The Puerto Rico Experiment

We've spent the last 3 months in paradise! In fact...we even sold everything and MOVED our life here to beautiful and enchanting Rincon, Puerto Rico. The people here are amazing and so welcoming. The food is perfection. And the beaches...OH! The beaches.

BUT...we've come to the decision that we much prefer visiting islands rather than living full time on one. 

Yep, we're coming home! Back to the states. Next week in fact.

I'm purposely over simplifying this heart-wrenching decision...it wasn't an easy one. But through LOTS of prayer, late night tearful chats, and seeking good counsel...we've heard very clearly that this was just for a season. 

We believe that God guides us in all that we do...and we were beyond a doubt led here. It was super clear. But the way God works doesn't always make sense in our human minds. Sometimes you are led somewhere...so that you can find a new path that you might not have gone down otherwise. A re-direct.  So we trust. And take the next step. 

This isn't a disappointment. Or a failure. It was an amazing experience in which we learned a lot about ourselves and what we really want right now in our life.

And yet, our hearts will grieve it as a loss. Every change in our lives is a form of loss.

In one of my favorite podcast episodes of all time, Rob Bell says...that sometimes even GOOD seasons come to an end. And you can just say...

"This was great. And now we're leaving because it was great. We're going to stop doing this because it did what it was supposed to do. And now...we're going to do something else." 

He continues with perfect wisdom "...hold your palms open and let it go. And you grieve whatever you need to grieve. And you say YES to whatever the new season is."

We have some ideas about what our next move will be...but we'll wait until we have a solid plan before we share it with everyone. But whatever we do...there will most definitely be lots of beach time sprinkled in. We will be forever grateful for this time we've spent falling in love with the ocean. Without Puerto Rico...we may not have discovered how deep this love ran.

And so we adventure on...in search of a rainbow leading to the next beautiful thing. 

The Top 10 Places I Want to Visit Again

It's no secret that we LOVE to travel. If you've been following us for awhile, you know that we were on the road full-time for 5 years and have had a few different RV's. Now we are on the road about 6 mo of the year...venturing out to our favorite places when we get that nomadic bug. 

We've now been to 47 states in the RV (Hawaii & Alaska were missed for obvious reasons...and Rhode Island, well...sorry Rhode Island.) Which means that we have had time to come across a few favorite places! You'll notice that most of our favorites are are the western side of the country and/or near an ocean. Cuz we just know what we like!

We've started flying a lot more as our business has grown...and as much as I love the RV, I will NEVER TIRE of air travel. There is something so magical about being strapped into a large metal tube and jetting off into the sky. The miracle of flight is impressed upon my heart each and every time we take off. Did you know I was going to be a commercial pilot back in the day? Yep...even had my pilot's license

Bottom line...no matter HOW we arrive at a destination, we LOVE the new experiences and the constant motion. Let's get started with our top 10 faves (in no particular order)...

1. Northern California

California. I LOOOOOOOVE California. No, we don't want to move there. But we love to visit! One place we really felt at home was at the Petaluma KOA. It was beautiful and wooded, close to San Francisco and other amenities, and the people were super friendly. KOA's are known for their super kid friendly atmosphere...and this one had a climbing wall, jump pad, tons of activities, and GOATS. 

We are also always on the lookout for great pools...this one fit the bill! It was huge, and had a hot tub...and it during the time that we were there, no one was ever swimming because it was "too cold" for them. Not for my crazy fish family. This photo was one of the most perfect nights there. We had the pool completely to ourselves. And I found a tiny bottle of cabernet at the campground store and my new book had just arrived from Amazon that day. It was a good night. 

2. Portland, Oregon

Ahhhhh Portland. This was during a trip in the fall and all the colorful leaves were falling. We've been back to Portland many, many times...and each time it's fabulous in a different way. But my favorite thing is probably the food, the food, the food. *sigh*. We've stayed at Jantzen Beach RV Park, and I've stayed alone at the Monoco downtown (oh my heavens...best hotel ever). We've stayed in Eugene and Salem and along the coast of Oregon as well. The lush green moss gets me every time. 

3. Austin, TX

The sunsets in Texas are consistently breathtaking...nearly every night. We've spent time in wildflower country...southeast of Austin...and we've spent LOTS of time in the Austin area and I really don't have any desire to venture anywhere else. Maybe a day trip to San Antonio and back to Austin. :-) The coffee? Amazing and abundant. The food is fab, the people are funky. It's good. Traffic is a little intense...but if you're in a walkable area, it's bliss. I'd love to get myself to SXSW one of these years!

4. Jamaica

Aaaaaaah Jamaica. January 2015 was the first time Matt and I had been across an ocean and the first time we'd left the girls in 11 years. This trip was completely free, thanks to dōTERRA...and it was a life-altering experience. Once of those things along the path of life that changes everything. I snorkeled for the first time...which left me awe-struck. We met friends there who are now besties...and on that trip we decided that we will be spending a lot more time on islands. 

