* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Other Travels

Homes for the Holidays – Part 1: Jamaica

Christmas in Jamaica
Do you see Michelle? Christmas decorations at our host family’s house.

As digital nomads, our concept of home is constantly evolving. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s hard for us to answer where “home” exactly is. It seemed only fitting, then, that as we returned to Jamaica, our friends here said “Welcome home” to us, additionally adding: “Will Jamaica be home?” We made sure to answer them directly. “No. But we do love Jamaica.” Continue reading “Homes for the Holidays – Part 1: Jamaica”

* Life Updates, * Michelle Thoughts

Home Sweet Home

We have completed our first Post-Peace Corps Road Trip which gradually brought us closer (mentally and geographically) to home. We arrived in Oregon about a week ago and have just barely gotten started on reconnecting with all our friends and family. We’ve been reacquainting ourselves with many of the things we have missed over the past two years: strawberries, hiking, appliances, driving, sushi…

The scariest part about being back in America is how easy it is to forget that we were away at all. Sometimes it feels like we just time traveled, skipping over the past two years. What we once lived and breathed- our daily reality- is now just a memory. Sometimes it really feels too distant.

On the surface, our readjustment has been a breeze. But we certainly see things with new eyes now that we’re back. The way people behave and some of the habits people have suddenly seems “so American” because we’ve had the chance to analyze and reflect on our culture from the outside. We always have a little comparison going on in the back of our minds- how much more space we have in the car, how many more errands we can get done before lunch, how much colder we are, how much more helpful the customer service reps are, how quickly we spent the equivalent of one month’s living allowance…

One thing I didn’t expect to be so different when we returned, are the subtle smells. As soon as I step outside, I am reminded that even though the smell of the Oregon outdoors is immediately and unequivocally familiar, its absence from me for the past two years is also apparent. Even the parking structure at the mall smelled so familiar yet new- it was weird.

So where do we go from here? Well, right now, we’re each spend about two weeks with our respective parents. Then we’ll spend the next two weeks all together in Hawaii to reunite with that side of the family!

If you’re interested in seeing more photos from our road trip and first week in Oregon, head over to our new travel blog, Intentional Travelers or click on an image below:

Road Trip: Florida/Tennesse
A Weekend in Chicago
Why We Love Our Oregon Home
Best of Birmingham
* Michelle Thoughts

Low Car Diet

I am not one to accept a challenge if I’m not sure I can accomplish it.  Not too long ago, I received an e-mail from Zipcar, issuing a challenge to go car-free for a month.  I threw my name in the bucket and soon enough, I had been selected as one of 30 Portlanders to participate!  We can walk, bike, bus, carpool, or zipcar but no going solo in the cruiser.  Our car keys are locked up for the month, so to speak.

If you know where I work and where I lived all last year, you’d know that it took me a mere 8 minutes to wander over to the office by foot.  Driving to work would have actually increased my commute time, having to first get the car from the parking garage and then maneuver around construction while stopping periodically for pedestrians.  So I always walked.  I got some exercise, saved money on gas, avoided stressful traffic, and kept my carbon footprint to a minimum.  I could even eat lunch every day from the comfort of my own kitchen.  It was unbeatable.  I knew I was spoiled, and the dream commute couldn’t last forever.

Eventually it was time to move out (due to Jedd’s job transition).  We were blessed to have two different couples open their homes to us over the summer while we figured out what’s next on the horizon. Though still fairly close, our new locale(s) were no longer that convenient 8-minute walk away from my office.  I wanted to keep my commute car-free.  And Zipcar served me the incentive on a silver platter!

I’m sure the experience will have its challenges as well as its rewards.  I’ll be posting weekly about my unconventional “diet,” so I invite you to follow along as I go!