Tạm biệt Da Nang!

We came for a month and you were gracious enough to allow us to stay for 10. You have provided us with a save place to shelter, delicious new foods to try, beautiful places to visit and kind people to meet. But now it’s time to say tạm biệt (goodbye).

Kathy and I are excited to begin the next phase of our journey in Merida, Mexico.

2020 has made travel difficult to say the least. But it has also strengthened our resolve to stay out of the United States. We looked at several options, none of them perfect and decided on Merida.

Merida is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan. It is known for its colonial architecture, tropical climate, Caribbean atmosphere, and frequent cultural happenings. It is less than a 30 minute bus ride from the beach. It is frequently sited as one of the safest places, not just in Mexico, but the world. There are many cenotes which I am super excited to visit!

Especially wonderful for us, Merida has a thriving Black expat community. We are fortunate to already have some good friends there.

So on December 2 we embark on this new adventure. We are well prepared with face masks and shields and lots of hand sanitizer. We do ask your prayers and well wishes and look forward to sharing all about our travel experience and our new home.

Thank You Vietnam!

While many countries, including developed ones, have recently begun to apply new lockdowns and restrictions to deal with a second or even third wave of infection, life in Vietnam is back to normal with the country going almost 80 days without a single local case. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/20/vietnam-covid-economic-growth-public-health-coronavirus

It’s not that hard!

Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
Wear a mask in public!
Practice Social Distancing!
Follow the advice of doctors and scientists!
When you must go out, please stay safe!
We can get through this!

On Becoming a Doula!

Before I even knew what it was called I long wanted to support a woman in giving birth. Last week my dream came true!

It was a wonderful experience! A birth doula is a trained companion who is not a healthcare professional and who supports a woman through pregnancy, child birth and the postpartum period. Doulas can also provide support through other significant health-related experiences, such as miscarriage, induced abortion or stillbirth, or non-reproductive experiences such as dying.

My dear sister friend blessed me with the opportunity to perform doula duties for her throughout her pregnancy. She gave me permission to share these photos. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother for my first doula experience!

The mom did an amazing job! We took this picture on the way to the hospital. Labor had begun.
The Miracle of Birth!

For the past 6 months we studied and prepared for the birth. We read lots of articles and books, watched YouTube videos and most importantly, took a course in hypnobirthing. I was there for the actual birth and am also providing support to the new mommy and baby.

Birthing Day!
1 Week Old! Mommy and baby are doing well!

I am really excited to be starting a formal course of study to become a certified doula. I look forward to being of service. Just call me Granny Doula!

BOLT: Reflecting Gratitude

As I walked along the beach this morning in Da Nang, Vietnam I was reflecting on how grateful I am for our time here. We planned on a month but it’s almost a year, thanks to Covid.

I’m grateful for sheltering in a place that took the virus seriously, where everyone wears masks and respects social distancing rules when in effect.

I’m grateful that I am here with my beloved, Kathy, and that we both remained physically healthy and mentally well.

I’m grateful for time with family. While we may not be related by blood I have truly found family here.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do: support another woman in birthing a baby. I’m a doula y’all! Look for a blog soon about this experience.

I’m grateful for some amazing sunrises, wonderful adventures and beautiful sights to see. As our time here is winding down (we leave in early December, details soon) I wanted to express my gratitude to Da Nang for helping me to #findbeautyeveryday

Thank you for allowing me to share my gratefulness. I’d love to hear what you are grateful for.

Morning Miracle Tumeric Drink

I used to have a LOT of joint pain, especially in my knees. Some days I could barely walk. Then I discovered tumeric and how it helps with inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. I started experimenting with different ways of talking it.

There are lots of ways to take this miracle spice, including capsules or packaged teas. I like making this drink from scratch, it’s a lot more affordable. Also, I believe using fresh ingredients are more potent. My recipe has fresh ginger, another very healthy root.

For the past 3 years I’ve been drinking this 7 item tumeric drink daily and have been almost completely joint pain free. I call it my morning miracle drink. It’s a lovely way to break my fast and start my day.

I make a base drink weekly of 4 ingredients. This recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of morning miracle base. I store it in the fridge and pour out a cupful every morning.

I love this container for storing the drink base.

Morning Miracle Base:

1/2 cup of tumeric root (chopped)

1/2 cup of ginger root (chopped)

2-3 cinnamon sticks

1/8 cup of black peppercorns or 2 heaping table spoons of ground black pepper (black pepper is said to make the tumeric more effective)

Add 4 cups of water

Bring to a boil these 4 ingredients and then simmer for 30 minutes

I buy all the ingredients at our local market for about 50 cents.

I add these ingredients daily to the base drink:

The juice of one lemon or 2 limes

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (also very beneficial to your health)

You can drink Miracle Morning hot or cold. I prefer it room temperature.

There are lots of different recipes for tumeric tea. Let me know if you have a favorite.

BOLT 2020: Our 5th Year of Travel/Lessons Learned

We had all kinds of plans for this, our fifth year of full time/home free travel. We were going to visit India, Sri Lanka and travel through Thailand.

Welp! The universe had other plans. We came to Da Nang, Vietnam, planning on a 1 month stay. We’ve now been here for almost 10 months!

We are very grateful to have sheltered in such a safe, affordable and beautiful country. We’ve undergone two very strict lockdowns but have also had the opportunity to explore this beautiful city.