Fruit. So much amazing fruit. That slimy little purple thing? BEST. EVER. What is it? Someone tell me the name!

We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall...and it was our first experience with an all-inclusive resort. Our room overlooked the ocean and the salty air every morning was intoxicating. We were completely blissed out the entire time. 

5. Union Station - Denver (on a train to anywhere)

Traveling by train is an experience EVERYONE needs to have at least once in their life! My most recent excursion was out of Denver, in the newly remodeled (and stunning) Union Station. Sometimes I think I was supposed to be born in another era...when train travel was the norm. 

6. New York City

This was the view from my hotel room this past October when I met my sister and sister-in-love and dear friend in NYC for a 4 day rendezvous. The energy of the big city feeds my soul. When I was a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to be a magazine editor and walk the streets of NYC every day. I had no idea what that even meant back then...but it sure sounded glamorous. I'll be doing a separate blog post about our trip there...because I never want to forget those feelings. 

7. Dominican Republic

And...back to an island! In January we went to the Dominican Republic with dōTERRA and fell in love all over again with that turquoise blue ocean. This was me taking a little break to call a friend and sipping my favorite drink while we were there...a caipirinha. Oh my heavens...I would like one right now! They made it with frozen lemonade and tons of muddled lime...my perfect Caribbean cocktail. This trip solidified...again...our desire to bring our girls to an island and stay for awhile.

8. Oceanside, California

Succulents are my spirit plant. ;-) So when I came across The Succulent Cafe in Oceanside...I may have had a little freak out moment. This corner is just a tiny bit of the awesomeness. The coffee was great, the fountains soothing, and it's just a few blocks away from the ocean. Perfection. Everyone must go. 

Speaking of Oceanside...after we spent a month RVing with friends there last winter, we knew we'd be back. This time, we rented a house on the beach. It was the first time we'd ever slept so close to the beach where we could experience every sunrise and every sunset...and everything in between. Getting up in the morning and opening the patio doors to waves crashing was like a dream come true. I have a bit of an obsession with surfers (watching them...someday I will do it myself!)...and the beach we were on had TONS of surfers every day. 

9. Santa Cruz, California - The Redwoods

I can smell these trees through the screen! Redwoods. Go there. The end. 

No really...it's a spiritual experience. I've been able to spend much of my time there with dear friends. In fact, I had a blessingway for Emma INSIDE the "mother tree" at Henry Cowell. In the dark. With twinkle lights and chocolate and tea. It holds a special place in my heart for sure. The above photo was when 7 of us flew in from around the country to be together for a weekend. Traveling with friends or spending time in a new place with friends is one of my favorite things. Matt and I prefer to spend time with friends instead of alone...so RVing works out well for us. Caravan or meet up...or meet some new friends. Full-time travelers are a fascinating bunch. 

And of course, Santa Cruz. The bookshop, Verve, Natural Bridges. It has my heart. It's one of those places I will never tire of.

10. Home - Boulder, Colorado

And lastly...beautiful Boulder. Home sweet home.  Pearl Street never gets old for me. I love the people and the performers and the food and the art...all in the shadow of the majestic mountains. So much goodness to explore. 

Even with my intense love of travel...I still LOVE being at HOME. Sitting by our fire...watching snow softly falling down. 

Or gathering on our deck with our friends and family. Eating, drinking, and laughing together. We'll be returning home in a month or so...and I can't wait to fill this space with dreamers again. 


Where are some of YOUR favorite places? 

 

Home Sweet Rolling Home

Matt took a little flight up to Montana last weekend and picked up our new home. It's a rig that we've had our eye on for months...and right at the last minute, all the pieces fell into place. We sold the Safari to the amazing and brilliant Makenna Johnston during a serendipitous late night FaceTime chat. Matt was on his way north a few days later!

Why a different RV? Well...let's just say that after owning so many (this is #11) we have refined exactly what we are looking for in a rig. Especially in an RV that we will be traveling in full-time with 3 kiddos and 2 dogs. If you're still trying to catch up with our life plans...we rented out our mountain getaway for the next 9 months while we travel and spread the love of essential oils! Our renters are fantastic...a couple of park rangers. One that happens to be a bear tracker, which is perfect since Mr. Friendly Neighborhood Bear is very fond of our house.

This is a 2003 Alpine Coach. Yep! Our third Alpine. We absolutely LOVE these coaches. This one is barely broken in with an odometer reading of 24,000! The key selling points were the full-size washer/dryer, full-size residential fridge, and the huge family bedroom area. The closet that we will turn into bunks is super wide and long. Perfect for 3 growing girls. Speaking of 3, it has 3 slides as well. Two in the bedroom and one up front. We will make it cozy for now...but won't be doing the full remodel until this spring when we park in Texas for a spell. 

So there ya go! We've been a bit busy around here. So many details take care of before we head down the road. We have 72 hrs before our renters move in and we still aren't fully packed up. But we do work well under pressure. If you need us this weekend, we'll be taping boxes, drinking coffee, and playing in the snow (yep! it's snowing up here as I type!). 

Let the fun begin!