Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Day in Guanajuato

     If someone said to me even a year ago that I would be traipsing through Guanajuato, Mexico following my son Austen, in search of the Museo de Momias (yes, mummy museum) I would have, of course, said they were crazy. But that is exactly what I was doing last Sunday.

     Our adventure to Guanajuato was a day for the memory books. Andy was feeling poorly and decided to stay put in San Miguel, so Austen and I set out on our own, with our limited (me) to non-existent (him) Spanish. Its about an hours bus ride from San Miguel to Guanajuato, but even on Mexico's luxury buses the twisting mountain roads left us a bit woozy. After a bit of a re-coop in the bus station, we were off in a cab to see what Guanajuato was like. We had heard the first thing one should do when they get into the city is take the Funicular to the top of one of the mountains and behold the view from the look-out. It was, in fact, amazing. The city almost looked like a model to us with all its colorful buildings all nestled down in the valley.

     By now it was lunch time, and even though we know better than to eat in the restaurants right on any plaza, since they are rarely good, we couldn't resist just choosing one in the main Jardin de la Union. This plaza is simply gorgeous under a canopy of trees. Unfortunately, due to my aforementioned limited Spanish, we ended up with a bowl of cheese for lunch.

     No worries, however, I was anxious to be off in search of the Diego Rivera Museum. I had been remotely aware of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera before this trip to Mexico, but nowhere here  can you get away from images of her....they are everywhere: t-shirts, statues, paintings, street fact, there is a popular t-shirt with Frida in a Daft Punk t-shirt, which is just awesome in my humble opinion, because she totally would have been into them.

     So, I was severely disappointed to find that said museum was closed. On Sundays at a teeming city on a holiday weekend. Oh, Mexico. Hmmm. Now what, we asked? Lets see....theres a Mummy Museum? "Cool!" says Austen, "Lets go!" Now, I'm not so sure about this whole endeavor, but we do see a sign that says its this way down the street, so off we go....and we walk, and we walk, and we see another sign, and we walk...we note that the signs do not indicate how far it is. Soon we are doubting the existence of this museum at all. However, we notice two girls that seem to be on the same path as us. We are both moving with some speed, and both with backpacks...Austen and I joke about how we feel like we are in the Amazing Race and on our way to the pit stop...."teams must climb up a mountain of 25 flights of stairs to the Museo de la Momias for the next clue! The last team to arrive will be eliminated!" Because there were about 25 flights of stairs...and yet no museum to be seen. Finally, after realizing we just walked up the same mountain we took the Funicular up earlier, we see it. The Museo de la Momias in all its glory...and a line longer than any I have ever seen. Seriously? Apparently this is a popular outing for families from far and wide on a Sunday during Christmas week.

     A word about this museum, that we never got to go into. The story goes that since Guanajuato is a mining town, and the soil is so high in minerals, these dead people were naturally preserved. And what you see in this museum is not wrapped up mummies, but flesh and bone, and hair and facial expressions. After reading this, I was somewhat relieved that the line was too long. There is something totally bizarre about this..especially after I read these dead were exhumed after the taxes were raised on their graves, so the relatives of the dead either had to pay, or apparently their beloveds were dug up and now propped up in this museum for everyone to gawk at.

     We gave up. There was no way we were going to stand for hours to get into this place. Instead, we chose the bathroom line, which was not quite as long. Again, we missed an important detail. We forgot to get our toilet paper. Yes, in many places in Mexico, you pay to get into a bathroom, but you must remember to get your square of toilet paper from the lady standing outside with a roll of toilet paper. Oh, well, foiled again. We imagine she was thinking..."Stupid gringos, they probably think the toilet paper is in the actual bathroom!"

    We made our way back down the mountain, and rewarded ourselves with a dessert and a drink. Much deserved we thought. And so concluded our day in Guanajuato.

And days like this are why I am traveling the world.  -LuAnn

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us here in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico to all of you, wherever you are!

Monday, December 22, 2014

San Miguel De Allende

Until LuAnn finishes her post, here's what wikipedia has to say about about San Miguel De Allende "San Miguel de Allende is a city and municipality located in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico."

At 6200 feet above sea level the air is kind of thin and it can take a while to get used to, especially for beach people like us (meaning me). I run out of breath easily and it makes me a bit grumpy. We have however been having a good deal of fun nonetheless. Some highlights so far:

El Charco del Ingenio  A huge desert park full of endangered cacti with a river running through it.
We climbed down this little ladder to the canyon river:
This is where the spooky spirit El Chan is supposed to dwell. Legend has it that a divine being who lives in underground rivers, watching the behavior of man to make good use of the water that flows.

