About Traci J. Macnamara
Traci J. Macnamara is a writer and literary adventurer. Her passion for books and remote landscapes has led her to explore historic huts in Antarctica, to climb to the summit of France’s Mont Blanc, and to backpack and climb in Southeastern Utah’s desert canyons.
Macnamara’s writing has appeared in many magazines, journals, and books including Backpacker, High Country News, Vail Daily, Rocky Mountain News, the Patagonia catalog, and A Leaky Tent is a Piece of Paradise (Sierra Club Books, 2007), among others.
Macnamara has spent 25 months of her life in Antarctica working to support scientists at McMurdo Station, where she learned to Nordic ski on the Ross Ice Shelf and build a sturdy snow shelter. Macnamara has hiked and biked through France, following the footsteps of poet William Wordsworth to the Alps, and she spends her winters skiing in and around her hometown of Vail, Colorado.
Macnamara has an undergraduate degree in science from the University of Notre Dame and master’s degrees in English literature, writing, and curriculum and instruction. She has also been trained as a Wilderness First Responder and in Avalanche Awareness, Level I.
From Traci J. Macnamara:
Set out confidently on your outdoor adventures by having the skills you need to take care of yourself and those in your group. Remember: Adventure begins in your backyard, whether you’re steps away from your starting point or a train ride from the nearest trailhead.
About “Down and Out”
I thought to name this blog “Down and Out” after reading George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. I read the book while I was doing some research in Cambridge a few weeks after I had broken my ankle in Chamonix–an event that prompted me to consider what I would do when the $54.26 remaining in my bank account ran dry. In that moment, Orwell’s subject matter felt particularly relevant. I like how Orwell was able to capture in his writing the details of his life. Orwell was smart and resourceful–he wasn’t as down and out as the people he wrote about, and I sometimes wonder, myself, how possible it is to be truly down and out with a few decent job experiences and some master’s degrees.
Orwell inspired this blog from its beginnings, when I hyperventilated at the thought of my student loans and struggled with constant temptation from The Road. The focus of this blog has shifted over the years as I’ve traveled on a shoestring, written literary criticism while working the night shift in Antarctica, and started writing for About.com as the Survival Skills Topic Guide. Though some things in my life have changed, I still shudder at the thought of student loans, and I still long for The Road.