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.

We are Nomads

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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.

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.

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.
Jun 2015 106
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!

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.

La Push Beach, Washington

“In the state of Washington, under a near constant cover of clouds and rain, there is a small town named Forks. Population: 3,120 people. This is where I’m moving.” – Bella Swan (Twilight Movie)

My new friend Ashley G. told me about Forks and La Push Beach where the movie Twilight was filmed. I’m not a big fan but I was curious to see it. Please note: we have no plans to move to Forks, WA. We were at Port Angeles and decided to take the drive. What I found was a beautiful beach and fascinating marina at first beach.

La Push Beach is a series of beach chains called First Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach.  one, two, and three. The beach’s most prominent natural growth is the Sitka, Spruce, and Evergreen trees that populate the shore. We mainly explored First Beach because it’s where they filmed the movie.

Upon arrival, we come across this sign. I loved it!
Upon arrival, we come across this sign. I loved it!
These are rows of cabins at a resort with majestic views.
These are rows of cabins at a resort with majestic views. Quileute Oceanside Resort.

 

Quileute Oceanside Resort
The Oceanside Resort has a range of lodges for all budgets along First Beach. The tourist attractions most popular are surfing and fishing in the spring, tourists can hike in the summer, and storm watching in the winter and fall.

 

 

The First Beach of La Push, Washington is located 14 miles from the town of Forks. It is the only beach of La Push that can be accessed with a vehicle. The crescent shape beach brings in driftwood that slows down the waves and makes it dangerous to stand in the water. Within walking distance are a few homes of members of the Quileute Indian Tribe which is where the beach is located; The Quileute Indian Reservation.

 

9-3 La Push Beach (3)

9-3 La Push Beach (6)

9-3 La Push Beach (7)

9-3 La Push Beach (4)

9-3 La Push Beach (14)

9-3 La Push Beach (16)

9-3 La Push Beach (9)

9-3 La Push Beach (17)

 

 

To  explore in the near future…

Second Beach

Trails to Second beach start at the Quileute Indian Reservation, and span a mile before you reach the coast. Second Beach is the longest and flattest of the three beaches and is the most populated. Though within a mile of First and Third beach in each direction, north or south; they are inaccessible due to the protruding headlands and steep bluffs. Half a mile offshore is an archipelago. Sea stacks are mixed throughout the small islands and are known as the Quileute Needle. They are part of a wildlife preserve called; Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife protects coastal creatures including but not limited too; seabirds, oystercatchers, and gulls.

Third Beach

Third Beach is a 1.6 mile hike from the road with views of Strawberry Bay. The hike is mostly level but can sometimes be slippery and somewhat dangerous due to the harsh coast weather. Third Beach is one of the Olympic Peninsula beaches which tend to consist of seastacks and driftwood. In the isolated non-developed cove at Taylor Point, there is a waterfall that falls directly onto the beach where tide pools are also featured on the north end. It is located on Olympic National Park‘s Pacific Ocean coastline, reached by a trail through the forest from near the Quileute Indian Reservation town of La Push. Being the Third Beach down the La Push, Washington coastline, it is the most secluded. However, there are multiple camp sites that put campers within 5 minutes’ walk of the ocean where Teahwhit Head blocks the way to Second Beach. There is also a boiler in the swamp by the one-and-a-half mile trail to the beach from an abortive oil exploration in 1902.

source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Push_Beach

Olympic Rain Shadow

We explored North Washington yesterday and had a great time! We educated ourselves on the Olympic rain shadow. Our family has a thirst for knowledge and here’s some really fascinating information on the subject.

 

OLYMPIC RAIN SHADOW

the climate in rain shadow areas is relatively sunny, windy, and cool.
The climate in rain shadow areas is relatively sunny, windy, and cool.