Next up: Sunset at Bar Luna hotel Rosewood 
Amazing views, great tapas & margaritas. Pricey but worth it.
Staying at the hotel is $600 US a night. Yow! We won't be doing THAT!
Here's a one of many nice pics from that night:
Next morning we went to CaƱada De Virgin, Pyramid and took the amazing tour there by Albert Coffee :

The next day, after all that hiking, our legs were tired so we went to La Gruta hot springs and after a few minutes I figured out the translation is "The Grotto". Met some interesting folks there. A Harley riding lawyer, a bilingual psychologist who just moved back from NYC and four girls from Oregon that were staying in Austen's hostel. We haven't seen him much since LOL. Here's his pic from inside the hot springs grotto:

As always, many more pics on Andy & LuAnn's Instagrams (you don't need instagram to see them) Just click here: Andy and here: LuAnn

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dancing horses, beach bands, leaving Sayulita & reaching San Miguel De Allende.

     Sitting on a giant Vallarta luxury bus & riding through the twisting mountain roads of estado Jalisco is quite a thing, The mountains and greenery are amazing and the driving terrifying. A yellow sign shows a black bull as a warning to drivers.  The country side is predictably like my memory of Costa Rica, lush green Pacific jungle. There’s a remarkable amount of half assed construction, half finished construction, abandoned construction, lots of cinder blocks & tin roofs, then huge rocky mountains and giant flat plains. It's an amazing place

     Our last couple of days in Sayulita were, like the rest of our two week stay, fantastic. Thursday we went to the beach all day and I finally got some sun. LuAnn has been chasing me around with 300 proof sunblock but she finally ran out LOL Another great beach day even though it rained a bit the night before. 
      Once again I was struck by the touts. When you have to say “No, gracias” 5000 times a day it kinda takes some of the fun out of it, plus you feel bad for the little kids pressed into selling this crap. A few of them were nice and funny but mostly that part was a drag. The best was the blonde hippie girl walking down the beach singing, ostensibly to her  self, “Wow, have I got some really great weed in this bag for sale. I sure have some great weed for sale.” Hilarious. I wish I had recorded her or caught the tune anyway. Lots of weed smokers around but all very low key. The bands playing in the bars were pretty reliably great on any given night, singing original music in spanish, lots of reggae and latin beats. 

       The beach musicians (myself and my friends excluded of course, people bought us drinks without being asked) were reliably awful. How many choruses of La Bamaba you gonna sing guys? And can you tune your guitars and get some rhythm please? Jesus. The guy playing trumpet while his kid oompahed a bass drum and snare howling like a monkey was LuAnn’s special favorite hate. Bonus points for the dreadlocked white guy playing his djembe like he was soloing for the grateful dead for hours. Oy. 

     One exception was this jolly toothless fellow with his pals on violin and guitar. They sang traditional Mexican music and were thoroughly bitchin. I would have kept giving them money but economy forbid.
     After the beach we went with some trepidation to the Italian restaurant Mamma Mia, and despite my reservations (ha!) it was great. We both had Seafood stuffed ravioli and a nice montalpucciano and it was delightful. Dinner was capped by an enormous fireworks show and a slow stroll home.

Friday night I had a street burger and LuAnn got a fish burrito at Taco Revolucion (the only place we went to twice) and walking back to the square we saw several large black horses with long manes all done up with their sombrero wearing caballeros getting quite drunk on Corona light cans (which they poured on the horses, evidently to cool them off?). Here is a video from a different daytime session:

     At the appointed time a large band of young men played mariachi music and the cowboys got the horses to dance. LuAnn had apparently heard of this but it was new to me. Crazy! There was a female caballera (?) is a white dress and Frieda Kahlo makeup and she was best of all. We watched for about an hour and then walked back up the hill to finish packing, 

     Saturday morning we rose at 6AM, showered, finished the last packing, rolled down the hill and got a taxi to Bucerias, where Maria at the Vallarta plus terminal complimented my Spanish. That's been happening a lot and I wonder if most Americans they meet are so bad that I seem good or if they are just being nice. Federico at the Guadalajara station said the same thing after a long chat in Spanish about American and Mexican politics. Maybe I'm actually getting it?  

     Speaking of getting it, I haven't blogged much because from the second we reached San Miguel De Allende I have had the worst stomach flu ever (let's call it Las Turistas) with fever and many trips to the bathroom. 5 straight days. That combined with the mile-high thin air here has made me less than enthusiastic about the place. Therefor the next post concerning San Miguel De Allende will be by LuAnn. Take it away LuAnn.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tales From a Typical Tuesday

     Many dreams caught this week in Sayulita. We seem to have settled into the "Sayulita Life" quite easily. Lazy days that go something like this: awake to roosters at 5:00 AM, along with the morning firecrackers for the Festival de la Virgen de Guadaloupe, but hopefully snooze a bit more until a walk down the hill into town for cafe con leche. The mornings are spent on the balcony, reading, crosswording, and generally listening to and watching the village awaken. We see the man with the basket on his head carrying rolls, calling "Bonillos!" or the car playing mariachi horns declaring "Hay gaz!" selling propane.

