Category Archives: USA

Deconstructing Shaw

2017 was the start of BIG changes with tiny results.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.” ~ Rob Siltanen

In 2016 we traded Baja for Charleston, SC  so we can spend time with the boys.

The easy purchase was a ranch style house in West Ashley. Quickly withering from the normalness of suburban living, the sirens of historic downtown Charleston began to sing.

Our first visit to Charleston in 2010 had Bill pointing to an elegant and grand 7 story building on the edge of White Point Garden where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers merge to form the Atlantic Ocean and saying “I’m going to live there one day.”

Charleston – voted #1 top U.S. city 5th year running by Travel and Leisure (2016 best city in the world too) – comes at a price. A high price. Money equates to square footage.  You get the picture.

Well I’ll be darned if Bill wasn’t right (those moments still catch me off guard).  We are now fulfilling his prophecy. Downsizing by 75% and loving every 74, 014 square inches of it. (514 sq.ft.) It’s a 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a 60 sq.ft. balcony floating over the Holy City with expansive views of the water and breathtaking sunsets on most nights.

It came furnished so we had an estate sale and utilized Craigslist to unload all the furniture we had purchased just a year before. With 2 rugs and a painting in tow – we moved in.  Heaven!  We walk to everything. History and charm ooze from every corner. Horse drawn carriages clip clop through the streets and bar/restaurants are plentiful. Yoga is 2.5 miles away and allows us to kill 2 birds with one stone, walking to and fro. Two kids in a candy shop!

Sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff without knowing where you will land. ~ Zainab Salbi

And with that said – 30 days later we sold our primary residence in Northern Nevada and opted to go even tinier – 440 sq.ft. (63360 sq. inches).
When working and raising kids our home had 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, 5 fireplaces and a 5 car garage. After the kids moved out we downsized into a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 fireplace, 2 car garage home. Now, we’re in a 0 bedroom, 0 fireplace, 0 garage and if wasn’t for the 1 bath…. Well – you get my point.

There was an abandoned tiny home on our commercial property in Nevada that we decided to turn into a rental.  The county allowed us to dismantle the house and rebuild in the same place using the same footprint, roof and siding.  It’s cute as heck and we thought what the heck. Now it’s our home.Talk about freeing…

Living in hotel rooms more than 100 days a year over the past decade, and more recently carrying our clothes on our backs while walking two Caminos has helped condition us. You really don’t need all the peripheral crap. Happiness isn’t derived by having stuff.

However, the struggle is what to do with your STUFF.

What we learned:  You give to your kids “now” all the stuff saved for them. Why wait until you’re dead?  Sell and give away all non-essential stuff and pack the rest of the shit (stuff) up in a POD and send it to your 3rd home.

YUP… You read that correctly.

Why have 2 homes when you can have 3?  Yes, as embarrassed as I am to write this.

Hi, our names are Bill and Paige and we are Crazy – it’s been 2 weeks since we were in our last home…

Today we are in Indian Wells, CA – right near vintage Palm Springs. This one was purchased 10 years ago as a rental.

Tenant moves out and we move in.  What can we say?  It’s warm here. Palm trees rule and golfing on pristine courses is intoxicating.

“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” ~ Tim Burton

So that’s us for now….

We have a big trip coming up in 2018.  Stay tuned.











How lucky are we?

Wintering in Charleston (home B) conjures images of warm days and swaying palm trees. It’s the South – right?

The last couple years we have spent a good part of the winter in South Carolina. Loving the temps but quietly jealous of the snow storms in Northern Nevada (home A). Our fav – snow. Particularly snow storms.

A week ago today – the stars aligned and Charleston hit the jackpot. 5 plus inches of snow! The community came to a screeching but quiet halt. Downtown businesses and the airport closed for days – the schools for a week.

It was a peaceful, renewing calm that hit us like a marshmallow.

What a treat! Miraculous.

