Global Pandemic as Nomads?

In case you’ve wondered how this pandemic has influenced this nomad family to alter our travel plans and slow down to shelter and rest our bones.

First off, our hearts have gone out to the affected areas – some of which we are lucky enough to have visited. We were in Venice weeks before breakout, traveled through Northern Italy days before breakout and spent considerable time in France and then Spain while watching the confirmed virus counts spread. Seeing the numbers rise and rise and the death count mounting has been horrific. We’ve loved the people we’ve come to know and befriend in these areas that have been hit so hard. Our heart goes out to them and the tragedies they are experiencing. We also honor those serving in the medical field and are grateful for them as well as the other community leaders that are taking things seriously!

As we’ve travelled we’ve had the consistent debate regarding the optimal duration of our stops in any particular place. What is long enough or too long. We’ve done multi-month stays as well as multiple moves in a single month. There is a certain burn out you reach as you are moving over and over. To meet this burnout head one, we’ve been thinking to settle down somewhere for a while. Plus our travel plans always included some longer stops in places that would suit us. There was always a balance to finding places to stay to keep things interesting as well as keeping our own sanity at packing up and moving too much! Combined with coming back to the states this summer for a wedding in the family, we had been planning on heading to Mexico for an extended period – to stay put somewhere for long enough that we could settle in for a few seasons.

But, as you’re aware, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic due to COVID-19. We ended up cutting our travels short. We evacuated Spain to return “home” to shelter in place and wait things out. We have been very sad to leave our scheduled time in Andalusia as well as going through Morocco and then Utah. But we got home to Georgia for a 2 week self-quarantine. Just as we reached the end of self-quarantine, the state of Georgia issued a shelter-in-place order. Anyways, you know the rest of the story because you’ve lived something similar wherever you are in the world.

So rather than just coming to the states to spend the summer, we decided to make a year of it. We’ve now rented a house not far from our old house. We’ll be there for at least a year. We’re diving into the community and even public school! We figure a break from travel and stable place to call home lends itself to the kids getting to revisit school and enjoy the social atmosphere and social education from public school.

We don’t know enough about the world to know what we’ll be able to do next. We may set out again. We may move to Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter. We may enjoy the new slow home rhythm and settle in even longer. Time will tell and we’re open. Even though this shelter-in-place is rough on a nomadic soul and wanderlust. We want to do our part for now to “flatten the curve”. Ultimately, for us, it felt irresponsible and almost pointless to continue our nomad travel during this global pandemic.

We’re looking forward to sitting down a while and patching our bones before we get back to truckin’ on – nomadder what form that takes.

You’re sick of hangin’ around and you’d like to travel
Get tired of travelin’, you want to settle down
I guess they can’t revoke your soul for tryin’
Get out of the door and light out and look all around

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me
Other times, I can barely see
Lately, it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been

Truckin’, I’m a goin’ home
Whoa, whoa, baby, back where I belong
Back home, sit down and patch my bones
And get back truckin’ on

Truckin’ by Grateful Dead

The Jump

While having a blast at the reunion, we were also busy getting our final packing finished and the last purge. We had a few things to finally let go of, like our pillows and other random things, like our minivan…


We luckily found a great buyer who was in need of upgrading their vanimal and they dropped us off at the airport!


It was quite a strange feeling having just sold our last vehicle and jettisoned anything that wouldn’t fit in our suitcases and backpacks and to step onto an airplane! Very freeing, but also quite anxious. There were second thoughts and moments of panic, but we reassured ourselves that we’d done the planning and preparations and now was time to jump!

It was also very freeing to let go of everything society says we should have and accumulate and work hard to keep. We no longer are living the “American Dream” of owning our own house (and paying the bank dearly for it in interest and insurance). A yard to call our own to play ball with the kids, our own kitchen, and growing some veggies or spices. We do value that and are still interested in that, we just have a different dream right now. We want to travel light and experience different cultures and places, we want to go not as tourists, but as travelers and learn from the experience. We also want to learn to detach from the things and stuff of our commercial consumer culture. We want to JUMP! You can too!



Our first jump is to fly from SLC to LA to Nadi, Fiji to Labasa, Fiji, then a taxi to the docks and a boat to Vorovoro for a week of culture experience living sustainably with a Fiji village. More on that to come. The fun part was crossing the date line, in that we left LA on a Thursday night, and arrived in Fiji Saturday morning, yet only 12 hours later. So we jumped into the future too!