      It took us a few days until we figured out what who was carrying and selling what. Then, of course, a lazy afternoon on the beach. What else do you do when it 80 degrees and sunny? The water is super warm and this is just perfect for me. I can go years at the Jersey shore and never even venture into the water.

My favorite street- love the colors!

     Andy is proud of his new jams and is convinced he has lost some weight. I am insanely mad about this because, really? How do you lose weight eating fish tacos and drinking Pacificos and Margaritas?  Maybe it's the longish walk down and back up the hill every day?

     So, this is quite the surfing town, and the waves are perfect for learning. The surf schools are plentiful on the beach, and you just walk up for a lesson. Andy worked up the nerve today, and ventured out with Eric (who showed us a picture of him surfing doing a headstand), and I have pictures to prove that yes, he did stand up! More than once!

     Oh, yes, more on the firecrackers at dawn. During the festival of the virgin of Guadaloupe the town elders, by all accounts well intoxicated, set off large explosives as Andy mentioned in our last post. The first morning, we could not imagine what the explosions were about in the dark right before dawn- but there were at least 10 earsplitting explosions- followed each time by complete silence.

     We learned the next day that this will happen every morning before dawn until the 12th...part of the festivities, don'tcha know? Try getting a permit for that in Bergen County, NJ! And the festivities dont stop there. Every evening there is a procession from a different part of town, a float, followed by candle carrying townspeople of all ages, singing as they walk, that ends in the modest church on the town plaza. Its really quite beautiful to behold. We think there may be some sort of competition for best float, but this is just a gringo's speculation on our part.

     So, as I write this another day is ending in Sayulita. The kids are out on the dirt street kicking around a soccer ball, the dogs are barking, I hear meals being readied in the open air kitchens, and I hear music playing from somewhere. Life. We love it! -LuAnn

Friday, December 5, 2014

The time has come to tell of many things

     Well, it's Friday and though I have posted a bunch on Facebook and Instagram, it's high time for a proper blog post. This I will now try to provide. The pelicans pictured above are endlessly amusing, diving in formation for their suppers. I can and do watch them for hours.

     A week in Sayulita, Mexico has been a dream. The weather has been fantastic; the food and drink divine. LuAnn has managed to avoid
Montezuma and though I have been somewhat ill twice now, the less said about him the better. We trot about indeed!

     I continue to be relieved to be in a place where everything fun isn't forbidden and enforced by a SWAT team. I've seen about four cops and they were bothering no one. The US police state endangers every American and if it isn't dismantled soon God only knows where it will lead.

    Meanwhile, there's this Festival de la Virgen de Guadaloupe here where they set off firecrackers twice a day, and by firecrackers I mean 15 quarter sticks of dynamite in rapid succession. I thought Spain had come to reclaim Mexico and was shelling us at 5 AM. That line has been getting a good laugh here. So yeah, twice a day, everyday for a week, people are setting off professional grade fireworks without permission, or a fire marshall or anything else. Try THAT in NYC. Don't tell them I sent you.
     Later they have a beautiful parade ending at the church, a lovely catholic ceremony, then music, dancing and such until the wee hours, and then they do it all over again. I recall this from Spain and can only assume people are having a good siesta every day because otherwise, no way!

    We continue to meet amazing and friendly people from all over and I am reminded how well and how awfully I speak Spanish. I can get it done every time but it ain't pretty, for sure. Soon I'm going to know 500 words in each of 15 languages, including English, but nothing else. Already I'm saying stupid sentences like "Hand me that thing I can't think of the name of right now...spatula!" Next up: "Thing! Give!"

     We gave up our American phone numbers for good, and screw AT&T for real. I would have paid $10 a month to keep my number alive but they were such a pain about it I gave up. Many big companies (PSEG, ATT, TWC) have said "OK your account is cancelled we'll mail you a bill." Good luck with that. There's this internet thing you should look into. See you the 11th of never.

     We are working on booking the bus to San Miguel De Allende which is kind of a pain BUT the $500 Expedia gift card I won on Twitter got us 3 nights In Auckland NZ next month at Skycity Grand Hotel for...$29. WOOHOO!

     So, three weeks on the road so far and, in conclusion: AWESOME! I regret NOTHING! So far.
As always we love and live for your comments, so please don't be shy. Sign up over there on the right if you haven't already and please follow us on the myriad social media links there too. We love and miss you all tons and want to stay in touch! Besos! -Andy & LuAnn

Saturday, November 29, 2014

That's more like it!

     Sayulita, Mexico is a lovely place. I've only been here half a day but so far I don't want to leave. Good mix of locals, expats and tourists. Great street food, gorgeous beach with plenty of happy beach dogs, 70 degrees. I have no complaints. Check out the view (pictured above)!

     It was a longish travel day from Savannah, GA, starting at 3:30AM but we made our connection in Dallas and arrived about 1PM local time. I slept on the 1st leg and LuAnn slept on the 2nd. I read a good deal of Thomas Jefferson's biography. It seems timely.

