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Our Year in Pictures

We started our full-time travel in July of 2010, selling our suburban home in Ft. Worth, Texas and everything in it.
People keep saying, “Can you believe it’s been a year already?!” Yes. In fact, it feels like so much longer. We have lived, experienced, and explored so much in the last year that I am floored that it has only…been…one…year. We rarely felt rushed. We traveled on a timeframe of our own choosing and adjusted according to how we were feeling. We have grown so much in so many ways. This video is a brief overview of our travels from July, 2010 to September, 2011. Enjoy. ūüôā

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in RV, Travel log

 

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Inspiration Monday- It’s all around

Tara Wagner of The Organic Sister¬† posted her Inspiration Monday blog carnival post today.¬† Being that we’re with them on the road right now, I found it only fitting to participate (now that I understand what a blog carnival is (insert, SNORT- “you’ve been blogging how long?!” here))….

We’ve been hanging with the Wagners on a¬†picturesque mountainside¬†outside of Albuquerque by complete happenstance (as if there were such a thing) for the last week.¬† What was meant to be a night… or two… has become a caravan adventure.¬† Our plans have changed… AGAIN.¬† This is big.¬† We’re planners.¬† We’ve always been planners.¬† And since the beginning of our life on the road about 7 weeks ago, the plan has changed at least 3 dramatic times.¬† And that was OK each time.¬† We made decisions and settled on a new plan.¬† But now there’s something new on the scene- FLOW.¬† We¬†embarked on this adventure¬†because it felt good to be free and yet we were tying ourselves to expectations- places to be, things to see, timeframes- all along the way.

So I have to say that today I’m inspired by FLOW- going with it, being in it, and enjoying it.¬† Rather than trying to beat feet to Santa Cruz for my mid-October conference, I’ve bought a plane ticket from Las Vegas.¬† Chris and the kiddos will stay around the city of sin for the weekend while I’m away and maybe by then we’ll have a new destination in mind.¬† There were places we had planned to stop on the way.¬† Time with friends and supporting each other’s journeys has taken precedence.¬† Between our two homes on wheels, the Wagners and we have seen our share of fixer-upper afternoons and it just feels great to have more heads and hands in those situations.

What else have I been inspired by this week?

 РThe fourth issue of Rethinking Everything MagazineРthe quarterly magazine I began co-publishing with Barb Lundgren this year.  It feels like a first date every time I send it out and this marks the last issue of our first year in publication!!!

– Shopping carts that fit adults so my kids can push me around the store- it’s slow but super fun!

 

 

 

 

– Tireless men who wrack their brains and dirty their hands until it’s fixed.

 

 

 

 

 

– Boys who play Barbies and Legos… together.

 

 

 

 

 

150,000 year old art.

 

People who remind us to think about what inspires us– thanks, Tara!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2010 in New Mexico, Travel log

 

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Houston Children’s Museum

When Chris was still working his regular 8-5 PM gig, the kids and I did quite a bit of traveling on our own.¬† We visited the Houston Children’s Museum on the weekend of their grand re-opening a year or so ago.¬† We loved it so much that the kids were really excited to bring Chris there while we were in ‘the area.’¬† It took about an hour to get there from Galveston but we needed a break at the time.¬† We were stuck in the swirl of fixing broken things and decided to re-focus.¬† This was just what we needed to get us back on the track of doing what we love with the people we love.¬†

It was mobbed during the grand opening and it was mobbed again when we went together a few weeks ago.¬† It was before school was back in but I wonder if it matters in a city as big and congested as Houston.¬† It is a fabulous museum and really can’t be enjoyed all in one day but we did our best!

Elijah planned and built a town.  It was interesting and cool to see his vision of what would be important:

Apartments, parking garage, grocery store, ball fields, recreation area, playground, art museum, city hall, restaurants, performing art center, farm.

Not:

Police station, industry, office buildings, schools. 

I’ve given up trying to zoom in on other photos of his calculated town assembly to see what else he left out.¬† I just remember at the time thinking how much simpler, easier,¬†more joyful, and present¬†life will be when all children are loved and supported and respected thereby generating the same awarenesses in themselves- of themselves, others, and the world around them.¬† The world will change and I am ready.

