PHOTOS TO COME:
It is hard to believe we have been stationary for almost a year now. We constantly look at each other and our bank balance and consider when we can hit the road again.
Our time in the USA has certainly been interesting and eventful. Our main reason for staying in one place for a while, besides replenishing our bank account, was to give Keira, our 6 (and 3/4) year old daughter a stable base and a chance to make some long term friendships. She has been attending a Montessori school, called Escuela Del Sol in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Keira is thriving in this environment. Her main response to her day is "awesome". It is great to have her in an environment that encourages practical learning, and learning at her own pace. After being on the road so long, this hands on approach fits her well.
Keira continues to be an amazing and well rounded little girl. She loves being outdoors; exploring, collecting rocks and hiking. Her imagination and creativity is vast. Being a typical 6 year old girl she still loves having her own toys, and some of the luxuries of the Western World, like hot showers, and a refrigerator. However, she still asks if water is "potable", remembering that a lot of people in the world don't have safe drinking water, and remembers that most of the children she met did not have toys, and some could not go to school.
The other big adventure we have embarked on is adding a new member to our family. No, I am not pregnant! Around April last year we got "Maddie", a border collie and Aussie Shepherd mix puppy. For those of you who met us on the trip and who know Keira, this has been a long time coming. She has wanted a dog for her "whole life". On the trip she would try to adopt strays everywhere we went. We nicknamed Keira, "The Dog Whisperer", as all dogs would instantly be attracted to her.
Maddie has been great addition to our family. Keira and I took her to puppy classes and we have been really focused on her training and exposing her to a variety of experiences, preparing her for her life on the road. She is a loving dog and is constantly snuggling with us during family cuddle time. Maddie has already began her camping life, sleeping at our feet in the roof top tent and going exploring in the woods with Keira at her side.
Returning to a working life and being in one place has been extremely challenging. Mike and I have managed to create work that still allows us some flexibility, although Mike has been working a little too much.
We have a wonderful group of friends. We have been very conscious of trying to establish a supportive community around us. This has been even more of a focus in the current USA political climate, which is posing another whole set of challenges.
It has been an absolute pleasure to host several groups of travelers who we met in Sth and Central America. Bettina, Rolf and their dog Nera (from Switzerland) who we met in Nicaragua, stayed with us several days; Liam, and Matilde (Aussie and Canadian) we met also in Nicaragua enjoyed a real bed and luxuries like a sofa and a shower for a few days after traveling and sleeping in their car for 3 weeks prior; Elizabeth and Peter (German couple) who we met at a mechanics in Bolivia, again in Cusco Peru and at another mechanics in Ecuador, visited with us around balloon festival time. It was fun to share such a famous world event with them.
We try to travel as much as we can on weekends and during breaks, as the USA and the South West have so much to offer in terms of new adventures. Camping at Heron Lake is one of our favorite destinations. Hiking in the mountains, and desert areas of New Mexico, and visiting galleries of Santa Fe have been some highlights. We even managed a long weekend trip to Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington with friends to visit an organic farm. Sometimes we forget we are still a world away from where we grew up in Geelong, Australia.
Priscilla, our Lancruiser, has still been taking us on camping adventures. She is currently in a mechanics workshop getting some much needed repairs. We will continue to complete repairs and replace some of our well used equipment so we can be ready for more adventures this summer. This will include "The Overland Expo" in Flagstaff in May, where we will meet up with our English friends Jackie and Matt. We are hoping to get some new ideas in order to prepare for future adventures, maybe even an upgrade of a vehicle. Although it is hard to think about taking trips without Priscilla. Also we are planning a month long trip in Priscilla to Central America where we hope to be reunited with Els and Gerrett, our Dutch partners in crime who we shared many travel adventures with in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.
For now, we are taking each day as it comes, trying to save money, enjoying spending time as a family, trying to take a stand for what we believe in, and planning for our next adventures. Our longing for our gypsy life remains with us.
Just a place to keep our mates informed on where we are at, and what we are up to.