Vagabonding Is in Our Blood


It seems I was born with the “wandering gene.” That’s to be expected. My folks left their hometown of Bakersfield at the ages of 20 and 21, moving first to Japan and then to points around the world. My brother Steve and I were born in California (he just barely, almost born in France), and Dennis was born in Japan, John in France, and David in Oklahoma. I’d moved homes 12 times by the time I was 14. I’m wired for travel and change.

Mom and Dad were still traveling abroad until Dad’s death at age 87, and my mom is heading off across the country alone tomorrow, just shy of her 89th birthday! My brothers have lived, traveled, and worked in countries around the world, and none of us has ever held a “normal” 9-to-5 job for very long. We have itchy feet and want to be our own bosses.

Tom was the only one in his immediate family to leave the hometown, following “that girl from California,” and as payback, he’s currently dragging me kicking and screaming (hardly) to parts around the globe. It seems our kids have the same gene. They have traveled since they were four months (Aubrey) and two weeks (Scott) old, and haven’t slowed down.

Aubrey is moving again this weekend, back south, after having crossed the country with us and then moved to Northern California. Where she ends up is anybody’s guess. She’s studied abroad, traveled abroad (places we’ve never been!), and worked abroad (traveling alone twice to Greece), so we know she hears the clarion call of the road.

Scott just spent nine months in Nepal helping to rebuild a school that was destroyed by the earthquake in April 2015. He plans to return to build a second school, but only after working in Northern California to earn money for his travels. Prior to that, while still in college, he traveled to Rwanda to build a water system at a boys’ home for his senior project. Recently, he bought a camper van so that he has a place to live and wheels, but actually so that he can set his heart and body free and travel whenever and wherever he wishes in the future. I don’t expect he’ll settle in the States for a while…as he pursues studies in alternative construction methods around the world.

And here we are, five years and a day after Tom joined the US Dept. of Commerce and launched us on an unexpected (but most welcome) new adventure in life. We are currently devouring what Alberta, Canada, has to offer, and have our eyes on new places to visit across this wonderful North American nation.

And in two years, we’ll get to bid on a new destination! How’s that for the vagabond life?!