camino – Stuck in Customs

Having Fun in the Library

Episode 6 of My Audio Podcast

There are now 6 of my audio podcasts available on your favourite streaming services (iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or in some regions Google Play).

In this episode, while walking on the El Camino in Spain, I talk with Kevin Kelly about one of his many projects, the 10,000 Year Library. And yes, you can participate! It’s a really fun concept… I won’t spoil it!

Flight Simulator in a Japanese Hotel Room

Check out this amazing idea for a hotel room.

Daily Photo – Having Fun in the Library

When we went to the crazy library in Tianjin, we decided to have some fun and do some posed shots. That Curtis there on the right and the lady on the left was one of the ladies from the Ritz-Carlton that brought us here. She is probably the most giggly person I have ever met in my life. Literally, anything I would say or do would make her giggle uncontrollably. But, I actually like this quality in people… I like when they laugh at my jokes even when they make absolutely no sense.

Having Fun in the Library

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-13 14:42:28
  • CameraPixel 2 XL
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/120
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO197
  • Focal Length4.5 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Comments

Mont Saint Michel From Above

Here’s Episode 4 of My Audio Podcast!

Matt Mullenweg is not just the founder of WordPress and now Automattic, but he was also my lucky roommate on this week-long 200km hike through Spain. Not only is he warm at night, but he really knows how to work that loofa in the shower. We share many commonalities including the love of writing, Burning Man, hiking, and experimental and self-exploration use mind-expanding substances.

What do we talk about?

His inspiration for WordPress and his mindset
Comments on blogs
What is his main gig now, Automattic?
Texas boys say hi to their moms
What did Matt learn that he didn’t expect to learn?
Meditation and the Stoic philosophers
Why do we blog?

You can also subscribe via your favorite platforms here… iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or in some regions Google Play.

And here is lovely Matt…



Sri Lanka Fashion Party!

It appears one of my photos was used for some funky dresses at a fashion show in Sri Lanka. Nothing says the effective end of a religious non-Catholic civil war better than a flowing gown adorned in a Catholic cathedral.

Daily Photo – Mont Saint Michel From Above

This was one of my most scary quad flights! I ended up getting some really cool photos of this place (this one included), but there was a lot of concern in getting the quad safely back home. Luckily, Curtis and Tane were there as spotters to make sure nothing went awry. You’ll see a scene from this same spot in the Ritz-Carlton Yacht video I posted a few days ago.

Mont Saint Michel From Above

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-10 20:31:07
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Comments

Episode 3 of my Audio Podcast

Discussing Crypto with Aaron Lammer

When I was invited on this 150km hike in Spain with 10 people, I didn’t know most of them. But I did a little googling ahead of time so I would get a sense of the sorts of characters I’d be stuck with for a week. One of them was Aaron Lammer, who was easy to get-to-know because he has three podcasts. One of them is on cryptocurrency, one of them is about weed, and one of them is about long-form writing. I only listened to the crypto ones and I was immediately impressed by his approach to the subject matter.

What impressed me the most was his openness in his understated approach of “I don’t know anything about Crypto, but let’s figure this out as we go along by talking with other experts and funny, strange stories from the crypto world.” Note that isn’t an exact quote, but that was basically his pitch for the show.

Here’s our chat in all its glory…

You can also subscribe via your favorite platforms here… iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or in some regions Google Play.

Wondering about the lovely face behind the voice? Here’s Aaron…



Daily Photo – Walking Along the Glacier

I visited this glacier every day for three days in a row. It was so amazing to be able to walk right up and touch it. I was a little scared, of course, hoping that part of the glacier did not calve off and fall on me! But, it’s not melting down here, so there was very little chance of that. Either way, I’ll admit, I was definitely on high-alert while being in the middle of awe.

Walking Along the Glacier

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-17 10:48:38
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture11
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Comments

Check out Episode 2 of My Audio Podcast

Trey Ratcliff’s 360 Podcast – Discussing World Building with Author Hugh Howey

In this podcast I’m walking on the Camino de Santiago with author of the popular Silo series, Hugh Howey. We discuss World Building, which is the process fiction writers go through to create the fundamentals of the situation in which the story takes place.

You can also subscribe via your favorite platforms here… iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or in some regions Google Play.

