Mental Preparation

This is it. This is our last week living in a single family residence, aka a house. A spacious house with room to stretch my arms, legs and sanity.

Don’t get me wrong, trailer-camping for the entire summer in a forest is the place to be; the smell of forest, the aroma of firewood burning, the sound of children playing, the sound of birds, crickets—- you get the picture.

What I’m most worried about is my claustrophobia. I survived it for 4 months last year, so I should be able to withstand a month (or two) living in a confined space, right? I pray to the gods of open space that I’ll be fine.

But just to be on the safe side, I’m preparing myself mentally.

1. If I have to, I’ll use the facility shower. So what if it takes extra effort to pack my toiletries and change of clothes? My goal is to enjoy a hot shower without feeling like the shower walls are closing in on me. Not hitting my elbows and knees in the shower will be a bonus. On that note: I won’t have to cut my hair. I won’t have to worry about clogging the drain. I’ve been growing it out for a year. I want what Rapunzel has.

2. It will be nice to have easy access to my favorite things like my art and my homeschool items. The “office” space in Owen’s room will now house my art and homeschooling items. Last time, I couldn’t get to my acrylics and canvas. I struggled to find an outlet for my creativity. I ended up painting the interior walls of our trailer in many colors and giving it a make over. Something great came out of that(!)

3. As cozy as I made our bedroom with soft beddings, a nice shade of wall color with matching curtains, it didn’t help with my anxiety. I used to wake up not knowing where I was. It’d be pitched black and I felt as if I just ran 5K. (More on that later!) I literally feel like I’m in a coffin. Here’s my solution: I’m taking over the living room! The couch unfolds into a bed. The bathroom is two steps away (literally). There’s elbow and leg room but more importantly, I don’t have a wall 6 inches on either side of my face. There’s room to breathe.

4. Cooking was a bit of a challenge. Just like art, I need counter space to spread out my art supplies; in this case, my ingredients and prep bowls. Well, I’m not a James Beard Award winning chef nor do I run a 2 star Michelin kitchen in this trailer. I have to cut back on a lot of things. It’s time to buy those pre-cut veggies, frozen ones and make simpler meals. Instead of making a vegetarian, a non-vegetarian and a kid-friendly meal, my boys will have to eat what I make (and vice versa). One meal. One pot. The benefit of this is weight loss. The moderation will do wonders for me!

5. Speaking of weight loss; now that we have no choice but to be outdoors. This means bicycle riding daily, walking after dinner and even playing badminton at the grassy area where the farm animals can watch. I’m looking forward to that. I also want to start training to do my first 5K.

In conclusion, I just need to remain positive and keep an open mind. It will be great. It will be a different experience from the last time. Who knows, maybe, this is the last time we’ll ever get to go trailer-camping again. It’s time to activate our motto and start believing it: Life Begins Where Fear Ends.

I think what will help me the most is to remind myself that this is all temporary. It’s not forever. And it’s not all about me. Owen will have a blast and the memories we’re creating is good for our family. Good for our souls.

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We made it to Anchorage, Alaska thanks to…

… a credit card’s miles reward program.  Our experience signing up with them paid for our Alaska trip. (They should probably use our story for a commercial.)

Anchorage Alaska was our main destination when we first decided to embark on this journey two months ago. But how in the world could we afford it, that was the question.

Before we left our home in California, Richard did some research and found that Capital One credit card has the best miles rewards program that suits our new lifestyle.

The Plan was: use the Capital One credit card for everything. Campsite reservations, food, gas, everything. It wasn’t hard to do. We only had this credit card and our bank debit card in our possession. Everyone accepted the VISA logo and I had years of practice using it… (Don’t tell Richard). Doing this paid off two months later…

We accumulated enough miles points that two of our airfare was free.
We accumulated enough miles points that two of our airfare was free.
Our car rental also qualified for the rewards points.
Our car rental also qualified for the rewards points.
And to put icing on the cake, our hotel was free as well.
And to put icing on the cake, our hotel was free as well.

I can’t speak the same for other cities in Alaska, but everything in Anchorage was expensive. They like taking advantage of the summer tourist. But that’s to be expected at any vacation destination. Either you go to Hawaii or Alaska, you’re bound to spend more than budgeted.

Average meal for three cost $70 on average. (That's without drinks.)
Average meal for three cost $70 on average. (That’s without drinks.)