Palm trees and snow! Yin and yang – juxtaposition- whatever you want to call it. Southern living and mountain living weather converge into a medley of photos.


Around the World in 72 days

By the numbers:

72 days from Reno, Nevada west to Charleston, South Carolina.

39 beds

27 flights and approx. 40,000 miles

24 trains

23 countries

10 buses

9 boats

numerous taxi’s


1 camel



*photo – A bit of home in Frankfurt, Germany



I had the sheer pleasure and honor of being one of the photographers at Wanderlust Squaw Valley yoga festival this summer.

Here are a few samplings:

Click to enlarge.







Gearing up to deploy

If only I could clone myself.

Watching the horror that Hurricane Harvey dispensed and not being able to serve because our lives are so damned full (that’s another blog for later) has made me squirmy for days.

I work faster and go longer so that I can squeeze in the time to deploy before we head out for another ’round the world expedition. .

Poor Bill – Paige crazier than normal…  Well – let’s just say he’ll miss me but it might take a couple days.

Sadly, Bill has commitments that can not be changed and will not be able to deploy this time.  However, with a smile, I picture him with a cigar and a gin and tonic the night I leave – relishing in the quiet as Hurricane Paige has moved out of town.

So with that said I should be on my way Wednesday or Thursday to help with heart and soul those who have suffered from Hurricane Harvey.

If you want to deploy call your local American Red Cross office.  They need you and will quickly get you trained and send you on your way.




Rita has a new home…

Burning Man and all its glory zapped us this year and we were unable to get tickets.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying.

We were out of the country on the sale date so 4 helpful people in 4 different states tried to get us tickets to no avail.

The STEP sale and the OMG sale were big fat zeros too.

Reached out to Center Camp Cafe where I had volunteered the last two years and learned that I should have worked five days – five days. That would have made me eligible to earn a ticket this year. I quickly offered to put in that time this year and was rebuked.  They had been down that road only to have people flake on their commitment.  Dang that makes sense.

Stooping to beg for a ticket on Instagram and everyone else who would listen was like a tree falling in the forest with nobody there.

We didn’t get tickets but Rita is on her way. She doesn’t need a ticket – just a parking pass and that’s all in order.

Meet Fede from the UK.  He’s now the proud owner of Rita and we couldn’t be happier.

So if you see Rita on the playa – say hi to Fede and take a photo of the gravestones – we left him a blank one to fill in.

Oh yeah…. please email us the photo.

Birth of a Vision – our new RV from 2015.

Miami Beach to Haiti via Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic

It’s wedding season and nuptials on Isla Mujeres off the coast of mainland Mexico prompted us to explore a couple of nearby Caribbean countries.

The most convenient jumping off point was Miami Beach – a quick acclimation and reboot for our brains because Spanish is the primary language.

*click on a photo to see a larger view

Isla Mujeres was a stunning backdrop for a picturesque wedding.  Margaritas, scuba diving and basking in the Mexican surf and sun were the perfect recipe for a perfect wedding.

We sold our Mexican home in 2016 after 12 years of ownership and it felt so good to be back in the country.

Beach life leads to city life so we headed to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico – 2nd oldest city in the New World.

Beautiful blue cobblestone streets line this hilly town rich in Spanish colonial architecture and fantastic restaurants.

We explored the 500 year old Fort San Felipe del Moro (UNESCO World Heritage site) and Fort San Cristóbal.  

A highlight was our stay at the 400 year old El Convento Hotel.

Off to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic where the Zona Colonial is another UNESCO World Heritage site and rightfully named so.

A quick side note – UNESCO World Heritage Sites are spectacular! Use the link provided to read about them and be sure to add them to your list of “must sees” in your lifetime.

Santo Domingo was the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World and the site of the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress (Wikipedia).

The buildings in the old town are breathtaking.  Strolling the streets you will feel as if you have traveled back in time. Clean, with flowers spilling out of planters boxes and trees reaching for the sky.

