Mates, it’s been a sweet ride. Together we’ve been to Alaska, we’ve had nice adventures, from doing sciency stuff on the North slope, being a dog handler, teaching kids, skiing, flying, cooking, making and losing friends, forgetting sleeping drumers in the Subaru, gazing at northern lights, drawing, growing, failing, driving thousands of miles to Canada, starting again, studying ice, drinking lattes, going back to France, starting again again, getting caught up, failing again, going to the Alps, skiing some more…

It’s goodbye for now


Let’s share some gear love. My most cherished and used (and most expensive) possessions are:

Pairs of skis: 2

Pairs of hiking/mountaineering boots: 3

Swimsuits: 3

Hiking bags: 3

Mountain bike: 1

Sleeping bags: 2

Puffy jackets: 4

Pairs of climbing shoes: 1

Fleece: 7

Pairs of running shoes: 2

Climbing harnesses:1

Insulated mugs: 3

Pairs of crampons: 1

Ski goggles: 3

Buffs: 3

Crevasse rescue kit: 1

Kinves: 2

Tuques: endless supply

…What’s yours?

Hi all,
I wish thinking of contributing to this blog counted as actual contributions.
If it was the case, this blog would be overflowing with pictures and posts.
It’s just…There are so many talented bloggers, who are eloquent, put clear words on complex concepts, take beautiful pictures and find cool links.
It makes you think. What do I bring to the table. What is the worth of it; is my voice echoing in an empty church?
Well, maybe.
But, heck.
Today I’m contributing this:
I’m the adult child of a chronically ill parent. This parent is going through yet another cancer.

A friend, an old (sorry John!) professor from a University in Canada, shared his favorite quote several times:
« And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well ».(Julian of Norwich)
I will believe it till it happens.
If you’re in the same situation, give me a shout. We’ll have too much coffee and eat inappropriate amounts of cake.



There’s still a few brave ones around, I know…Just for you, a few treats (there’s more coming). Special mention to those of you at work during the Holidays, and those who are not going back home. Sending warm thoughts and fuzzy feelings. (source)

Below, some suggestions for quality screen time.


New York City wants to be greener

Where Americans use « Um » and « Uh »

The picture perfect life of a snow geek

The Economist‘ take on Scotland’s referendum results

Cellist Zoe Keating benefit concert rebroadcast

A Cup of Jo wants to procrastinate with you

A love song to breakfast

Thinking of Christmas

Harvard Business Review online courses

Some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past few years. I started taking notes like these, toying with the idea of putting together a guide for « anxious older 20-somethings ». (Most sentences are quotes -I apologize, I do not have the sources. If you recognize one of them, please let me know).


  • We all think we’re pretty smart
  • There will always be someone smarter than you
  • Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t
  • Try to quit the “are we there yet?” mindset (OH! so important)
  • Don’t keep score, if you help someone they don’t owe you anything
  • Work hard to create what you want, but don’t try and control the outcome. Give it room for things fall into place
  • Don’t blame yourself too harshly — enjoy the process of learning, accepting the stage that you’re at, and continuing to refine your knowledge and work hard (Yep, cheesy and very Gen-Y-y, but still a good reminder)
  • Keep a log of information relevant to what you’re trying to change
  • “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”-Dale Carnegie
  • Anxiety means we’re doing something real that excites us (I disagree with this one most of the time but will keep it in the list till I understand it)

My favorite poem, by E. E. Cummings. I like the rhythm, the interruptions, I like that trees and roots and the sun are called upon to paint love. I like the idea that when you have the strong hope you’ll meet the person who is right for you, you are carrying this hope like a flame, you are carrying the hope of their heart. And when you meet them it is like coming home because they’ve been in you the whole time.

[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]

By E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Found here

Extrait de l’interview de l’alpiniste et guide de Chamonix Lionel Terray (1921-1965) par Paris Match suite à sa participation à la premiere ascension du Jannu (7710m, Nepal) en 1962:

-Vous vous intitulez un « conquérant de l’inutile ». Expliquez-vous.

-Evidemment monter sur un sommet ne sert à rien. C’est un lieu commun. Mais qu’existe-t-il d’utile vraiment en dehors de…la culture des patates. Ce qui me pousse vers les sommets, c’est tout simplement ce secret besoin qu’éprouve chaque homme d’échapper à la bassesse de sa condition d’animal rampant. Quant au risque, je ne le cherche pas. Au Jannu, nous avons tout fait pour être « raisonnables dans l’irraisonnable ». Mais quand on a entrepris quelque chose, il faut aller jusqu’au bout.


I so feel like traveling



Time for a lovely dinner with my best bud in Paris. But where shall we go? I checked out My Little Paris, full of good ideas for things to do in Paris, a sort of Paris for Dummies With Good Taste. And I found this. A bit hidden, looks like sort of an antique shop from the street. Intriguing. The first impression doesn’t do it justice, because on the inside, it is just RIGHT. Warm, welcoming, stylish without being hipstery (though I do like hipsters). Feels like home. The owner looks like a tall, healthy, tanned, slim happy farmer. And the food! The flavors are not delicate, they are intense, powerful, intriguing (again), deliciously intricate. Go for it. We paid 18 euros for the main course and 6 euros for a glass of dry yet fruity white wine.



Grenoble (here) sits at the feet of 3 mountain ranges: Charteuse, Vercors and Belledone. I have a soft spot for Belledone, it is utterly gorgeous and photogenic (see the 3 top pictures). I used to herd sheep and goats there. Vercors is where I used to spend family holidays. The top picture is the view from my friend Pascaline’s garden, whom I visited last December. Chartreuse still is a complete mystery to me.

In Fall 2008, after completing an internship in the Alps and graduating from my Master degree, I took a job as a mover (!) for Rossignol (the ski brand), to be able to stick around in the Alps for a couple months and SKI. And skiing I did! I spent a few weeks in the Aravis range near Annecy, in the La Clusaz resort. I felt light, free and bad *ss. This winter the prodigal wannabe skibum returned to La Clusaz and went on a piligrimage all over the mountains.


A couple weeks ago, lightning strikes on the Eurostar rail network turned a quick business trip to London into a proper 30-hour mini-holiday. Delightful, I say.



No matter how I look at it, even if I summon my most positive self, this past year has been fairly unexciting. The main reason being that I have been looking for a job for that exact amount of time, after living abroad for a few years. However. I like consciously doing everything I can to generate as little regrets as possible. So there have been some good things (not in order of importance):

– Started running, and am aiming for a semi-marathon in a few months (lost 16 pounds in the process)

– Rekindled with old friends

– Spent lots of time with family

– Walked in Paris, from left to right and right to left (including trips to the museum and little restaurants)

– Read (a lot of Ken Follett and John Le Carre)

– Went on mini holidays in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Biarritz, Quiberon, Chamonix, Grenoble, Bruxelles

– Learned to cook curry and quiche lorraine

– Learned the basics of programming

– Co-author in 3 scientific reports

– Contacted by Al Gore’s staff. Twice.

– Gave my blood

– Made progress on my kids books projects

– Became very efficient and reliable at my temporary job

– Grew baby tomatoes that turned out to be yellow peppers

– Drank Mojitos with my sister

– Opened a savings account

– Herd sheep in the mountains

– Hiked a 11 500ft

– Networked and reached out a lot, new contacts include the former CEO of the WTO and World Bank analysts

– Dared to give my cell number to a tall, dark and handsome man (still looking for the right one)

ImageImageImagephoto (2)

When my mum was in her 20’s, she took a trip to London with a group of friends and took these great pictures. It seems she liked uniforms as much as I do now!