Hang tight. I have blog posts ready to send but my photos from my camera are unretrievable.
I am sick about it. I have to send the SD card into a company that will try and preserve the photos.
Wish me luck!
Hang tight. I have blog posts ready to send but my photos from my camera are unretrievable.
I am sick about it. I have to send the SD card into a company that will try and preserve the photos.
Wish me luck!
Lucky for us we flew international business class. Sipping champagne and eating paté on the Air France – Paris to Nairobi portion had us feeling pretty smug.
Jambo (hello in Swahili) Nairobi.
The plane landed at 9:30 pm. The tour company graciously greeted us as we stepped off the plane even though we arrived four days early. Like a finely tuned violin they moved us through immigration where we met our driver for 30 minute uncongested ride to the city center. Had it been a couple hours earlier gridlock traffic would have caused us to arrive several hours later.
Bill picked the Hilton because it was a Hilton. Everything was closed when we arrived but they graciously delivered a bottle of wine to our room.
Sleep eluded me. I finally dozed off at 6:15 am only to be awaken at 9am. The alarm had been set 10 hours earlier. UGH. Had to get that free breakfast which reminds me of my new favorite quote by Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer – “Nothing is ever so expensive as what is offered for free.”
Built in the late 60’s – this Hilton was the first big chain luxury type hotel to grace Nairobi. Unfortunately, that train left the station and it hasn’t been upgraded since. Our curtains were thread bare, I can’t imagine the matching dust ruffle had been changed since inception and the couch cushions were crushed. Fortunately, the duvet was new as were the matching sheets.
Sadly, the skyline matched the curtains – dirty, dingy and dreary.Times are tough. Kenya had experienced a solid year of shut downs. Masks, hand washing/sanitizing and temperature taking were required to enter most buildings.
People were excited to be back to work and everyone couldn’t have been kinder.
We managed to walk around a bit. Warned not walk in the area across the street from our hotel as it was really unsafe. We stuck to the government buildings area near to the hotel.
It might have been the armed military in cammo outside our front door that tempered our enthusiasm.
We’ve noticed in our years of travel that if we stay in a fancier hotel – warnings of danger and the need for a taxi are common place. However, backpacker hotels may have bedbugs but they also have more adventurous information about navigating a city.
Day after day we struggled with acclimating to the time finding ourselves awake at night and snoozing a bit during the day. Thank goodness there was time to veg and readjust.
I’m embarrassed to say we didn’t venture out much and really only have a couple things to note.
With a bird’s eye view of the streets near the government buildings rush hour traffic rendered the city in a complete gridlock. Masses of buses with smoke filled exhausts interspersed with masses of cars moved slower than a snails pace. Construction of the new road, thanks to the Chinese (cough, cough), will help alleviate traffic. Stop lights and signs are decorative and cross walks meaningless.
Flying dinosaurs still exist! Meet the Marabou Stork. Prolific. These birds are huge and perch like finches on the daintiest of trees.
Some of you know that flying is a white knuckle event for me. Much improved over the years I still feel some strange force like fog on a misty morning in the days building up to departure.
Yes, 130 countries and I’m afraid of flying. Actually – crashing.
Anxiety be damned. Power through it – have a martini or worse case pop a Xanax.
This time I am so excited to leave that I’ve even been talking about it. We have to – there are sooo many balls being juggled precariously in the air. Flights being cancelled – countries closing – Delta Variant – civil wars and protests…..
For now we’re:
Packed ✅ There is a strict 33 pound weight limit because of small planes. If I carry my 6 pound camera around my neck this is doable. Normally, a mixture of black, gray and splash of color are my go to items. Simple and quite effectively doesn’t show red wine drool.
This time. Beiges, light pinks, khaki green and creamy whites are what’s called for. The tsetse fly is a thing in Africa! I remember growing up hearing my mother say she thought she was bitten by a tsetse fly whenever she felt tired.
A couple of Google searches later and we’ve learned that this fly is attracted to dark colors. Apparently blue is its favorite color and black is its second. They bite – hard – through clothing and can carry a sickness. Sleeping sickness – as well as a bunch of ugly side effects including death when not treated. You didn’t have to convince me.
Covid test ✅ (waiting for our results – no time for delays). Like traveling to Hawaii – Kenya requires a negative Covid test within 96 hours of landing.
Countries for which we have non-refundable flights have recently restricted travel for tourism. No entry. Vaccinated or not. Covid test or not.
