Our Search for Meaning

Our nomadic lifestyle isn’t easy for family and friends to understand. It’s not easy to explain but I’ll tell you what we learned after living in Olympia, WA for about 1 yr and a half.

We learned from the past several years that every year, Richard & I are constantly looking for something deeper to enrich our spiritual lives. We are seekers, you could say.

This year, we didn’t realize we were seeking nature until we looked at our 2015 family photo book. Every family outing involved nature walks/hiking. My Instagram pictures is filled with greenery. Green trees, yellow, red, brown, you get the picture. Thinking back, we used to own this gigantic canvas print of a forest. Throughout our house in CA, there are framed art of forest green. We’ve always been nature people and wanted to live amongst the trees.

Wish granted.

We wanted it bad enough that it brought us to the Evergreen State. We lived it, breathed it and even hugged it. (We’ll continue to do so in CA.)

This brings us to our next chapter. I’m specifically looking for stability and maybe- just maybe- stay put where Owen can appreciate the normal life of having a permanent address.

This is what we’re looking for and now that we’ve told the universe our deepest wish, we’re ready to start working on it.

In conclusion, not everyone can uproot their family when the mood strikes. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re just the type of family who lays down roots in places (& states) we love. Each family is different and mine is doing something out of the ordinary. Being brave, taking risks, living outside the box, going for our dreams and if it means packing up our teepee every year or two, then that’s who we are.

Nomads
Richard Drive- A- Lot
Pam The Navigator
Owen Little Bear

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Living Outside the Box

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This saying has been our motto since we embarked on our journey one and a half years ago. Leaving California where I grew up most of my life wasn’t easy. All my friends and family were there. But our life had been stagnant and our nomadic personalities gave us a nudge. We lived in a great community in our brand new three-bedroom house. I was active in my community as Children’s Activities Coordinator; we had great homeschool friends and my family were nearby. I got Abby-love anytime I needed it.
So why leave all that? There were many reasons but the most important one was Richard’s well-being. Richard had been feeling emotionally overwhelmed at work. My poor husband was on call 24/7. His pager went off while we slept, while we were having dinner, while he was in the shower and worse of all, while we were on vacation. There was no escaping it. He desperately wanted a change in career. And so with that quote in mind, we drastically made a change.
We knew that in order for better things to happen in our lives, we had to live outside the box. Ironically, we are RV-living. This goes against my preferred way of life, of course. I like having space. I like kitchen counter space, roomy bathroom and a nice closet. I liked my King-size bed. When we hit the road, all that went out the window.
Two summers ago, we explored to our heart’s content. At every destination, we visited national parks, went to museums, checked out local libraries and observed the community. We were looking for a good home. We went up through central and northern California and through Oregon. It was quite an experience doing this. Small towns stared and bi-racial couples smiled. We were out of our comfort zone but didn’t let uncharted territories get in our way.
Meanwhile, I missed friends and family. Long distance relationships aren’t for everybody. We lost a few good friends along the way but gained new ones wherever we were. This journey on the road taught me a lot about true friendships. I definitely got in touch with my spirituality more so than ever.
Fast forward to now. As I look at that picture of me at my new job, I realize that I became who I wanted to be. Dreams come true no matter how old you are. I’m in a classroom with children who call me Ms. Pam. I play, I teach, I paint. I give love and I receive. Every time a child calls me ‘teacher’, it’s a constant reminder that I am where I need to be in life. I never would have arrived here if I stayed in my box in the comfort of familiarity and routine.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Thomas Jefferson
I encourage all reading this to never give up on your dreams. It’s okay to say “I will be there someday”. Start slow with changing your routine. Do something you’ve never done and little by little, your goal will unfold. Before you know it, you’re right smack in the middle of it. It took me 16 days to realize it.

 

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GIVING MY ROOSTER A WING

This winter, we are grabbing the bull by his horn and living in our camper trailer. Last year, we hibernated in the comfort of a nice warm cave complete with cable and wifi. This time, we’re going to rough it and stay at the campground.

Richard’s job hunting isn’t going as well as planned. After we returned from our Netherlands Trip in June 2015, he jumped right in to finding a job. Four months later, he continues to search and submit applications locally as well as outside the state of WA.

Times were tough, I’ll admit. This mother hen clucked at the rooster non stop. My beak eventually got tired of poking. It wasn’t doing our coop any good. And we were affecting our male chick. This hen needed a break from her nest…

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I took Owen to see other roosters, hens and chicks of all ages (family and friends) in California. We stayed with my parents for 1 month. He got to play with cousins and met two additional ones. He rekindled friendships and we got some sun. The heatwave killed us upon arrival in August but we survived it. Barely.

It was 8 months since we last saw friends and family. It was nice to receive so much hugs and eat home cooked meals. We didn’t get to see everyone on our list but we hope to see them on our next visit to California. I met and bonded with many hens from different farms (friends and family). I received plenty of support, an abundance of advice. It’s just what my chick and I needed… I packed all the light and love I received and called out to my chick and went home to my rooster all lonely in our coop.