     We forded through the guys trying to sell us on expensive taxi rides and got to the bus stop where there was a great taco place recommended by our host where we ate heartily of shrimp and fish tacos, then got on the bus.

     What a fun and funny ride! The bus driver had no problem with people standing, stuff in the aisles, moving with the doors open, whatever. I was surprised there were no chickens, pigs or goats.

     Driving through the jungle was gorgeous! Wait, there's some guy with his pants around his knees peeing on the side of the road and smirking at the cars as he moons them all? No one even raised an eyebrow. People here just don't care about things that aren't a big deal.

     Got to the end of the trail and...nothing. Everyone got off in a dirt parking lot and the bus drove away. Landlord not picking up the phone? No sweat. Walked into town, got some directions and got to the house. Hey, landlord was waiting for us! Drop the stuff and have drinks on the beach! I can't overstate the utility of having some foreign language skills.

     Right now I am looking at more stars that I've seen at one time other than on the ocean and there is a marching band competition going on in town. Awesome and hilarious and great. 18 days into the "No Plan Is Too Complicated" Tour and so far I must report it as going well. Cheers!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at the beach

Thanksgiving Day and lots to be thankful for, as usual. The beach at Tybee Island, while not in the 70's was still pretty nice, considering the Northeast is has had some snow. We got our first blog comments so that was pretty exciting as well. We have continued our savaging of Savannah, eating and drinking everything in sight. Tonight will be no exception as we head to Ruth Chris. LuAnn has mixed feelings about not cooking for the 2nd year in a row (last year we were in New Orleans) but I think we can convince her that letting someone else do it is the way to go. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Big love to you and yours from us and ours!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Graduation Week in Savannah


     Savannah always makes us happy. Doubly so this time since as of Saturday we are the proud parents of a SCAD graduate. The graduation ceremony itself was up to the standards of a creative school, with a drum line, light show, and confetti coming from the ceiling at the conclusion like a snippet from a Blue Man Group show. We had to attach the video above HERE for your enjoyment. I would make a snide comment about how much of the crazy tuition cost, and subsequent student debt, went into this production, but that would seem ungrateful now, wouldn't it?

     Anyway, we do feel at home in this absurdly beautiful Southern city, with its moss draped oaks, and historic squares popping up every few blocks as you walk. If you love architecture like we do, you really should visit. Its a Southern city with a uniquely European feeling. We do not have a car here, so we've been walking everywhere, in some vain hope that it will counteract the indulgences of fried oysters, fried chicken, and 3 trips so far to Lulu's Chocolate Bar.

     Since we are now on the topic of food.....we had a wonderful post graduation lunch at the Olde Pink House, probably the premier restaurant in Savannah with its gracious setting in an old mansion in Reynolds Square. The day before we had doggedly gotten in line (and believe us, Andy does not usually willingly stand in line for anything) early at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House to see what all the fuss was about. Wow. Amazing....for $18 a person you are treated to a lunch you will not soon forget- seated at tables of 10 with bowl upon bowl of fried chicken, collard greens, mashed potatoes, mac an' cheese, meat loaf, ham hocks, butter beans...truly, I can't even remember it all, all served family style. A Savannah tradition...but only open Mon-Fri 11:00-2:00.

     We forgot to mention our trip to Bonaventure Cemetery which was quite enjoyable. Also the Telfair museum (which was kinda meh to tell the truth) and the Jepson center, where we saw the Whitfield Lovell exhibit, which Andy really liked.

     So, we've now said a tearful "see you soon" (her words and very appropriate) to our daughter, who was also here from Philly to see her brother graduate. We have several more days here, until we fly out to Puerta Vallarta on Saturday. And then about an hours bus ride to Sayulita. we come!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

4 days on the run and now I'm dying' of thirst...

     OK! I present to you a lovely shot of Annapolis harbor that took forever to make. I am still getting the hang of using a Mac. Imagine my surprise to find that the native photo editing program won't save its edits! Non-destructive editing they call it. I almost threw the Mac out the hotel window. That would be destructive editing. ANYWAY, I figured it out and got a photo editor that worked.

     Even so, we are definitely using Instagram as our main photo repository for now. Both our feeds are in the links on the right side over there, but for your convenience here are clickable links to mine and LuAnn's.

     Miraculously our complex plan worked flawlessly. Thursday we got the truck, got everything IN the truck, sold the car, got back our security deposit, made a quick visit to our daughter in Philly, and made it at midnight to the hotel in Laurel MD where we were both too keyed up to sleep well. Friday we got the rental car, dropped the stuff in my sister's storage, returned the truck and feeling free at last decided to head to Annapolis for lunch and had fantastic crab cake sandwiches at Buddy's Crab Shack .

     Saturday it was off to Richmond VA to visit my folks. We had a nice afternoon visit, then crashed at the Hyatt Aboretum.  We spent Sunday at The Richmond Museum of Art, which was well worthwhile, a very pretty, but manageable museum, and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Richmond.

