Underwater in Africa!

After more than a year of planning, we finally arrived at our first volunteering experience – Underwater Africa, a marine research and conservation program in Paria de Tofo, Mozambique.  As we explored options for volunteering during our 10 months in Africa, I had come across this program which combines scuba diving with marine research and local conservation efforts.  Although we are not die-hard diving folks, Colburn and I really do enjoy scuba diving.  The kids had a taste of itRead more

A Map, an App and a Portuguese Phrase Book: Getting to Mozambique

Leaving Madagascar, our life was impacted by three biblical events – a plague, a flood and a tempest – within 24 hours. After braving two hours of traffic in Antananarivo, we arrived at the airport only to be told that our flight had been cancelled because of a suspected case in the Seychelles had been traced back to Madagascar’s outbreak so they were no longer allowing entry from Mada. This meant that we were to be rerouted directly to Durban,Read more

Bashing Through Madagascar: An Epic Road Odyssey

  Even after almost three weeks in Madagascar, the land remains an enigma. I am torn between loving it and being incredibly frustrated by it. The landscapes range from dusty desert-like open expanses with little but scrub and short dried grasses to thickly wooded rain and cloud forests, to the spiney forest of the south, perhaps the most bizarre environment I have ever witnessed (imagine 8-10 foot tall desiccated branching cacti bushes covered in three inch spines and red dust).Read more

Fortune Favors the Brave: Malagasy Kids and Farmers

My father loved gadgets. When I was a kid, he had a Polaroid camera that was almost as big as a shoe box, but he would take it with us to family gatherings and events so that we could have pictures printed on the spot making the memories tangible.  I recall the snapping sound of the film being pulled out of the camera, impatiently waiting three minutes until you could remove the developing cover off of the image and theRead more

Highland Games and a Military Tattoo in Scotland

We never really planned on coming to Scotland, it kind of just happened. One morning in mid-April, I was scrolling through my favorite cheap flight booking sites and found a $69 promotional fare from cities on the East Coast to Edinburgh. I looked at Colburn and said, “What do you think of starting off in Scotland?” He thought that it was a grand idea! Besides, it is much easier to get flights to Africa from the UK than it isRead more

Walking 96 Miles – The West Highland Way of Scotland

As a family, we really like to walk.  We have trekked in Colca Canyon and the Inca Trail in Peru, Torres del Paine in Chile, the Mustang and Annapurna Regions of Nepal and the Routeburn of New Zealand.  Each trek was a physical challenge as well as a mental one.  Colca Canyon had a knee-crushing continuous 3,000 foot descent on day one and similar oxygen-sapping ascent on day three.  The Inca Trail taught us to be wary of steps, especiallyRead more

Waves of Leaving

We have begun this leg of our adventure in waves – waves of organization, waves of leaving, waves of good-byes, and alternating waves of excitement and melancholy. After more than a solid six months of planning and preparation, Colburn, the kids, and Fig all left Reno in late July to drive east and see his family.  Our truck, now nicknamed Olaf,  has everything we will use over the next year – a four person roof-top tent, camping gear, two jerry cans,Read more

A New Chapter, A New Adventure 

It’s been two years since we returned to the US and posted about our adventures. We settled back in to our old life – our old house, the kids at their old school, my old work – and yet everything was different, not in a tangible way, but more like a rub in your shoe that you can only feel after many miles.  It was a subtle but constant irritation.  A whole year passed waiting for the feeling to eitherRead more