The Nature Zine, Issue 2


I can’t believe it’s been a year since the first issue of The Nature Zine. Now I have a whole new collection for you to enjoy!


Issue 2 is packed full of intense stories, thoughts, poems, art, photos and an ‘interview’ from multiple contributors. I’m thrilled to share with you this next run of submissions- they are all quite inspiring. People share their fears, passion, and thoughts on exploring, connecting with and studying nature. The beautiful ruffed grouse on the cover was painted by Jay Dowd, owner and tattoo artist at Consolidated Tattoo Parlor and Barber Shop in Flint, Michigan. Jay and I have gone on a LOTS of outdoor adventures together and he spends any moment that he can out in the wilderness, so of course it was a pleasure to include his painting. I really enjoy receiving submissions from all over the states (and Canada!), so please keep them coming.

My friend Matt and I collaborated on a piece together for issue 2- never too late- as we had once discussed writing of our 6 month adventure (much of which has been described here, but we now we were able to reflect on our journey and share new aspects of it all). We essentially interview ourselves- as in we came up with a few questions and then separately wrote our responses. We waited to share them until we both completed our pieces. I then meshed them together, leaving them as they were- not letting our answers influence one another.

If you are interested in a copy, I’ll send you one for free, trade or a $1-$3 donation.  Donations just help to cover the cost of copies and shipping. Plus allow me to keep up with this very enjoyable project. I’m on a student budget so anything helps. Just use the the paypal button below or email me for other options, batsnbikes [at] gmail [dot] com

Donate for a copy of The Nature Zine

Much thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project! I’m keeping Issue One in print as well, so let me know if you are interested. Both a creative outlet and a way to share our thoughts on connecting with nature, The Nature Zine will continue on with more issues.  If you are interested in contributing, please send your stories, thoughts, and art to me or contact me for more information:  batsnbikes [at] gmail [dot] com

p.s. wondering what a zine is? This should help.


Perros de Santiago

Well, we made it out of the country and have been wandering around Santiago, Chile for about two weeks now.  Sounds like a long time to stay in one place when there are so many new places surrounding us but Santiago is a huge city and I have lots of family here.  It´s been almost 10 years since I was here last, it being much easier now to explore places this time around.  We are staying right in the city center with my Aunt in her apartment.  On the 14th floor we watch the smog roll in on Monday, growing thicker through the week, fading out on Saturday as the mountains surrounding the city come into clear view on Sunday.  We listen to the car alarms, the roar of buses shifting gears, and the never ending chorus of cars honking.

During the day we wander around the city, finding new places to investigate and commenting on every dog that passes by… it´s stray dogs galore out here.  Today we watched a pack of 8 dogs take control of an intersection, they´d chase away cars and bark out their frustration while blocking the road.  From the rooftop we´ve watched dogs on a mission and I started to wonder what kind of research has been done on stray dogs in cities.  How large is their territory?  Who do they interact with?  What is their average lifespan?  How does their population grow?  Some follow us briefly or approach us for a sniff, but most keep on walking.  As Matt says, the dogs are street smart.  If we aren´t watching and commenting on the dog population we keep entertained by the pigeons and their daily activities.

Take to the streets in packs!

Ok, so we´ve done more that just watch city fauna.  We´ve explored and had delicious dinners with my family.  We took a day trip to the beach in Viña del Mar and climbed the narrow steep hills in Valparaiso admiring the colorful buildings.  I may or may not have made it a personal mission to update the Happy Cow listings for Santiago as we scout out vegetarian-vegan friendly places.  I devoured some vegan flan last week… it has been years since I´ve had flan.  Yum!  We also went to a local punk hardcore show where plenty of kids were vegan, straightedge or both.  Seems like a pretty good scene out here, especially when you can buy vegan empanadas at a punk show!  Papa has taken us out for lunch, Central Market and other places as well, all the while telling us about Chile.  There are plenty of museums, parks and markets here to keep us busy… but not for too long.