    Moving on early Monday morning we drove down 95 in the pouring rain taking turns driving and reading Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential to each other. We were excited to finally visit Charleston, a city we've been wanting to see for quite a while. It was as gorgeous as we imagined. The sight of the palmettos and still flowering planters made us smile. We checked into The Elliot House which made my week. The hot tub was really hot and the rain had stopped, leaving that warm humid southern air. After a soak we had some complimentary wine & cheese by the pool, then went to happy hour at Pearlz where I can only describe the food and drink as orgasmic. If you love oysters, this is your kind of place. After dinner we walked around a bit, and had a glass of wine at Social Wine Bar.

     The next morning we bundled up and took a stroll to take in some more of Charleston's fantastic architecture. We may have neglected to mention that we are having very chilly temps here, record lows, and with the exception of Monday, its been pretty friggin cold all around, but still warmer than New Jersey! Once again we could not say no to another meal of southern comfort food, I mean, who can when they are Charleston??? So after a stellar lunch at Poogan's Porch (shrimp & grits, fried chicken, she-crab soup & mac n' cheese-yeah, all that!) LuAnn drove while I snoozed. We took a detour through Bluffton, SC, then made it to Savannah where we hit Whole Foods to fill the fridge and will now chill for the next TEN DAYS! Staying put for while? Woohoo!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Packing list

A lot of people have asked what we are taking and have expressed surprise at how little (or how much) we are carrying. Here, then, is a list of what's in the bags. Mine's a little more detailed at the moment since I was focused more on what was going in my bags as I worked on the list. What did we miss?
Gotta thank Boots And All for the suggestions.

REI stratocruiser rolling suitcase 22" w/ TSA combo lock
* 1 pair flip flops
* 1 pair sandals
* copy of passports & travel papers

Packing cube #1
* 2 pairs of zip-off convertible pants-1 khaki, 1 green
* 2 REI long sleeve collared quick dry shirts, blue & tan
* 2 long sleeve T-shirts, 1 light, 1 heavy
* 3 moisture wicking tank tops

Packing cube #2
* 4 pair Ex Officio underwear
* 5 pairs socks (3 moisture-wicking SmartWool, 1 crew, 1 sneaker)
* 2 travel towels (1 lg, 1 sm)
* 2 bathing suits (need to buy another)
* 1 short sleeve light collared shirt (the magic shirt)
* 1 silk hawaian shirt

* 1 pair of lightweight Lucky brand jeans
* 1 pair sox
* 1 pair underwear
* 1 T shirt
* 1 light collared shirt
* 1 pair sneakers
* REI lightweight hoodie
* Bose noise cancelling headphones

Day pack w/ TSA combo lock:
* 1 lightweight rain jacket
* 1 lightweight, thermal shirt
* 1 AKG P120 condenser mic
* 1 mini mic stand
* 1 mic cable
* 1 focusrite 212 mic/mac interface
* sunglasses & backup eyeglasses
* power converter
* kindle
* 2 TB hard drive
* Canon 5S camera & tripod
* passport & travel papers

Guitar case:
* 1 yamaha nylon string acoustic
* 1 guitar strap & 2 shoelaces
* 1 macbook air (bring in carryon if must check guitar)
* 1  watercolor block
* 1 rolled up paintbrush, pen & pencil bag
* numerous USB cables & charging blocks in clear plastic bag
* some sheet music

LUANN (same REI stratocruiser bag & packing cubes)
* 1 pair of comfy Thai pants (loose leggings)
* 1 pair Quick Dry pants
* 1 REI Skort
* 1 button-up short Sleeve Shirt
* 1 Long-Sleeve Hoody
* 1 Long sleeve T shirt
* 1 black Travex dress
* 1 polkadot dress
* 5 basic, moisture-wicking T-shirts
* 1 pair slip-on shoes  & crocs
* 1 pair tevas
* 2 travel towels
* 1 lightweight rain jacket
* 2 bathing suits
* 5 pairs undies (3 exOs, 2 normal)
* 2 exO bras
* 3 camisole/tanks
* 5 pairs socks - need more?
* 2 scarves
* iPad Mini

Toiletries (split between the bags):
* Immodium
* Preparation H
* 2 toothbrushes
* 2 travel sized toothpastes
* 2 packs plackers
* Gold bond powder
* 2 deodorants (his & hers)
* 1 little magnifying mirror
* 1 tweezers
* neosporin
* 1 blemish treatment
* 1 box bandaids
* 1 afterbite treatment
* 2 sunblock 30spf & 50spf
* 1 vitamins
* hand cream, makeup & jewelery
* 20 sm tubes watercolor paint in clear plastic bag