Family Reunion-ing at Bear Lake

A great family reunion spent at Bear Lake on the border of Idaho and Utah. We had a washer-toss tournament, trivia, water games, world cup watching, card games and lots of food! It was perfect timing for us to be leaving right afterwards, it was like a sendoff party all week!

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Friends in Utah

We had great visits with long lost friends and family going through Utah. We visited only a fraction of those we wanted to see, but it was a packed zip through the state. We were able to visit many old friends from Georgia as well as mission friends and cousins! A stop in with Thomas McConkie for some mindfulness practice, visit with Sasha and fam, Lunch with Zanne and Mica, playing at the park with Matt & Madeline and Elle, a hike with Stix and kids, visit with Nate and Amy little and fam, the Johansens, another hike but with the Lowry clan followed by gelato, visiting Stix at his fire station, and some Mullins cousins for lunch! We got photos of some of the gatherings, but not all.

Special thanks to Aunt Zanne for acting as our mailbox and letting us mail everything (including our passports) to her house since we no longer have one and didn’t want to mess with forwarding things from our mailbox!

PSA: Moab is hot during the summer

Driving from Colorado to Utah is beautiful and I was able to literally “work on the road” again as we went, though some places along the interstate don’t have much as far as data connections. I was able to get my work done still.

My kind of corner office… Coding + Roadtrip = Codetrip

We were heading to Utah and we wanted to return to Moab for some family hiking. We visited about 10 years ago and thought the kids would love it. As we pulled in the night before we decided to check the weather and we were a little surprised. We hadn’t put two and two together, that it was summer and we were heading to the desert. Not sure why we hadn’t even thought about that yet, but we had just enjoyed some beautiful weeks in Colorado. Anyways, it was hot than expected so we rearranged our schedule to hike early in the morning before it hit 100 degrees since it would stay above 100 until 8pm when it started getting dark.

We had a good hike to the delicate arch though and the kids became convinced we were trying to kill them with the heat already, so we called it a day and went to hydrate and swim at the hotel before heading north.

Colorado Springs has the Garden of the Gods

A visit to Colorado Springs can’t be complete without checking out the Garden of the Gods park. It’s free and it’s great fun to climb around the immense rock formations.

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We celebrated a birthday and visited lots with Aunt Teresa and cousins! We even made her a website: Also had a great trip to the movies (Incredibles 2) and some fun places to eat: Smash Burger and Rizuto’s ice cream!


Bailey Colorado For Our First House/Pet Sit

We are now officially experienced house sitters. We spent 2 weeks in Bailey, Colorado house and pet sitting and it was awesome. We cared for 4 dogs, 1 cat, 1 turtle & 1 fish. It was in a cabin feeling house with a beautiful view of the mountains west of Denver at an altitude of nearly 9k ft. We did all the things we normally do: work, homeschool, field trips, play at the park and library and visit with whoever we know in town. We kept pretty busy with so much to keep us entertained with a hot tub on the deck and movie nights and more! We really enjoyed the pets too! All the kids took really fast to the dogs and cat especially, they were super happy to have a pet in their life again.


1 very large malamute, 1 young husky, 2 black lab mutts (which reminded us a lot of our own Lucie), a gray sleepy cat a turtle and a fish (which the turtle ate and we felt like the worst pet sitters in the world until the owners told us it happens all the time). We were busy taking care of the home with our daily chores and taking care of the animals. You can’t imagine the hair that 4 big dogs shed in June!

We found a few hiking trail around and spent a good bit of time preparing for our international leap across the big pond to the west. We had a few immunizations (typhoid and Hep-A, yay!) to get as well as finally sorting out our luggage plans and international driving permits etc etc etc. So it was a mix of errands and fun/educational field trips, but we totally loved Denver and the areas we were able to explore.

We’re HUGE fans of trusted house sitters though! Go read more about it and sign up today! We were very happy to earn our first 5 star review!


Mormon Stories Retreat in Park City Utah

The timing worked out for us driving from my work conference in Jackson, Wyoming to our first house sit in Bailey, Colorado, that we had an open weekend. Researching where to go, we came upon a Mormon Stories Retreat in Park City, Utah. It fit our timeline perfectly and also was something that we’ve been interested in for a number of years.

A little backstory, we’re LDS, or Mormon, by way of religion. We were both raised in Mormon families and have been practicing and participating members of the church our whole lives. I even served a mission for the church for 2 years, which I think may have sparked my itch to travel. I was in France and Belgium and talked with many people about Jesus. So, I had to learn French to talk to people and I really enjoyed getting very familiar with a foreign culture.

