Who is Ellen Vrana?

My Dearest, I am. An American living in England with my husband, two young daughters and two Siamese cats. I conceived and launched in the winter of 2019. I do the writing, gathering, questioning, mistaking, etc.

I do it for the pure splendor of the doing it. My surname means “crow” in Czech.

That is me, straight-line version.

Except… life’s never a straight line.

It’s a dotted, dashed, curvy, swervy line that vanishes and appears elsewhere, far away. You wonder if you’re in a Richard Feynman experiment proving simultaneous location.

I’ve wandered, jumped, pulsated nearby.

I was born and raised in Michigan, went to Harvard college, and worked in government. I dashed to California for business school, where I met my husband, my perfect opposite and inimitable playmate. We were young and serious. I worked in consulting, he in investing.

Then I felt the call of the universe—a deep, aching for a tree-edged horizon.

I quit McKinsey and put heel to toe across the U.S. on the Appalachian Trail. My husband stayed put in our apartment and, to my everlasting delight, in our marriage. I sought the universe.


Life doesn’t share secrets, does it?

Wisdom appears slowly from a lifetime of caring, noticing, and being awake.

After my hike—for a long time after—I was uselessly depressed and achy for bed. We moved to London. We adopted cats. I wrote while looking for work. Mostly from bed.

Life brings wisdom, pleasures, and deep moments of loneliness. Not solitude but isolation. Do you ever feel you’re surrounded by people yet completely alone?

I’m not alone in feeling alone.

I write for those who want to connect. To life, to humanity, to what Thoreau called “everlasting Something to which we are allied” and what recently- deceased poet Mary Oliver called “the eternal.”

The Examined Life is about connecting. (I’m a terrible introvert and this is my best medium). I collect wisdom. I extend my warm, generous self so you’ll feel something.

None of us are alone in our fears, beliefs, reasons, lives—we are all part of humanity. Is that the eternal?

Let’s find out.

(Oh, as a bit of fun, I’ve tucked some Examined Critters around the site. Some have names, personalities, all have meaning. They are there to keep you company and to help me remember what matters.)