Happening Highlights


I pulled my daughter out of one of the last days of first grade to bring her on a mini vacation. I had booked a weekend getaway with plans to return on a Monday. Until the last minute, I’d completely spaced the fact that she’s been in school for, you know, two years.

I was ready to cancel the trip until her teacher said it would be fine, as long as she kept a travel journal of her experiences.

That’s when it hit me. I was in first grade. We went on a family trip to Illinois, and I had to miss school. My teacher told me to keep a diary of my experience. I thought “diary” was short for the fancier term, “diarrhea,” which I preferred to use and no one stopped me.

Aimee Heckel’s original travel journal. Courtesy photo

My dad got me a blue spiral notebook and wrote instructions on what to write about on the first page: “Write what happened. Write where it happened. How it happened. Who was there. How did you feel about what happened on that day? What did you learn on that day?”

As soon as I started, I couldn’t stop. I filled the whole notebook with keen observations, such as an in-depth analysis of the odor of my little brother’s socks and how a puppy at the pet store had a twinkle in its eyes. By the time I came home, I was 100 percent committed to becoming a writer when I grew up.

Aimee Heckel’s childhood travel journal. Courtesy photo

I do the exact same thing as a profession today. I travel and write about it. I even use the same methods my dad taught me.

The moral of the story: Um, skip school and travel? Maybe not, although it was a vacation when I was 7 years old that shaped the rest of my life.

I bought my daughter a special notebook. On the first page, I wrote my dad’s six-point method on travel writing. By the end of the trip, I couldn’t get her to stop. She filled the pages with observations about the number of strawberries on her pancakes and cartoons of our family eating “branch” (I think that’s fancy for brunch). Her style was different than mine, distinctly her own, and she was mostly excited to bring her journal back to school to show the class.

You see, she doesn’t want to be a writer like me when she grows up. She is 100 percent committed to becoming a teacher. In other words, never skipping school forever.

Whether you’re traveling with children or want to tap into your own travel “diarrhea” creativity, there’s a Sketching and Nature Journaling class tonight (June 21) at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. The class, 6-8 p.m., is free for the first 15 participants. You’ll learn how to sketch plants and nature and pick up basic journaling techniques. Although my dad can provide some good tips on that, too. Learn more about the journaling class here: EventBrite.

Looking for other events in Boulder this week? Here are a few highlights:

Travel Photography 101: Learn techniques to help capture Boulder’s beauty during this photography class 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday (June 24) at Mike’s Camera, 2500 Pearl St. in Boulder. You’ll learn about selecting the right gear, when to shoot, how to plan your shoot and more for $59. Learn more and buy tickets at EventBrite.

Goat Yoga: Yoga with animals (goats, kittens, puppies) is popular right now. Not only is it fun and adorable, but animals are also calming and healing and it raises awareness about the animals. Try goat yoga 8-10 a.m. Saturday (June 24) at the Mountain Flower Dairy Goat Farm, 3240 Broadway in Boulder. A class is $29 and includes a tour of the farm and tea afterward.  For more info, visit Goat Yoga Workshop.

Bike and beer: Join the free Boulder Ale Trail Bike Ride from J. Wells in Boulder to Longmont, starting at 1 p.m. Saturday (June 24). Bring your bike and choose the fast or the slow group to cruise along the trail that stops at breweries along the way. Get more info at boulderaletrail@outlook.com and Boulder Ale Trail Bike Ride.

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