Mais ou menos is Portuguese for "more or less." It seems as good a phrase as any to capture the simultaneous wonder and bewilderment of being a stranger, and the ways you both gain and lose when you wash up somewhere distant. That happened to me in July, 2015, when I moved from the U.S. to Brazil.

I've been a journalist since 2006. After a few newspaper years in Virginia, I struck off in search of the freelance dream: to keep odd hours, to piddle online, to send millions of emails and to spend a little bit of time writing. Eventually that led to bylines in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Roads & Kingdoms, Discover, and a high percentage of Shenandoah Valley newspapers. I've also reported for WMRA, a public radio station in Virginia.


Resume snippets: I studied environmental science and peace studies at Eastern Mennonite University. Then I got an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Goucher College.

Founding myth: When I was 18 I spent a summer in Alaska, where I read books by Barry Lopez and John McPhee and first thought I'd like to be a writer.

akjenner at gmail dot com.