top of page

Narrative Nonfiction Project

Two Autumns

Two Autumns, which started as Mellisa’s M.A. thesis at Johns Hopkins, is a series of essays about traveling in New Zealand and Japan. Taking place in 2018, these works capture the spirit of early twenty-first century backpacking culture, while concurrently excavating past landscapes through old photos, books, and inherited memories. An ongoing project, Two Autumns explores themes of travel, nature, conservation, memory, and identity.

Pascale_City of Leaves.JPG

Kyoto, Japan

"City of Leaves"

The Common Online


"And so putting memories into words becomes another form of loss. In trying to preserve what we know, we forfeit the beloved, fragile myth."

Arthur's Pass, New Zealand

"Kea Call"


"I’d thought it would feel light to move around with nothing but a backpack, liberating to follow my own agenda, but instead I found myself searching for something solid to grasp onto, like a clear path into the clouds."

Bronze Award in the Animal Encounter category of the 18th Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing

Pascale_Kea Call.JPG

Los Angeles, California, and Auckland, New Zealand

"To Auckland"

TulipTree Review, no. 9

"What would I see when the sun came up? Now that I had finally left, who would I be?"

Honorable mention in TulipTree's 2021 Wild Women writing contest

Routeburn Track, New Zealand, and Kyoto, Japan


"In a world that favors those with the sharpest teeth, retreat can be a wild, hopeful thing."

The original version of this essay was long-listed for the 2021 Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize. It is currently being revised. 


Images on this page from top to bottom: Daitoku-ji in Kyoto, Japan; the kea, in Arthur's Pass New Zealand; Hobbiton movie set in Matamata, New Zealand; Harris Saddle on Routeburn Track, New Zealand. All images are my own and cannot be used without my express permission.

bottom of page