Covid, malaria, sleeping sickness and imaginary plane crashes… what’s a girl to do?
This will certainly be an adventure. Last time we left the country – altitude sickness, protests and a government overthrow kept us on our toes. This time we’ll get to experience new countries in the life and times of Covid and once again we’re going to be flexible like silly putty.
We left off in Maui, February of this year. It was six weeks of chill. Two weeks in Maui and a month in Oahu. It was just what the doctor ordered. It had been 11 years since we had been there and it will probably be that long before we go back.
From the time we arrived to the time we left tourists were coming out of the woodwork. Occupancy had gone from 70% to 98%.
It felt good to see people trying to resume some sense of normal. We were so emboldened by this that we became outright anarchists (well, the kind that doesn’t burn things down and loot) and disobeyed the elevator placards that said only one person (family) can ride at a time. We let strangers in the elevator! Let freedom ring.
It’s been a Zigzagging year so far: Charleston to Northern Nevada (January) to Hawaii (February) back to Nevada (March) and then back to Charleston (April). Return to Nevada (May) back to Charleston (June) and soon return to Nevada (July). Phew! We have one more back to Charleston (August) and then we keep going to Nairobi.
YES, Nairobi. Can’t wait. Total time stranded in this country – 21 months. A record for us.
Bill has been feverishly scanning the globe and asking me where else should we go. My reply “Wherever I can’t get Covid”. He stopped asking!
The only part that I know for sure is that after a couple days in Nairobi we’ll be 50 miles from nowhere and walking…. for miles and miles…. with men carrying big guns – for 11 days with no electricity, a shared toilet and hopefully our own set of sheets each night. Yeah, yeah I’m super thankful that there will be dudes with guns but I’m really worried that each night when our camp is broken down, moved and re-setup we won’t get the same sheets that we slept in. Welcome to my world!
Our time is spent visiting family/friends, babysitting granddaughters, walking, getting our yoga on and snapping photos. We even celebrated Bill’s 75th birthday.
Grateful and blessed are two words that describe our state of existence.
I know some of our friends have adventures on the books. What do you have planned?
Snaps from Nevada:
I looked back to see when we last blogged. It was November 2019!
Holy $h!+ Batman has a lot changed since then.
Bill and I had just returned from South America – altitude sickness, messed up travel plans because of Yellow Fever and being caught up in the riotous ousting of the Bolivian president for election fraud made up for a conundrum of a trip. (Click on photos to enlarge).
No sooner did we return to our little slice of heaven in Charleston and our twin granddaughters were born. They were a month early – their mother extremely grateful for that. Talk about living tiny – they were busting at the seams!
Bill and I in a moment of joyous bliss (when we heard the impending news) lost our minds and committed to babysitting 3 days a week for a year while the girls’ parents figured out balancing life, work and two babies.
Ponder our situation. Staying put was going to be our challenge – not watching babies!
Two months into our routine Covid happened. Kids kept their jobs and so did we.
Routines didn’t change except for the added use of Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and wearing face masks.
At first we relished in the eery quietness of our daily strolls around downtown Charleston. The community came together – storefronts signs and chalked sidewalks were messaged with words of unity. As time passed and the chalk marks faded, for lease signs flourished as Charleston shuttered business after business.
My heart was heavy as each person carried away a momento from our moving sale. We passed on stories that perhaps they too could pass on.
Tiny living in Nevada and South Carolina meant there was no room to keep things.
By about the fourth day of dealing with the massive lockdowns in California vs having come from a state that had opened most things up we were suddenly over our sadness of selling. We shortened our trip and got the hell out of Dodge.
We feel for you California. ❤️
It was bittersweet. The end of one chapter and the beginning of another…
We drove a few personal items back to Nevada (enough to necessitate renting a Store-all). Visited with family and friends and headed back to job numero uno.
Babies cooed, rolled over, crawled and walked. Before we knew it our time was up. What a difference a year makes.
Bill wanted to leave the country and old scaredy-pants here asked for a compromise. So we flew to Nevada to shoot ducks and geese and to catch up with family and friends.
After a month we have flown to Hawaii.
Feels like a different country but there’s American healthcare.
First stop – Maui to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary where we said “I will”.
(Prepping for our marriage vows Bill asked me to ask him specific questions where he could answer “I do”.
The hippy who married us apparently didn’t get the memo and asked us questions where the only appropriate response was “I will”!)
