The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Walkabouts

I fought it a bit, this notion I needed to step away.

Bloggers drop like Rockies relief pitchers. We’re too busy. Life gets in the way. Motivation runs dry. Thus, the walkabout.

I have 215 Go Ask Daddy questions to answer and 23 idea prompts in the hopper. I have guest posts scheduled deep into spring 2015 and 6 Words posts every month. Busy, yes, but it’s because this blog has taken on a life of its own. And it’s not a bad one.

Life gets in the way, but it often ends up in posts.

Motivation rarely runs dry. It’ll get a little parched by lack of sleep, but it stays pliable.

I stepped away for a week simply because I didn’t like the way my own light shone today as compared to a year ago. Even if I took into consideration expected wear and tear, there shouldn’t have been this dulling. There shouldn’t have been this aging. Things shouldn’t have depreciated in value this much.


I sought to find that shine again, and found myself doing everything. I dropped. I failed. I fought. I swung. I focused. I stewed. I reasoned. I listened. I saw clarity in murky answers. I learned. I lost a little. I won more. I smiled, but I also scowled.

I rowed, for hours and hours. A gave the power behind a canoe while I let the girls who mean the most to me in this life steer. I saw what they saw. I saw them seeing what they saw. And I saw so much more. I heard less. And I loved it more.

“You can have Zen for only so long,” Yoga Jones said on “Orange is the New Black” once.

“After a while, you have to feel something.”

I’m the coach who doesn’t call out the referee. I rarely toss my clipboard. I’m that happy-go-lucky dude who says, “It’s OK!” when I’m slighted. I won’t pick a fight with the other coach. I’ll stand my ground. But standing your ground sometimes isn’t enough. Sometimes, you have to stand up and stare down.

You have to believe in who you are and what you do. Pull down your cap, cross your arms, and stand and deliver.

You have to admit your wrong and stand up for your right and dig in and show what you’ve got. You can’t stop being who you are, but you can better recognize the moment for defiance, and the moment for compassion.

So much happened here last week, and I intended to comment. I told the wonderful women who stepped up for me to consider themselves hosts on my radio show. It was theirs to run. Maybe I’d check in and leave a comment or two.

But, I didn’t. I didn’t really comment on other blogs, either. I checked out. It allowed me to appreciate the love and effort Sandy, Janine and Tamara put in. How bloggers busy as any I know wouldn’t just show up, but would show up as if it was their own space, their own readers, their own love.

I tried to express the gratitude I felt not only in their attention, but the quality of posts and engagement. I failed miserably most likely at expressing it! Not because I’m lousy at it – because they were incredible.

photo credit: APB Photography™ via photopin cc
photo credit: APB Photography™ via photopin cc

And Robin Williams

I was misfit who had to attend PEAK once a week (a program for ‘gifted’ kids) and felt like the pot without a lid most of his life. To watch Robin Williams make goofy a trait you wanted your friends to have … that meant the world.

It meant, somehow, there was some hope for us. Hope for the goofy, the off-the-wall thinkers. Hope for the kids who kept a foot in the margins and a foot in the mainstream and wondered which way the wind would blow.

We heard excerpts of his work and hilarious interviews in the wake of his suicide. It brought to light just how contradictory life on this earth can be. The man who made us laugh so hard on the outside was sad beyond repair on the inside.

If only we could see both in a person.

Lastly, I found light in a familiar place – the soccer field.


Bethany is one half of two twins pairs on my team. Soft-spoken, hard worker. She stopped a shot – with her stomach. She walked toward me slowly, and I asked if she was ok. She nodded ‘no.’

The wind wasn’t knocked out of her, but she said, ‘it hurts so bad!”

I told her she could sit out. And she said, “I just want to stay here with you,” and put her head on my shoulder and cried! “I don’t want them to see me cry!” I told her she had nothing to be ashamed about, that tears don’t take a bit away from toughness.

