Finding Me: The 1st Year

I wrote that the most important thing you find when you travel is yourself. (What I said literally was the real challenges are inside us; the journey simply exposes them.) I could write about the amazing changes in Fiona (as the 7th child, I know what to expect and she’s exceeded it exponentially.) I could write about how Sue has relaxed, has developed her faith, has deepened my belief in her undying unconditional love.

But I’ll just write about me, okay?

Challenge: Routine

The challenge: maintaining a routine. Many wonder how it is possible to maintain a routine while traveling. There are especially concerns about some sort of routine for Fiona and her schooling. And of course our work. So what’s our routine and how do we maintain it?

We’ve always had a rather flexible routine in our way of life. Important things get done while allowing ourselves lots of spontaneity in life.

One of the most challenging things is arriving at a new place where we know we’re going to be for a few weeks and getting settled in. If we can settle in quickly, in a day or so, we can maintain our routine and get more done. We continue to work on that. One of the first things we do when we get to a new place is find the place we’re going to work and get our computers set up. Next we need to find a place for the books and materials Joel needs to refer to for his work.

Caring for Pets: Dogs, Cats and Fish

Fiona got her first pet when she was about five. They were two small zebra fish that a friend of ours gave us. Of course when we decided to travel, taking the fish along wasn’t an option. So I found a friend willing to take them. Fiona does miss them at times. And like any child sometimes wishes she had a pet cat or dog. So it’s been kind of nice for her to have pets to care for as we house sit.

So far everyone we’ve house sat for has had pets. Our very first house sitting job for friends in Roseville included caring for their two mini¬†dachshunds, Bob and Bentley. We made sure they got fresh water, food, treats and lots of play time with Fiona. Our second house sitting job in British Columbia included caring for their dog Brodie. Brodie is the ‘perfect’ dog. He and Fiona loved to play and go for walks.

Tinkertown: Ross Ward Did It All While You Watched TV

Last month as we were preparing to come to Albuquerque, I read the Boyink’s blog post about their time here. (We got to meet the Boyink family in Arizona back in March.) They mentioned Tinkertown so I decided we had to check it out as well. It’s close to where we’re staying and the price was right.

I had a hard time explaining to Joel what Tinkertown was so at first he wasn’t that excited about going. After looking it up though he realized he’d heard of this guy Ross Ward and yes, wanted to see his place.

It’s a fun little place to visit. Fiona enjoyed it immensely! In the little gift shop they had two travel activity books for children published by Rand McNally. One has a page for each state with an activity and the other is just fun stuff to do in the car while traveling. So on our next long drive Fiona will have plenty to keep her entertained.

Six Months Ago Today We Left Home

It was six months ago today, September 30, 2010, that we left ‘home’. We drove away from Roseville California to start living a nomadic lifestyle. What’s it been like? Are we ready to settle down? How’s Fiona doing?

It’s been good. Sure there have been some long days when we’ve been in the van all day and Fiona wants to be in a house with a bed. There have also been other times when she’s said she’s tired of being in a house and wants to get in the van and drive somewhere. Every morning she still gets up and when we ask her how she is, she says “happy”.

We’ve enjoyed meeting new people and meeting in person many that we had only known virtually. Our address book continues to grow with contact information of new acquaintances and business associates.

Are we ready to settle down? No!

Things to Do in Boulder and Longmont Colorado

We’ll be house sitting for a couple in Longmont Colorado the week of April 5-12 2011. Our host sent us this list of things to do in the area. The items with an asterisk in front are things we definitely hope to do.

We’ll be going into Denver April 6 to visit Mrs. Parker’s Kindergarten class again. We may be meeting another traveling duo as well.


*National Center for Atmospheric Research – free – 1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder. Free exhibits and tours; kids love it too.

Boulder Falls – closed until May 1st but you can see it from a parking area 11 miles west of Boulder on Canyon Blvd.

Nederland– quaint little mountain town 16 miles west of Boulder on Canyon Blvd (119)

Dushanbe Teahouse – Rita says, “I’ve heard wonderful things about this place and can’t believe I haven’t been there yet!”¬†

*Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art – free – 6055 Longbow Drive, Boulder

*Celestial Seasonings – free tea tour. 4600 Sleepytime Dr, Boulder

Pearl Street Pedestrian (only) mall – between 11th and 15th streets. Street performers, musicians, shops, art galleries, restaurants. The best (free) place to park is north of the mall on Pine St or a side street near Pine; 14th, 15th, 16th, etc.

Falafel King – our favorite place to eat on the mall. excellent gyros and falafel plates. be sure to get the hummus and baba ganoush. between 13th and 14th streets.