I will laugh at your jokes. I will let you do the dishes. I will love you for a life time and I will travel the world with you!
We pray that all is well in your life. PLEASE tell us about you in the remarks!
A quick overnight stop in Miami to go to Wynwood Walls. The plan was a night photo shoot and then a morning one before flying back to Charleston.
My mother worries about our adventurous travels and thinks we’re safer close to home. It pleased me to inform her that upon arrival at our hotel last night there were four cop cars at the entry and five policemen in the lobby.
On the way to the Walls a street was cordoned off with caution tape and multiple police cars. Out the restaurant window a police car slowly cruised by with its lights on.
Welcome to America.
It was raining when we touched down at the Miami Airport but cleared up on the way to the hotel.
As soon as we stepped out of the Uber to take photos the sky opened up and it poured.
We ran to a restaurant for cover and used the opportunity to have cocktails and a birthday dinner hoping it would clear enough to take photos.A short break allowed for a few shots but we knew the next day we’d have a better chance to stroll and capture more.Nope! It poured right up to where there wasn’t enough time to get to the walls and make it to the airport on time.
Such is life.
Next stop, Charleston, where we’ll hit the ground running finishing up our remodel and anxiously awaiting the birth of our twin granddaughters. Only two more weeks to go.
The beginning of October found us driving across the USA from “Mona” (tiny house number one) in Northern Nevada house to our “Fort” (formally a tiny house until we bought the unit next door this summer – still a tiny one bedroom but a mansion to us) in Charleston, SC.The drive was uneventful and flat and luckily there were only a few minutes of rain.Our building in Charleston is a construction zone. Down with the old balconies and up with the new. The stucco is being fixed as well. To say the least it’s noisy and a great time to bail…So I write this from the Charleston airport. Late this evening we’ll rest our heads in Quitó, Ecuador. The second highest capital in the world standing at 9,350′ above sea level.
It was questionable if we were going to make it there. Sunday saw the end of 12 days of civil unrest. The indigenous Ecuadorians traveled from the Andes and the Amazon to Quito to protest rising fuel prices – 30% on petrol and 50% in diesel, 20% decrease in wages, reduced vacation time by 50% and more.
We’ll see you in Ecuador…..
* This blog and future ones from South America will be published from a cell phone app which is why they won’t look polished. All photos will be taken from my iPhone. I have my good camera but decided to leave my laptop home so that I don’t spend hours editing photos while we’re traveling. My husband is happy about that!!!
Shots from Charleston:
The first three months of 2019 found us in Indian Wells, California. It was an attempt to follow the sun only to have record breaking amounts of rain and flooding. It was all good – we gladly sacrificed the sun to save California from a drought. It was ultimately rewarding because when the sun finally came out so did the super bloom.
We managed to find a yoga studio 2.5 miles away so we walked to yoga and back, got in some golf, hiked and visited with numerous family members and friends. Rinse and repeat…
A quick stop in Nevada to add a bit of fabric softener then off to our home in Charleston, South Carolina for the spin cycle. And boy what a spin…
As Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, was quoted “change is the only constant in life.”
He got that one right!
Preston and Chloe announced they are having twins. Say what??? Twins! Double the pleasure, double the fun. We’re super excited. So excited that we momentarily lost our minds and committed to babysitting three days a week for a year.
Bill and I have really settled into life in Charleston and managed to keep ourselves quite busy.
No wonder Travel and Leisure magazine lists Charleston as the number one destination in America. It’s rich with history. There’s architecture dating back to 1694, lavish gardens, daily events to choose from and tasty restaurants. Being fortunate enough to live in the walkable historic district allows us the freedom to slowly soak in this city. A feast for the soul.
Looking to take advantage of the culture, art, reading, music and parties – we joined the Charleston Library Society (the second oldest lending library in the country) and the Gibbes Museum.
The juxtaposition is our membership to the Middleton Place Plantation. A car ride away and home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America. There are 110 acres to roam and drink in the beautiful grounds. We particularly like the Stableyards where there is a menagerie of animals and craftspeople forging iron and making pottery. Top that off with fish & grits and a glass of red.
Hold onto your hats! I’ve become a Charleston Hat Lady. No, not a red hat or purple hat (those are worn only if they match the outfit). It’s about wearing hats, volunteering and meeting other ladies.
Spoleto is here. Per their website “it’s one of America’s major performing arts festivals. It was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy.”
