Category Archives: USA

Just Maui’d – 25 Years Before and After

Today we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  Well actually we are still celebrating…..

Thank you Gail for sending us this picture from 1996.

We went back to the same beach today with a tripod in hand and snapped this:

Same beach – same time 25 years later

Much to My Surprise

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 life -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.

In September our home in Indian Wells, California sold. We masked up and headed West to empty the house and sell the treasure we had collected over the years.

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. 

Adiós Gavin. 

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.

Christmas 2019

Christmas 2020.

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!

Miami

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.

We’re on our way…

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.

Here are two stories that explain. First and second.

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 Only Constant is Change

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!

Bam….

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.

Before the Gibbes Street party

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!!!

Final Days – Photo Sale to Help Raise Funds for Alex’s Lemonade Stand

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.

  • $50 = 1 hour of research
  • $400 = 1 day of research
  • $2,000 = 1 week of research
  • $8,000 = 1 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.

Update and Exciting Information

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!

Now the exciting news.

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.

Living Tiny

“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.

Meet Mona.  She’s 20′ x 22′ – 440 sq.ft. of living space with a small storage loft.

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

 

Follow us as we walk the Via Francigena

map credit ©️OutdoorTravel http://www.outdoortravel.com.au https://bit.ly/2zbnHyh Thanks for the map!

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):

  • New pack – the Osprey 24 liter Sirrus
  • The same Nike shorts which unfortunately have been discontinued.
  • New (update – North Face changed the material and the new ones are too thick)  North Face Everyday Pant
  • New North Face on the Go Skirt (forgoing the skort)
  • Target tank top
  • New Athleta Speedlight Tee
  • Same Lulu Lemon Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve
  • Smartwool – one each – Mid-Weight and Light-Weight long sleeve shirts
  • A crazy and stupid indulgence – hippie palazzo pants from Walmart – who said ya can’t be groovy on a pilgrimage?
  • New My Trail Co rain gear – jacket and pants. Jealous of Rockenstein and Vino Verde  when they stepped out in the torrential rain all duded out with their My Trails rain attire. They stayed dry when I soaked to the bone in my cheap $1.99 rain poncho.
  • New REI 650 Down Jacket
  • OMG – I get to wear new but the same  Altra Footwear Lone Peak 2.5 shoes!! YAY!! Shoes are the most important part of this whole list.  Altra is now on version 3.5 with 4.0 coming out any day now. They changed their design and frankly the changes do not work for me. Geared up to wear the Altra Timp Trail – actually hiking in them with a friend when I realized she was wearing my favorite 2.5’s. Where did you get those???? Rockenstein! The zero drop wasn’t her thing so she passed them on. Well, that generous friend who only wore them twice gifted them to me. Doing a happy dance every time I put them on. Thank you Boo!
  • Crocs backup shoe for the end of the day, showering, etc.
  • Tights, undies, bras, merino wool gloves, a neck buff, homemade pillowcase with velcro to stuff my down jacket in to make a pillow.
  • Travel size toiletries.
  • Sea to Summit Traveller silk sleeping sack to keep the cooties away.
  • PackTowl ultralite beach towel

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!

Spring in Downtown Charleston

Remember January and the bomb cyclone? 

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.

Where……

flower boxes are in abundance,

entries are dreamy,

and pink homes rule!

Rainbow Row is like candy.

From tiny to traditional.

Meandering Live Oak trees tell a story 

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.

Herons fly free…

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.

All this – from sunrise

to sunset.

 

 

 

 

** click on photos to enlarge and head over to http://www.paigeshaw.com

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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.

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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.