Travel Home

I’ve been back from Thailand for a little over a week now and I feel so happy to be back home! I’ve done a lot of traveling recently – probably too much! I went to Italy in November of 2014, Belize in February of this year and then Thailand at the beginning of April! I really looked forward to each and every trip, dreaming of what I would see, the people I would meet and earning those cool stamps in my passport! It made me feel super grown up and worldly to be able to travel around the globe and even take my daughter with me! What I didn’t count on was how much traveling was going to make me love being Home.

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My daughter and I in Thailand

Home for me is the Pacific Northwest part of Washington State – an area ranging from Seattle out in a arc from Renton on the south end all the way up to Anacortes in the north.  I have moved so much in my lifetime that Home isn’t one defined place anymore. Home is not the town where I was born, or where my parents live. Home isn’t where my children live or my favorite town. Home for me right now is a 38 foot long RV that I lovingly call “The Gypsy Love Bus” and even this home is moveable! HA!

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The thing about travel is that you can’t help but compare the “foreign” places to your Home environment. It’s like I’m constantly do a match up in my mind of all the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had with my life here at Home. I’ve been weighing the pros and cons and right now being Home far outweighs all of the other places I’ve been.

From my travels I have learned that a vacation doesn’t feel like a vacation to me if I’m in a big city. I really need a beach and the ocean for it to feel like a real vacation. I’ve learned that flying for 15 hours is a big drawback to travel and something that I won’t repeat soon. I’ve learned that I’m happier with a cooler temperature than one that is too hot. I’ve learned that I am mightily blessed to have fresh drinking water that comes right out of my tap and that most of the bugs in my area aren’t trying to kill me or give me a deadly disease! I’ve learned that I love having hills to hike, water to paddle, friends nearby and meaningful work that i love.

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Teaching Yoga

I’ve also learned that I like having a feeling of “belonging” over the feeling of being a “visitor.” Which is really interesting for me because I never feel like I belong anywhere. I don’t really feel like I fit in or that I’m included. I always kind of feel like I am on the fringe or the “If we can’t find anyone else we’ll ask Dawn to do it” list. But I do feel at Home here.  I know where all the good restaurants are. I speak the native language and I feel safe getting around.

So I’m going to enjoy being Home for a while. I’m not traveling anywhere soon. I’m going to enjoy the summer, do a lot of hiking and sailing, eat at my favorite dives and spend lots of time with my friends….. Because I do have another BIG adventure coming up in September. 🙂

Surviving Thailand

Sad isn’t it? But that’s how I feel. I’ve just returned from a 10 day trip through Thailand with my daughter and the first thing that comes to mind is that I’m glad to be back home! Don’t get me wrong, Thailand is a great place to visit and I did have some fun experiences while I was there but I should have done more research. April is the hottest month in Thailand with temps ranging from the 90s to 100s which we both found to be almost physically unbearable. The heat was a weight on us the entire time that made everything we did more difficult and we each got sick at different times during the trip.

While we spent every waking moment trying to avoid the heat and stay hydrated we did have some fun experiences and the “fun” started right at the very beginning. As we made our way from the airport to the hotel I noticed the prettiest multicolored taxis in hot pink, neon yellow, bright green and orange filling the streets! And I mean FILLING!

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Even though these pretty taxis fill the streets there is still plenty of room on the road for huge trucks full of hay and harvested goods, commercial trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, motorcycles and hundreds of scooters carrying multiple passengers weaving in and out between the cars! We decided that traffic lanes are basically just a suggestion in Thailand. Because everyone drives anywhere they want, whenever they want, FAST and about one inch away from one another! We were sure we were going to crash every time we drove anywhere!

The shopping was interesting too! Since it is so hot during the day the markets open up at night time with hundreds of street vendors selling clothing, collectibles, jewelry and tasty, tasty treats! Like this plate full of fried grasshoppers, mealworms and other cripsy critters! I did in fact eat two of these bugs just so I could say I tried them. What do they taste like? They taste crunchy!

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Meeting elephants was probably the most fun part of our trip and  was what my daughter looked forward to the most. I wish you could have seen her face as she began to coo and talk to the elephants. She had this look of awe and love and wonder all mixed together with just a dash of wary added in for good measure.

We’ve previously only seen elephants in a zoo and there the elephants are far away and you can’t interact with them. They are just creatures in a cage – uninterested in us. In Thailand the elephants were about 4 to 6 feet away. We could look them in the eye, touch their trunks, see the wiry hair on the head, notice their long eyelashes and have a conversation!