Thursday, November 6, 2014

7 days

Just wrapping up details now. Book this, pack that, cancel this, order that, etc, etc… The culmination of a year or more thinking, planning & researching is finally coming to pass. I’m pretty overwhelmed with gratitude to be able to make this happen and to have a mate who is on board. Not everyone would be willing to give up everything and travel indefinitely. I’m pleased at how little we had actually. Aside from a large collection of books & music the bulk of our possessions were art & music related items. Thus it wasn't hard to find a way to store it all. Looking forward to our two weeks at our cottage in Savannah GA [pictured]

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thirteen More Days

     As we spread the word of our unorthodox plans for our near future, we were quite amused by how many friends were not surprised to hear such a thing from us. We've have been planning this for a while and have relied on the advice of our fellow travelers, many who have been on their adventures for years. Now, in a few days, our apartment will be empty, and a tiny rent-a-truck will have the few boxes & furniture we decided to keep. We'll be officially without a permanent address, and with nothing but our carry-on bags, and Andy's guitar. We're not yet experts on world travel, but I suspect we'll be quick learners! 

     Since Andy is a musician and I'm a watercolorist, one of our biggest challenges has been figuring out how to fit everything we need in a carry-on, and still bring enough clothes, shoes, and tech stuff. Andy has almost(!) decided which guitar he's bringing, and I bought the little tiniest watercolor bloc I've ever worked with, and pared down my tubes of paint to just the essential colors. So art and music will be part of this blog. We're excited to share our work here as we go.

     We promise to do our best to keep you amused and entertained while you trot about with us. We'll try not to bore you we discover sights, sounds, and experiences around the world that we can share with you. If you have a question, please ask! We really want to engage our readers. 

     Our first stop will be Philadelphia to visit our daughter, then on to DC where Andy's sister is letting us store some stuff. Next up is Richmond, Va. to visit Andy's folks. Then on to Savannah, a favorite city, for 2 weeks, where we get to see our son graduate from SCAD (woo-hooo!!). After Thanksgiving we fly from Savannah to Mexico, where we'll visit Sayulita, San Miguel de Allende, and Guadalajara, and then travel on to New Zealand for the new year!. 

Wear your walking shoes!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jungle Boogie!

Jungle boogie! Sold the car and the last of the furniture today. Sh!ts getting real now! Final packing and getting ready. Can't believe two and a half weeks left. Still got a few items to buy but our bookings seems set through Jan 3rd. Getting ready to buy tix for New Zealand. I bet it's a lot like Kauai, HI, pictured above

Friday, October 24, 2014

18 days

Here is The Prettiest Wifeypoo enjoying some sunshine. As we get down to the last couple weeks there's less major stuff to do and seemingly more and more minutiae. Did we do this? Did we forget about that? Crap, what about this other thing? Uh... Also trying NOT to think too far ahead. "Well, we HAVE to book flights!" "But wait! Then we're stuck with that schedule. What if we want to stay longer? ARG!" and so on. Good problems to have I suppose, but still somewhat trying. I grow anxious to be away. All this waiting is making me nuts, but no doubt we'll soon wish we had more time to tie up some loose end or other. Excited to meet up with Colin Wright this weekend while he's visiting NYC!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

21 Days + New Design

My lovely & talented wife has done her magic and much improved the look of the site. In an effort to alleviate the wall of text showing the 10 million items to do before we go I present a picture I hope will be indicative of the immediate future. Me, a pool, my guitar and a hat that reads "Inactivity Director". Also I added Email sign up and RRS feed options. Lots to do.

Monday, October 20, 2014

22 days to go

Wed. Nov 12th is my last day at the office.
Then I go pick up the moving truck and fill it with everything that's left except the bed.

Thu Nov 13th
Next day we add the bed,  the cleaner comes, the landlord gives us our security.
We drive to Philly, drop off half the stuff and continue to Maryland .
We stay over night at a motel in Maryland.

Fri Nov 14th
Pick up the rental car in the AM.
Drop the rest of the stuff at my sister's storage space.
Drop off the truck & continue to Richmond in the car.
Visit with the folks & stay

Sat Nov 15th
Sun Nov 16th
Mon Nov 17th

Tues 11/18
Go to RIC, drop the rental car & fly to Savannah GA
There we stay for a couple weeks and celebrate A's graduation the 22nd.

Then we fly from Savannah to Puerto Vallarta and start our trip in earnest.
What could go wrong?
Zoom! Swish!

Friday, October 17, 2014

T minus 25 days and couting

Welp. LuAnn says the blog is not ready to announce.

No one, she says, is interested in our preparations.

I do not agree but nevertheless I shall hold the official announcement for now.

Notice has been given at work and a great many people told of our plan.

Been going to doctors and getting all sorts of last minute shots and such.

Most people are reacting positively to the news.

"Good for you!" they say. And then "I'm so jealous!". Then "You suck!". LOL

I admit it takes a certain degree of nerve to attempt this feat.

Then again nothing ventured, nothing gained. So....

Monday, October 13, 2014

31 days

Well.. a great many things are sorted, sold and stored.

Really down to odds and sods now.

Did our first test pack last night.

