Four years on the road, 17 countries, and counting. On July 25th, 2014 we drove away from Fox Point and began “the experiment”–living around the world 2-3 months at a time. Somewhere along the way, we stopped calling it “the experiment” and it became our lifestyle.
I never would have imagined that this would be my life. The idea just kind of evolved and happened, lucky me. We took the leap and haven’t looked back since.
Experiencing so many different cultures is a true gift. My perspective of the world has changed for the better learning that we are all the same. We all seek to be loved and to be safe. Our food and clothes might be different, but we are the same inside. We have experienced so much kindness during our travels that we feel loved and safe.
This quote sums up one big lesson learned:
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu
What is, is. Celebrate it. With so much change it’s simple to cherish each moment. The new apartment has a view that takes my breath away. I savor it. The cafe around the corner has a perfect table for writing, so I write and the city’s energy energizes me. I soak it in.
It’s all about going with the flow. Not everything turns out so perfect, but the same philosophy applies. If I have ten hours in an airport, I explore. If what I ordered at a restaurant isn’t close to what I thought it was, I try it. It might be a new favorite. Perhaps, the apartment isn’t as clean as I would like. I clean it and get on with the fun. I’m confident that relaxing into each experience has kept us loving this lifestyle for all this time.
So, we celebrate the change.
The funniest fact is that Bob and I are both homebodies. We like settling in and nesting in our space which we do quickly these days. Bob finds a place for his hat and to play guitar, I find a place for my yoga mat and art supplies, then I head straight to the kitchen to see what it offers. When your home changes every few months, it’s important to make the place feel like a home away from home and creating food seems to do the trick.
I plan my menus based on what the kitchen can support. Our apartments in Peru and Hong Kong only had a stove top, so I learned one-pan meals. Malaysia had a great wok, so lots of stir-fried noodles. And of course, Costa Rica’s house sit had the perfect kitchen for sourdough bread making. You get the idea, the kitchen setup drives the menus. The change of kitchens feeds my creative edge.
When we started, I’d get in a tizzy if I didn’t have the right pan or a way to make coffee. But now, it’s just a reason to get resourceful or decide it’s not necessary. I’m learning when to do which.
In Italy, our first country, I made an “American meal” for our hiking friends. I didn’t have a good pan for the roast, but I thought a broiler pan with aluminum foil tightly wrapped around the edges would do work. Nope. Six people at my dinner table and all I had to serve was a leather-meat-thing. It was bad, really bad!
Thank goodness I watched my mom make gravy all those Thanksgivings. I whipped up a gravy, cracked some jokes warning our guests and told them we have lots of veggies, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and salad. Everyone was polite but no one asked for a doggy bag. That was the beginning of only cooking what the kitchen can support, or go out and buy the right pan.
The hard part about this lifestyle is being far from family and friends. Thank goodness for Facetime, Skype and Google Hangouts and friends that come to visit. The technology keeps me connected. I talk to my mom more now that I did before I left.
Making the photo movie for this blog seemed almost impossible. It’s been fun going through over 10,000 photos, but which ones to pick?
My solution was to make three photo movies:
- Silly poses over the years. Lots of Bob and Jane. 2:21
- Friends, new and old. I didn’t get a photo of a few people and I do apologize. 3:05
- Each country in two pictures. No people in this movie. 2:30
Next up, San Sebastian, Spain
Silly Poses – 2:20
Friends, New and Old – 3:05
Each Country in Two Pictures – 2:30