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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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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!

Trailer Tucked In

Our trailer is tucked in for the winter at a local RV storage. She was our home for 3 months and I had mixed feelings tucking her in for hibernation. Before locking her up, I reminisce.

Owen’s bunk bed is folded away and not a Lego piece is in sight. He spent his mornings in his room building away. Our couch looks empty without my floral cover and throw pillows. Our kitchen looks bare without the dirty dishes. Our bedroom is stripped. Our mattress top cover is going with us as well as our pillows and beddings. Out of habit, I adjust the teal and white curtain by the door.

I gaze at the welcoming yellow-painted walls and cheerful lime green kitchen. I recall the warm days at our first RV campsite at Bridgeport, CA painting away. We created lots of happy memories here and not knowing if we’ll continue to travel in our trailer in Spring makes me a little sad. Will we keep her stored away or sell her to a family? Whatever we decide, I’m sure it will be for the best. But for now, we fondly lock her up and say thank you and have a good nap… see you in Spring…

She sleeps next to a boat and a mini trailer. If you want to see her interior, there are pictures posted on the tab “Our Travel Trailer”. Scroll down for the makeover pictures.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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First stop: PORT TOWNSEND

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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.
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We pretended we were guests. It was nice to see where my friend lived.

 

 

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

 

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The park had bench swings that made Owen want to take a nap.

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This cabin was used for community events.
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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.

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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.

 

 

Charming Towns

Carla from American Heritage Campground gave us a list of neighboring towns, highlighting shops, restaurants and fun things to do. We 86’d our hiking plans and explored instead.

STOP 1: Mima Mounds, Little Rock.

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These unusual and mysterious mounds are covered by beautiful prairie grassland with native wildflowers and bunch grasses.
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As we walked around the loop trails, we learned about prairie ecology. We ventured out a little bit and discovered they felt spongy and (a bit strange). It felt as if we were disturbing whoever was sleeping under it.
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We found these berries along the trail. My Jr. Ranger had his gear with him and we were able to pick up samples. We didn’t want to eat it without knowing what it is.

 

STOP 2: Rock Quarry Pool, Tenino. There’s a serene wading fresh-water pool with a waterfall for Owen to play in but we got sidetracked. There’s more to this gem we still have yet to discover and share with everyone.

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The moment Owen saw these rocks, he didn’t want to do anything else but climb it. He said it was like climbing giant lego pieces.
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While he played Indiana Jones, Richard explored on his own while I had “alone time” with my phone. Happy hour.

 

STOP 3: Lattin’s Country Cider Mill, Olympia. This wonderful discovery led us to this charming farm-store with free petting zoo. It reminded us of Riley’s Farm back home. We look forward to returning in the fall.

 

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They made fresh donuts. Our snack: custard-filled donut and cider. Upon walking in, we saw locals carrying strawberry cider by the gallon. We took the hint and picked up a quart. Smart move.

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Owen wanted to play with the mountain goats in their climbing gym.
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These furry cuteys followed Owen left and right. See video on facebook.

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ALONG THE SCENIC ROUTE…

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Abandoned structures interest me. Can you imagine my surprise finding this abandoned barn?
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Houses along the road had these little covered-porches up close to the road. We later figured out it’s where children wait for the bus to take them to school. Like in Forest Gump without the stump to sit on.

Winter Plans

We have revised our winter plans. Originally, we were going to make our way down to New Mexico and stay there during winter; however, we’ve grown to love Washington and don’t want to leave yet.

We decided to hibernate for the time being. We want to see how the rain will affect us should we decide to make this our semi-permanent home state.

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On that note: we found a house for rent here at Olympia, WA. It’s fully-furnished, 2 bdrm, 1 ba, 2-car garage and a backyard for Owen. There’s also a parking space for our travel trailer, in which Richard is very happy about.

There’s a biking trail nearby and this area we found is nothing but green. Our landlady is very kind and pleasant. We connected immediately upon meeting her. Marilynn Stephens from olympiafurnishedhomes.com owns other properties in the downtown Olympia area. She has tenants like a legislator renting out her homes within walking distance from the Capitol.

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We are confident our stay here in Olympia is a good move. We look forward to settling in for winter. It’s even better that we’re close to our friends in Tukwila and new friends we made here at our campsite.We check out of American Heritage Campground September 9 and we move into our rental the following day.  I’ll be posting our mailing address on our facebook page for friends and family. We love keeping in touch with all our friends, by the way. It truly makes a difference in our days.

Owen says he’s excited to: have a new room, explore the neighborhood, play in the rain in the backyard that has trees.

I’m looking forward to being in an open indoor space where I can stretch out my arms when I sleep; watch TV and home-educate Owen for longer sessions. But mostly, I am looking forward to having kitchen space where I can cook and bake like a top chef. Blueberry muffins, roasted root vegetables and pumpkin pies are on my top list.

It’ll also be great to have family/friends over from California. If you’re looking to experience Washington during winter and spring, let us know! We’ll welcome you with open arms, hot chai tea and fresh-baked goodies.