The talent is over the top. Folk music singers I’m with Her made us new fans. Check them out on YouTube. Wow. “Path of Miracles” a theatric/musical about the Camino de Santiago was interesting to say the least. It was a minimalistic production where the singers (pilgrims) dressed in everyday street clothes (no walking sticks or backpacks – they must have used Camino Ways) sang music that sounded like a cross between Gregorian and Tibetan chanting in several different languages. Hmm. Think about the last time you went to a modern art museum and knew you were experiencing art but felt a bit confused… we wondered if those in the audience who hadn’t walked the Camino would understand. The standing ovations proved it was a success none the less.
Time to brag. Last month I had the honor of winning Charleston Magazine’s gate photo competition. Historic Charleston is famous for their iron works. It’s a scrolling web of forged beauty.Best part of Charleston is we get to spend time with the family. Especially with this little princess – now 8 months.
It’s our last week here and we’re gearing up for our big fundraising event for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation this Saturday, June 8th. If you’re in Charleston please stop by our Lemonade Stand at the corner of Meeting and Calhoun in Marion Square between 10 and 6 (bring your umbrella). Otherwise, if you want to miss the rain you may make a donation by clicking on this link or head over to paigeshaw.com use the code LemonadeDays (valid until June 9, 2019) and take 30% off your purchase (proceeds are donated to ALSF).
Known as Lemonade Days (from June 1st to 9th) 2,300 lemonade stands across the USA will raise funds to help ALSF change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.
My goal is to raise $8,000. which will pay for a month of research. Any donation – big or small all add up. Thanks!!!
Photography sale to kick off my partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
30% discount on photos and keepsakes for the rest of February. Please head on over to www.paigeshaw.com and use the code ALSF upon checkout. Make a purchase and help cure childhood cancer at the same time.
If you wish to donate and not make a buy there is also a donation tab on the front page of the website.
Save the date. Stop by our Alex’s Lemonade Stand in Marion Square – Charleston, South Carolina – June 8th. Late morning until early evening.
Let’s raise enough money to fund a month of research.
The mission of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.
After walking the Via Francigena Bill and I took a 14 day transatlantic cruise from Civitavecchia (near Rome) to Miami, Florida.
The goal was to recover (have a birthday party) and decompress. Which we did in spades. But the change was abrupt, the cruise ship became our prison, and the port of Miami looked real good.
Bing Crosby got it right when he sang: Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above –
Don’t fence me in.
We celebrated Thanksgiving in Charleston, SC and got in as much grand-baby time as possible (is it ever enough?), then headed to Indian Wells (near Palm Springs, CA) for a tepid Christmas and a warmer winter.
So here we are. Palm trees, colorful flowers, bougainvillea and snow-capped mountains paint the horizon. Golf courses are pristine – green from edge to edge. We’re trying to make the best of a rough situation!
Most of you know I’ve turned my passion for photography into a business. As we travel the world, Bill carries my camera equipment and I take photos. Those are showcased and sold at www.paigeshaw.com.
I have worked on this for some time and am now thrilled to announce that I have decided to partner with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and donate to them all of my photography proceeds.
The stars aligned when I read about Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I was looking for a grass-roots charity with a national/global reach and one that has personal resonance.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation mission is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.
My eldest son Preston was diagnosed with the same cancer as Alex when he was 9 months old and then with a different cancer when he was 11. Preston’s oncologist is part of ALSF’s Crazy 8 Initiative where 90 scientists and researchers are getting together to help find a cure for hard to treat cancers. Today Preston is 35 years old, married and dad to 2 dogs and 3 cats.
To kick off my partnership with ALSF and Valentine’s day I am offering a 30% discount on photos for the rest of February. Please head on over to www.paigeshaw.com and use the code ALSF upon checkout. You can get a beautiful photo and help cure childhood cancer at the same time.
If you’re in Charleston, South Carolina on June 8th – stop by our Lemonade Stand in Marion Square. Details to come…
Please spread the word.
“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.” Confucius
The simplicity of our lives while roaming the planet led us to the same conclusion – less is more. It’s not the easiest road but perhaps the most thoughtful.
It was brilliant how the whole thing came about. Our commercial property had an abandoned studio home out back that we decided to remodel and use as a rental property.
Red tagged on the first day of construction!
The original home was built on the dirt – no foundation. The County allowed us to take the building down in order to build a proper slab foundation as long as we rebuilt using the exact same footprint, roofing material and as much siding as we could.
