Tag Archives: home

Back To Mile 0

23 Mar

After leaving Daytona, we arrived in Miami and welcomed to this:

our crap!

our crap!

and this:



My parents threw us an awesome welcome home party the day after we got to Miami, just enough time to dig through our bags of “new” 2-year-old clothes and find something hole and stain free to wear. (Seriously don’t remember keeping so much stuff!) It was FAN-TASTIC to see our friends and family after being away for so long.

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we finally met our godson Ethan

we finally met our godson Ethan

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the sweetest gift!

the sweetest gift!

We spent the next few days readjusting (more on that later), taking the dogs for a vet check up, getting an oil change on our car and other random welcome-to-reality tasks (like getting new batteries for all 5 of my watches that died during our 2 year absence).

Then, on March 5, 2015, back to Key West, where it all began. We decided to drive Skyhorse because, well, why wouldn’t you take an impractically large vehicle a tiny island during Spring Break. No, it just seemed fitting to return with Skyhorse.

The water looked bluer. The sky clearer. I had forgotten how amazingly captivating the drive down the Keys is.


look at that big smile!!

look at that big smile!!


The normally 3 hour drive took us 5 hours, as we stopped to visit friends all along the way down. And after 680 days–1.5 months shy of 2 years–we returned to Key West for a long weekend visit.


Our 5 days in Key West were filled with surprising this one for her 25th 29th 31st birthday


this adorable face’s 1st birthday

happy 1st birthday Ava!!

meeting the newest generation of Key West Conchs, going out on the boat (a million thanks Lori and Kevin!!), wandering our old neighborhood, drinking at our favorite watering holes, and reconnecting with old friends. 

baby whisperer?

baby whisperer?

give me back my bow!

give me back my bow!


fighting over who is going to wash the dishes. some things never change...

fighting over who is going to wash the dishes. some things never change…


the Robertson Resort


We even camped a night at the office. 

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The conversations picked up right where we had left off and though circumstances had changed (new addresses, new jobs…) all the people were the same. Those that we had laughed with for years before we left on our adventure were still standing there with open arms welcoming Hani and I back. The only measure of the passage of time was all the new little ones that have sprung up in the last 2 years.

The city and its unique character will always hold such a special place in our hearts. I know our visits to Key West will always continue. But for now, the wind is pulling us in a different direction.


The return of Skyhorse

6 Mar
       Yesterday–March 5, 2015–concluded the travel portion of our adventure in Skyhorse, as we have landed back in Key West (for a visit, people! Not permanently.)
       Everyone asks how it feels to be back. Well, here it is…
       I crave that simpler time. When the highway meant a one lane partially-paved road in either direction with bare land or small shacks on either side. When I didn’t care if I had makeup on or whether the clothes I was wearing had holes in them or were stained to near oblivion. When $4 meant a full meal for two or a weeks worth of fresh produce or a box of wine. When living with minimal possessions in a 14×8 space was more than sufficient.
       That being said, I missed our friends and family more than I thought. Yes, Skyhorse felt like our home because it had all the things that made it a home. But STUFF doesn’t always make a home complete. The one, massive part of our adventures that was missing was all of you. And it feels FAN-freaking-TASTIC to be back to that.
       This was not just “a trip.”  It was OUR LIFE for nearly two years. We lived in our moving home with the forest/ocean/mountains/wetlands/volcanoes as our ever changing backyard. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
       Your reality is whatever you make of it. Hani and I made our best possible reality for two years. So if you want to work 24/7, do it. If you want to quit your job and travel, do it! Whatever you want or dream, don’t just want or dream.
Make. It. Your. Reality. NOW!

Random thoughts/ month 21

2 Feb

We’ve been met with lots of changes this past month, between the new year and our return to this US. This month we:


+ rang in 2015 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We threw a party at our apartment (3rd gathering in 5 weeks. Can you tell I miss entertaining?!), cooked a giant lasagna and partied until it was 20-15 with Home on the Highway, Neli’s Big Adventure, Kelly, Anthony and some new friends. We watched a spectacular fireworks display in the Jardin, popped some bubbly on our roof then roamed town for a while. I still can’t believe we missed an entire calendar year of life in the US but am thrilled to report that we didn’t work a single day in 2014. Oh things will be different in 2015! New city, new jobs, new beginnings. Bring it!

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+ celebrated Three Kings Day. We watched the small parade as it rode by our apartment, complete with a band, horses, and a king in blackface, tossing cookies to spectators (of course I got one). The parade ended in the Jardin where eager children and their parents were questioned about their (good?) behavior that year, given gifts, beverages and a slice of the most massive cake.