Myself and Hugh Howey

And so you can put a face to the voice, here’s Hugh and some other guy on the Camino…

Behind the Scenes from the Vessel in NYC

Here is a little behind the scenes action from NYC. The awesome Professor Hines was kind enough to arrange access to The Vessel at sunset and he brought along his fashion designer friend DrissFit96 for some portrait action too…

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Comments

Trey Ratcliff’s 360 Podcast – Kevin Kelly and his 10,000 Year Library Project – Part 2

Season 33, Episode 8 of “Walk n’ Talk with Trey” This Episode: ” Kevin Kelly and his 10,000 Year Library Project Part 2″

In this episode, while walking on the El Camino in Spain, I talk with Kevin Kelly about one of his many projects, the 10,000 Year Library. We also talk about what to do with all the existing libraries in the world… access to information… the future of libraries and knowledge curation… and more!

If you missed previously, here is part one…

Also, if this is your first time seeing a 360 Video, note you can grab the screen and look anywhere!

Find out more about Kevin Kelly on his site at https://kk.org/!

This other charmer we are walking with is Aaron Lammer. I talk to him on another 360 walk n’ talk you find below. More about Aaron at http://www.aaronlammer.com/

And finally, see all the Episodes in our Playlist here.

Comments

Walking with Kevin and Aaron

Season 24, Episode 15 of “Walk n’ Talk with Trey” This Episode: ” Kevin Kelly and his 10,000 Year Library Project Part 1″

In this episode, while walking on the El Camino in Spain, I talk with Kevin Kelly about one of his many projects, the 10,000 Year Library. And yes, you can participate! It’s a really fun concept… I won’t spoil it! By the way, I could listen to Kevin Kelly (one of my intellectual heroes) talk about anything! Sometimes I sneak into his home and just stand in the closet and listen to him talk about things like laundry, doing the dishes, and strange people in his closet.

If this is your first time seeing a 360 Video, note you can grab the screen and look anywhere!

Find out more about Kevin Kelly on his site at https://kk.org/ !

This other charmer we are walking with is Aaron Lammer. I talk to him on another 360 walk and talk you find below. More about Aaron at http://www.aaronlammer.com/

See all the Episodes in our Playlist at

Comments

Season 2, Episode 3 of Walking with Matt

Wanna see the other Walk n’ Talks? Here they are!

1) Discussing Rituals and Death with Kevin Kelly and Hugh Howey
2) Hugh Howey on World Building
3) Crypto with Aaron Lammer

Matt Mullenweg is not just the founder of WordPress and now Automattic, but he was also my lucky roommate on this week-long 200km hike through Spain. Not only is he warm at night, but he really knows how to work that loofa in the shower.

We share many commonalities including the love of writing, Burning Man, hiking, and experimental and self-exploration use mind-expanding substances. You can see the poor guy has a bit of a limp here, as he had a knee problem that got worse and worse as the days went on. We should have brought more drugs. Anyway…

First time seeing a 360 video? You can grab the screen and move it any way you want! Tired of seeing me and Matt? Spin it around and see where we are going.

What do we talk about?

1:30 His inspiration for WordPress and his mindset
3:30 Comments on Blogs
4:00 What is his main gig now, Automattic?
5:15 Texas boys say hi to their moms
5:55 What did Matt learn that he didn’t expect to learn?
7:20 Meditation and the Stoic philosophers
7:50 Why do we blog?

Matt’s Blog
Matt’s photos, stuff and things
Trey’s Kit + Books

Below, I’ll share some photos of Matt while we walked along the Camino and some quick thoughts and stories.


Very few people know this, but this is exactly how Matt came out of the womb, beard and all. His mom was like, “Well I’ll be darned!”

One awesome thing about Matt is that when you are talking to him, you’re the only person in the world. Here he is talking with Gia-Miin Fuh, Kevin Kelly’s genius wife that works at 23-And-Me.

No one can rock a scallop shell like Matt. I told him that with those sunglasses that he could be a hardcore pornography director.

A lot like everyone on the trek, Matt seemed to know either a little bit or a lot about everything. On the very first night, we walked across the bridge from Portugal to Spain in the dark. It was quite romantic. We talked all about the different sort of hallucinogens we’ve imbibed and how they have shaped and expanded our minds (for the better).

