Little Free Library On the Road

I’m currently spending some much needed time with extended family (which will, eventually, lend itself to all sorts of various posts), so I’m taking this opportunity to add another layer to my recently published article on The Austinot.

If you’re not familiar with this magazine, The Austinot is an online publication that focuses on–you guessed it–Austin. I enjoy being associated with this endeavor because I love my hometown. Born here, went to school here, raised a family here. Texas (and, in particular, this city) is in my blood. I consider watching the sun come up over the downtown skyline during a morning workout to be one of life’s pleasures. I’m still thrilled every time I drive by the Capitol, whether I like the legislating going on there or not.

It’s always fun to marry interest with passion to produce a story. That’s the way my article about Little Free Libraries came about. I’d spotted several around town and decided that, as I was already stopping to photograph them, I needed to learn more. In addition, my beloved sister in law was in process of installing one of her own. So I pitched the story idea to my Austinot editor, Brittany Highland, who was immediately on board. Fabulous.

Screenshot of Austinot article on Little Free Library

[Here’s the article: “Little Free Library Makes Books Accessible on Austin Roadsides”]

Traveling with a Little Free Library

In the course of researching my article for The Austinot, I stumbled across a familiar name. My trail-running friends Robert and Diana Heynen had been profiled in a 2014 Killeen Daily Herald article, “Little Free Libraries Popping Up Across Central Texas.”

After retiring, Robert and Diana sold their Austin home to roam the countryside in their cozy RV, traveling from park to park, hiking and running as they saw fit. And during their traveling, they brought along a Little Free Library to set up wherever they stopped.

Couple with traveling Little Free Library at Yellowstone National Park
Friend and photographer John Frierson caught up with Robert & Diana Heynen at Yellowstone National Park.

Though the Heynens have left their Little Free Library in storage for now–space, after all, is a huge consideration when living year ’round out of an RV–they truly enjoyed its travels with them. And that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Diana and Robert are people who enjoy sharing with others. Both were fixtures in the Austin running community; Robert was a founding website master for two venerable institutions, the Austin Runners Club (still going strong) and the now-disbanded Hill Country Trail Runners. That’s how I originally met him, through involvement with the boards of both clubs.

Whether she actually knew it or not, Diana was my trail running mentor. It was her sage advice that steered my 50K/half Ironman training combo schedule, prepared me for my first 50 miler, and set the base for one of the best runs of my life–the Bandera 100K.

Group of women trail runners in Austin
There’s Diana in the middle, above the No.22, at a gathering of “Trail Tribe Women” in 2012 (Photo Credit: JoAnna Hestilow Brand)

Long distance running is a male-dominated sport, so women like Diana–experienced, successful, and leaders–become beacons of light for the rest of us. I mean, really: No guy can provide proper peeing-on-the-trail tips to a gaggle of girl runners. I’ll never forget a funny impromptu session Diana gave on this very subject while on a run in the Guadalupe Mountains.

Wherever they may be, I always carry a little bit of Robert and Diana Heynen with me out on the trails. Good travels, my friends. I hope you’re enjoying fair weather and wonderful scenery.

And here’s to many happy pages of reading on the road.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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