Because of the holiday, our favorite taco stand wasn’t open but we were able to squeeze in one last round of churros!


+ left San Miguel on January 7. It was bittersweet, as we were very ready to leave the city (there are only so many coffee shops to bum in) but not Mexico. All great things do come to an end though.

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+ spent our last days in Mexico searching for a doctor. I stepped on a cactus as we were leaving San Miguel. Yes, a cactus. How very Mexican of me. And I was wearing flip flops because what other footwear exists for a Floridian. Just one little stab near my heel was all I got. It didn’t hurt that much at first but slowly swelled. By the next morning, the pain was intense and I couldn’t walk. We ended up going to a pharmacy doctor for $2, got some meds and began round one of antibiotics. Now, 3 weeks later, my heel is STILL infected, I walk with a limp, I’ve had to wear flip flops despite the cold weather because any shoe puts too much pressure on the area, and I’m taking another round of antibiotics. Who would have thought that one tiny prick (ha) would cause so much agony!


+ had a nasty welcome back to the states. On the two occasions I flew home last year, I was greeted back in the states with a joyful “welcome home.” Stupidly, I thought we’d receive the same warm welcome coming back in Skyhorse. Leaving Mexico was easy and painless…once we actually found the exit. Please explain to me what’s the point of brand new buildings if they aren’t marked or manned by people telling you where to go? Once we got to the US side, they couldn’t decide whether we were a car or cargo. Border agents unnecessarily flexed their egos to the point that I was told to stand and wait in the cold rain with the dogs while Hani drove Skyhorse to be x-rayed. Mind you, I couldn’t walk because of my cactus foot so I’m literally hopping everywhere and NO ONE offered to help me. At least on the Mexican side they offered me a wheelchair! Our own countrymen just yelled at us and were dumbfounded about how we re-enter the US. Let’s just say the entire ordeal ended in Hani making not one but two formal complaints. Welcome home to us!


+ were immediately assaulted by real highways, advertisements, chain restaurants and country music. Blech! And as an ode to our long driving days leaving Mexico, we spent our first night back in the US parked at a Love’s, the American Pemex.


+ miss topes. NOT!! Every gas station accepts our credit card, we don’t have to search for branches in the road to indicate a problem up ahead, the highways are paved, properly signed, and don’t have craters in it. It’s the little things that we missed the most.

+ forgot how amazing radio in English, NPR, paper maps, and real fully stocked grocery stores are.

+ spent a relaxing night in San Antonio visiting friends we met while in Jaco, Costa Rica. Since we last saw Nadia and Brett, they relocated from Ft Lauderdale to San Antonio and offered us the warmth of their home for the night. We had a great time hanging around, drinking REAL BEER, playing tea party with their kids and eating a delicious meal. Thank you again Nadia and Brett!



+ toured Austin for a week and a half. It felt familiar–like home. Maybe it’s because we now have a few pieces of Key West in Austin. We crashed at our friend Rhonda’s place in an effort to escape the freezing weather and the dogs snuggled with her pup, Mari.


Since Rhonda is still relatively new to Austin, we all explored the city, jammed to live music, watched some two-steppin, and ate and drank like lil piggies. We also visited other Key West escapees Jedd and Christina for a few meals. It really was comforting to see some good friends after being away for so long.






+ went road tripping with Rhonda. One afternoon, after fixing her flat tire, we drove through hill country to Deep Eddy’s vodka distillery then to BBQ at the Salt Lick, where we made the unfortunate decision to get all-you-can-eat. Let’s just say day drinking and pounds of BBQ are not an ideal combination. The leftovers were heavenly though.



+ bought several pounds of jerky. It’s all gone now.

+ left BBQ and jerky land to enter po’ boy and oyster country: New Orleans. We stayed with my youngest cousin Rinat who recently moved here and also dined with the gang we met in Grand Isle when we first started the trip. Again, we ate our way through the city gorging on all the staples (beignets three times, fried oysters, po’boys, king cake), topping off our food extravaganza with dinner at our favorite, Jacques-Imo’s! Seriously, I need a giant salad right about now.






What I’ll Miss

13 Nov

When we crossed into Mexico one year ago, there was so much about daily life that took me by surprise. How I needed to visit 3 stores just to get everything on my grocery list. Why it was impossible for someone to give correct directions. Now, these once-annoyances are second nature. They are what give Central America it’s charm. The woman serving my meal licking her fingers–I’ll have a second helping please. Taking a long time to explain where to go sans street names and I still get lost–typical, but always my fault according to Hani.

