In Brother’s Shoes

Laars likes to keep busy with his hands, just like his big brother Mitchell.  He creates a mess on the way to creating something new.   Here’s his pop can boats!!


Often, his creation doesn’t come to fruition since it gets stuck going around and around inside of his head, not quite sure how to manifest in the tangible world.  Many of his ideas he is unable to even verbalize, so those masterpieces must wait for another time.  Another decade, perhaps….  For when the world is ready to marvel at my son’s imagination.


Week (Year) in Review 5/1/14

This week not only brought us finally out of more than a week of rain here in Mexico, but I shared about how we celebrated both Danaka’s 17th birthday and New Years. I published a page about Danaka so you can get to know more about this special girl here. And told you about our first theft in Mexico (our first theft I think in all of our traveling since 2007 was summer 2013 in Colorado where 2 sets of brand-new flip flops were stolen from the women’s change room during the short 20 minutes we were swimming)

2013….It was a great year for our family, traveling, meeting fantastic people and having new learning experiences.  Like the start of every year I wonder where we’ll be at the end of 2014.  We don’t have a particular destination in mind, and neither do we have a time line.  We live Life on the Whim with ideas in mind of what we might do and where we might go, but we hold them loosely and want to be available to embrace that which presents itself to us in the moment.

Like a windshield compared to a rear view mirror, we look forward to what lies ahead with some (but far less) focus on where we’ve just come from.

Laars fly

Rear View Mirror

We brought the New Year in last year in Baja California Sur.  We were introduced to the beach and coral reef at Los Frailes in January and spent 3.5 months there.  This obviously made a mark in our lives.

Tim and Ann Smith have now become more than just camping neighbours.  We didn’t know when they pulled into Los Frailes how intertwined our lives would become, but February started that friendship.

The calving of the whales was a highlight for us, and in March we were able to view them from the beach.  What incredible creatures to watch, breaching their massive adult bodies followed by mimicking calves!

Our eldest daughter, Layne, was able to visit us for a week in April and we loved frolicking in the waves of the Sea of Cortez with her, delighted by her boisterous laughter.  We protected her white skin from intensive sunburn while she taught us the murderous game of ‘Mafia’.

Our time was up in Mexico so we drove the length of the Baja back to the USA the end of May.  I experienced my first panic-attack and recognized a decline in my health.

June was a very full month.  We settled in at Tim and Ann Smith’s acreage and the guys geared up for several building projects and Mitchell got a start on his boat building.  Danaka was able to go to a summer writing workshop in Kansas City so in the process of picking her up in Denver we did some touring of the state of Colorado including Colorado Springs, the Great Sand Dunes and then down to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

One of the things we miss the most while traveling is the connecting with our adult daughters, our son-in-law and granddaughter.  The month of July+ we were treated to 6 weeks with Rauchelle and Marin.  Six weeks we’ll never forget, and weeks we were so thankful Seth allowed us to share with the girls.

In August we started to work with Dyanna who helped us better understand ourselves and our health.    She brought some clarity to some of our experiences and we made changes to our diets and supplementation that brought quick and effective improvements to the health of Danaka, Laars, Toveli and myself.  Fantastic dynamite in that Dyanna!

September for most is the start of the new school year.  Everette and Mitchell were away so we hung out at the library. We busied ourselves with “school” work while we had free internet to send things to our ‘teacher’ that she can use for writing report cards throughout the year, focusing on Science and Socials.

It turns cold early in October in Colorado at 6,200 ft particularly when you are camping.  The guys finished up on the building projects for Smith’s, Mitchell’s boat was complete, and conversions done to the van.  We sold the rooftop tents and then hit the road for still-cold Arizona in our ground tents.

We had a hoot in south eastern Arizona where we were able to do some of the touristy stuff.  Like Tombstone, Queen Copper Mines, Kartchner Caves, Biosphere 2.  We loved our time there but our stay in USA was up so we had to leave.  Everette was working in BC, so the children and I crossed over to Mexico the middle of November and Girlfriend had her maiden voyage.

December brought Everette back to us and we started driving the coast of mainland Mexico.  We closed the year up on the coast at Barre de Navidad just north of Manzanillo.

From here we aren’t even sure of our direction next but we are together, enjoying life and our experiences.  We anticipate a wonderful adventure in 2014 and hope the same for you.

Girlfriend’s Sail is a Community Affair

It’s been a huge delight to have Matt in camp, a Frenchman who befriended the kids and I just hours after we moved camp about a mile & half further up Kino Bay than our first camp.

Matt had just rolled into town himself, on his 2-wheeled BMW (just another stop in his 3.5 yr world travel) and stumbled into our camp to inquire as to Who, What, When, Where & Why.  He must have felt welcome because he started dropping his riding boots, jacket, camera as we chatted the afternoon away and when night fell he popped up his tent on the beach beside Mitchell and Anders and he’s been here with us ever since.

Gaelyn on Matt's motorcycle

Gaelyn on Matt’s motorcycle

He’s shared the thrill of his motorcycle with several of the kids, and we can imagine a new love might have been planted inside of them.  I’m totally okay with that, having virtually grown up on the back of my brother’s street bike.

Everette was up (chilling and) working in the Great White North so it was good to have another man around camp.  Matt befriended Mitchell (& all of us) and soon they were fishing and kayaking the bay.