Slowly over the past decade, we’ve had what some would call a faith transition where for example we don’t take things as literally as we may have before. Mormon stories is a podcast that has helped us make sense of some of the issues we’ve had. It’s aptly named, they discuss stories of Mormons and aren’t afraid to talk about the taboo topics either. It’s part of the Open Stories Foundation, a non-profit, and the family of podcasts and websites has helped us view this transition as more of a journey or stage of adult development, rather than a crisis where everything comes tumbling down and crashing. Founded by John Dehlin, I know, controversial in the Mormon sphere, but seriously, don’t discount him because you’ve heard scary things about him. Take a look and see on the retreat agenda, there is no church bashing or telling anyone to leave. In fact, multiple times he shared the sentiment that “Leaving is not the answer”. Anyways, we’ve been fans for a while and have always been so far from any of the events that it hasn’t made sense to attend, but to have one fit in right when we had time and right in the area we already were was dare I say providential.

The Open Stories Foundation mission is to promote understanding, healing, growth, and community for people experiencing or impacted by religious transition.

The focus of these events is on healing and growth during and after a faith transition. John and Natasha DO NOT bash the LDS church in these events, and all efforts are made to make the conversations “safe” and affirming to believers and non-believers, church attendees and non-attendees. While attendees will sometimes vent their frustrations with their experiences, John and Natasha are fiercely committed to nurturing a constructive and positive environment where all are supported and affirmed.

The atmosphere and topics were very therapeutic and helpful and even healing. There was a large focus on mental health and positivity! We made fast friends with some kindred spirits! We even discussed how interesting it was that perhaps because we were all being totally honest and vulnerable with each other we were quicker to bond. We had a great time attending the presentations and discussions and even singing karaoke! Krista nailed Hamilton with Dr. John Dehlin! I did ok with some Weezer, and we and some other relevant favorites.


Doing Yellowstone National Park, Day 2



In the morning, after staying at the Old Faithful Inn, we got more familiar with old faithful by watching a couple more eruptions and visiting the education center. From there we had to get outside and went on a geyser and hot spring pool hike. It was amazing to see all the colorful pools and spring streaming geysers!

“The vivid colors of Beauty Pool’s basin and runoff channels are created by microscopic lifeforms. Incredibly, these organisms survive and thrive in an environment that would be lethal to us and most other living creatures. Scientists are just beginning to understand these lifeforms: amazingly, hot spring environments may sustain a diversity of organisms rivaling that of terrestrial rain forests.”

My favorite is at the end of the hike (of course), it’s called Morning Glory and it’s a very vibrant and colorful but still pretty small pool.

Next, we hiked back to the education center to finish some work and check on Old Faithful again. We caught the video they show after every eruption too. Highly recommend it!

Then we were off to check out the Grand Prismatic Spring! It’s very similar to Morning Glory, just lots bigger! So big, in fact, it’s kinda hard to see. I can tell that most of the famous photos are arial views. It’s just down the road a few miles but it was equally amazing!

Arial view of The Grand Prismatic Spring

Sadly, we had to head south already from there to get through the Tetons and down to Jackson hole. We’re total fans of Yellowstone though and will certainly be visiting again, hopefully with more time on our hands and an RV/camping gear. I had a work conference to attend with my new company 10up. They’re a distributed WordPress agency and it’s thanks to a company like them that we can nomad like we do! While I was in Jackson for the week, the rest of the crew went to visit family in Canada! It was a beautiful drive exiting the park and going through the Teton National Park too.

I think there were a couple other National forests or parks we drove through too, all beautiful. Here is the instagram roll from the day:


Doing Yellowstone National Park, Day 1

We drove from South Dakota and through Wyoming to get to Yellowstone and it did not disappoint. We arrived through the West Gate and headed right for a couple places on our short list. We had to drive a few hours through the park since it was already late in the day. It was a beautiful drive though around the lake. We came across some snow and had to get out and play a bit. There was some thermal activity on the banks of the lake too, so wild to see steam coming out of crevices in the ground! We spotted some wildlife as well, a few buffalo, deer, a bigger deer maybe elf or antelope and a young grizzly bear in the road (sorry, no bear pics this time). There were quite a few spots we had to pull off and just soak up the scenery!

We got to Old Faithful to see it erupt at dusk.

We were lucky to have made a reservation at the Old Faithful Inn though and were impressed with how fancy and unique it was!

It was great to spend the night in the park and not have to drive all the way back out! We’d probably prefer to camp there, but as we don’t have the RV (yet) or the camping gear (anymore) the inn was the option and I’m glad we went for it. A fun experience overall and so nice to see Old Faithful out the window first thing in the morning!