We celebrated a year and a half on the road on October 25. As of today, we’ll have spent one year of that time in Mexico and Central America. Here are some things that I know I will miss dearly once we return to the States, things typical south of the border and of life on the road.

I will miss…

The obligatory lone flip flop and dirty diaper left on a beach

Waking up in an unfamiliar place with nothing and no one around


Meeting strangers…because you parked on their land

Making fast friends with people because they are traveling just. like. you.

$5 doctor visits and $2 round of antibiotics

Walking into a pharmacy and getting whatever medication you could possibly want dispensed to you, no questions asked

The culture

Hearing Spanish

Searching for THE BEST spot to park for the night


Wondering what that man with his back to me is doing then realizing he’s peeing in the street

Cars with a loud speaker announcing a sale of eggs or campaign

Bargaining for everything, including but not limited to keepsakes and handicrafts, clothes, meals, produce, doctor’s visits, medicine, laundry, beer, museum admission, parking, camping spots, water…

Dollar fresh squeezed juice and smoothies with no additives

Drinking said beverage out of a plastic bag with a straw


Beach venders approaching you selling knock off sunglasses, sarongs, drinks and food

Pick up trucks carrying 15 standing people in the bed


Long days of nothing

The wildlife

Sleeping on a slight decline because you can’t get the truck angle just right

Festivals for everything at all hours of the day, even in the middle of the night




Clos boxed wine, not because it’s good but because it’s $3 and who the hell cares

Foreign currencies that look like fake money

Collecting shells, rocks, and sand


The smell of fire

Buying Jiff, regular milk, generic whole wheat bread and Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup and not feeling guilty because it’s not the all-natural organic versions

The excitement of finding kale, mushrooms, arugula and other “rare” produce

Jamming to dance music the DJ spins (turn tables, massive speakers and all) in the middle of a grocery

Cooking with limes because lemons don’t exist in Central America

Cattle in the middle of a highway stopping traffic


Old men with machetes the length of their leg

Using those machetes to “mow” grass

The highway suddenly becoming a narrow road through a teeny town…and it’s market day

Spitting on the floor (in and outdoors)

Women in traditional clothes

Those same women balancing heaping baskets of food or bags of firewood on their head


Teens (and adults) wearing Aeropostale

Trophy-headstone stores…winning and losing at its best

Town squares



Soccer fields in every village, no matter how small the village is

Guards armed with massive semi automatic weapons at the entrance to a pharmacy or ice cream shop

7 shacks in a row alongside the highway all selling the exact same one item

People juggling fire at an intersection in a major city

Asking for the wifi password and making sure it connects BEFORE ordering

A long deserted beach all to yourself…until that asshole parks right on top of you blasting crappy music



Streets with no name and directions drawn in the dirt with a stick

Vehicles pouring black exhaust into the air

The power of the stamp and border bureaucracy

Making photocopies for inflated rates when the person needing copies has a machine right next to them

Getting clothes handwashed, line dried and folded for $5

The local market, skinned animal carcasses on display and all, where open air stalls sell everything from underwear to bootlegged movies to live animals



40 cent chocolate covered frozen bananas

Conch fresh from the ocean

The familiarity of eating at McDonalds


Hearing random B-list 90s music on the radio

Relaxing anywhere, a beach, square, park, national monument, and being bombarded with people selling trinkets

Spying auto hotels off the highway and wondering what is really going on there

Amazing street food for pocket change


Said street food coming out of questionable half broken down trucks


Highway-side dining

Walking past a restaurant or food stall and having the entire menu recited aloud in fast succession

Chrome buses and tricked out tuktuks

The leash phenomenon: wandering dog–a kid will kick it. But put that dog on a leash, that same kid will fight his siblings to hold the leash and walk the dog in circles


I’m excited to…

Have SPACE and be able to do cartwheels INDOORS!!

Blast air conditioning

And then control the temperature of the house

Have a freezer

Drink good wine from a bottle out of a glass

Drink water from the tap

A real steak

Eat real sushi and drink real beer

Not have to scour for a free wifi connection

Be able to just pick up my cell and make a call

Receive mail and physical magazines

Cook what I want to eat for dinner and not what I should make because it’s too hot to use both burners and the oven

See distances in miles and measurements in gallons because I STILL haven’t figured out kilometers and liters

Drive a car. MY car. And drive it over 50 mph

Flush toilet paper down the toilet instead of opening the trap door of our composting toilet or in the waste bin at a restaurant

Have money coming into my bank account

See dogs that are well taken care of and part of a family instead of starving on the street

The familiarity of being home