Here’s Matt Hackett, Hugh Howey, and Matt somewhere in one of the more forested areas of our walk. We would often pair-off or triple-up and have all kinds of interesting discussions, solving all the world’s problems!

Here’s Matt talking to Kevin Kelly at a rest break. By this time, Matt’s knee was really bothering him, and none of us minded having a break. We were in no hurry to get anywhere in particular.

And last, here is Craig Mod giving life to Matt with his noodly appendage.

Comments

Man with Cat in Porto

Netflix recommendation

At first, I didn’t know if I actually liked “The Kominsky Method” but the more I watched, the more I liked it… I like a lot of different comedies, but this is one of the smarter ones.

Daily Photo – Man with Cat in Porto

I entitled this the way an Impressionist painter might entitle their paintings. Their painting titles are often really boring in English, but they sound great in French. For example, Monet’s “Women in the Garden” sounds so much better as “Femmes au jardin.” Renoir’s “Two Sisters on the Terrace” is improved by “Les Deux Sœurs Sur la Terrasse.” The titles sound even better while eating a French pastry, especially when you hear, “S’il vous plaît arrêtez de manger ma pâtisserie.”

Man with Cat in Porto

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-09-21 04:37:03
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1600
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Comments

Part 3 of the Camino Story – Aaron Lammer and New Matt

Wanna see the other Walk n’ Talks? Here they are!

1) Kevin Kelly on Death
2) Hugh Howey on World Building
3) Matt Mullenweg on WordPress and more

Where do I start with this guy? Maybe here with this 360 video (a reminder that you can grab the video and turn the camera any way you want).

When I was invited on this 150km hike in Spain with 10 people, I didn’t know most of them. But I did a little googling ahead of time so I would get a sense of the sorts of characters I’d be stuck with for a week. One of them was Aaron Lammer, who was easy to get-to-know because he has three podcasts. One of them is on cryptocurrency, one of them is about weed, and one of them is about long-form writing. I only listened to the crypto ones and I was immediately impressed by his approach to the subject matter.

What impressed me the most was his openness in his understated approach of “I don’t know anything about Crypto, but let’s figure this out as we go along by talking with other experts and funny, strange stories from the crypto world.” Note that isn’t an exact quote, but that was basically his pitch for the show.


Aaron Lammer, always ready to ham it up.

I’m not going to talk much about crypto here. I’m a believer that this will be how most humans transact in the future. Actually, even though I love my friend Hugh Howey, he could not disagree more! I’ve met many people that are quite divided on this subject. It’s interesting at a meta-level how an idea can be so divisive. But most people on this walk were really into philosophy, so it made for some great conversations.

I’ll step back a moment and explain why I liked Aaron so much.

He has a lot of deep knowledge in a vast myriad of subjects. I think whatever subject I brought up, he had strong opinions about everything.

Also, during our final dinner with all of us, he had a good old-fashioned cry, as most of us did. That’s a big deal. When you can cry in front of a bunch of other dudes. I won’t say what we all talked about because I’m the best secret-keeper in the world, but it was all wonderfully emotionally stirring.

Aaron does so many things! He even just produced a music video for Francis and the Lights. How does one guy do so many things that appear to be unrelated?

My armchair psychoanalysis is this: Aaron gives 100% of his energy to things that are interesting to him. The only commonality between producing music to crypto to weed to long-form writing is Aaron himself. I get the feeling that he’s tried hundreds of things, but they just weren’t all that interesting to him, so he focused everything on these items. And, if they don’t serve him in a few years, he’ll be onto something else interesting to him.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

All along the path of the Camino, we would see signs like this, showing us how much further we need to walk. By the way, in a lot of the world, people use commas rather than periods to denote a decimal.

Perhaps my favorite part is that he’s unapologetic about his interests and beliefs. It’s a delicate balance to have strong opinions on a myriad of subjects and not be an egoic asshole about it.

I really like this quality in people. Maybe this is a solipsistic thing because I am very similar. I’m easily distracted but when I find something interesting, I put 100% of my energy into it without apology.


One of our foggy mornings, walking on the Camino in Spain.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

When the fog cleared, we would often walk by some of the most beautiful plants, trees, and flowers.

