Who is Ellen Vrana?

My Dearest, I am. An American living in England with my husband, one year-old daughter and two Siamese cats. I conceived this site a year ago and launched in the winter of 2019. I do all the writing, gathering, questioning, editing, etc.

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

That is me, nutshell version.

Except… life’s neither simple nor a straight line, is it?

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

I’ve wandered, jumped elsewhere, pulsated nearby.

I was born and raised in Michigan, went to Boston for college, and worked in Massachusetts government. I dashed to California for business school, where I met my husband, my perfect opposite (he stays put) 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 longing for a tree-edged horizon. Endless space.

I quit my job 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 and connected.

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’d 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.)