The Climate in the area

source: http://www.olympicrainshadow.com/olympicrainshadowmap.html

Spring arrives early and lasts long. We notice distinct changes in the month of February; usually we mow the lawn twice during this month, and there are significant stretches of clear weather. By the arrival of months more typically associated with spring, say April, mornings are often in the 40’s and clear, and afternoons can easily be in the mid 50’s. Sunny stretches and beautiful, partly sunny days are common, with stormy periods frequent, but usually brief, a day or two at a time. Overcast, gray weather is possible, but not common.

By early summer, for example Memorial day, the length of the day, and increased sunshine have often already started to dry out the lawns, but other vegetation is growing in full force. Often we are surprised by a cold and windy storm in late May to late June, dropping new snow on the crest of the Olympics.

High summer, which includes July, August, and September, rarely have precipitation at all. There is allot of sun during this period, but it is not hot. High temperatures average in the 70’s with some days in 60’s and some in the 80’s. Evenings and nights are cool, with temperatures in the 50’s. The maritime location has a major influence during this period. The first effect is wind. Afternoon wind is quite common, and over the offshore waters of eastern strait it is often very strong. The next maritime influence is occasional AM fog, or late AM clouds. The days seem to come in three varieties: clear all day; clear sunrise with some clouds late morning followed by sun; and maritime fog till mid morning, then clear onward.

Fall is a relatively brief transitional period in October and part of November, with variable weather. Usually there will be a brief cold storm in early to mid October, which delivers the first blanket of snow to the higher Olympic mountains, followed by a clear night or two with temperatures close to freezing.

Winter includes late November, December, and January in rain shadow areas. The sun is lower in the horizon, and storms are common, but periods of sunshine are common too.  There are frequent crisp clear periods following the storms, and sometimes sunny periods during extended periods of high pressure in January. Storms can be very strong and windy in this period. There can also be periods of gray weather which can go on for multiple days at this time of year. This seems to happen during times with multiple weaker storms with less defined fronts. Snow and cold periods also arrive, more frequently than in the greater Seattle area, perhaps once or twice a year. But as most areas are right at sea level, the sun or a warmer storm usually melts things off in a day or so.

 

We explored 3 of the 7 region that is in the rain shadow.

 

9-3 Port Townsend (14)

9-3 Port Townsend (15)

9-3 Port Townsend (16)

 

First stop: PORT TOWNSEND

9-3 Port Townsend
My good friend Taz used to live in the city and gave me her old address. The curious monkey in me had us driving into the street and taking pictures of the neighborhood.
9-3 Port Townsend (18)
We pretended we were guests. It was nice to see where my friend lived.

 

 

9-3 Port Townsend (7)
A few miles down the road, we stretched our legs and found a park via tripadvisor.
9-3 Port Townsend (4)
Chetzemonka Park overlooking Strait of Juan de Fuca. Approx 1 hr ferry-away from Victoria Canada.

 

9-3 Port Townsend (6)
The park had bench swings that made Owen want to take a nap.

9-3 Port Townsend (9)

9-3 Port Townsend (3)
This cabin was used for community events.
9-3 Port Townsend (10)
Along the edge of the park we spotted locals going down a trail. We chased after them and found this secluded beach where only locals knew about. Score! Yes, that’s Richard having quiet time.

 

Second stop: SEQUIM

We didn’t spend a lot of time here except for a quick lunch. We took notice of the weather. It’s very much like California. The sun was so strong that it was burning my ear. It was a lot warmer here.

9-3 Port Townsend (12)
I was fascinated by the traffic lights.

 

Third stop: PORT ANGELES

We decided to walk around town for an hour. We found an 80 yr-old stationery store, my favorite place in the world besides Target. It had art supplies, books, craft  and scrapbook items.

 

 Later, we found a corner bookstore inside this beautiful building.

Later, we found a corner bookstore inside this beautiful building.

A seahorse.
A seahorse. Street art scattered the town.
From 5RR
I learned that the bookstore owners had been in business since the 1980s. They talked about going through the technology-changes and the need to adapt to keep up.

 

What a wonderful day we had. Owen was so tired.
What a wonderful day we had. Owen was so tired.