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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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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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.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost…

imageJul 3, 2015 Ocean Shores

Many wonderful things have happened since we closed down this site for our winter hibernation. In brief, I loved seeing the Autumn colors all over Olympia and its neighboring cities. Winter was even better. Yes, it rained and it didn’t bother us much. We hiked in the rain, got our boots muddy and came home to a heated home. We kept ourselves busy in our cave with homeschooling, catching up on (old and ) new TV shows and got to know our adopted city.

Spring came along and our kind landlady told us how beautiful spring in Olympia is, so we decided to extend our hibernation.

We flew to The Netherlands and got to see much-missed family members. Our trip was memorable. We emphasized on culture, history, family and food. Owen got to see where half of him came from.

But now Summer has arrived and it’s time to crawl out of our caves. It’s time to stretch our aching muscles and see what’s in store for us.


 

Previously on Family In Tow….

We said good bye to dear friends and family.
We said good bye to dear friends and family.
We said goodbye to dear friends and family.
We said goodbye to dear friends and family.

 

The hardest part was saying goodbye to my niece Abby, who I babysat when she was a baby.
The hardest part was saying goodbye to my niece Abby, who I babysat when she was a baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I can’t believe we accomplished so much in 4 months.

 


 

On this episode….

Jul 6 icecream break
We thaw out of our hibernation and have ice cream at Port Olympia.
art continues
My style of art has broadened. I’m mixing media and taking all my experience and transferring it to my art.
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More importantly, Owen’s home school got more interesting with a more hands-on approach. After learning about algae, moss, kelp among other things, we locate one at the local beach.
I will also continue to volunteer at the Family Support Center. I was honored to be recognized by the governor back in Apr 2015 for my volunteer work.
I will also continue to volunteer at the Family Support Center. I was honored to be recognized by the governor back in Apr 2015 for my volunteer work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

6-20-15 Father's Day (26)
Not All Who Wander Are Lost… – JRR Tolkien

In the middle of July 2015, we’re going trailer-camping for the rest of the summer at our favorite campground at American Heritage Campground.

We have plans to visit family and friends in California in August. Depending on how the job hunt is going, it may just be me and Owen going to CA.

Richard wants to continue living the good life reading under the canopy of trees and marveling at the blanket of stars. Owen wants to hop on his bicycle whenever the mood strikes and explore the trails in the campground. I will  survive living in such close proximity with my boys (again). I like my space but I also love the smell of nature during summer camping. This is when I need all my friends and family to keep me from going insane…

Please write to me using our traveling mailbox. If you don’t have it by now, please send me a message via text, email or facebook and I’ll be happy to share it with you.

SAFE TRAVELS!

Socialization. (We got this)

We’ve been staying more local, mainly focusing on Owen’s academic and social life. There are many stereotypes on homeschooled kids; socialization is one of them. His social life is different from someone who attends a public or a private school, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Don’t feel sorry for him nor treat him any different. He makes friends his own way and let’s leave it at that. If you worry about his socialization, please don’t.

Owen has a healthy social life; he is exposed to children of all ages, different cultural backgrounds, kids in all walks of life. When Owen meets a like-minded individual, they become friends for life. He has meaningful and loving friendships with penpals and friends.

I think Owen used to be a knight in his past life. Here he is with friend Jake having a sword fight. Jake and his mom Jeannie Pierce live 1 hour away but the distance doesn't stop us from visits. Owen found his big brother in Jake, just what he always wanted.
I think Owen used to be a knight in his past life. Here he is with friend Jake having a sword fight. Jake lives 1 hour away but the distance doesn’t stop us from visits. Owen found his big brother in Jake, just what he always wanted.
Owen met Dillon at the homeschool workshop held at Hands on Children's museum. They learned about optical illusion. Dillon gave Owen his email address so they can keep in touch. I met his mom Kim and she will be inviting us to homeschool meet ups soon. Here they are driving a police car without their license.
Owen met Dillon at the homeschool workshop held at Hands on Children’s museum. They learned about optical illusion. Dillon gave Owen his email address so they can keep in touch. Here they are driving a police car without their license.
Homeschool kids go on field trips, too. But in smaller groups.
Homeschool kids go on field trips, too. They’re not kept in basements or closets. They wear funny hats but they’re normal as can be.
My homeschooled son plays with kids of all ages and size. He has a heart for little ones.
Owen plays with kids of all ages and height. He has a heart for little ones.
Girls, boys, toddlers? No problem! If Owen likes you, he'll play with you.
Girls, boys, toddlers? No problem! If Owen likes you, he’ll play with you.
Hanging out with like-minded kids.
Hanging out with like-minded kids.
Jacob from our old neighborhood regularly facetime Owen.
Jacob from our old neighborhood regularly facetime Owen. All they do is giggle and laugh.
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Owen’s array of friends are not all homeschooled. He is taught to accept people for who they are.

So, as you can see, there’s no reason to worry. We got this.

Random Pictures from Sep. 3-13, 2014

 

Sep. 3, 2014 Owen is playing with a little boy dressed in a cop uniform. There was a slow-speed chase.
Sep. 3, 2014 Owen is playing with a little boy dressed in a cop uniform. There was a slow-speed chase.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.

 

Sep 5, 2014 - I was a vendor at the local craft fair using my paper quilling expertise. This was my display table.
Sep 5, 2014 – I was a vendor at the local craft fair using my paper quilling expertise. This was my display table.

 

Sep. 5, 2014 The best part was having kids come to my booth and me teaching them. The highlight of my day.
Sep. 5, 2014 The best part was having kids come to my booth and me teaching them. The highlight of my day.
Sep 5, 2014 - craft display
Sep 5, 2014 – craft display
Sep 5, 2014 - craft display
Sep 5, 2014 – craft display

 

Sep. 5, 2014 Owen got to play with kids and made some friends.
Sep. 5, 2014 Owen got to play with kids and made some friends.

 

Sep. 6, 2014 Richard met a retired Dutch man who had been traveling for 4 yrs with his wife in the US and now has to return to his homeland.
Sep. 6, 2014 Richard met a retired Dutch man who had been traveling for 4 yrs with his wife in the US and now has to return to his homeland.

 

Sep. 6, 2014 He was selling his car for $1,000.
Sep. 6, 2014 He was selling his car for $1,000. We almost bought it.

 

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Sep. 9, 2014 This was my last walk-around the campground with my friend.

 

Sep. 10, 2014 Move-in day. This stunning display of cheerful flowers welcome us.
Sep. 10, 2014 Move-in day. This stunning display of cheerful flowers welcomed us.

 

Sep. 12, 2014 Richard found me an Asian grocery store. They had a lot of everything I needed.
Sep. 12, 2014 Richard found me an Asian grocery store. They had a lot of everything I needed.

 

Sep. 13, 2014 While the boys bond with building Lego, I have girl-time and played with different hairstyles. I like this look.
Sep. 13, 2014 While the boys bonded building Lego, I had girl-time and played with different hairstyles. I like this look.

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.