As soon as we settled in our coop, we assessed our current situation. I decided to give my rooster a hand, or I should say a “wing”.

I found a teacher’s assistant position at a local daycare. It’s 10 minutes away from home and my work hours are noon to 7pm. Some of you may know, I’m a night owl. My creative monkeys come out to play in the late hours. I don’t typically fall asleep until 2 am. My work hours are perfect for me! I can hit the gym in the morning and go to work with energy. Upon accepting the position, the director informed me of the possibility of career advancement as a pre school teacher. Something to look forward to…. I start Wednesday.

In the mean time, Richard will continue job searching and homeschool Owen. Having this job will keep us financially afloat and allow me to play with other chicks during the day and get paid for it. RV-living won’t be so tough after all. Every time I come home, it’ll feel like we’re on vacation! (At least that’s the way I look at it.)

It rained for two days straight and the sound of rain hitting our roof is rather nice (& loud!). In the forest, it gets really gloomy and dark. We’ve been making it a point to go into town daily. Running errands definitely helps with our cabin fever.

On the plus side, Owen found some chicks who are also RV-living. They are also homeschoolers. They play in the afternoon and ride their bicycle all over the campground. They feed and play with the farm animals. I always hear them laughing when they pass by with their bicycles.

Being at work, I know, will change the energy in our coop. Owen & Richard will get to spend some father & son time. Richard won’t be so burdened with job searching. And I will get to have children-interaction and earn income.

I am looking forward to flying over the cuckoo’s nest…

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Angels Do Have Wings

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We arrived at SEATAC airport (Seattle Tacoma) at 5 am headed to Ontario, California two days ago. Everything was smooth. From Richard dropping us off at the curb to locating our gate. Our assigned seats were located at the rear of the plane (row 31) and we marched our way down the aisle. I didn’t bump into any elbows nor did Owen’s backpack hit anyone in the face in passing. Our seat was second to the last row and I was pleased that we sat in front of a mother of two little ones. I had already befriended the 5 yr old girl and I was looking forward to making her 1 yr old sister smile.

We settled into our seats and that’s when a problem presented itself in paws and a wagging tail. A service dog with its master parked themselves behind us. My eyes widened as I met Owen’s worried look. We didn’t see this one coming. Owen is allergic to pets. He started rubbing his eyes and I immediately asked an attendant if they had some kind of Benadryl. I needed one for my son who is allergic to the dog. That’s when the magic began.

I’ve never been the type who gets over dramatic about situations that aren’t going as planned. I remain positive and always find the silver lining. The Alaska Airline attendant immediately got to work and told me to give her a moment (to see if she can find us another seat). I look over at Owen and his eyes are red and watering. He is starting to wheeze and I calmly explain to him that the attendant is doing what she can to alleviate the unforeseen issue. I remain calm and wait patiently.

Not long after, the attendant caught my eye and she gives me a motherly reassuring nod and smile. A tall gentleman with a red beard was trailing behind her with his things in his arms. We made way for this Good Samaritan and I thank him whole heartedly as he claimed his seat(s). He gave up his seat at the front of the plane, row 12 to be exact, for a little boy (& his mom).

As I sat in my seat reflecting, I felt tears come to my eyes. I started to think, what if no one had given up their seat? Would this mean Owen & I would catch the next flight out? Would they have asked the service dog and its master to do the same? Would we need to flip a coin on who stays on and who gets off? Would Owen have to endure the (short) flight in complete discomfort? I told myself to breathe, relax and be simply grateful. It doesn’t matter anymore. The good deed has been done. I later introduced myself to Eric and shook his hand. He gives a “no problem” gesture and smile, like it was nothing. Evidently, as a mother, it meant a lot to me and to Owen’s lungs.

It turns out earth-bound angels are in places you least expect. I’m not religious but I am spiritual. I believe in humanitarianism, spirit guides and having good karma.

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Meaningful Friendships

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About a year ago, we embarked on this journey of traveling by trailer in search of a good home.

I (still) sharply remember getting very homesick. I missed my family and friends.

The brave act of selling everything we owned, including cars and house; was very new to me and I had doubts by day 3; but at the same time, I embraced the obstacles and dealt with it as best I could. We were following our hearts and letting go of our fears. We were looking for a better and happier life.

I remember meeting a woman and her dog as I walked along the shores of a lake at Bridgeport, CA. I felt so lonely and this earth-bound angel befriended me. We walked along the lake talking as if We were friends for years. She gave me all the love and reassurance I needed. After that, she was gone. Came and went, her mission accomplished.

Throughout the year during my travels, I lost communication with a friend or two. Long distance friendships aren’t for everybody and sadly I had to accept it and let go of them. It was hard to do. I kept hanging on to what we used to have.

On the bright side, I have a handful of close friends who stuck with me; checking up on me, texting and/or making me laugh from thousands of miles away. These are friends I send postcards and Holiday cards to. I am grateful they are in my life.