There is a funny story along the Camino with Aaron. Well, there are dozens, but I’ll tell you this one in particular.

Just before the final day of our hike, Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress, my roommate, and the subject of a future story) left us because he had to go speak at their annual conference. Also, his knee was really hurt and he was hobbling around in a terrible way that made us all feel bad for him. Anyway, our group was one short, and we made a “friend” at one of the rest breaks that we called “New Matt”. I don’t remember the guy’s actual name, but it doesn’t really matter because he was New Matt.

New Matt totally sucked.

We all hated him, but he walked with us for many hours anyway. Who hated him most? Aaron Lammer. He turned out to be the diametric opposite of Aaron. For example, Aaron knows a lot about music. This New Matt could not have infuriated him more. New Matt says he refuses to listen to music after The Beatles and thinks everything is terrible.


This is Old Matt. He was awesome. When we thought of old Matt, it only reminded us more about how much we hated New Matt.

What really ground Aaron’s gears were the same argument techniques that seem to be used by people raised in the Jewish culture. Aaron is not a practicing Jew, but he definitely has those funny Woody Allen argumentative tendencies. New Matt was a bit more hardcore Jewish, from Israel, and even more opinionated than Aaron. The big difference is that New Matt had his entire ego and “story of self” tied into his opinions and he was completely blind to hearing other viewpoints. This drove Aaron absolutely crazy and, even after New Matt finally left our crew, it was the subject of conversation for countless hours. It was like Aaron ventured off into the forest to have a pee and he got a splinter in his nutsack he couldn’t extract for weeks.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

A random scene along the Camino.

I think our experience with New Matt really helped us to get to know Aaron better. Not until one meets their foil does one come to know oneself. And we were all listening in to their heated conversation with reckless delight. You don’t want to get on Aaron’s intellectual bad side. No matter how cunningly Aaron attempted to paint New Matt into a corner of his own logical demise, New Matt would slip away into a straw man argument that was only loosely related. Aaron prepared a riposte with a steel man, only to be deflected in a subtle way with another unconnected point that would increase Aaron’s frustration and re-direct the verbal battle.

We recorded countless hours of our talks, but that is the ONE talk I wish we had recorded.

Anyway, we all love you Aaron. You all should go listen to one of his podcasts now.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Oh, look how sad Aaron is here. I’m sure he’s still thinking about that dastardly New Matt.
Comments

Part 2 of my 150km hike in Spain… this time, with Hugh Howey!

I was pretty intimidated to meet this guy!

I knew he was coming on the trip and, of course, I had heard about him previously since I’m kind of a sci-fi and fantasy geek. I had never read his books though! Hugh is most famous for “Wool” the sequel book from his the Silo series. My wife had read them and was begging me for years to do the same. My daughter, Isabella, was also reading the entire Silo series. And then, when Kevin Kelly told me Hugh Howey was going on this trip, I decided it was the perfect time to read them!

Wanna see the other Walk n’ Talks? Here they are!

1) Kevin Kelly on Death
2) Aaron Lammer on Crypto
3) Matt Mullenweg on WordPress and more

So yeah, I was quite intimidated by Hugh Howey before I met him. I have this idea that authors are like these demigod intellectuals who have the motivational superpower to write an actual novel. I can hardly motivate myself to do a single blog post.

I was also intimidated because I met another sci-fi author I really admire, Neal Stephenson, and he made me cry! And not cry in a good way! But that’s a longer story that ends well, because now we are friends. But I was kinda thinking, “Oh god – I hope Hugh Howey doesn’t make me cry.”

And then, after I met him, I could immediately tell he was my kinda guy, the whole notion of being intimidated felt utterly ridiculous! He was one of the warmest and most gentle people I’ve ever met. I noticed his easy way and silky-smooth mannerisms with everyone he encountered.

Here’s a 360 video I took with Hugh one day during the hike where I asked him about World Building, which is the process fiction writers go through to create the fundamentals of the situation in which the story takes place. Unfortunately, this video takes place on a busy neighborhood road. Most of the trail was actually in forested areas on dirt paths. If you haven’t seen a 360 video before, you can grab the screen and look in whatever direction you want.