This is one of the elephants we met. They have her in a pen with a 6 week old baby elephant who had been orphaned. I thought I was out of her reach while my daughter took this picture! She was sniffing me!

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Learning about the culture in Thailand was fun too. We visited some of the most beautiful temples and the Grand Palace. It was amazing to see all the work that went into the buildings and statues. Glorious amazing places that made me stop and stare.

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But for me the absolute best part of this whole trip was being able to spend time with my daughter. Just her and I on an adventure together in a foreign country. This trip was my gift to her. A big 18th birthday/Christmas/Graduation gift all rolled into one. It was also a way for me to say to her, “You’re an adult now. Go life your best life! See what the world is all about! Make it yours! Make it Awesome! I love you!” I think she got the message.

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Our first night in Bangkok at the night market.

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At our lunch spot in Chiang Mai. Gorgeous Girl. 🙂

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Getting dressed up for dinner.

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Our last full day on the busy streets of Bangkok.

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Weary travelers sitting in the airport. Ready to go home.

I love you Kendal. We did it! We went to Thailand! I hope you continue to travel and see parts of the world that interest you. I am proud of you and look forward to seeing what you make of your life! ~ Momma Bird.

“Gypsying” Up the Love Bus!

We survived! Well, so far. 🙂 We’ve survived our first 6 months in our 38 foot long RV that we call the Gypsy Love Bus! We made it through the winter although it was a very close thing! The last month found us running off to Seattle for the weekend to avoid the bus, Spending as much time as possible running errands to avoid returning to the bus and even desperately looking at houses to rent and big boats to purchase as a live-a-board! But within the last couple of days we have decided to keep our Gypsy Love Bus, make it our own, put some love into it and enjoy the ride!

Now I know “Gypsy Love Bus” sounds fun and romantic. But it really hasn’t been that. OK maybe a little romantic but it definitely has been uncomfortable. With only 300 square feet to live in you find yourself very aware of every little thing you’d change. The two biggest items on the list were the recliner and the couch. The recliner sat just inside the door. It was old, worn out and took up way too much floor space! The couch was just the opposite, it was way too small! it was only about 20 inches deep and maybe 5 feet long –  too small to cuddle on or even nap comfortably! Plus it was f’ugly.

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So yesterday we had had enough. We woke up ready to take anything out that wasn’t working, didn’t fit us, or took up too much real estate – thereby of course, lowering our resale value and probably making the bus our forever! Yikes!

We took the recliner out first which was a huge hassle! My boyfriend was under the bus, using a wrench to hold the nut and I was inside the bus using a socket wrench to loosen the bolts.  Luckily we work pretty well together and he only ended up bleeding a little bit when something fell on him. A little pressure on the spot and all was good – his head I mean. 🙂 Removing the chair left us with a circular hole in the carpet that we still have to fix. We used spray foam insulation in the bolt holes and temporarily places a toy box over the area until I can fix and patch the carpet. (I WILL I promise!)

Then came the couch. We were stumped as how to get it out and since it was also a hide-a-bed we thought it would be super heavy and a lot of trouble. But once he set his mind to it – and “Youtubed” every video we could find on the subject my guy got right down to it!

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It honestly only took him about 30 minutes and our couch was gone and the space looked like this:

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Voila! Wide open space galore! But what did we want to do with this space? We needed some kind of seating that would be comfortable for the yogi in me and something that would fit both of us so we could snuggle and watch TV together or nap, or read. We decided to build a low day bed made of foam which we found for only $20 a sheet at our local Fred Meyer! I think I actually sang “Halelujia” out loud when we found it since we had already been to three different stores.

It’s still a work in progress but we’re pretty happy with it so far. We feel much more at home, the space seems twice as big. One nap has already been accomplished and I am sitting here right now writing this post! I still want to but some more pillows and another rug. The ones you see in the pics are from World Market and my guy even picked out the funky pouf! Who would have guessed?

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He even absconded with it to use it as his foot rest! It’s great isn’t it?

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So far so good. We like our Gypsy Love Bus a little better. We still have some more ideas in store to make her feel a little more “us.” And now that we have successfully tackled our first project who knows what we may try to accomplish!  Stay tuned for the trials, tribulations and triumphs of two wander-lusters living in 300 square feet of awesomeness! Namaste Y’all!