The Writer’s Blog Tour

Introducing Eve Fleishman, our multi-faceted friend who nominated us. She’s a “forty-something, married, no kids, two cats, small apartment in the big city kinda gal” with a lot on her plate as a singer-songwriter-performer-blogger. Check out her interview on her blog, Alice and the Rabbit Hole.

Ever have a completely unremarkable week when out of the blue comes an interesting opportunity? Such was the case upon hearing from a long-time friend: the über-talented singer-songwriter (and newly blogging) Eve Fleishman! Hers was a nomination of Intrepid Pup to participate in a virtual Writer’s Blog Tour. Tag, you’re it! And while Intrepid Pup followers have probably noted that we don’t do (m)any blog hops, here’s one where we’re going all in to give that proverbial “peek behind the curtain” on the writing process and then paying it forward by spotlighting some fellow writers to continue the tour. Read all the way to the end to meet our two nominees.

But first, on to our Writer’s Blog Tour interview:

What am I currently working on?

Part of Team TavishWhile I was lucky to be able to take vacation time from my regular job to get on some longer, really great road trips with Tavish this year, the flip side is that there unfortunately hasn’t been much time to write them all up. Anecdotes and good tips galore. And oodles (read: thousands) of photos to filter through! Bottom line…there’s a lot in the pipeline at the moment. Intrepid Pup fans can look forward to forays into literally new territory: an unforgettable few days of urban exploration in the Big Apple, hikes in first-time states for Tavish, and hey(!) in October, Intrepid Pup went international. So, there’s  a border crossing and several days in scenic Canada, where, I kid you not, one of the first things we heard was, “So, you’ve got a super sweet dog there, eh?” Beyond that, come December, I’ll be prepping a couple of new installments for our seasonal feature (now heading into its third year) entitled, “The National Howl-iday Scene.” And I really have to go back and finish a couple of posts that have been rattling around for waaaay too long, including “Bark Ranger in the Port City” which will recount Tavish’s visit to a newly refurbished National Park site and his inaugural call out as a “celebrity.” They’ll be worth the wait—promise!

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

The blogosphere is increasingly made of up people posting about their pets. The millennia-old bond between canines and humans is cited in everything from scientific journals to reality TV. And given the growing, multi-billion-dollar pet services industry, cherishing one’s dog is hardly unusual. To tout Tavish as “the best” diminishes all the other great relationships people have so fortunately forged with their pets. Yet Tavish is my best, and I’m lucky to have found so steadfast a companion who also happens to serve as muse.

There are some terrific websites that have demystified the concept of traveling with one’s pet and immensely facilitated locating dog-friendly destinations and lodging. And while it’s easier than ever before to confidently decide upon a place and get there with your dog, I still don’t think there are a lot of detailed resources devoted to what activities you can actually do with your dog once you’ve arrived so that you’re both getting the most out of it. Sightseeing, exercise, learning, fun and spending time with your dog don’t have to be mutually exclusive activities. I feel that’s niche is to sit squarely at the intersection of storytelling and authenticity, and I especially like that this blog has attracted crossover audiences among dog lovers, avid outdoorsmen, travel enthusiasts, and history buffs. It’s been gratifying to see how the Intrepid Pup has evolved into a brand influencer not only on the dog blog scene but also among museums, cultural and historic sites and national parks.

Why do I write what I do? kind of just happened. Really. The one thing that people seem to universally comment on about Tavish is that he always seems really happy, and that rubs off. You can’t help but smile. A ready gift to share with others is how personable he is, and that’s something one can feel all the way down the leash and back up again. Lifestyle-wise—as the human part of Team Tavish—I’m an outdoor enthusiast and amateur photographer with a professional background in museums. Friends had been encouraging me to write and somehow combine these elements. When a job change a few years back meant I wasn’t doing as much writing and designing, I turned to developing as a way to fill and nurture that creative void. I spent some time figuring out what my niche would be (as I mentioned earlier) and had some basic goals in mind but never anticipated becoming the award-winning platform it is today.

How does my writing process work?

Tavish at computer

What’s my writing process? Well, the dog does the typing, so that’s a big time saver. *I wish*

Oh, it’s sooo easy! Says no writer. Ever. You know that expression about sausage? Where it’s best not to see it getting made? Well, usually, so too, is my writing process. It’s complicated. A little messy, even. I’ve always enjoyed writing and am a bit of a grammar and vocab geek, so the flow, precision and word choice aspects of writing are appealing. For me, writing is like assembling one of those maddening 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. I don’t write in order: I zip around, write a little of the conclusion, pop back up to the lede, scroll down to some random part in the middle, swap out sentences here and there. I’m that jigsaw puzzler who snaps together all the edge pieces and then plugs away at filling in the difficult bits. Because exploring with Tavish is the fodder for my written end-product, I have to make sure I’m making the time to get out there and explore in the first place. Since I’m pretty visual and also aware that I’m writing for an online audience, I’m thinking at the outset about how it’s going to look on the screen—from the layout to image selection with the number and size of the photos. With the Intrepid Pup articles, I frequently turn back to a brochure I picked up along the way or to (sometimes illegible and cryptic) notes I’ve jotted during an excursion. I always surprise myself with how much back-end research winds up going into a piece, even when I’m “writing what I know” from personal experience. I write directly on the computer but will never fully relinquish the material comfort of having scraps of paper and a pencil close at hand. I know when I’ve finished, and it’s akin to that moment when the puzzle piece you’ve already examined and touched a hundred times turns out to be the one that slips effortlessly into the final gap to complete the picture. Simultaneously satisfying and anticlimactic.

