Media cleanse

Media Cleanse

Someone told me Trump was shot last week.  It bubbled briefly through my bliss then floated away again, unperturbed, unexamined, unrelated to my reality.   I’m on day 10 of an unplanned media cleanse.  Just imagine: no emails, no New York Times daily digest and Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from an American”, no facebook, no netflix.…

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Mexican Food Market

The photos I shared from the flower market for Mother’s Day only told half the story – the other side had a bounty of fresh, local, mostly-healthy foods, many of which I actually recognized.  I haven’t yet found my writing mojo since landing back in Minnesota, but please enjoy another visual walk through this Mexican…

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Beach Bummed in Bacalar

I’m bored.  Lying under a palm tree beside the famous 7-coloured lagoon in Bacalar, Mexico, a few hours inland from Cancun.  Sucking on the fresh slice of pineapple garnishing my virgin mojito, waiters in crisp white shirts conjuring fresh shrimp ceviche and fish tempura.   Clear water just cool enough to be refreshing on this 90…

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Mothers Day in a Mexican Flower Market

Mothers Day used to mean a walk down to Fleugers Nursery to buy a few pretty potted plants.  But nothing in that annual ritual compares to a visit to Mercado Jamaica – the flower market in Mexico City that never sleeps (or at least, never closes). Now that I’ve finished my 3-part Cuba series (see…

Two Weeks in Havana

Two Weeks in Havana

“Our time in Cuba was one of my favorites in all our years of travel,” declared my extremely well-traveled wife.  The culture shock and sober analysis I shared in my last two posts were real, but the overwhelming experience of two weeks in Havana was WOW! Colonial Architecture Every day we jumped in a “collectivo”…

Cuba bus breakdown

What Went Wrong in Cuba?

Disclaimer: Anything I might proclaim here about Cuba is incomplete, naive, and based on a dangerous combination of ignorance and idealism.  I spent two short weeks in Cuba, only in a few neighbourhoods of Havana.  My sources are a university graduate whom we paid twice to spend a few hours with us to answer our…

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Cuba Culture Shock

I thought I was immune to culture shock.  I have visited 41 countries (meaning I’ve slept, ate and talked to people there, not just a layover).  I’ve been deported and refused entry from more countries than my mom knows.  I’m 57 years wise as of last week.  So my trepidation and disorientation upon arriving in…

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Everyone is Special; No-one is Extraordinary

No-one can make you feel special like the Monteverde Friends Meeting.  After 6 long years away, just walking into the beautiful timberframe meeting house elicits joyful smiles and “So glad you’re back!” waves from long-lost Friends. More surprised delight as more people trickle in. The enthusiastic but appropriately-muted murmurs of “Welcome” after we stand up…

Monteverde Coffee Klatch

Sweet Home, Monteverde

I think the first hug was from Rita.  On that dry-season-dusty-green, oh-so-familiar corner at the base of the hill the boys and I climbed every day to school, outside La Colina Lodge where Greg and Amber used to host Hamburger Night, right by the favorite fencepost where the green-and-blue mot-mot would greet us every morning,…

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La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Our overly-affectionate friends from Minnesota treated us to an overnight at La Fortuna at the base of Arenal volcano.  The drive there through the rural, mountainous interior of Costa Rica was already worth the price of admission – an easy (3.5 hour, 70-mile, you do the math) drive from Monteverde – rent a 4×4! Our…

Fonzie

Narrowing Down “Anywhere in the World”

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?  For most people, that’s either a dreamy party game or a one-shot, two-week opportunity to hit that beach or volcano or mardi gras.  For us, it’s an ongoing question – making one selection does little to narrow down the options for the next…

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When the Kids Come Home to Visit

How do we show love for our children after they leave the nest?  One way is rolling out the red (or, in this case, green) carpet when they grace us with a visit. Yesterday morning, as Zekiah and three roommates were having a last swim at Tamarindo Beach then hopping a bus up the mountain…

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She Walks These Hills (in a bright flowery scarf)