Unfortunately, just outside historic Santo Domingo garbage lines the shoreline and poverty simmers at the surface.

A 9 hour commercial bus ride took us to Haiti where poverty has boiled over and covered the country.

The bus was not crowded and seats were comfortable.  However, the toilet did not flush and overflowed from fullness onto the floor. I pulled up my pant legs so the bottoms didn’t get soaked and struggled to hold my breath from the stench. A brief moment of nausea followed by  lots of hand sanitizer told me the adventure had begun.

A couple hours into the ride the bus pulled over to a hut and hot meals were delivered to everyone on the bus.  Luckily we had packed a lunch.

The paperwork at the border was simple and seamless. We counted 8 separate security gates between the borders.  It was dry and dusty – trash everywhere.  It looked like the Middle East.

After passing through the gates there were two random stops. Armed buff men dressed in high fashion jeans, skin tight t-shirts and large gold jewelry looked in the cargo holds. A shake down or just typical? The driver and other passengers weren’t phased so apparently neither were we.

The bus ride ended in Petionville just a 15 minute ride from our final destination of Port-au-Prince. We had assumed we’d catch a cab.

HA! No cabs – what would make us think that there would be cabs???  Thank goodness the man who checked the luggage tags upon arrival (wore no uniform – we assumed he had some authority since he was checking the baggage and talked to the driver) asked us if we needed a ride. Sure!  We followed him to his car and waited as he cleared all the trash from his seats by tossing it on the ground.

The Marriott.  The only nice hotel in the area (one of three buildings taller than a couple stories in the whole city). It was gated and protected by 4 armed guards – our own little prison since we had been told to not leave the property unless we wanted to be be mugged or worse.

Extreme poverty makes ordinary people do extreme things to survive.

We hired a driver to show us the highlights. Thoughtful, caring and protective. He too, tossed his garage out the window.  Hence, a city full of garbage.

The Iron Market – gated with armed guards – a place where tourists can shop quasi safely next to the true market where 100’s of stands selling everything from pots and pans to socks displayed their wares. Shoppers we’re not but it was one of three things to do in Port-au-Prince.  We were told to follow the man in charge, closely – do not deviate, go slow and don’t do anything that may excite people.

Next was the museum – again gated and armed. A garden oasis in the middle of a concrete city.

Lastly, to the top of the mountain in Petionville where the rich people lived behind tall walls with concertina wire to a restaurant full of white people for the best view in the city.

The hillsides are blanketed in homes built on top of one another.  Floored by the homes – something which we had not seen before – I asked the driver to stop so I could get out and take photos. With a resoundingly “NO” (since we were in his care) I was given permission to photograph with the window down as the car slowed a bit.

The roads are chaos – narrow, no street signs with people and cars everywhere.  Constant motion outside the car where, often, the car is motionless and unable to move due to the congestion.

On the way to the airport we asked the driver to take us to see the Cathedral that had all but collapsed in the earthquake. It was to be another drive by.  This time with my window up.

We stopped to make a left turn and I looked down and literally right outside my window was a dead man lying on his back in a pool of blood. His motorcycle had been picked up but he and a pile of clothes laid untouched.  No cover and nothing cordoned off.  Hundreds of people sat idly on the nearby steps and a cop was quasi directing traffic but other than that life just went on as if this was an everyday occurrence.

After sitting in the same spot for a few minutes it was determined we had to go right to eventually go left.  10 minutes later we doubled back by the accident and nothing had changed.  No cover, no cordoning, no ambulance – nothing.

I don’t know if the misery of the Haitian people has always been present. But they are not recovering from the 2010 earthquake that killed 230,000 people and rendered 3 million homeless.  It seems to be lawless and un-governed where sickness, hunger and hopelessness dominate.

It was a haunting and heart breathing short 3 day trip in Port-au-Prince. In 90+ countries we have not experienced a place from the inside of a car.  What to do?  How can a country so poor evolve?