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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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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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.

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)

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.

 

 

Sister in tow

During the week of August 26-30, 2014, my sister Pauline of Aliso Viejo, CA came to see us.

8-26 Seattle with PBD (1)
We stayed overnight at the Marriott. As you can see, we had a room with a view and dancing with joy.
8-26 Seattle with PBD (2)
Sister time, lunch time. Enjoying chowder and company.
8-26 Seattle with PBD (5)
I’m not sure if they sell fish here….
8-26 Seattle with PBD (6)
Exhibit A: Gum
8-26 Seattle with PBD (7)
Chew, chew, chew. Ready to launch.
8-26 Seattle with PBD (8)
Free space spotted!
8-26 Seattle with PBD (9)
She left a piece of her at Gum Alley. (I was grossed out the entire time. Gagging.)
8-27 Biscuit lunch Seattle (1)
We ate at a restaurant that mainly served biscuit. We were seated overlooking the bakery downstairs.
8-27 Biscuit lunch Seattle (2)
While waiting for our order, we watched staff stir, pour, knead and bake. It was very entertaining.
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Owen’s biscuit and gravy.
8-27 Biscuit lunch Seattle (11)
My sister ordered fried chicken, fried egg over biscuit and gravy. You can’t see it, but it’s on a clear plate.
8-27 Duck tour Seattle (12)
We went on a city tour. This bus went on land and water. A bonus for Owen!

 

8-27 Duck tour Seattle (4)
I’m afraid of water and being on this lake had me worried.
8-27 Duck tour Seattle (5)
Seattle is something else…
8-27 Duck tour Seattle (6)
That house with the red roof was the one from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”.
8-27 Duck tour Seattle (8)
Our tour guide had Owen go to the front and patrolled the water while the guide talked to us.


8-27 Duck tour Seattle (9)

 

8-29 Harbor Day at downtown Olympia (4)
Harbor Day at downtown Olympia.
8-29 Harbor Day at downtown Olympia (8)
I shall call him “mini me”.

 

8-29 Hike (2)
We went hiking and met a very friendly donkey.
from RR
Here we are stretching before the hike. I love Owen, my photo-bomber.

8-29 Hike (3)

8-29 Hike

 

Bed & Brkfst babysitting
Richard & I stayed at a B&B for one night. While away, Aunt Pauline babysat Owen. She built him a campfire, made him s’mores and they went on the roof of the trailer. They got to spend quality time together as did Richard & I.

 

8-26 Seattle with PBD (10)
It was nice seeing my sister.