Most everything fit. LuAnn's a little more overpacked than I but...

Well, we'll see.

Been keeping track of stuff at

That's been helpful.

Today may be the day of giving notice. Gulp!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

37 days - yikes


Gotta make Wed 11/12 my last day at the office I guess

Cars are for sale

Almost all the music gear is being cared for

Gotta give some more away/get it held

Got a buncha boxes going to storage at Christine's WAY out in PA

Still trying to sell furniture

It's gonna be a major bitch getting it all to my sister who is now going to LIBERIA

UGH. I guess my problems are all minor compared to that one. Yeesh.

37 days to go tick...tock...ticktockticktickticktick

Friday, September 12, 2014

T minus 63 days


Today we refinanced XXK of student debt at 12% with a secured loan at 2%!
So the monthly payment is still $XXX(!) but now it's for 5 years instead of 20.
Total cost to borrow the $$ is $XXXX instead of like $XX,XXX. Woohoo!
So that was big doins!

I set up auto debit from checking so the loan pays itself off.
Best part? As it pays off I have access to the security.
Yes, I had to put up $XXK in cash but SO WORTH IT!

Anyway THAT problem is solved.
Everything else is still in motion so tick tick tick


Friday, August 29, 2014

78 days and counting

78 days to liftoff

Kid # 2 finally done with college.
Got $XXK to refi (not counting the $XXK he owes the feds)
Total cost of College about XXXK over 4 years. Ouch.

Deep breaths...

Looks like the plan to have everyone together for Thanksgiving/graduation is a fail.
Girl child has no days off until Dec. Looks like Xmas in Mexico.

I'm looking forward to being able to plan more than 2 days in advance.
Flights are a lot cheaper that way, Shijus.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New New New Itinereary?

As you can see we are having some trouble making up our minds.
Some of these are booked already, others are more fluid.

Dec: Mexico (Sayulita, & San Miguel de Allende side trips to Guadalajara & Guanajuato,)
Jan (1st half): Fiji,
Jan (2nd half) New Zealand (Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, & Nelson)
Feb: Australia (Sydney) & Bali + Gilis & other?
Mar: Thailand (Chiang Mai, Bankok, Koh Lanta)
April: 1st half: Japan (Nagoya, Kyoto, Mt Fuji, Tokyo)
April 2nd half: Jakarta & Singapore
May-June: Turkey (Istanbul & Bodrum) & Greece (Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, etc)

Proposition #1
July: Scandanavia (Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm & Copenhagen)
Aug: UK (Edinburgh Scotland & Cork Ireland)
Sept: Netherlands (Amsterdam) and Germany (The Rhine bet Koblenz & Frankfurt)
Oct: Portugal (Lisbon & The Algarve)
Nov: Ecuador (Quito & Cuenca)
Dec: Mexico again? Possible visits to Philly, DC, Virgina & Austin TX
To follow: Africa? Namibia, South Africa & Tanzania? Or Italy?

Proposition #2
July: UK (Edinburgh Scotland & Cork Ireland)
Aug: Netherlands (Amsterdam) and Germany (The Rhine bet Koblenz & Frankfurt)
Sept: Portugal (Lisbon & The Algarve)
Oct: Ecuador (Quito & Cuenca, Manta & Guayaqil)
Nov: Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Dec: Mexico again? Possible visits to Philly, DC, Virgina & Austin TX
To follow: Africa? Namibia, South Africa & Tanzania? Or Italy?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Holy s#!t, 100 days.
CDs and DVDs ripped and sold
Many tools and boating items given away
Books pared down and donated to the library
Takers found for furniture and our few boxes


Thursday, July 24, 2014

114 days and counting

Nov 15th.
I hope we can.
Depart NJ with a Uhaul truck and drive to Philly to drop off stuff for Alexa.
Then on to DC to drop the rest of the stuff with Rose.
Possibly fly on to Asheville NC to visit Emily?
Or just on to Savannah?
Graduation on the 22nd
And hit the road?
114 days.
Still have a ton of shit to get rid of

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy July 2nd! 148 days to liftoff & Counting!

Well we are spending this weekend dancing and watching fireworks in NYC, hurricane whoever be damned. Got a wedding Saturday so hopefully that won't be a factor. Another wedding in Boston next week is making this a short month work wise and in general.

Big news on the trip (I think?) is I am pushing it forward. Our son finishes SCAD in Sept (I hope) but fall graduation isn't until Nov 22nd. So hopefully we can have both kids in Savannah for graduation & combination Thanksgiving/Christmas and leave from there! 148 days and counting!

That means getting everything out of our place and getting the landlord to rent it out starting Dec 1st so we don't blow the last month's rent on an empty apartment. Hopefully that will work.