Fearless Sadie has been wanting to climb a wall like this for a while now but circumstances just haven’t worked out.¬† She actually got a little nervous when it was her turn¬†but climbed almost all of the way around the wall anyway.¬† It felt good to stand there and support her in whatever decision felt right while reminding her of her longstanding desire to <try>.¬† There was no need to get all the way around or all the way to the top.¬† She got on and squealed and wavered and conquered the momentary fear of <trying>.

I highly recommend this museum… and focusing on what’s important.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2010 in Travel log

 

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We’re Still Here (WTF)

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had an awesome week.¬† But Texas seems to have swallowed us.¬† And we want out.¬†

We’ve reconnected with old friends and quickly created old friends out of new ones.¬† The kids have been playing, creating, learning, and adventuring.¬† We’ve had thoughtful discussions on every topic under the sun.¬† I’ll blog on all of that soon.¬† But we’re still in Texas.

After 3 false starts to our far-reaching adventures, I’m ready to crawl into a hole.¬† Optimism, frustration, sadness, hope, and anger have turned into a numb cloud.¬† When we arrived in DFW after the completion of the veg conversion last week, our tow car was covered in oil residue (nasty).¬† Chris began surveying under the RV and noticed a big oil mess.¬† That’s the technical way of saying he had no idea what he was looking at but knew it wasn’t good.¬† He called, researched, and looked around in there with friends who had equally little knowledge of engine workings.¬† He was determined to find the source of the leak.¬† Lo and behold some new friends of ours called to say they’d like to come visit.¬† Joseph Duchene – esteemed chiropractor and energy practitioner – arrived unwittingly on the scene of this oil-covered puzzle and¬†revealed that he’d spent four years as an airplane mechanic.¬† He helped Chris locate the oil leak- a loose bolt on the oil pan- and we were set.¬† We were to pick up a new oil pan gasket (or some such) to hold on to just in case but would ride out the current pan as the leaking seemed to have stopped.

 

Or so we thought.

We’ve spent the last several days with the Cameron Family of British Columbia, Canada.¬† It felt so good.¬† Though we all¬†attended the RE Conference, our paths didn’t cross for extended periods.¬† We were thrilled that they decided to come and join us in Lewisville.¬† We all jived and chatted and discussed and played and laughed and… and… !!!¬† It was so fun to hang out with them.¬† Sadie and their daughter, Iris, were fast friends- holding hands throughout the campground and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company while playing pretend, crafting, exploring, swimming, biking, board gaming, ETC.¬† Mark fixed my bike and Sheila and I went off on a little bike ride together!¬† I feel so liberated to have my bike back from stuck-brake land.¬† We shared stories, talked about our trials, and speculated on our separate journeys.¬† Simon shared his love of music¬†with us, exposed us to some Canadian bands,¬†and floored us with his musical knowledge and ear for each layer of musical composition.¬† Their stay in Lewisville spilled over a couple of extra days as we enjoyed each other’s company and the lovely park setting.¬† When they really did pack up their van to go this morning, we decided it just felt right to go on our way as well.¬† It didn’t feel right to be here if they were gone.

So we left.  We packed up, dumped our tanks, picked up our laundry, hooked up the car, and drove to the grocery store that yesterday agreed to give us their waste vegetable oil for fuel.  Chris noticed continued leaking.  We turned the RV around and went back to the campground (insert internal temper tantrum here). 

Yes, our Universe works for us.¬† A man we met yesterday used to work on diesel engines for a living.¬† He agreed to come over this afternoon and help Chris assess the situation.¬† Wow.¬† We are so floored by the kindness of others.¬† This is not a fun thing to do with a friend –¬†never mind a stranger –¬†on a hot, Texas afternoon.¬† Good news!¬† No oil leak.¬† Bad news?¬† We’re leaking engine coolant.¬† There are a number of conflicting guesses as to why this is occurring- from something¬†as innocuous as it being overflow due to the excess that needed to be put in with the veg. conversion to a need for a new water pump.¬† We’re on the fence as to what to do about it from here.¬† Chris is erring on the side of calling a shop tomorrow to see if we can get a bonafide diagnosis.¬†

No offense, but we just want to get out of Texas and officially start this tour which I will now affectionately dub, “The Being Tour”.¬† There, it has a name.¬† So now it’s on, right?