I can’t figure out exactly why Hugh and I got along so well. I mean, I get along with pretty much everyone, maybe because my mom and dad raised me to be an amiable and affable guy. Who knows? Hehe. Anyway, every now and then you meet a dude you REALLY hit it off with. And I don’t mean like those guys that are instant friends like in gay internet porn, but more like in the Bert and Ernie way.

Hugh has quite an interesting story that is not completely dissimilar to mine. He struggled with his craft forever until he finally found surprising success in an unexpected way. You’ll see in the video above more about how his books struck a nerve with people and he ended up backing into an enormously successful series of books. Now, at 43, he has stopped all writing, bought a yacht, and is sailing around the world by himself! He’s a modern day Nietzsche’s Übermensch!

I noticed how when we talked he would describe all this really manly stuff about building things. He even went into detail about how he built his own outdoor shower on his yacht. Like, he got really detailed. I was thinking, now this is a real manly dude that knows how to use all the tools and stuff. I can barely change a lightbulb, so I’m always impressed by these arts that have completely passed me by, mostly because of my extreme laziness. But then I started thinking about all the detail in his book “Wool,” especially, the craftiness of his female protagonist. And then it all started to make more sense! I’m not saying that Hugh is a female in a man’s body that’s really handy with tools, but maybe there’s a little element of that. He certainly knows how to write cool female characters, and it’s no surprise that a huge portion of his readership is females. He’s in touch with that stuff, you know? Very empathetic.

Also, I found out that most of his books (he has a lot!) have been optioned for TV shows. That’s exciting! One of them, Beacon 23, I think is going to be the first one out of the gate. I hope they don’t mess it up… It’s always a disappointment when an interesting sci-fi book turns into a dull movie or TV series. That happens a lot, for some reason. And that sucks for me, being a giant sci-fi fan. Why are there so many bad sci-fi movies and TV shows and so MANY good sci-fi novels? It doesn’t make sense! I suppose the real reason is that our imaginations are better than most cinematographers + directors + actors + scriptwriters can create.

And hey, Hugh and I have a mutual love of two shows: Rick & Morty and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. One night at the hotel, we drank a bunch of beers, stayed up extra late in Hugh’s room, and watched the latest episode of Sunny. We were laughing like two extremely immature people, which, of course, we are.

Let’s get a little dark.

On one of our morning walks, Hugh told me about how, as a young man in his 20’s, he decided to commit suicide at 40. Whoa. And he was totally serious. This ended up with him cranking out a ton of creative work in his thirties because he was running out of time. It was an incredible strategy to Do Something Meaningful before you die. I think almost everyone gets to this stage, especially when they are quite old and they only have a few years left. But, often, it’s sometimes too late then to create a lot of stuff because people are older and have less energy. Hugh was in his prime then, in his thirties. And, thank goodness he didn’t go through with the suicide, because he’s even more in his prime now in his 40’s!

I made another 360 video with Hugh about this suicide-thing. That’s being edited together right now so subscribe to my Youtube channel. That will complete that story.

So, you know, this was a deep conversation, obviously. And that led to other deep conversations. Naturally, this is another thing we have in common as neither of us can stand small talk. This has always angered my wife, who wonders why I can’t stand by the BBQ and talk to people about small matters of zero import. If I get stuck in dull conversations, I usually just go into the bathroom and read reddit or play on my Switch.

Let’s get to my Dog Trial of the Camino. The long hike is a spiritual journey and everyone has little challenges that crop up, unexpected. One of mine was the Dog Trial of the Camino, a challenge created by Hugh. Let me explain.

Along the way, I was reading another book by Paulo Coelho, whom you may know as the author of one of my favorite books, “The Alchemist” Anyway, Paulo also walked the Camino and he wrote a book called “The Pilgrimage” all about it. It seemed perfect for this trip! The book turned out to be pretty average and I would not necessarily recommend it. But, I did enjoy reading it because I was in the same setting and doing the same hike as Paulo. Anyway, the book has one thing in there that kind of happened to me: Paulo’s Trial of the Dog.

Okay, where am I going with this, and how does it relate to another well-known author, Hugh Howey?