I told her to stay as long as she needed.

Then I said, “I’m glad it didn’t hit you in the face. It would be no fun to have to help you find your teeth in the grass.” She laughed, wiped her tears, and said, “Thanks, coach.”

The light is back. I found it in struggle and support. I found it in loss and love. I found it in paddle strokes and NPR interviews and the rhetoric as a coach I’ve missed so much. It’s where tactical meets goofy, where inspiration meets compassion.

It’s where there’s caution and hope, and always a little more hope.

And I found it in the space my blog left in me. Not because of what I write – but because of what you do. Whether it’s in your comments or email or 6 Words or when I give you access to this stew pot and you make it your own and make it like me.

robin quote


  1. E. says:

    We all need to go on a walkabout sometimes. But I’m glad you’re back. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I didn’t find all the answers, but enough … and I found my footing most of all. Thanks E – it’s great to be back.

  2. claywatkins says:

    Nice post – I am glad I read it before I put my phone down for the night – I’ve been stewing on a few things, too. At church today, I realized I was distracted – very distracted and guess what – that’s what the sermon was about – being distracted. It’s been a different week – a lot going on, a lot that’s unsettled and it’s not just me. Thank you for letting me know it’s not just me – have a good week – it’s going to be a great one.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I hear you, brother. There’s a lot of noise in the world and noise in our heads. We just have to find that part of ourselves that *is* settled during unsettled times, and anchor to that.

      Let’s give it our best this week, Clay.

  3. Beautiful. Glad you’re back.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Mary! It’s good to be here – and it keeps me off the streets.

  4. Holly says:

    Great post. I am hearing you loud and clear right now. Life is running me over at full speed but it’s all part of the fun. Sometimes a break is exactly what is needed to get back on top and where you want to be 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Holly. I’ve missed you here. When life gets bullish on us, sometimes we have to stand up and take a swing at it. It won’t always work, but there’s a time when we have to dig in our heels, if anything for self-preservation.

      I know a bit about the challenge you’re facing now … I have a lot of confidence in you to excel through it!

      1. Holly says:

        Thanks. I’m about to head out the door for day 1 of prac. I’m already exhausted haha please be kind to me year 2’s 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I can’t imagine a kid not being kind to you!

      3. Holly says:

        I need to work on my skills of keeping them on task though lol they get a bit rowdy & surprising even my years in the prison system still hasn’t given me excellent assertive skills 😉 it’s only day 2.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        prisoners are one thing – year 2s? that’s quite another.

  5. laurie27wsmith says:

    So, we’re back then Mate? It sounds like you sorted life out and found your self again, perhaps an extra week would have been the icing on the cake. The main thing is, you came back and found us, still here.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m definitely back, mate. But if I’d sorted out life, I’d be back pimping the ebook to share all the secrets. I did get a firmer grasp on things and found my footing … the game continues, but I’m ready. So glad to find my friends still here.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        You’re still here and putting in the hard yards mate and that’s what counts. Now get to work.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Aye aye, captain.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        I meant it in the nicest possible way of course, although I do like the response.

  6. Sandy Ramsey says:

    Thank you for the sweet words, Eli. You’re one of the best there is and if I helped in the smallest way to help you find the light again, it was my pleasure and my honor. It feels like it worked. The light is definitely back and if you ever need my help again, you know where to find me…

    Great post, my friend. Welcome home.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Just looking back on this and I can’t believe I let this comment go unanswered. Reading it today made me realize so much familiar from that day to today.

      Thanks for being there for me.

  7. Eli,
    There’s nothing better I could have read on a Monday morning when life is blaring down and demands are being hollered–not from the teen’s bedroom (MOM! MOM! I need my practice jersey)but from those noisy, internal and mean voices that plague just about everyone I know.
    I hope that writing this helped you push the reset button, but most of all, I hope it helped you be kind to yourself. The love for your girls as well as your Golden Rule persona shines through. You have built a great community of writers because of who you are and how you treat people. We will all be here when you come back 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The world can be vicious, of course, but it’s often nothing compared to our inner dialogue. Kindness to ourselves feels like such a challenge, almost a selfish act, sometimes.