Most of all I think this has been a time of reflection and focus on what’s really important.

I’ve learned to take nothing for granted and that plans, expectations and situations can change in a moment.

I’ve learned to let small stuff go. I’ve gotten much better at accepting people as they are.

I’ve really come to appreciate the value of a spiritual routine, of grounding myself with morning quiet time and practicing regular meditation and prayer. I’ve also learned how important regular exercise is to my spirit.

I’ve recommitted myself to finding beauty every day and sharing it with the world.

How about you? What lessons have you learned in 2020? We’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share in the comments section.

BOLT Travel Memories: Finding Community

If I had to define our third year of home free travel, it would be with one word: COMMUNITY!

Game Night

While we love the RV life, especially our stays in Mexico, the one thing we were really lacking was connection to others. We didn’t really find it until our second visit to southeast Asia, to Thailand.

Amen Corner

Thanks to the efforts of folks like Keidra King and Binkey Tolfree we found Facebook groups in Chiang Mai for expats of color. We attended dinners and other events. We made good friends. Chiang Mai Thailand really became home for us because of the community we found. We have community here in Da Nang Vietnam too because of those initial Chiang Mai connections.

Birthday Celebration in Chiang Mai Thailand

We took classes, went on field trips and I even acted in a play! I hope you will enjoy these pictures of some of our happiest community memories.

Girl Trek 5k
Hot Springs Park Trip Da Nang Vietnam
I even got a new sister and granddaughter!
And Another Grandbaby!
Monologue Class, Chiang Mai Thailand
Museum Trip in Chiang Mai
Road Trip to Chang Dao Thailand
Christmas Party in Chiang Mai
Yi Peng Lantern Festival Chiang Mai
Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens in Chiang Mai
Walk to Doi Suthep Chiang Mai Thailand
I gained a beautiful daughter too!
And a fabulous friend for a lifetime!
Going Away Parties are Always So Much Fun!

I’m so grateful for the community we have found. Especially during the pandemic community has gotten us though!

Our BOLT Journey: 2 Years of RV Life

In 2016 after a year in Asia we returned to the United States. We wanted to participate in what we thought was the election of our first woman president. Welp.. that was a huge disappointment but what wasn’t was our purchase of Winnie.

Winnie is an older Minnie Winnebago Class C RV. She’s 30 feet long with a full kitchen and a queen size bed. She’s got a bathroom with a shower. We bought her from a lovely gentleman in Mobile, Alabama. Once we got her road ready we set out on lots of adventures.

We learned a lot about RV life. It was great seeing how helpful and friendly most RVers are. We traveled all throughout the states and some of Mexico and Canada.

Palm Springs, California
Mexico
Mona Lisa RV Park, Ensenada, Mexico
Detroit, Michigan

We got a dog, Kahlo, who we adore and who was a true RV star.

RV life allowed us to see so many beautiful places. We got membership to RV parks, stayed on public lands, in Walmart parking lots, national parks and in front of friend’s houses.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
San Julian, Mexico
Right on the beach in Baja California, Mexico

Kathy and I look forward to returning to RV life sometime soon. It really is a wonderful way to see North America! If you have any questions or want to share your RV experiences please do so here.

BOLT 5 YEAR TRAVELVERSARY!

It’s been 5 years since Kathy and I left Los Angeles for a life of home free travel. We set out from Seattle, Washington for a 30 day cruise to Southeast Asia.

Seattle, Washington to Singapore in 30 days
Honolulu, Hawaii

The cruise was a great opportunity for relaxing and celebrating our retirement. There were lot of great stops and activities aboard the ship. Since cruising won’t be in our near future, I’m grateful we got to do this one!

Cruise Memories

Disembarking in Singapore everything changed! No longer were we catered to, fed and under the care of the Holland America Cruise Line. We had to make our own travel arrangements, shop for food and plan activities and accomodations. We were excited to do so. Our first year we explored Southeast Asia by visiting many of our dream destinations and staying at each for one to three months. The pictures below are some of my favorites of that first year, in no particular order.

Singapore Botanical Gardens
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Mud, a play about the history of KL)
Borudobor, Indonesia
Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hanoi, Vietnam
Hangzhou, China
Beijing, China
Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ferry to Georgetown, Malaysia
Ogoh Ogoh Festival, Ubud, Bali
Songkran Festival, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Train Travel Throughout Indonesia
Sultan’s Palace Yogakarta, Indonesia
Permuteran, Indonesia
I loved these ladies in the markets of Ubud, Bali!
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Floating Market Bangkok, Thailand
I made a friend in the floating markets of Bangkok, Thailand!
We used lots of public transportation and loved it!
We discovered that animal tourism is just not for us. Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of the highlights of our first year was a visit from our bestie! The Great Wall of China
We visited so many amazing places and festivals. This one honored Lord Murajam just outside of KL, Malaysia
We visited places I’d never heard of like the ancient clan jetties of Georgetown, Malaysia.
We made new friends and met interesting people like these students at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.
Most of all we grew in our love for one another and for travel!

After a bit more than a year in Southeast Asia we decided to return home to celebrate the election of our first female president. While that didn’t happen (SMDH) we did fulfill another dream and purchase our RV. My next blog will be about our year of travel in Winnie.