Continuing the tour…

My nominees to continue the Writer’s Blog Tour are Sharon Boston of Nerd Trips and Trevor Johnson and Ryan Pratzel, the creative team behind Travel at Random. I’m grateful for their friendship but also consider them trusted sources when it comes to informative, entertaining writing. Get to know them a little better for yourself with these introductions below, and look for their own interviews in the coming days:

Sharon Boston | Nerd Trips

Sharon Boston combined her natural curiosity about people, quirky sense of humor and interests in travel, history and architecture into a unique blog—Nerd Trips: Roads Less Traveled to Presidents, Poets & Other Historic Persons. Through a writing style once described as “breezy and informative,” Sharon transports readers to locations ranging from the O. Henry World Championship Pun Off and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to Lincoln’s boyhood home and the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

On a Nerd Trip, you can stand in the room where James Madison spent months writing the Constitution, then hear a lady ask where Dolley’s dogs are buried. Or debate with park rangers about which president would win a foot race. And if you think Poe’s stories are scary, you should see the stairs in his house.

Nerd Trips are more than just learning facts about famous people, part of the fun is the laughs you have along the way, discovering small towns, local eateries and kooky characters. Come along for the ride!


Ryan Pratzel and Trevor Johnson | Travel at Random

Travel at RandomTravel at Random shares the journeys of Ryan Pratzel and Trevor Johnson. We travel for business, we travel for pleasure and we travel for the fun of it. Our blog is a mix of reviews, travel guides, attractions and tips we pass along. Ryan has been traveling most of his life. A former journalist, Ryan owns a video production and marketing company. Trevor is the web developer behind the blog and contributor as well to the ever expanding content. We’re both avid travelers always seeking our next adventure. has taken our readers from New York City to a remote glacier in Alaska’s wilderness, from Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe and everywhere in between. Our mission is to share our experiences and hopefully help and learn from fellow travelers along the way. Join us on our journey!




“…First in the Hearts of his Countrymen….”

Tavish at Mount Vernon“First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen….” 

When it comes to being truly intrepid, one has to look no further than America’s first president, George Washington. The above words were spoken by Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee in 1799 in a public eulogy upon Washington’s untimely death and have aptly endured for generations.

With George Washington’s 280th birthday approaching on February 22, 2012, Team Tavish figured that Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens would be a fitting topic for the Intrepid Pup’s inaugural blog post.

The extensive grounds are indeed dog-friendly (see “Dogging the Details” below), perhaps in a nod to Washington’s own affinity for dogs. In a tidbit of canine trivia, Washington is credited as being the father of the American Foxhound breed. He imported several hounds from England in 1770 and received more from France’s Marquis de Lafayette in 1785. According to the American Kennel Club, more than 30 hounds are referenced in Washington’s records, and it isn’t difficult to imagine them accompanying Washington as he surveyed, hunted, and managed the 8,000+ acres that once constituted the full extent of his Mount Vernon estate.

Tavish has visited on multiple occasions. He has had to leave touring the meticulously-restored mansion and experiencing the impressive educational complex—which opened in 2006 and comprehensively addresses various aspects of Washington’s public and private persona and legacy through immersive presentations, interpretive exhibitions, and more than 1,000 artifacts—to Team Tavish. But if you think there might not be much else for a dog to do, you’d be wrong. Consider sitting in one of the Windsor chairs on the back porch and admiring the sweeping view of the Potomac River. Explore the treading barn at the Pioneer Farm site and sniff the blooms grown from heirloom seeds in the ever-changing gardens. Walk solemnly past Washington’s tomb and the slave burial ground memorial. Greet visitors arriving by boat down at the dock. Peer through the fences and snuffle at any number of heritage breed animals that include hogs, oxen, and even Liberty (the National Thanksgiving Day turkey officially pardoned by President Obama on November 23, 2011, living out its days at Mount Vernon)! And if it’s the holiday season, follow in Tavish’s paw prints and be sure to check out the live camel. It’s true. During the Christmas season of 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings for the novelty of temporarily boarding a camel to entertain his holiday guests. Mount Vernon keeps with the tradition by having a “Christmas Camel” on site during its annual Christmas at Mount Vernon festivities.

Dogging the Details

38°42′29.65″ N,  77°05′07.67″ W
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Alexandria, Virginia

wag-a-meter set at 2Bring your annual pass, dog, and a leash! Mount Vernon earns a “2” on the Intrepid Pup Wag-A-Meter for generously giving annual pass holders dog-walking rights on the grounds during regular daytime visitation hours. If you plan to visit Mount Vernon more than once in any given year, then the annual pass is well worth it.  The usual rules apply:  keep your dog on a leash and be sure to clean up. Dogs aren’t allowed in the mansion, outbuildings, Ford Orientation Center, or Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center, but with ~500 acres of grounds, gardens, and woodland trails, there’s plenty outside to explore. Mount Vernon has a few strategically-placed water bowls on the grounds for its canine friends, but if you’re planning an extended visit, bring along extra water for your dog. Mount Vernon attracts approximately 1 million visitors annually. On President’s Day, admission to Mount Vernon is free, but be forewarned that it’s also one of the Estate’s busiest days of the year!