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Parks, RV, Travel log

 

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Reflecting on RE 2010

We rethought everything this past weekend at the Rethinking Everything Conference in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex of Texas.  This was our 3rd year attending the collossal gathering of rethinkers including, but not limited to, unschoolers.  I can honestly and quite exuberantly declare it the absolute best yet.  Though the content of the conference has not changed much over its 14 years, the name now reflects the depth and variety of the conference sessions and the intensity of conscious intention, living, and creation of the speakers.  Attendees are rocked in any number of ways as we continue to question and analyze cultural and societal messages, norms, and ideals.

Chris and I conducted a number of sessions and even added an impromptu session by request for those new to unschooling and conscious, connected parenting or just wanting to discuss any number of parenting and/or education related issues.  We met so many interesting, supportive, conscious people that we are thrilled to now call our friends.  Guess what?  So did the kids!

While all of these amazing ‘adult’ sessions were weaving and overlapping throughout the days and evenings, so were there countless activities for kids of all ages.¬† The kids (we joined them quite often as well) partook of Kid Village (a great big room filled with lots of toys, games, and activities), shaving cream sculptures (which led to body painting with the stuff), swimming, take-apart electronics, crafting magic wands and recycled jewelry, face painting, the Lego/Bionicle room (yes- a whole room FULL!), fairy house building, letter boxing, Ga-Ga ball¬†playing, sewing/fashion creating, dress-up, science experiments, World of Warcraft and video game playing, and MORE!¬† They re-connected with local and distant friends and made lots of new ones.

We’re already rethinking so much that it was wonderful to be in a place of such support and excitement about our lifestyle and changes.¬† But the rethinking never really ends, does it?¬† Chris went to John Strelecky’s (best-selling author and dynamic speaker)¬†session entitled, “How to Travel the World on $40 a day” and is now super-inspired, excited, and¬†firmly entrenched in the reality of trading the RV in for backpacks at some point and taking our adventures around the world.¬† I went to two sessions conducted by Raymond Francis, author of “Never Be Sick Again”, and was both thrilled and shaken to discover even more information about the food we eat that will affect the evolution of the food we choose for ourselves and our family.¬† The first thing to go was cow’s¬†milk.¬† We made the switch to almond milk right after the conference and are not looking back.¬† No, thank you¬†Dairy Council.¬†¬†Chris and I¬†both attended Rupert Isaacson’s session following up on his book/documentary, “The Horse Boy”, which has us considering and¬†appreciative of¬†the dramatic rise in children who see the world differently- through the lens of autism, ADD, ADHD, hyper-sensitivity,¬†and every other label that is handed out because a child differs from the collective, understood, manipulable standard.¬†

Chris and I both stepped out a little more as well which was challenging and fun.¬† I did a session about being in control of our own health and Chris headed up an unschooling dads’ rock band!

As always, some of our most impactful moments were spent in hallways, around the campfire, over beer, and lounging on the couches.¬† It’s truly the connection with other people who seek to know themselves over the norm that bolsters our spirit and adds more threads to the weave which grows stronger and more conscious by the day.¬† We LOVE RE!¬† Below are some pictures of the event.¬† It’s really just an overview as my camera spent most of its time in my bag as I was so busy living each moment that photographing them became secondary.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Conference

 

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Wherever We Go, There We Are

Where are we now?

We left Quintana Beach 2 days ago and dropped off our home on wheels at American Greenfuels for the vegetable oil¬†conversion.¬† We’ve been thinking about and planning the logistics of this, it seems, for so long now that it’s very surreal that we’re actually doing it.¬† Our RV will run on waste vegetable oil from restaurants saving us money and dramatically decreasing our travel emissions.¬† Wow.¬† We’ll be taking photos and Chris will be¬†describing the process when all is said and done over on his blog.¬†