      I’m glad you can see what really matters – my girls and that Golden Rule, which, if the girls don’t remember another thing from me, I hope that’s it.

      I’m grateful I can include you in the incredible community that somehow gathered here over the past two years – and thank you for your kind words, Michelle!

  8. mountaingmom says:

    Great post. Glad you could take a walk-about.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you – I’m grateful to have had such stellar hosts while I was away, too.

  9. tania2atee says:

    Welcome back. Sometimes we need to take a time out to find ourselves again. A break is a break, so I’m glad you found what you were looking for.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Tania. I think it was a slow (or not so slow?) deterioration of myself I had to stop. I feel like I have a little momentum going now.

  10. Eli, I am so glad you are indeed back and better then ever. I am also so glad you got to take the time, re-assess and re-evaluate. I think it needs to be done from time-to-time by all of us. And must tell you, you didn’t totally check out and were still totally here in spirit, because I definitely felt your presence here in spirit all three days. Thank you for entrusting me to take over for you and always so happy to have you as a friend and supporter of mine – seriously so thankful for that and you, too – always 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m definitely back – we’ll see about the better than ever! I could have just vacated this space and it would have been fine, but the way you, Sandy and Tamara took care of things here while I was away was an important part of my learning last week, too.

      Glad I felt here in spirit, because it was a blast to watch you three (four, really, with Bacon!) field comments and foster such entertaining discussion.

      I’ll always have your back, JH.

  11. Now can you please explain why I’m crying with Bethany, and I didn’t even get hit by a ball? Loved how you let her cry on your shoulder and made her smile again.
    Coach Daddy, you rock – happy to see you back! ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I don’t know, Tamara! I was just honored that she trusted me that way. It’s good to be back among friends.

  12. Sometimes a little “walk” and time to be alone helps clear the head, and get us excited to be back. Hope you’re excited about being back, and know that we missed you!

    What’s your next six-word prompt? Apparently, I’ve been on a little vacation from participating in that lately.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes – it doesn’t solve all the problems, but it gives us some traction. Sometimes, that’s all you need. Thanks for missing me! I missed this, the writing, the interaction, the community.

      The next 6-word prompt:

      August is What Will Your Legacy Be? Month. What would yours be? It can be profound or humorous … or a little of both. Think, “Greatest grilled-cheese chef on a budget.” or “Poster child for morning road rage.”

  13. 1jaded1 says:

    “You have to admit your wrong and stand up for your right…” That whole paragraph, yes. I’m glad you found light.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you … just kind of arms us for the next round, right? It’s not all a fight. But you have to be strong for anything.

  14. Great post Eli. I’m glad you got your spark back. Now, would you mind sending a little my way. I seem to have misplaced mine.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Nelson. It feels good. And there’s plenty to go around … I’ve always felt like I’d be happy to send a writing prompt or two to any of my friends who need a jump start.

  15. Glad your rest and get away from the blog was so successful. Getting out of a routine can really be refreshing!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Marie. Even if it was just that afternoon on the lake with the girls … that breathed a lot of life back in me.

  16. Fit_Pink_Mom says:

    Sounds like you had an awesome week! Do you have answers for all those 215 questions yet? You better get to googling! Glad you’re back 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was stellar, even with all its challenges. And I’ll get those answers, five at a time. (I think it’s up to 220 now, though).

      It’s good to be back!

  17. tamaralikecamera says:

    I was hoping you could still answer some of Scarlet’s probing questions. She throws them at me all day long! Even Des is starting in on it… I was going to put him in the Boba Fett helmet for the photo shoot, but thought it was well enough as is.