Losing some friends also meant gaining new ones. Not too long ago, Owen made a friend at spring camp. I connected with his friend’s mom and we became friends. She lifted me up spiritually when I was at my lowest. Needless to say, she came at a very good time in my life. Once again, at a time of sadness, an earth-bound angel appeared.

One thing I learned: When I was up in life, my friends got to know who I am. When I was down in life, I got to know who my friends are.

Owen & I are in California for a few days. We’ll be getting in touch with his old friends and rekindling friendships. As for me, I have one goal: to personally appreciate that friend who made a difference in my year of stressful and lonely moments. Friends who I consider my on-call personal earth-bound Angels.

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Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour

Here’s what we learned:
The original owners first came in the 1800s to Tillamook Oregon to farm crops. Harvest became an issue due to weather. They noticed a part of their uncultivated farm remained green with grass. Their cows were always happy and that became the start of the dairy farm.

The self guided tour of the factory was fascinating. There were plenty of posted information on the history, the cheese-making process and a farmer’s daily schedule.

They offered free cheese samples in which I had to decline because I’m lactose intolerant. There was a gift shop, cafe and small store that featured -you guessed it- tillamook cheese.

Night 4- Al Fresco, not Al forno

We’re getting into the rhythm of trailer-camping.
Owen rides his bicycle throughout the day. He makes friends and they explore the trails. I asked him what they talk about and he reports, “we talk about mine craft”.
As soon as the week ends, we’ll be homeschooling again. Al-fresco style.

Happy Boy on his bicycle

Happy Boy on his bicycle

Making a pick axe out of twigs, inspired by mine craft.

Making a pick axe out of twigs, inspired by mine craft.

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Richard found an abandoned broken bicycle and claimed it his new project. He’s dismantling it and picking out his desired pieces. The aeronautic engineer in him is elated with the outdoor project.

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I’m finally able to read a novel! Currently fascinated with historical romance set during WW2. Since we’re living a minimalist lifestyle, I get done with my house chores in no time. Who am I kidding? There are dishes that needs to be put away but it can wait. My purple lounge chair in the screened-in canopy beckons me.

The weather has also improved. Maybe because we’re deep in the forest, but we no longer feel like we’re inside a sauna. There’s a cool breeze, my peripheral vision shows all shades of green, the sound of Richard’s wrench and Owen laughing in a distance is very soothing (maybe not the wrench). I can feel oxytocin being released in my system.

I am where I need to be.

Detectives for a week

Owen & friend David are attending Summer Camp this week at the Hands on Children's Museum.

Owen & friend David are attending Summer Camp this week at the Hands on Children’s Museum.

Young Detectives Owen and David are all smiles. Not only will they get to play all week but also solve mysteries. They will dust for fingerprints, analyze hair fiber samples and mystery substances. They’ll examine evidence, extract DNA from a strawberry and keep a private eye journal to solve a crime.

In the mean time, Richard & I will have our own mystery to solve. Where to go after summer. Where to live and where to work.

Night 1 at the trailer

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We moved most of our kitchen pantry items into the trailer and the bulk of it are tea bags. We could practically open up a tea house right here at the campground.

A few things to get used to: limited wifi signal. Oh how I missed falling asleep watching my Korean Drama. On the bright side: I have I Love Lucy DVDs that I can watch to “giggle” me to sleep.

I share closet space with Owen and I lost my dressing area! Bright side: I grab what I need to wear and use Richard’s bedroom. There’s just enough space for a hobbit to get comfortably dressed.

I slept well, woke up here and there. The smell of trees is undeniable. The sound of chirping birds is like being in a Disney princess movie. I can belt out a song but that would have been rude awakening for our neighbors.

Watching Richard rummage through unpacked boxes looking for his honey is painful and amusing. Today’s project: organize pantry so my partner in crime can have honey in his tea.

Oorlogs Museum, The Netherlands

I love history. I’m particularly fascinated with WW2 Germany. A friend of mine thinks I may have been a soldier in my past life. Perhaps. I absolutely loved going to this museum. Finding the war cemetery was icing on the cake.


The Overloon War Museum is the biggest WWII museum in The Netherland. Right here, the tank battle of Overloon unfolded in the autumn of 1944. The village of Overloon was totally devastated back then. In order to remember the casualties and victims of that episode the museum was founded in 1946, even before the village was rebuilt. Nowadays over 100,000 people visit the museum every year.

The first exhibition is about the occupation of The Netherlands from 1940 till 1945. The second large exhibition, contains over 150 military vehicles and artillery, both from allied forces and German.

In addition to these two main exhibitions there are several smaller presentations, of which the Battle at Overloon presentation is definitely worth a visit. A museum restaurant and a shop completes this museum, which can be found in the so called Liberty Park in Overloon.

Oorlogs Museum

Oorlogs Museum Address: Museumpark 1, 5825 AM Overloon, The Netherlands


Overlorn War Cemetery

Overlorn War Cemetery. A few headstones that moved me.

May 2015 War Cemetery (15)