I’ll blog¬†Quintana Beach¬†when I get back to the RV computer and the pics therein :).¬† We’re currently staying at the home of our friends Kelly and Josh Quinn while the dogs have gone to Le Spa Du Barb (aka the home of our friends Barb and Steve Lundgren) as we visit and prepare for the upcoming Rethinking Everything Conference.¬† We’ve been able to make ourselves very comfortable here in their small¬†home with their family of five.¬† We’ve all been chatting about the upcoming conference, stocking up on snacks for our families for the conference, preparing our volunteer work, items to sell at the kids’ and vendor fairs- all¬†in the midst of living life- doing the regular income-creating work, cooking and preparing food, playing with the children, etc.¬† I have to admit that I was a little concerned about how we’d get on all living in the same house for three days.¬† There are five children involved here¬†– three who are sharing their home turf and two others who¬†are out of theirs.¬†¬†It’s been no different than our average playdate, really.¬† Superfun and¬†slightly noisy¬†with some arguing children¬†mixed in for good measure.¬†

On Communal Living

Why does it seem that the same adult to child ratio increases several times when we’re together?¬† Cleaning, cooking, feeding, playing, caring, etc. all seem to go so much more smoothly even though there are more children!¬† Let’s explore:

– the kids play together so much that free time for the adults to get other things done is much more plentiful.

– even though the number of children increases, one adult is entirely capable of hanging out with the entire crew which frees up THREE others to run errands, work their regular job, having computer time, cook, or pursue their own interests.

– one person is cleaning the same space (albeit slightly more messy sometimes with more children) which consolidates the efforts of two people who would have been cleaning separate spaces.

– there is always at least one adult with patience to cover for the (potentially) burnt out other three.

Maybe someday if we tire of our life on the road, we’ll consider one of the many unschool communities that are currently¬†in their budding stages!

On Flexibility and Security

Part of our relaxed state is, surely, the hospitality and comfort¬†of good friends.¬† We’ve known the Quinns for over three years and, while¬†the scenery on our¬†journeys¬†is different, have always been able to be open, honest, and supportive of each other.¬† But it’s more than that.¬†

After being on the road officially for over a month now, I (because I can always only know my own feelings and observe the actions and implied feelings of others) am feeling so versatile, relaxed, and mobile.¬† There really is a sense that wherever we go, there we are.¬† As long as we have internet so¬†Chris can work, we are home anywhere and everywhere.¬† There is no hurry to get back to anything, to go anywhere, no obligations to anyone but our own immediate family.¬† Though we’re settling in, our previous reality- the one engrained as ‘normal’- does occasionally creep in and we have fleeting moments¬†in which we¬†wonder when this ‘vacation’ will be over… anxiety that we’ve missed a deadline… or have forgotten a meeting.¬† The revelation (coming much more quickly now)¬†is that this is real, functional life.¬† Thinking outside the box has allowed us to decrease our expenses, earn income, and travel on next to nothing for fuel.¬† What’s next?!

It feels wonderful to always be comfortable and present in this space and moment- to not need to be surrounded by our own things or see the same thing out our window everyday.  Have our bonds as a family strengthened since the shedding of material goods and the standard model of living?  Or have we just noticed them more without the physical distractions and ties of suburban-bound life? 

Does it matter?¬† It is… and it feels solid, connected, and joyful.¬† That’s what matters.

(pictures soon to accompany this blog post- check back!)

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2010 in RV

 

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Ode to Galveston

Our first real trek from the DFW area- testing our wheels away from our familiar territory for an extended period- was made to Galveston, Texas.¬† ‘Why Galveston in the heat of summer?’ you say.¬† We ask ourselves the same thing every day.¬† ūüôā¬† The answer is that we found American Greenfuels to convert our RV’s diesel engine to run on waste vegetable oil from restaurants.¬† Of the several companies that we contacted,¬†Bud was¬†the¬†most confident¬†about converting our RV, always at the¬†ready to answer our multitudes of questions, interested in tailoring our conversion to our specific lifestyle and needs, AND (get this) reasonably priced.¬† Because of the varying dimensions and setups of RVs and conversion equipment, we brought our RV to Bud in Alvin, TX¬†for a full assessment of the possibilities before placing the parts orders.¬† Chris will post the specifics of the conversion over¬†on his blog.

