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The last several months have been a whirlwind — Germany, Sicily, Malta, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan. We love the adventure but after a while we miss our “people.” It’s time for some familiar faces and places before we head out once again.

My home is not a place, it is people.
— Lois McMaster Bujold

First order of business was a stop in San Francisco to see Nick and Maddie (and Henry!).

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Fly like a Bird

We headed to Venice Beach, where Frank and I discovered “Birds.” The electric scooters are everywhere and easily unlocked with the click of an Iphone app. Frank’s knee was bothering him but you’d never know it. Every day, you’d see us buzzing along the boardwalk back and forth to Santa Monica and zig-zagging through the streets of Venice! We may have been a few decades older than the average rider, but no one had more fun than we did!

The Beach and the Broad

If I could live anywhere in the US, it would probably be Venice Beach, California. It’s creative and colorful, the weather is perfect and the people watching is beyond compare. I love the whole “be whoever you want to be” vibe.

I also love that Venice Beach is a short Metro ride to downtown LA, where Nick and Maddie live. Their apartment has incredible views of the city’s dynamic skyline. Although LA as a whole is sprawling, the downtown area is fairly compact and easily navigable. It’s fun to wander the streets in search of new restaurants, galleries and colorful street art.

So, back to “Beach and the Broad.” The beach is obviously Venice, where we spent five days before our week in DTLA. The “broad” does not refer to Maddie or I(!), but is pronounced “brode” and refers to LA’s relative new contemporary art museum. The museum opened in 2015 and I never seem organized enough to secure advance tickets, which are free and quickly grabbed up.

On this trip though, I took advantage of a newly discovered (for me) ticket “loophole” —  the stand-by line. I got to the museum around 10:30 and was 40th in line. The museum opened at 11 and I was inside by 11:15! I wish I had discovered this plan sooner!

And “How was it?” you ask. Well, let’s just say this broad loved The Broad!

Need more LA?

With Nick going to school in LA, we have visited several times. I wrote about LA back in 2014 as we headed out at the beginning of our adventure.

Celebrating Mom in Sedona

. . . in Sedona I always feel a sense of safety and peace, as if I’ve returned to the home of my soul, into the arms of Mother Earth, the red land that always welcomes me with open arms.”
– Ilchi Lee, The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart

“Sedona,” she said, when Jenny and I asked Mom where she would like to celebrate her 80th birthday. It was a place she’d never been and it couldn’t have been a nicer trip. The weather was sunny, not too hot. We drank piña coladas around the pool, took a couple small hikes and shopped (we were with mom, after all!); but mostly we just enjoyed each others’ company. It was the ideal place to celebrate a special lady.

Back to Bozeman – our second home

IMG_0298Frank and I have come to see Bozeman as a second home. It’s relaxing. We have family here. We arrive and easily get into our routines. Frank has his pool. I have my hikes. We have our favorite bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores. It’s easy.

That said, every time we come we discover something new and fun in this beautiful area of the country. And sometimes we have visitors : )

Little victories

I’ve previously mentioned how traveling can nudge you out of your comfort zone. When you’re home, it’s easy to become complacent, “Why would I want to do that?”  Traveling gives you the opportunity to stretch and say, “Why NOT?!”

Although the things I’ve done in Bozeman don’t quite rise to previous “levels of wild” (i.e. skydiving, diving with sharks, walking with lions), I did push myself a couple times.

Climbing the “M”

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At the top of the “M”!!!

Bridge Jumping

Evidently, bridge jumping is “a thing” in Montana. Why would I want to do that? I hate cold water (yes, I’m one of those who has to walk in an inch at a time before going under). I don’t like heights. And who wants to jump into a dark hole when you don’t even know what’s in it or how deep it really is.

Even the girls debated whether or not to jump . . .

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But then they did!

After a while, I went and sat on the bridge. Sienna came up next to me. “What are you afraid of? What’s the worse that could happen?” she asked. “It’s deep enough. It will be cold but I will have a warm towel waiting for you.”  Who could argue with that?!!

#littlevictories #nevertooold

A toast to Napa

Berkeley

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When I was in high school, my dream college was Berkeley. My life path diverged (no complaints!) and today I finally got to “go to Berkeley!” Actually, we’ve been in the city a few days and have really enjoyed it. Frank and I like college towns. They are diverse and have so much energy. The city is larger than I imagined but easy to navigate. There are a lot of interesting neighborhoods and there are a lot of great (and surprisingly inexpensive) restaurants.

 

❤️ San Francisco

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San Francisco’s famous cable cars.

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Painted Ladies

Nick just took a job in San Francisco. I was here twenty-some years ago but that memory is pretty foggy (haha, SF reference). Anyway, it seems like I am seeing the city for the first time. Nick and Maddie have spent quite a bit of time here and love sharing it. With almost 750,000 people, San Francisco is the country’s 13th and California’s fourth largest city. The weather is relatively cool for California, which I prefer. Yes, it’s expensive, there’s a ton of traffic, and there are so many homeless people, but San Francisco is truly one of the country’s most unique and beautiful cities.

Monterey Aquarium

A couple hours along the picturesque Coast Highway is the Monterey peninsula. We took a ride one day to visit the Monterey Aquarium. I LOVE aquariums (as some of you may remember from our trip to Portugal!) and this aquarium was amazing!