Visiting family + friends

We’re just a few days away from leaving the country, but it feels like we’ve been on the road for a month already. Because we have been on the road for a month already. We packed up and left California in June, heading first to Seattle, where Henry, Kyle, and I visited with friends and stopped by old favorites like The Ridge and Nutty Squirrel Gelato. Meanwhile, Max went on a 5-day backpacking adventure on the Olympic coast with The Evergreen School and some of his best friends. He was not nearly as happy to be back at the end of the week as we were to see him.


Next, we headed to Kelly’s Resort at Lake Chelan for our annual PEPS long weekend. Some iteration of our original PEPS group has been getting together there for eight years now, so I think it’s officially a tradition. Like any good vacation, it was swim, lounge, eat, and repeat for three days, with lots of good conversations and laughs along the way.


July 3rd (our anniversary!) we said good bye to Washington and drove to Montana for a couple of weeks of cabin and cousin time. We took full advantage of the perfect weather, spending time at Lake Como, on the Bitterroot River, and enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife. We also managed to eat burgers and watch the World Cup at Nap’s, gorge on huckleberry shakes from The Merc, and make s’mores almost every night. As a lucky bonus, one of Henry’s best friends from San Carlos had just moved to Montana this summer, and we spent a super fun day and night with them on Whitefish Lake.


When our Montana time was up, we flew to Chicago for round two of family time – this time the cousins on Kyle’s side. The first few days we stayed with Kyle’s sister and her family. After one marathon Xbox session with the cousins, Max and Henry helped out with their church car wash, went go-karting and mini-golfing, and again with the s’mores. My highlight was a crash course in greeting card making, which is a surprisingly meditative exercise. I didn’t excel, but as Karyn said and I think I’ll use in other areas of life, “If you don’t like it, it just means you’re not done yet.”


As I write this, we’re in Galesburg, home to Knox College (where the fifth Lincoln – Douglas debate was held), Carl Sandburg, and Kyle’s parents. They’ve organized a bit of a family reunion to send us off, so Kyle’s four sisters are here with part or all of their families. The head count is currently 22, and it’s been so nice to catch up with everyone. I think once we hit Lisbon, it will feel very quiet with just the four of us.


The Plan

Before we were married, Kyle and I took a year off and traveled for most of that time. Once we were back in San Francisco, we always imagined we would do it again “soon”. Life had other plans for us, and one day I looked up and we had two wonderful kids, a mortgage, and a pretty good life in Seattle. Which doesn’t seem like a situation one would be itching to change, but it felt like a change was due. In 2016, after 10 years of living in Seattle, we jumped on a work opportunity, sold our home (and most of our belongings) and temporarily relocated to Paris. Upon our return to the U.S., we moved back to California and spent almost two years in San Carlos, where the proximity to family, good people, good schools, good politics, and perfect weather almost lulled us into staying forever. However, it’s been on our list to share the wider world with our kids as much as we can, and with Max creeping up on his teen years our time was getting short. Let the record show that the desire to upend a perfectly good situation in no way means we don’t appreciate what we’ve got – it’s just that sometimes shaking things up makes you appreciate life even more. So we started planning a one-year family sabbatical, which officially starts July 31st, when we fly to Lisbon, Portugal. The current, loose, itinerary is Western Europe until mid-October, then to Mozambique until November, when we’ll head to Southeast Asia (probably Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam) through March. At the end of March we’ll head back west and spend some time in Greece and Eastern Europe, and finally make our way to Brazil in June 2019 to spend time with my extended family. As anyone who has heard one of our many iterations of this “plan” can tell you, all of the above is subject — and likely! — to change. We’ll try to keep the posts semi-frequent, and not too long.

The Archives: Transcontinental Drift 1.0 (2003)

In 2003, before we were married, we took a year off and traveled for most of that time. We created a website to share our photos and journals and called it Below is a summary of our trip.

Peru: Visited friends in Lima, hiked Machu Picchu, took a trip into the mosquito infested jungle.

Brazil: Took a slow ferry down the Amazon from Peru to Manaus, spent time with Tania’s family, enjoyed Carnaval with friends.

Thailand: Celebrated Songkran, explored Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Koh Chang, Koh Samet and the northeast.

Laos: Taught English at several schools in Phonsavanh.

India: Visited Calcutta, Dehli, Darjeeling. In Ladakh, we saw the Dalai Lama speak and went on a trek in the mountains.