    Never saw you lose your luster – can’t imagine that’s even a thing that could happen.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Toss some to me – I’ll write them as a guest post for you. I have some going on TP Hogan’s blog soon.

      I’m glad you couldn’t see it – but I could feel it definitely.

  18. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I am glad you recognized the value of taking time off and the break gave you what you needed. Welcome back!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Today was rough, and I wonder how I’d have handled it without the week off! So good to be back, though.

  19. TammieB says:

    Beautifully written E! Everyone needs a walkabout from time to time. We all lose ourselves once in a while, the important thing is that we take the time to get it back.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Tammie! I wish there was a bacon cheeseburger on my walkabout, but there was a philly cheesesteak. I’m glad I went back to get what I lost, and I’m glad you stuck around.

  20. Kim says:

    I’m glad that you had your walkabout and came back feeling at least somewhat ready to go again!!! You can see from the comments how much everyone enjoys your blog and the things you share with us. I hope that you feel appreciated here!!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You know there are usually no timeouts in soccer, so this is a different concept. It’s humbling to see the response as I got back – and how much people engaged last week while I was gone. This place is as much yours as it is mine.

      p.s. I love the new look on your blog, KT. Sweet.

      1. Kim says:

        Thanks – still have a few technical issues but it’s getting there!

  21. TP Hogan says:

    Good on you for knowing when you needed a break. Sometimes that’s so hard in itself. “I can do this, I’ll just push through.” That’s more common. And good on you for taking it.

  22. Katie @ Pick Any Two says:

    I always can tell that I need a break when I read a post I’ve written and think, “Where am I in that?” When I’m being pulled in too many directions, my voice is the first thing to go. In those moments the best thing a writer can do is step away and find it again.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s a good sign. For me, it wasn’t so much my writing … it was email I’d written a year ago. It was like someone else wrote it. I didn’t want it to reach the writing voice.

      Glad to know you knew where I was coming from, Katie.

  23. Rorybore says:

    And that is why I love to camp each summer…. it forces me away, unplugged. and I am still convinced, just as when I was child, that secrets of life can be heard whispering in the tree leaves, and that we are all just ripples in a big, big ocean that eventually spread out and reach the shore.
    damn. that would have been a great blog post. Stop inspiring me would ya!
    Wrecked about Robin Williams. just can’t yet.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We need that quiet time. It’s not like we stop writing then – I don’t think I ever really stop writing. I had a few posts come to me during that time away.

      I think you should write about your secrets of life whispering in the tree leaves. Right after you post about your tat.

      I know. People are probably tired of Robin Williams, but it’s a big deal to me, for many reasons. His illness, his impact … he’ll be so missed.

  24. dishofdailylife says:

    I’ve taken a bit of time myself. Life has been really difficult this summer. I’m posting on a mostly regular schedule but I’m getting some help from others and my commenting hasn’t been what it was. So I get it. But I’m trying to get back to some normalcy. Right now I am away, and I’m kind of sneaking away to spend a little time on my computer. No one else is up yet (big time zone difference from the east coast). I’m glad you got your quiet time.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ve noticed, Michelle, and have missed you. I hope fall gets better for you. I had to lean on good friends the week before this, and I’m thankful they had my back.

      I’m glad you got this quiet time too, to comment. We writers need an outlet, no matter how narrow.

  25. Dana says:

    Welcome back, Eli. I haven’t been here as much as I’d like, but I like knowing that you are here.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Same here, Dana. I will always make it back to you, even if it takes me longer than I’d like.

  26. It must have been a virus because I took time off the whole summer. It just seemed like time with my kids and no schedule was more important for me. I blogged when I felt moved to but otherwise I was M.I.A from the internet. And that was a good thing. I’m a new Coach Daddy follower but glad to hear you are back, in more ways than one. Have a great weekend!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Did you feel like the time away helped, Hallie? I just had to reset, and I missed it here. I’m glad you’re here and can’t to read your blog too.

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