Before (click on any photo to enlarge):
Just as people fall in love with babies and puppy dogs we fell in love with a tiny home – promptly putting our primary residence on the market. We abandoned the rental concept and decided to make it our home.
Tired of the upkeep required by perfectly engineered shiny Brazilian hardwood flooring we opted for unfinished concrete floors. All the warts of construction are permanently embedded – scuff marks, paint drips and cracks – perfection!
We work where we sleep. It’s crazy but our pull down bed is a desk by day and bed by night. The pivoting motion of the bed allows us to lower the bed while the desk stays fully in place (plugs and all) – articulating to the floor.
Carefully planned built-in cabinets house what remains of our earthly goods. We opted to purge. The kids got all the stuff we stored for them from their childhood – the remainder was donated, sold in a garage sale and a few antiques were sent to a house we have in the Palm Springs area.
The only furniture that went to Mona were two old leather chairs , a mattress and an outdoor patio set.
Bags and bags of clothing were passed on as well for we only have 41″ of closet space. So if you see us wearing the same clothes you’ll know why.
We created an urban garden area out back to grow the square footage.
Steve Jobs said “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”
In keeping with what Steve Jobs professed and the wisdom gained during construction of Mona, we decided to do the same in Charleston, SC. Withering from boredom in a suburban home where we found ourselves driving almost daily to the historic downtown area, we sold and bought a whopping 514 sq.ft. of luxury right in the heart of Charleston. Walking distance to everything. Completely remodeled and furnished. We moved in with two Asian rugs, a painting and half our clothing. Second garage sale of the year.
We love the look on our friends face’s when they visit for the first time – trying to imagine themselves living tiny. We have everything we need, including a washer/dryer and kitchen, which is – much more than when wandering the globe.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Paulo Coelho
That’s right. Approx. 1000 kilometers.
This time it’s the Via Francigena (fran chee gena).
From ancient and medieval times it connected Canterbury to Rome. Today most pilgrims start in the Swiss Alps. Luckily, unlike our predecessors, none of us have to return home by foot.
Different from the famous Camino de Santiago where over 200,000 pilgrims annually walk the 500 miles from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain the Via has only a combined 2,500 walkers, bikers and horse riders.
Bill and I walked the Camino de Santiago Frances in 2013 and in 2016 walked the Camino de Santiago Portuguese with Vino Verde Man, Chapmeister and Rockenstein . It was so utterly perfect that the five of us, on September 3, 2018, will step out the door of our hostel at the Great St. Bernard Pass in Switzerland and make our way to Rome.
The first two days have us descending 6,000′ in elevation. Hello knees…In the meantime, we walk to build up our strength. Unfortunately, the last couple of days have us walking at the local community center as our hometown has the most hazardous air in the USA caused by the horrific fires in California.
Curious about what’s in my pack??
If you didn’t read my ultimate packing guide from the last pilgrimage hop on over and check it out.
I made some adjustments – more than expected in the consummate search for perfection.
Here’s the list (new means different from last time):
All weighing in at 11 pounds. Of course, I’ll be wearing some of those clothes so my pack will be lighter.
You men might be wondering what’s in Bill’s pack. Basic black and flip flops!
We’re super excited. Jump on board and walk with us. Tell your friends to sign up for our blog – http://www.billandpaige.com. Instagram Story @paigeshawdotcom and Facebook @billandpaige.
See you there!
Check out Springtime. It’s magical. The temperatures are mild and mother nature is singing.
Walking has become our way of life since moving to the historic downtown area. We really got to know the neighborhood averaging 7 miles a day – four of those days include a two mile jaunt to yoga – all in preparation for our upcoming pilgrimage (stay tuned).
Our pace is slow because there is so much to see.
Come take a journey with us.
flower boxes are in abundance,
entries are dreamy,
and pink homes rule!
From tiny to traditional.
and horses add to the charm. However, they are quite controversial right now – animal cruelty activists think it’s time to end this tradition. You decide.
and the iconic Ravenel Bridge links Charleston to Mt. Pleasant and offers fabulous views from the 5 mile round trip walking path. Built in 2005 – it’s the 3rd longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
However, it’s not all walking. We started the act of fishing on the Ashley River. It’s salt water – where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet to form the Charleston Harbor and flow into the Atlantic Ocean. We just walk across the street with gear in tow – it’s right out the door of our home. I say “act” because the fish have completely avoided our hook. It’s about the tide and bait.
** click on photos to enlarge and head over to http://www.paigeshaw.com