Earlier this year, you may remember that I issued a bit of a letter writing challenge. I encouraged listeners of my podcast to send me real, handwritten letters. And people started writing to me.

I received letters from all over the U.S. 

From the U.K. 

From Australia. 

From Ireland. 

From Canada.

It’s been an amazing experience so far. I’ve connected with friends and received letters from complete strangers. 

I’ve also realized how much letters can be such an intimate medium to share the happenings of our lives. Even some of our hopes and dreams.

I have loved every letter I have received and I have responded to each one (with the exception of three that just came in!). I also podcasted about the challenge in this update episode if you want to hear more.

So I thought that today, I would write to you as if I was writing you a letter. 

Dear Friend,

It’s been a busy fall, but also one filled with moments of rest. As I write this, I’m sipping on some decaf chai spice tea and loving the seasonal flavors. Even with a busy schedule, I’ve been intentionally trying to find time to read novels, take weekend naps, and make sure I keep most evenings free to relax with my partner. So far, it’s been working pretty well! I’m almost done with re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale, and my partner and I recently binged a bunch of episodes of new show called Criminal on Netflix.

This coming week, my October travel starts. I’ll begin with a trip to North Dakota to work with a campus there on high-impact practices in online education and some of the administrative aspects of creating a culture of innovation. I come back for a few days and then fly off to Denver to keynote a regional conference. I’m speaking on “five questions for effective leadership” and it’s been fun to flesh out that talk and get my slides ready this week. I still need to memorize it, but I think I have enough time to do that in the next week or so.

I get a couple weeks of reprieve at the end of October where I’ll be home. I have a local talk in a neighboring town on Halloween (I’m kind of hoping people show up in costume!) and then I’m back on the road in mid-November. I’m traveling to the POD conference in Pittsburgh for a couple presentations and then I fly straight to Orlando for the OLC Accelerate conference where I’m facilitating a panel with some of the authors from one of my recent edited collections. 

I’ve been to the Orlando conference several times and have a favorite sushi restaurant where I like to take myself out for a solo dinner of avocado rolls to unwind from lots of networking. One of the previous trips I was there, I encountered a very large cockroach in my room. I killed it with a large padfolio, covered the carcass with an upside down hotel water glass, and then sat up most of the night convinced my room was going to be invaded. I don’t do super well with bugs…

I feel lucky that the week following OLC is the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday because it means I get a long weekend to recover from all that travel! I want to use at least a little of the long weekend to add to my coach training guide draft. Then I’m off to my last trip of the year in early December. I’ll be in San Diego for another keynote, so I get to stay in my time zone! This one is my first on radical self-trust and I couldn’t be more excited to see how the audience responds to the topic.

I’m looking forward to building in some time for novel reading and catching up with colleagues during all this travel. It can be tough for me to find balance with a full schedule, but little things like meals alone, reading time, early evenings, and morning walks always help.

I hope you’ll hit reply and tell me some things that are going on with you (or even send a real letter my way — my address is PO Box 1621, Albany, OR 97321 if you feel inspired to join in the letter writing fun).