A few favorite stories
A few pieces of magazine writing over the years of which I’m proud — and that are deeply personal.
A rugged Wyoming dude ranch tests citified Jason Harper against his homesteading heritage — Condé Nast Traveler magazine (print, August 2002)
Excerpt: My family is from a desert valley in northern New Mexico. My great-grandfather bought what would become the Harper Ranch in 1907, after traveling from Missouri by wagon train. He immediately purchased his first cattle. My granddad, John Harrington Harper, known as J. H., was born in the bedroom of that ranch house in 1914. Almost seventy-nine years later, he would die of a heart attack two rooms away, slicing bread in the kitchen early in the morning. Granddad, who was always annoyed at my late-sleeping ways when there was work to be done, which there always was, jokingly condemned, “People die in bed.” He, no surprise, did not.
Land of the Thunder Dragon
How the Tiny Nation of Bhutan Embraced Tourism Without Sacrificing Its Environment and Culture — Robb Report magazine (print and digital, November 2019)
We continue clambering up the mountain slope to the 16th-century Chorten Ningpo monastery, where 30 young monks live and learn. We have breakfast with the disciples and their principal, Lama Nado. We eat outside, and the food is delicious: red rice, chilies and eggs. I ask the lama about Buddhism and its connection to environmentalism. “Our beliefs are actually quite similar to science,” he replies. “Disturb the deities who live in nature and you disturb the balance. We must protect nature.”
A Homecoming on Wheels — Automobile Magazine (digital and print, November 2013)
Trucks and family and generations. It’s a country song, all right, and I don’t even care for the genre. I live in New York City, a very different America from New Mexico. But I’ve come home, as prodigal sons do, and this time I’ve brought along my own son … We blew through the dark desert under a swarm of startle-bright stars and arrived as the sun did. I trundled Max upstairs to my father’s bedroom and held him aloft like the Lion King — cheesy, but it felt right. My dad rubbed his sleep-stained eyes and gawped. So did Max, taking in the six-foot-three form of my dad, a former pro football player. Holy God, but do things come round.
In the Footfalls of Greek Gods
Exploring Greece’s Dodecanese by Sail and Bike — Robb Report magazine (print and digital, January 2019)
Excerpt: A village of gleaming white walls and brilliant blue shutters is perched on the very edge of the abyss. It’s a fantastical sight, yet another Greek myth. I’m soon off my bike and being handed a very real lemonade by the owner of a café. His family has been here generations, he says, and I ask what it’s like to live on top of an active volcano. Doesn’t he worry? “We worry 365 days a year, 24 hours a day,” he says, then smiles. “But look at our view.”