1 airfare cost: approx $300, souvenirs, meals and seeing Owen’s face at every discovery: priceless. Oh wait, I should say, “What’s in your wallet?”

Fearless in Seattle

To celebrate our 2-month anniversary being on the road, we are staying at an apartment vacation home for three nights. It’s located in Tacoma, 45 minutes away from downtown Seattle. We wanted to immerse ourselves in the city without having to drive all the way to our campsite in Olympia, which would be a 4-hour drive round trip. So we basically went on a vacation while on vacation… 

Here's Owen enjoying his quiet time.
Here’s Owen enjoying his quiet time.

This apartment we are staying at is a lovely 1 bedroom, 1 bath close to shops and parks. The owners have 3 little boys and the sound of them playing makes me feel right at home. I took advantage of the endless kitchen counter space and made my special meals. I made pasta, I baked pumpkin bread, I made apple-sauce and made meat lumpia for our friends.

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Our friends Ashley G. and Chris. C. came over for dinner. Playing Carcassonne was dessert… which I won, by the way.
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They are locals and they told us the best places to see and things to do while in the area.
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Being silly… Find Owen!

 

 THE NEXT DAY…

Chris became our personal tour guide.
Chris became our personal tour guide.
He and Ashley knew where we could park our truck in downtown Seattle.
He and Ashley knew where we could park our truck in downtown Seattle. It wasn’t easy but we made it, thanks to Chris.
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Chris knew the back way to our destination. It was nice to sit in the back and not be the navigator for the day.
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Hats-off to Richard for surviving the drive.


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Post Alley Gum Wall

 

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We would have never found this on our own.
Post Alley
Whatever you do, don’t let your hair touch the wall of chewed gum…

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Pike Place was fun!
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We’re standing back watching the fish mongers throw fish at customers.
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Owen wrinkled his nose the entire time. He said it smelled like the fish his Lolo cooks.
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I elbowed myself in front of the crowd and took this picture. This area was packed with locals and tourists.
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Fried food on display. We bought a basket of fries and munched on it while people-watching.
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Sea of flowers. It balanced the smell of the fish market.

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Watching cheese in the making.
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We needed fresh air and our tour guide directed us to the Waterfront.
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We watched people board the cruise ship.
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Owen didn’t want to get on the Great Wheel. He says, the fries he ate would end up on his shoe if he did.
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The walk and the weather was memorable and pleasant just as our friend was the entire tour.
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This building intrigued me. Creepy yet fascinating…
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The Naval Ship was scheduled to leave that afternoon. Men in white uniforms made my day brighter!
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A few piers down, Chris took us to YE OLDE CURIOSITY SHOP. The coolest shop I’ve ever been in. Look closely to the left of the picture. Do you see what it’s the jar?
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Metal art. It peaked Owen’s interest.
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Uncle Sam thanking Chris for taking us there. Nice to meet you, too, he says.
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Richard had no idea this picture was taken. He was staring at something across the street. It must have been good because look at the intense body language as opposed to my demeanor.
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Chris took us to see the troll under the bridge. This is where they filmed part of the movie “10 Things I hate About you”.
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Last stop- Chris & Ashley’s favorite local hang out. A park that overlooked the city.
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You’ll never guess what the boys found in the water!! A shopping cart! Space Needle in the distance.
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Marveling at the reflection of the water, creating lightning shapes.
What a wonderful day we had in Seattle.
What a wonderful day we had in Seattle.

See you later Oregon, hello Washington!

We haven’t been able to share any updates for one  reason:  we didn’t have a strong wifi signal. Loading pictures took two hours and as you can all imagine, it can be frustrating. And it’s not that we had nothing to share. We have a lot to blog about…

But before I start, I’d like to share some of the Oregon pictures that got left behind:

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Ashland, OR, our last night. After exploring in Ashland and Medord, we realized it’s not the city(ies) for us.
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Roseburg, OR. I’m always happy when Owen makes a friend. Here he is showing Shane how to make dragon origami.
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Move over Starbucks, the Dutch Bros Coffee rules the streets of Oregon here. We lost count after 28.
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Salem, OR. We walked around downtown where the capitol was located. I like anything to do with maps and directions and found this sign very fascinating (especially the upside down boy.)
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Downtown Salem, OR. This was my first time eating at a sushi place that serves you via conveyor belt. I was above the moon! Our entire lunch cost $20!!

 

Going cuckoo for sushi!
Going cuckoo for sushi!