Weddings, Wandering, and Wi-Fi

Once again we have gone far too long without posting about this wild travel adventure! It turns out that planning year-long travels while parenting a toddler and freelance writing takes up more time than we imagined. And we’re a bit embarrassed to say that not having consistent, reliable Wi-Fi has been more difficult than not have consistent, reliable water. So, at long last, here is a brief update on life since we left Hawai’i.

We traveled all the way from Hawai’i to Miami for Elizabeth’s brother’s wedding at the beginning of April. After 11 hours of flying and a 6 hour time change, we arrived at Elizabeth’s dad’s with one road weary toddler and two very tired moms. After a few days to try and get adjusted, we got to see all of Elizabeth’s family. I officiated John and Jackie’s wedding; Elizabeth was a bridesmaid; Riah was the ring bearer. Needless to say, it was an exhausting, yet beautiful few days! Fortunately, the grandparents—while also fulfilling their roles as parents of the groom—stepped up to help with some babysitting, treating us to nice lodging, and filling pockets and purses with toys and mints to help keep Riah appeased should he choose to go bonkers during the wedding ceremony. As we anticipated, he had a tough time waiting for the wedding to begin in his fancy clothes with so much open grass luring him to play, but once the ceremony began, he did a great job being calm. Elizabeth, who has worn a dress about 3 times in our nearly 9-year relationship, looked fabulous in her coral bridesmaid dress. And I was honored to craft a meaningful and personal wedding for John and Jackie.

 

After a couple days with Grammy and Papa Steve, we took another long flight back to San Francisco to pick up the camper that some fabulous friends/former congregants were storing for us. Then we traded it in for an upgrade since we’ll be living in the camper for the next 8 months and for half the year from henceforth.

 

ocean shores beach

The best photo of our new digs…and the best view!

We set up camp—including water, electric, cell service, and our beloved Wi-Fi—in the parking lot of Shell Ridge Community Church (where I was an associate pastor for 5 years). Its namesake is Shell Ridge, which was a beautiful place to hike and play between my lectures in Berkeley and Walnut Creek. Plus, it was just a short jaunt into San Francisco to hike at our beloved Land’s End!

Then Angela’s Holy Women Icons Contemplative Coloring Book came out! After preaching and closing my Holy Women Icons Art Show at Shell Ridge, we made our way north. (Note: there are only 6 unsold original paintings left in the collection of 50+ so I’m having a 30% off sale to close out the show!)

We played in Mount Shasta and then relished our propane-fed heater as we dry camped (no electric or water) in Crater Lake where there was 6 feet of snow!

crater lake

Since we spent winter in Hawaii, we figured we could handle 6 feet of snow in late April!

From Crater Lake, we continued to free camp in Eugene where we savored some delicious vegan food and enjoyed long runs along the river.

eugene

There’s no better way into our hearts than a good, vegan cupcake!

The most stunning stop has been sans electric, water, Wi-Fi, or cell service in the Clatsop State Forest outside of Portland where we enjoyed a beautiful campsite, a stunning hike along the ridge, and awe-inspiring views while doing outdoor yoga.

clatsop snails

My favorite photo from Clatsop!

We made an incredibly quick stop in Astoria where we actually paid for a full hook-up campsite and stumbled upon an abandoned ship wreck on a long run to the beach…

astoria

Astoria, OR

We finally crossed into Washington where Elizabeth found yet another free place for us to dry camp by the beach in Ocean Shores. Next stop: Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier!

ocean shores

Running along the path to the beach

These travels are beautiful and meaningful. We never forget how incredibly fortunate we are to do this. But traveling full-time has also involved some sacrifice and disappointment. It was an honor to be fully present in John and Jackie’s wedding, but it also reminds us how sad we are to miss several other weddings this season because we simply can’t afford three more cross country flights for all three of us. Two dear former congregants, Brett and Kelly, are getting married later this month in NC and I’m so disappointed that I cannot be there to officiate. One of my closest friends from seminary, the fabulous Patricia, just announced that she’s getting married at the end of May in Atlanta and it breaks my heart not to bear witness to that. And our dearest friends from NC, Page and Kristin, are getting married in July back in Seattle, which is where we are now, but by then we’ll be in the Badlands. And next week, one of our most beloved friends from Berkeley, Dr. Wendy Arce, not only celebrates the graduation from her Ph.D. program, but is also speaking at commencement. From so far away, we struggle with how to adequately show our love and support for dear friends as we miss such pivotal times in their lives.

So, dear friends, from Olympic and Glacier and Yellowstone and Badlands, we shall lift our glasses (sippy cups and water bottles) in honor of your achievements and love. Know that our absence is not indicative of any lack of support. As we gaze at the wonders that surround us wherever we roam, we hold in our hearts Wendy, Brett, Kelly, Patricia, Chris, Page, and Kristin.

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