Mitchell decided it was time to start developing some sort of sail for Girlfriend.

Mast ideas included palm branches (the spine), wooden paddles, and hopeful-finds from Isla de Pelicano.

Mast ideas included palm branches (as seen in the pic), wooden paddles, and hopeful-finds from Isla de Pelicano in the bay.

Matt, the thrifty-talker-networker-dealmaker quickly jumped right in with helping Mitch acquire & improvise a mast & a sail.  Matt got a free mast from Catherine down the street who is a Parisian-tour guide for part of the year and spends the rest in the USA and here in Mexico paddle boarding to her hearts content.  In conversation he mentioned that Mitch was needing a mast and sail, and she volunteered a mast that had been left at her place a long while ago from somebody’s Laser or Sunfish.  Sweet!

Adjustments had to be made, so the council began with the gathering of the men.

Jamie with a broken foot in 5 places sought out the warmth of Mexico over his BC couch while recouping.  Matt with the bandana.  Louis with the apron.  Mitchell at the head of the meeting!

Jamie with a broken foot in 5 places sought out the warmth of Mexico over his BC couch while recouping. Matt with the bandana. Louis with the apron. Mitchell at the head of the meeting!

*Louis, the Mexican who works at the restaurant across the street, who checks on our daily ocean catch and lets Mitchell and Maret take over the kitchen to fry up their day’s catch.

*Jamie, a previous Chem & Biology teacher from the Kootenays (BC) who now teaches Mechanics and Shop at high school.  Jamie and his wife, Penny, had never been to Kino Bay, but while the rest of us were out for Thanksgiving Dinner they recognized Matt’s bike from his time in BC and plopped themselves down in the camp next to us. For Matt it was like meeting an old friend from back home.

*Matt, who I’ve already introduced

*Mitchell, the builder and owner of Girlfriend, proud of all his accomplishments, always accepting ideas from others but very capable of choosing the idea that sits right with him.  His Dad and I are so proud that he’s become a good decision-maker through this process of building his first boat.  He’s had many experienced sailers share opinions and ideas, and he’s weeded through them and chosen the one that seemed right for him. It might not always be the ideal choice, but he’s learning not to succumb to strong personalities or feel pressured but to do what seems best to him (and possibly suffer the consequences of his choice but own up to it, nonetheless).

Mast made from his two wooden paddles.  Rowing would now be with his kayak paddles.

Mast made from his two wooden paddles. Rowing would now be with his kayak paddles.

Ready to set sail.  Turned out to be somewhat slow, not too big of a sail.  But Mitch and Everette sailed down to the Oxxo and back, about 3 miles total, in 2+ hrs.  Nice afternoon out.  Can't be in a hurry to get anywhere, but then we're in Mexico with no need to get anywhere quickly anyways!

Ready to set sail. Here he’s got the mast & a boom, and using a tarp from Matt, taped into shape as not to cut it.  Turned out to be not too big of a sail, somewhat slow. All ready to go when Everette arrived from Canada.  Mitch and Everette sailed down to the Oxxo and back, about 3 miles total, in 2+ hrs. Nice afternoon out. Can’t be in a hurry to get anywhere, but then we’re in Mexico with no need to get anywhere quickly anyway!

Girlfriend Makes Her Maiden Voyage

We’ve been anxiously waiting for this day.  So excited to see if Girlfriend actually floats.  Built near Cortez, CO and testing the waters of the Sea of Cortez, maybe she ought to be the ‘Cortez Girlfriend’.

We were so excited, yet sad, too, because Everette who was such an encouragement to Mitchell during the building process, wasn’t here to witness it.

But the kids made it happen.  They organized themselves into the first crew.  Got all the parts in place.  Cleaned out yogurt containers for bailing.  Just in case.

The first crew.

The first crew.

It took basically all of us to carry that lug down to the waters edge.  It’s a heavy sucker.

Ready. prep

Set.empty boat


tiller falls off

There she goes!!  The tiller came loose.  Maret retrieved it easily enough, they got it securely on and they were off and paddling.  Happy as all-get-out!

rowingMitchell’s been having lots of fun on the boat, taking his siblings out with his Girlfriend most days for hours on end.  He’s scheming to make a sale out of something next.  A tarp?  His sisters’ sarongs?  We/He isn’t quite sure yet, but I’m sure he’ll figure something out, in time.

Row Your Boat Ashore

Tim & Ann ordered oars for Mitchell and his "Girlfriend"

Tim & Ann ordered oars for Mitchell and his “Girlfriend”

Bodie came from next door  to check progress on Mitchell’s boat, never having believed back in June that Mitch was actually going to build a boat in Tim’s house (that’s where it first got started).  Totally amazed, Bodie retrieved Krista before she headed out to Israel for a few weeks, or she would miss the success as we’ll be gone before she gets back.  I can see pride on Mitch’s face.  His confidence has soared, his capabilities greatly increased.  He feels good.Bodie, Krista & Karen

With house construction progressing, and Everette and I moved into the garage to get out of the swamping grounds, Mitchell’s workshop was permanently outside and Tim’s tools took up residence each day on the cabin porch.

tool shop spread

tool shop spread

Tim, the man who helped make this boat building project a reality this summer.  Thanks Tim.

Tim, the man who helped make this boat building project a reality this summer. Thanks Tim.