companion and the  joy of having a large network of community supporters and families that care about us and we them.


Enjoy our blog, comment to us if you have the time and know that we are always in deep appreciation of you and your efforts to make our world a safer, healthier place for future generations.


Peace out~ pt


Winter to Summer

Yesterday Mindy end I skied 10 km at Hyland-Bush on real snow for the 2nd time this Winter. The temperature was -10 F and no one was there except us and we look totally incognito with our sunglasses, KT tape (kinesiology tape) on our faces to prevent frostbite and bundled up to the 9s. What you probably can’t see is Mindy holding a guide book of New Zealand and Paul one from Borneo, part of which is Sabah, East Malaysia. Between us is the flag of Sabah hi lighting Mt Kinabalu, the highest point in SE Asia and one of our destination points on our 10 week journey.

The skier adage of “there is no bad weather, just bad clothers” was proven again as we both were toasty warm as the exertion of x-cty skiing more than kept us comfortable. Why are we skiing with all this preparation for our trip? Our annual Birkebeiner ski marathon is next week and with 55 km to cover we will ski all day tomorrow on Mindy’s 50th Birthday, February 12, 1969-2019, to ready our finely tuned athletic machines. More like 7 slow, steady hours of striding to get to the finish line for Mindy’s 3rd time and Paul’s 38th.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELINDA ANN AHLER, and welcome to the second half of your century.

Join our climate action team and help us get to the finish by sponsoring our efforts here:

Half of the funds support Cool Planet’s climate work the other half go to the Chris Thompson Memorial Fund to honor and remember my son Christopher who died by suicide on April 13, 2018.  Our efforts together will help all of us prevent suicide and move our country to honest and heart felt conversations about mental health and wellness for all people especially our youth.

Practicing on my tiny portable Bluetooth keyboard on day -21 before liftoff and it’s slow going. How committed I am to blogging on this remains to be seen……but for now I remain open to saving weight. And leaving my computer at home…time will tell.

Thanks for joining our reader team, more to come as we navigate these last 3 weeks before liftoff to Auckland, New Zealand.