Updated Itinerary:
Dec: Mexico (Guantajuato, Valladolid & San Miguel de Allende)
Jan (1st half): New Zealand (Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, & Nelson)
Jan (2nd half) Australian (Sydney, Canberra & The Gold Coast/Barrier Reef)
Feb-April: Indonesia (Bali & Jakarta) Philipines & Thailand (Chiang Mai, Bankok, Koh Lanta)
April: Japan (Nagoya, Kyoto, Mt Fuji, Tokyo)
May-June: Turkey (Istanbul & Bodrum) & Greece (Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, etc)
July: Scandanavia (Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm & Copenhagen)
Aug: UK (Edinburgh Scotland & Cork Ireland)
Sept: Netherlands (Amsterdam) and Germany (The Rhine bet Koblenz & Frankfurt)
Oct: Portugal (Lisbon & The Algarve)
Nov: Ecuador (Quito & Cuenca)
Dec: Africa? Namibia, South Africa & Tanzania? Or Italy?
Or maybe back the the US for Thanksgiving/Xmas?

Monday, June 23, 2014

More dancing, food, art and nature. A trend perhaps?

184 days to our mental departure date of Christmas 2014. Another busy week here.

Highlights include:

Drumming for rockabilly band The Hudson Hornets at a block party on 15th street NYC

More salsa dancing at West Gate Lounge Nyack NY

An art show opening for Joel Popadics at Latour in Ridgewood NJ

A lovely day walking at The New Jersey Botanical Garden 

Listening to ZAZ !

Monday, June 9, 2014

More continuing adventures in NYC

I digitized my entire music collection (well, almost done) which came in at about 40 GB (yes gigabytes) of data. Guess I’ll need two 20 GB players to fit it all. Gonna get rid of the CDs with

I finished my book (soon to be a phone app) of 365 daily quotes on the art and craft of music. More on that to come. Still have to have a CD release party to get rid of the 1000 CDs I had made. If you want one shoot me an email.

Bought some more clothes and got rid of a ton of old stuff.

We went on several long walks at (including seeing the Rose Garden party), and

And of course more salsa dancing!

This week we’re going to the on Governor’s Island

And seeing in central park.

Lots to do!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Further NYC adventures

     Well, lots of continuing adventures as we prep for departure. I have been ripping my extensive CD collection to MP3  so I can get rid of the physical media. We got rid of our beloved sailboat Gala which was quite a blow but had to be done. 

     For mother's day we went to NYC for a performance of After Midnight with Vanessa Williams. Amazing performance. 

     We updated our itinerary to include some more countries and side trips. The current plan calls for NZ, AU, ID (Bali) TH, JP, GR, IT, RU, FI, EE, DK,BD, NL, DE,AT, CH and PT! 17 countries in 12 months! Give or take. More to come!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Continuing adventures in NYC and Beyond

Since starting this blog lots has gone on.
Allow me a brief recap of the highlights so far:

Started Dance Lessons with Sasha Valerie
Valentine's Day Masquerade with Dances Of Vice
Joined NY Botanical Garden, went to the orchid show and hiked the whole garden

Big husband pie birthday party for Andy
Several long hikes along The Palisades
Serious Salsa Dancing @ Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem NY
Helped our son Austen write a paper on Arthur Dove
10 days in Puerto Rico!
Villa Montana beach resort
The Gallery Inn
El Yunque rainforest
Kayaking the bio bay
with Bespoke Tours (highly recommended)
El Morrow Ft
More Salsa Dancing at the Nuyuorican Cafe and many others.
More fabulous fun with DoV at the Japan Society.

We have been heavily researching our trip in the coming year and made some changes. To avoid the Visa hassle of Russia we are limiting our time there to 3 days and booking a tour from Helsinki. Similar Visa concerns in Bali and Thailand mean we will be limiting those countries to a month and spending a couple weeks travelling around there. Possibly Singapore and Cambodia, maybe Taiwan or Malaysia. We are wanting to spend some time in Italy again, so maybe we will hit Northern Italy, and Southern Switzerland and Austria while we are in the area, hopefully during the summer time.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

We Haz Us Some Adventures

     LuAnn and Andy are a pair of creative types from the greater NY/NJ area who met through in Jan. 2008 and got hitched in Aug. 2009. LuAnn paints watercolors and works in interior design. Andy plays many instruments and sings, with sidelines in writing, photography & languages and he works in software development.  

     We like to travel and since meeting we've been all over the damn place. Boston, DC, Miami, Vegas, London, Paris, Rome, and Barcelona, just to name a few. After every trip we always wished we had more time so finally we decided that it was time to sell the house, get rid of our stuff and travel around the world. did. Well, we sold the house and got rid of about half our stuff. We're working on the other half now.

     The coming itinerary includes (but is not limited to) Bali, Thailand, Japan, Greece, a summertime jaunt through some great northern cities including St Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn & Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Cork, and Amsterdam, then on to Portugal. We figure that'll take about a year. After that? We'll see.

     So! This is a good place to record our adventures in words, pictures & video, keep in touch with all our new and old friends, and share our experiences with you, our intrepid readers. Welcome aboard! we hope you enjoy the ride.