Rather than going back up to DFW for the 10-14 days it was expected to take for the parts to arrive, we set up camp at Galveston Island State Park.  What a time we had!  We stayed on the bay side (the ocean side always seemed to be full when we checked, anyway) and really enjoyed it.  The park is quite removed and private.  The bayside sites are situated in a circle around a pavilion which was the perfect setup to be able to see the kids out playing with the neighboring children, playing in the shade of the pavilion and riding their bikes around the circle. 

We met some lovely people there and had some interesting adventures.  Some highlights:

– The kids both learned to ride their bikes without training wheels and graduated to 20″ bicycles.

РSadie turned 6 years old! (She voted for Rainforest Cafe and Build-A-Bear.)  We had a fun time complete with a Vol-Ca-Nooooooo cake (adorned with a sparkler).  Sadie stood on her chair while the waiters sung her birthday tune.  She loved every moment of it!  The kids both made rainforest Build-A-Bears which have been constant companions ever since.

– We met another unschooling family who recently sold their ‘stick house’ and moved into their travel trailer.¬† They invited us to go to the beach to explore below the surface of the beach to visualize the makers of those little holes all over the place that look like tiny volcanoes.¬† The kids and I had spent some time trying to dig down with our hands to no avail.¬† With our new friends, we used a Ghost Shrimp Pump (aka- Slurp Gun/ details on how to make your own here)¬†that they found at a local bait shop to take core samples from the beach around the holes.¬† Then we dug through each sample of mud to find the ghost shrimp (quickly before they dig back down into the sand).¬† We found several and kept them in a water bottle until the kids turned them loose and watched them burrow back down.¬† While really cool, this definitely solidified the Parent parents’ lack of appetite for shrimp/lobster.¬†

– We played, played, played on the beach and in the warm Gulf waters (no signs of oil here).

– We found what makes the big holes on the beach, too.¬† Evening and early morning are the best times to see the inordinate numbers (we’re talking TONS)¬†of crabs going in and out of these holes on the beach.¬† Their claws can be found all over the bayside where they were a part of a gorgeous water bird’s meal.

– We explored historic downtown Galveston and LOVED: The Lunch Box (great grassroots, artsy atmosphere and deliciously healthy, local menu) and La King’s (HUGE old style candy and ice cream shop).

– We watched pelicans and jumping fish and they never ceased to make us giggle.

– The kids discovered a new way to build sand castles by mixing the sand to a drippy, wet mud and dripping it into sculptures.¬† They created a beautiful ‘candy’ castle!

– We learned tons about hurricanes.¬† The devastation of September, 2008’s Hurricane Ike is still evident everywhere in Galveston- from the boarded up stilted homes, to the closed seaside hotels, to the downcast eyes of the remembering residents.¬† We watched endless Youtube videos of the Ike stormchasers, news updates, and before/during/after footage.¬† Here’s one of our favorites (the historic¬†Balinese Room was completely destroyed by Ike.¬† It was amazing to drive by where it once stood after seeing it standing in the wind in the video.).¬† Galveston Island State Park remains in a state of temporary headquarters and minimal facilities due to lack of funding to rebuild.¬† We called the former headquarters a ‘Scooby Doo ghost town’ because of how bare, broken, and overgrown it is now.¬† We talked about the Evacuation Route signs and imagined what it looks and feels like for the inhabitants to have to leave en masse when a new storm approaches.¬† The history of Galveson is amazing.¬† Prior to the absolutely levelling hurricane of 1900, Galveston was to be the largest and most bustling port city in Texas.¬† Now, it’s a seaside vacation getaway like others we have seen- a little hokey by the water with attractions and air brushed t-shirt shops.¬† The downtown is just gorgeous, however.¬† We were really taken by the 1800s architecture and beautiful side-by-side decorative Victorian homes.¬† I wondered how long it would be before all of the homes were restored to their pre-storm beauty and we didn’t have to use our imagination to see the whole block standing in pride.¬† Then I wondered if it was all even worth it.¬† When would the next storm come?¬† We talked about insurance claims and the many who are still fighting to claim compensation for rebuilding from the insurance companies to which¬†they faithfully paid premiums.

We’ve gone south now to Freeport for the remaining week before our conversion and the Rethinking Everything Conference (we decided to do them both simultaneously).¬† More tales to come…

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2010 in Travel log

 

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