I keep thinking I should miss you, Margaret. Sitting here today in this meeting house, last week in your own home where Shakespeare and Bach and Jesus Christ Superstar danced together, embraced in the brazen bosom of your beloved broccoli forest. But you’re still here, aren’t you?  Our silent worship on the porch on the…

Welcome to Curi Cancha

Twisted – A Morning Cloudforest Walk

Vines cascade and dance down from branches, take root, then twist and claw their way back up and strangle the host, becoming a new gnarled twisted “Strangler Fig” tree you can climb inside.  Orchids clutch the side of.a tree and blossom proudly.  Thick twiny wood vines curl like horror movie fingers. Two and half hours…

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Old Friends

Two mornings in a row, we were kicked out of some of Vancouver’s finest establishments.  No, I don’t mean the Surrey pub crawl for Zekiah’s 19th. I mean quiet little coffee shops in North Vancouver and White Rock.  Young managers who aren’t used to throwing out rowdy old folk like us. My roots run deep…

Cherry Point

Cry, the Beloved Cowichan

Who says you can’t go home? – Jon Bon Jovi, Jennifer Nettles In 2008, life was crazy.  We’d put our 4- and 6-year-old boys to bed then work side-by-side on our laptops until midnight – Sarah running two businesses, me leading a non-profit (ACCES) and serving on too many boards.  We bought a hot-tub just…

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Waterfalls Everywhere!

A friend today reminded me of a story I once told her that rings of youthful (and hopefully lifelong) positivity.  I was 25, driving from Connecticut to Ohio with a beautiful girl who suggested we picnic at a waterfall she’d heard about.  She pulled out the map (yes, paper!) and bravely started detouring us through…

Piub Crawl 2024

Family: Can’t (and do) live without ’em

Having lived away from our home bases for all but 4 of our 25 years together, we’ve become experts at lightning strike visits.  Packing as many loud gatherings, quiet washing-the-dishes-together chats, and helping-move-furniture-chores into a short visit as possible. Drinking full (or rather, chugging quickly) from the cup of family love to sustain the next…

Phase One Map

Too much Stuff!

Phase One is over.  “Elvira,” our trusty electric vehicle who carried us over 6,000 miles in 3 months, is now parked comfortably in a Minnesota storage unit while we have flown to British Columbia with just carry-on bags.  Let’s burrow through the packed paraphernalia and evaluate what we did and didn’t need to enjoy a…

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Quebec City

Three nights in Quebec City – not enough to see everything, but enough to drink it all in, absorb the magic and uniqueness that is North America’s only fortified city (it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site). Taking our own advice from an earlier post, we broke up a long drive out of Nova Scotia into…

Pugwash Nova Scotia

Pugwash, Nova Scotia

When we told locals that our next stop was Pugwash, each one would ask “Why?”  The answer, as always, was that surely something interesting would surface.  And, as always, something did. At the height of the cold war in the 1950’s, Pugwash hosted a series of nuclear disarmament talks with top scientists from both sides…

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Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

I’ve lived in some magical places around the world. Communities that immediately and genuinely invited newcomers in – all the way in.  Communities that feel like the Cheers bar, were they’re always glad you came.  In Monteverde, the response to the endless stream of visitors and new short-term residents was an enthusiastic, “What new blessing…

Pugwash sunset

How to afford a long, long trip

So many people say they would love to be travelling like we are if they only could.  One of the biggest concerns is finances.  While acknowledging the incredibly lucky and privileged place that Sarah and I are starting from, I thought sharing how we overcame key barriers might inspire y’all to see things in a…

Maine winter road

What do St.Louis, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Maine have in common?

Sometimes it’s good to write daily, catch all the fascinating details, see the pebbles in the mosaic.  Other times it’s good to let a bunch of Wow’s and Ugh’s blow past then look back to see which gems stand out, what patterns emerge.  At least, that’s my excuse for now trying to make sense of…

Currently in...

Minneapolis, Minnesota until early August (in a condominium building with rooftop bocce ball!)

Heading to...

Iceland, France, El Camino, and other TBD European stops all fall/winter. Please share any sites, people or ideas by email.