In the book, Paulo is attacked by a dog that is possessed by a demon spirit or some shit. I didn’t really understand. Paulo goes off on these mystical flights of fancy. I think he had (honestly) just read Carlos Castaneda’s “The Teachings of Don Juan” (I do recommend those, but man, what a wild ride – they only make sense if you have experimented with psychedelics) and he was really trying to horseshoe in some similarly apocryphal fantastical stories into his Pilgrimage book. ANYHOO, this dog continued to make surprise appearances in the book in a menacing manner until the protagonist finally dealt with the situation.

One day, Hugh and I were talking about our dogs when we were younger. Let me tell you: when two dudes are talking about dogs they had when they were younger, the shit is gonna get real.

And this was only like day two of our hike! Guys don’t talk about previous dogs until many many years into a relationship. It’s kind of like asking a girl if she’s into extreme bondage on your first date right after the salad arrives. I mean, you can ask her that, and, depending on her answer, you may be skipping the next dish.

In this analogy, Hugh was the one asking me if I was into extreme bondage.

This is because he brought up the “dog topic” first. After he told me about his life-suicide plans, our conversation jumped this way and that. He mentioned his previous girlfriend, who was obviously not a fan of his upcoming death-plans. Relationships have enough tension anyway without the added complexity of a ticking time bomb. Anyway, Hugh and his girlfriend had a dog. Hugh is a very affectionate guy and a helpless romantic. These are often the best dog people.

Hugh named his dog Jolie.

He told me about how he would cuddle with Jolie. It was a perfect little cuddle puddle with two soft puzzle pieces that fit together like held hands. He would slowly pet Jolie and, slightly above a whisper, tell her how much he loved her. Then Hugh would tell her how much he would miss her when she was gone. He would say these things over and over again. His girlfriend found this quite sad and didn’t think it was appropriate to speak of such things.

A few years later, the dog suddenly had some serious trouble. Hugh and his girlfriend jumped in the car to rush to the vet. The dog was slowly dying in Hugh’s arms. He was doing everything he could, but everything was not enough as Jolie passed away.

After a little time passed, Hugh said his girlfriend eventually said she understood why he said those things to Jolie. She wished she had said the same things.

I was not really able to respond for quite a bit, as one might understand.

What happened to his girlfriend, many of you are wondering? Actually, I don’t know because this was a story about the dog. But I know she’s not his girlfriend anymore. Anyway, none of that matters as this is a dog story.

Now, Hugh and I are walking along in a brooding forest in a dark mood. There is a good amount of silence, and, of course, I’m thinking about my own sad dog story. Her name was Maty.

So I brought her up. But I brought her up in the right sort of manner, not in a, “Hey you think YOUR dog story was sad, wait till you hear this one!” Some people compare stories like that, and there is a subtle way to share stories where there is no competition. Most guys that tell stories to one another are dickheads and they are trying to kinda make themselves sound better by outdoing others. But this wasn’t like that if you know what I mean.

Yeah, so I tell Hugh that my wife and I had Maty before we had kids. And then we had Ethan and Isabella, so they were able to grow up with Maty. Maty loved everyone in the family so much. She was adorable. Black and white and soft and silly. Cuddles, lays on your feet so she knows when you get up, made our little kids giggle, all that good stuff. By the time my son Ethan was about 9 years old and Isabella was about 3, our dog Maty was approaching 12 and started having trouble.

She lived a full, spunky life but suddenly, she was having great difficulty breathing. We took her to the vet. I was in there while they were scanning her, trying to figure out the problem. There was a fluid buildup in her heart, and it was growing so big, she could not breathe anymore. There was nothing they could do and Maty passed away. I’d like to think her heart was so big because she loved us so much.

So then, I continued telling Hugh, I figured that I should bury Maty in our backyard. We lived in Austin in a somewhat remote area of the hill country. Our backyard was full of tall trees and shaped in a downward sloping hill that ended in a creek. There were many roots visible above the ground as rain would slowly wash the dirt away down into the creek.

I had Maty in a little cardboard box in one hand and a shovel in the other. I carried her down there with my wife and little kids. I was telling Hugh, after a strange pause, that I had never dug a grave before. And then I couldn’t say anything else and I started to cry. Hugh gave me a sweet hug.

And with that, Hugh Howey did indeed make me cry, but in the best way possible.

Myself and Hugh Howey

Comments

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!