I need more birds to find than just pigeons.  I need more flora than trees in a park.  Next week when Papa heads back to Michigan we´ll be moving on.  Santiago is much more globalized than when I was here last and I´m hoping not all of Chile will be the same.  We have plans to head South until the rain and cold make us miserable. We want mountains and nature and our tent has been packed up for too long.  When heading south begins to not treat us so well, we might search out epic waterfalls in Argentina.  We never plan too far ahead, knowing something else might lure us in another direction.  Until then…. Chile has our attention.

Women’s Day is Everyday

I apologize for the lack of updating, I’m full of excuses that I won’t bore you with, but promise that this blog will continue to exist and I’m going to make it a goal to update more often.

Austin has been treating us well with a place to stay, ease of getting around the city, and plenty of access to healthy (and not so healthy) and delicious foods.  We keep busy with our jobs and stacks of movies and books from the library.  We both managed to find jobs that we’ll keep until we leave – and they already know we plan to leave.  I’m doing contract work for a company who puts out supplemental online study questions for university science courses.  My job is to write/edit science questions (biology, chemistry, physics) for the high school level project they are launching.  And they are keeping me on to work on another project as well.  The job is rewarding and can be a challenge.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been on my bike. My attempts to heal my knee are going quite well.  I’m on a pretty regular workout schedule again.  I have free access to a gym and have been doing cardio that’s easy on my knee- recumbent bike on easy training and using the elliptical machine.  I’m also doing various light weight training on my legs that focuses on multiple muscles.  I went to a free yoga class and have also decided to go to yoga classes (by donation) a couple of times a week as well. I find that besides when riding a bike, my knee hurts the most when sitting down in one spot for a long time. I’m ok with avoiding that last scenario.  But I’m hoping that I can get to riding my bike soon enough- the hills in Austin don’t really allow for an easy day of riding with weird knee.  I avoided going to the doctor due to a lack of health insurance and knowing that they would most likely recommend that I get an MRI. Instead I’ll do physical therapy and take vitamins – including the flax oil that Christopher recommended.  Walking up and down stairs already feels significantly better.

More good news…

Matthew and I purchased our tickets to Chile!!!!  Saddened our bikes aren’t able to take the journey with us, but thrilled to finally have a date to move forward.  We leave Austin the morning of April 4th and arrive in Chile early on April 5th.  It took a long time to find cheap tickets but we managed to find something affordable.  It involves multiple flights: Austin -> Dallas -> Miami ->Lima -> Santiago.  I haven’t been to Chile in about 10 years and I’m really looking forward to being there again.  I’m excited to see my family and I’m also looking forward to exploring regions I wasn’t able to see previously.  It’s going to be great to be in Chile with Matt and also while my papa is there to tell us stories about adventures from his youth of climbing mountains, camping in the snow, selling watermelons, and driving a taxi.  We plan to have plenty of adventure stories as well.  We are bringing our tent and other camping supplies- although I love the city life, I am more thrilled to think of camping and hiking in other countries.


I’d also like to share that today is International Women’s Day! I’d like to send my love to all of the wonderful women that I know and to those that I don’t know who have dedicated their lives toward positive change and who continue to share their love, happiness and strength with the rest of the world.  You all inspire me and together we can all continue to support one another everyday.

Thank you The Mom for all of your continued love, support and strength throughout my life.  You and I picked a good day to get me into this world 29 years ago.

Much love to all of you!


Grandma en Chile.

Aida Rojas

December 9, 1930 – August 6, 2010

I’ve debated with myself for a couple of weeks now if I would post something this personal online.  I have found reasons to do it and reasons to not. I have decided to post what I said at her memorial, thoughts about death and other feelings.

I feel that in our culture it is often difficult to talk about death.  We tip toe around the subject or we talk in hushed voices around those whom would be sensitive to the matter.  In avoiding these discussions I find that it is often harder to understand and cope.  Watching someone you have known and loved all your life take their final breathes is the most difficult thing I have done.  You can never be completely ready for death but you can prepare in some ways and try the best that you can to be there for others.

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