Saturday, February 27, 2010


Photo courtesy of Don Hankin

Our credit card number has been stolen. Fortunately, we caught it early and Wells Fargo is being cool about it. But really, how annoying.

Expanded Horizons

Asher might be mad at us. Now that we've introduced him to cold weather and snow, he keeps looking at us like "Really? This was here this whole time and you made me live in the hot desert instead??"

Video can also be viewed here.

Monday, February 22, 2010


After two long days of driving, we finally arrived at Ellen's parents
home at 11:44 pm Monday night. We are all safe and sound and sleepy.
Goodnight world!

Passing through ABQ just a little too early

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In the Beginning...

And we are off! After a quick visit to the myopractor and a yummy breakfast at Los Taquitos, we picked up Asher and pointed the van (+ trailer) north. Destination: Albuquerque, NM.

So it turns out that there's a ginormous storm cloud covering Arizona and New Mexico right now. The rain in Phoenix turned into snow in Flagstaff and ice in New Mexico. Yikes.

There were a few stretches where we were literally skating. We couldn't turn or we would skid and we couldn't brake or we would skid. A tiny bit unnerving, to say the least.

But Jon did a fantastic job of driving and we are now (nine hours later), safe and sound in a lovely La Quinta hotel room.

Now it's time for sleep. Sweet dreams, everyone!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You Give Love a Good Name

Photo by Tigr

When we got married three years ago, Jonathan and I were surprised to find that we could actually feel the positive, loving energy directed at us by our friends and family. It was a six hour high that we never expected to have again.

We are happy to say that we were wrong. As we are preparing to leave for this adventure, we are blessed to be feeling that way once again. But this time, it isn't just lasting six hours. It is lasting weeks. And it is awesome.

The outpouring of kindness we have received has humbled us. Do you want to know what you have collectively given us? You have given us words of support and encouragement, gifts and money, help with packing, places to stay after we're out of our house but before we are on the road, valuable advice and resources, invitations for us to stay with you (or your family members or friends) on our trip, medical advice and valuable travel prescriptions, storage offers (of our things and our animal), offers to sell stuff for us on craigslist after we leave and the loan of a U-Haul trailer. You have written words that bring us to tears, said words that bring us to tears, and all around made us feel like we are the most blessed people on the planet.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are overwhelmed and humbled by your generosity. We look forward to embarking on our journey with our souls filled to the brim and ready to pass along the love and kindness that you have shown us.

Ellen and Jonathan

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I'm a sentimental guy.  I like to collect things that remind me of the good times in my life.  But, sometimes, I also collect "things" for no particular reason.

Our future lifestyle necessitates that I let go of some of those things.  Thanks to Ellen's parents allowing us some room for storage at their house, I don't need to purge all those "things" from my life, but I do need to get rid of most of them.  This has been a difficult task for a die-hard, sentimental pack rat.

For the sake of illustration, I give you a few examples.  First, a non-sentimental example.  I had several records that I recently gave to a friend.  This wasn't too difficult since I know that, with some combination of E-Bay and craigslist, I could probably find most of them again.

I present to you my tiny little record collection:

AC/DC About to Rock

More difficult was the shedding of my T-Shirt Collection.  I capitalize the subject in that sentence because those of you who know me well are quite familiar with said T-Shirt Collection.  I haven't yet parted with all of them, but following are a few samples for your pleasure.

Lithuanian Basketball Team

Finally, a jumbled combination of sentimental, useful and worthless.

Among other things, this 2' x 2' x 1.75' box contained:
  • Every paystub I ever received since my first job as a waiter at Ponderosa Steakhouse
  • Tax documents (older than seven years, of course)
  • Bank account statements
  • ATM receipts.  You Grand Rapids folks will appreciate these ones.
  • Social Security statements
  • Medical records
  • Utility bills
  • Insurance coverage information
  • Credit card receipts
Rather than bringing all this to a shredder, we went camping this weekend and decided to add some fuel to the fire.

Part of my coping process is documentation.  I feel that if I have a photograph or some other record of a "thing" that was formerly in my life, it will trigger the same good memories as the thing itself.  And digital memories are so much lighter to carry around with me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yes, I am a bit juvenile


I learned a very fascinating thing in the BNI OR yesterday. There is a medical poo scale. A Poo Scale. That describes poo. My inner teenage boy self was delighted.

Bristol Poo Scale (censored for your protection)

Needless to say, I'm really going to miss the people at BNI.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Must Be Nice

This may come as a shock to everyone, but medical device reps are not universally loved at hospitals. Some people see us as immoral, blood-sucking parasites that they are forced to deal with on a daily basis.

I encountered one of these pleasant people today and in passing, mentioned that I would not likely be back at his hospital because I was leaving Medtronic to travel for a year. He responded with a snarl

and the words "Must Be Nice". (Please add the appropriate amount of sarcasm to this statement)
Sadly, I know exactly what his passive-aggressive comment meant: In addition to being a blood sucking parasite, I am a blood sucking parasite who is filthy rich. Because only the wealthy get to do whatever they want in life, right?

Now I'm not going to deny my privilege. I was born white and able-bodied in America to a middle class family who loved me and who encouraged my intellectual and social growth. I am one of the most privileged people on the planet.


Jon and I didn't just decide to do this yesterday. We have been paying off our debt and saving up our money (in that order) for almost four years. We have worked hard to get to this moment in our life. We have made many, many choices that have brought us to a place in our life where we can call the shots.

World travel may not be your dream. But the point is, the point I wish I would have made to the guy who thinks I'm a blood-sucking parasite, is that having a dream and working hard to achieve that dream isn't reserved for the wealthy. It isn't even that hard. All it takes is some patience and perseverance. And perhaps a really awesome husband.

Must be nice? It is.


Photos courtesy of Bjorn A and ktpupp.