There are so many ways to skin a life: lists of jobs worked, countries visited, work published, cars owned, loves lost and found.

I could start with where I was born: Portland, Oregon. Or the first time I moved outside of the U.S. – to Nigeria, at the age of three, where our family stayed for two years while my father served as a Peace Corps doctor. From an early age I’ve been a fan of long stays in faraway places, and over the years have lived in Mexico, Guatemala, Ireland, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and New York City, a foreign country in its own right. I also love shorter-term travel, whether I stay for several weeks or just an afternoon. I like road trips and secular pilgrimages and train travel and the stomach-dropping feel of taking off in a plane. I think living in and traveling to so many different places has left a watermark on me, a faint but indelible testament to the power of wanderlust, to the knowledge that no one place has it all, and to the hard-won truth that there’s no one right way of doing things. As of this writing I live in San Francisco, six floors up, in a studio apartment with a view of the lighthouse on Point Bonita.