Hudson Lindenberger, Trinity Class of 1985, is a writer, editor, and world traveler. He has been published in Men’s Journal, Backpacker, Forbes, Boulder Weekly, Filson Journal, and numerous other national and regional publications. He have also co-authored one book, contributed to Fodor’s Colorado Travel Guide, and has another book coming out in the spring of 2022. We traded emails recently about where in the world his traveling has taken him, lessons he’s discovered as he’s traveled, and why you should never drive through the backroads of Mexico near the Guatemalan border in a rickety bus at twilight.
Bret Saxton ’05, Trinity Director of Communication: Thanks so much for your willingness to answer some questions. Let’s start by talking about your life at Trinity. What stood out for you? What do you remember most?
Hudson Lindenberger ’85: My time at Trinity was a tale of two times. For the first two years, I was deeply involved in the school community, soaking up the new environment that I suddenly found myself in. Coming from Ascension Grade School, everything at Trinity seemed so much larger than life. I loved it, and I quickly expanded my circle of friends as I met so many new people. I remember joining the climbing club and swim team my freshman year and loving it.
As I got older, I started to drift a bit, and I wasn’t as dialed in with the daily life at Trinity. It was during that time, when teachers like Mr. Lococo, Mr. Hublar, and Mrs. Bohannon taught me to expect more from myself than I thought I was capable of. A lesson I didn’t fully appreciate until I got older. Oh, and who could forget the pep rallies and the milkshakes!
BS: The milkshakes! I remember those fondly! What about once you graduated? College? Career plans?
HL: After Trinity, I went to Wright State University on a swimming scholarship. I swam for two years and decided that I needed to take a break from school. Even before this decision, I always knew that I wanted to explore the world outside of Louisville. I think that I was born with a dose of wanderlust in my bones. I went to Valdez, Alaska, in the spring of 1988 to work in the salmon industry. I spent the next three years living in a tent, soaking up the wilderness of Alaska while working every spring, summer, and fall, only coming home in the winter to take a few classes at JCC. Finally, after five years in Alaska, one winter living out of a backpack in Mexico and Central America, and another as a ski bum in Breckenridge, Colorado, I returned home full time. After graduating with a BA in the Arts, I decided to pursue a career in restaurant management. For the next almost two decades, I was a General Manager for Ruby Tuesday, Bahama Breeze, and Lone Star Steakhouse and an Area Sales Manager for MolsonCoors Brewing Company, and it was then, I decided to dive into writing.
I have now been a full-time freelance writer for almost the last decade. My two daughters are grown adults now and on their own. Two years ago, my wife and I sold our house in Boulder, Colorado, after living in Lyon, France, from 2016-2018, and for the last two-and-a-half years, we have been full-time digital nomads. We sold most of our furniture, donated a ton of stuff, and packed the items we wanted to keep into a small storage space in Boulder.
It has been an exciting lifestyle! We typically spend 3-6 months in different places soaking up all that it offers before moving onward. We have been wintering in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and just wrapped up summer in Santa Barbara, California. We are headed to Portugal for a month this fall, and then we are doing next summer in Canada. After that, who knows? We don’t have any plans to settle down anytime soon.
BS: Wow! What a lifestyle to live. Must be a freeing sensation! From a writing standpoint, has it always been something you were passionate about?
HL: Here is the funny thing: in school I hated English class, but I loved reading. That being said, it wasn’t until my early forties, when I was starting to think about another reboot, that I seriously thought about writing full time. My younger brother, Michael, Trinity Class of 1989, was the writer in the family. He was a full-time reporter with the Dallas Morning News; I was a beer salesman. When I made my move, my brother gave me a ton of advice and support as I was starting out.
I started writing for any publication that would have me to put my time in. I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell. I subscribe to his Outliers philosophy of putting in 10,000 hours until you are great at something. I still have a ways to go, but I have racked up some hours. I have two books coming out this spring. One is a hiking guidebook for Fairbanks, Alaska, and the other is one I co-authored with Ryan Waters, a mountain and polar guide telling his life’s story. That will make three books I have written, plus four others I have contributed to, plus over fifty publications.
BS: Congratulations on all the successes! I know you’ve traveled all over the world and could probably tell stories for days. What are some of your favorite trips? Funny moments? Scary moments?
HL: There are so many. In the winter of 1991, I remember driving through the backroads of Mexico near the Guatemalan border in a rickety bus at twilight when suddenly all the locals started to hide their belongings in weird spots and stuff them in holes in the seats. Through some English, Spanish, and gestures, we realized that we were in an area known for bandits. My three friends and I took off our money belts and hid them too. We were stopped at an army checkpoint and escorted off the bus at machine gunpoint a little while later. They left us alone but harassed the others on the bus, ultimately finding no money, they let everyone through. Once past, everyone on the bus relaxed and a guitar even came out! It was both a scary and fun night.
A few years ago, towards the end of our stay in France, my wife and I decided to spend a month traveling across the continent in our little van. On a whim, we drove to Prague, Czech Republic, and bought tickets to the Rolling Stones show. We scored front row standing room only seats and were ten feet from the stage. When the band came on, we linked arms with all the city residents and sang along for two hours. It was magical. That whole trip was fantastic, and I recommend everyone spend time in Norway. Copenhagen in the summer is maybe one of my favorite places on the planet. Berlin is pretty great, and Lyon, France, is a hidden gem. Not many Americans know about it.
BS: Given your journey in life and the foundation you talk about you received from Trinity, what advice would you give to current Trinity students?
HL: I am such a firm believer that your life is what you make of it. People always ask me how I can live my life, switching jobs and pathways seemingly at random. I always tell them that a lot of thought goes into my choices, but if I see a need for change, I will make it. I have had some ups and downs in my life. I have had success and failure. Yet, through it all, I have always taken the time to listen to my heart. You should listen to yours, too.
Refuse to be stuck in something you don’t like. If your job makes you unhappy, start laying the groundwork for an exit. If you are in a bad relationship, either figure out how to fix it or move on. If something is making you miserable, then quit doing it. You are in charge of your reality. No one else is.