Boulder Creek Path – 7 mile concrete path that parellels Boulder Creek. Best place to park is on Arapahoe Ave south of Eben G Fine Park. Be sure to always walk on the right; bicyclists use this path also and some a bit too fast. Walking west will go along Canyon Blvd, under Canyon Blvd then along Boulder Creek. Walking east will take you to the library (nice exhibits) and beyond.

Flagstaff Mountain – views as far as you can see from 6850 feet. Best pullouts: Panorama Point and Realization Point. Take Baseline Rd west.

Lessons From the Road #27 – Nomads Go

(The lessons are not in any kind of order. The numbers are just for fun.)

Coming up on six months on the road. The wedding is checked off our list. In preparation for tomorrow’s early morning start from Sashe cramento to Phoenix we started packing what could be left overnight in the van. Before we were halfway through the adrenaline-induced travel itch kicked in and we were talking about leaving today.

We left.

3-Week Itch

Writing music always pulls emotions up closer to the surface. Weather changes make me happy. Or sad. Depends on what changes and how. Listening to my older daughter’s music is always emotional.

But really, I think what I’m feeling today is the 3-week itch.

We’ve noticed as we travel that when we land somewhere for a while, at about the 3-week mark, we start to get itchy feet. Fiona starts asking “When are we going to drive again? I’m tired of being in houses.” Sue starts looking for places to go; organising events and coming up with reasons to be on the go, on the road.

stones glow, shadows grow, I have to goMe? I just get fidgety, cranky, and distracted.

We love being here in Arizona. Terry and Virgie are even more dear than they were before we came. Nothing is wrong.

I just wanna leave.

Songwriters have used the wind as a metaphor (or maybe it’s a simile) for ages. Some of us live our lives knowing we have to see what’s around that bend, over the hill, across that river or in the next little town.

I can’t see that from inside a house. Adventure isn’t parading past our door looking for me.

Nomads don’t settle. Nomads move; we’re made from the wind and the sea and the sky, and precious little earth.

I’m a whirling flowing wind that needs to blow.

This Path (FAWM 2011 #02)

Sometimes I have chords and a melody but the words, the subject of the song, won’t surface. I usually ask Sue to listen and tell me what she feels. I’m still surprised when, five seconds in, she turns and tells me exactly what I was thinking but couldn’t put into words.

One of the best parts of traveling is the peaceful time after dark but before you arrive, when it’s just the quiet and the moon and the ones you love most.

Listen to ‘This Path’

peace can be a fleeting thing
reach out
and it flies away

having you here with me
this peace
as we end our day

moon through our windows
shining in our eyes
paints a peaceful path to light our way

something on the radio
we sing
the harmony is sweet

doesn’t matter where we are
you have me
and you make me complete

light in our life
shining in our hearts
paints a peaceful path down any street

peace is such a precious thing
this night
of still serenity

a warm bed and peaceful dreams
smiling friends
awaiting you and me

moon through our windows
shining in our eyes
paints a peaceful path we’ll always see

peace can be a fleeting thing
reach out
and hold it here with me

The Map (FAWM 2011 #01)

It’s February, which means February Album Writing Month. During the next 27 days I’ll be writing (and almost certainly recording) 14 brand new songs. (FAWM lasts 28 days, but we’re traveling on the 28th.)

I haven’t been feeling well, so I certainly wasn’t planning on staying up ’til the official kickoff at midnight. Sue, on the other hand, knew all along she’d be going to bed without me tonight. She is much smart, methinks.

You can read more about this whole FAWM thing at the website; right here, you can listen to a demo of the song I started at one minute past midnight and finished at 3am, despite spending nearly an hour researching the recording problem on Sue’s new laptop (short version: Microsoft’s ‘helpful’ software strikes again.)

As (nearly) always, I started February with a love song for my Best Beloved. It’s called The Map, and since the FAWM website doesn’t take uploads for another 20 minutes, you heard it here first.

Listen to ‘The Map’


where do we go
and how do we get there?
what do we know?
and why do we care?
I look in your eyes
see right inside you
and I know you know
this is where we belong

we’re out on the road
together forever
the sun in our eyes
we’re never alone
wherever we are tonight
wherever we lay our heads
as long as my hand finds yours
I know that I’m home

it isn’t four walls
that makes us a place to live
a mailing address
tree in the yard
home is a state of heart
knowing the one you’re with
is happy as you
just having enough

we’re out on the road
together forever
the sun in our eyes
we’re never alone
wherever we are tonight
wherever we lay our heads
as long as my hand finds yours
I know that I’m home

a nomad can never be homeless
as long as I have a hand to hold
a pair of wild rovers, this wandering life
will never get old

I know where to go
just how to find my way
the light in your eyes
will show me the way
I’ve got all the map I need
to get where I’m going
straight into the sunrise
the rest of our days

we’re out on the road
together forever
the sun in our eyes
we’re never alone
wherever we are tonight
wherever we lay our heads
as long as my hand finds yours
I know that I’m home