England USA

Prague to London to New York

We are on our way now. Backpackers for 7 months. Yup, very light packers. Well, I thought we would be. Actually we are only taking a few clothes. It is just all the other stuff – beddding for 5, a kitchen (stove, pots, bowls, cups and utensils), office, laundry (brush and tube of soap), toilet (shovel) and school. Lots to bring. So, actually not such light packers.

First flew from Prague to East Midlands Airport.

Jen picked us up from the airport and brought us to her house for a sleep. We also got a chance to rethink the backpack situation. Quite early I realized that TJs bag is too bulky. I think she can carry the weight but the size scares her. So, I put all her clothes into the stuff sack and she says it is much lighter. Andrew is carrying her sleeping bag and school notebooks. Abi is carrying her sleeping pad along with the laundry. Hannah is carrying all her own stuff except her sleeping pad (I get to carry that). As we were going through Prague I noticed that Hannah’s sleeping bag on top was too far forward at her neck and have made some adjustments. I also carry part of the kitchen and one laptop. Andrew also carries his laptop, the kitchen pots.

In the midst of the repacking and after a great night’s sleep we have enjoyed good english hospitality from Jen and Fran. All the kids british food desires are being catered to.
Fish and Chips, baked beans, Chicken Korma, Apple Crumble and Custard. Yummmmm.

Slept in the Sheffield bus station in order to catch our £3 bus to London/Victoria.

Notice how we are down to only essentials now. : )
Helped Shannon clean up a bit after her big Sweet Notions Grand Party.

Andrew escorted some “friends” from the party home in a taxi.

Spent day and evening with friends from 3 continents before spending the night and making our early morning start to Heathrow and here we are in the good ‘ol USA. It is always great to hear at least one “welcome home” from the officials at the airport.

We are now staying with our old friends from when me and Andrew were dating!  Yeah! REALLY old friends. Mauricio and Shauna LaBorde and their boys.

We are looking at old photos of all the kids together when they were really cute and little. Learning alot about football (soccer). Dressing like football stars and having a great, albeit silly, time.

Oh yeah, and we think we found a van to drive around the states. In about an hour we leave to go and look at it and maybe drive it back. Let you know later on.

Czech Republic

First flight today!

Well, this is it. It is 6 in the morning. Me and Andrew are already awake. The truck is all nestled in tight. Inigo the magnificent has a home to stay in with his best friend, Rudy and his owners, Mathais and Carrie. We have been staying in their hostel, Sir Toby’s while Andrew puts the truck to sleep and finishes varnishing our new kitchen so we have a kitchen to come back to.

The kids have been enjoying getting a “Kofola” (communist coke) on tap in the pub each evening and playing board games with Miro, one of the managers at Sir Toby’s. He actually is a professional chess teacher. It has been good not staying in the truck these last few days. The kids perception of what we actually can fit into our backpacks has altered tremendously and Andrew has been taking a bag back to the truck each day. Hannah was a especially funny site when we left the Mudrick’s house and came to to Sir Toby’s carrying about 4 extra bags of treasures. I spent alot of my day with my mini sewing kit. Repairing clothes and backpacks for the trip and making straps for the sleeping bags.

The kids are getting so excited. Abi couldn’t stop playing games with Inigo yesterday. They must have sounded like baby elephants to the office below. TJ was like a mischievous elf trying to navigate the room on beds. Hmmmm, maybe I should have spent less of my day sewing and more taking the kids out. to burn off some energy. Hannah…well, Hannah is Hannah. She was reading a book with her little bedside light. I think I will need to take them all on a very long walk with a fully loaded backpack tomorrow. Yep. That’s what we’ll do.

Our first flight is this evening. We fly into Sheffield. We will be staying in 3 different friends houses the next 3 nights. Sheffield (Jen and Fran), Kings Lynn (Maggie and Phouc-Tan) and London (Shannon). We thought we would be spending one of these nights in the bus station and another at “Camp Heathrow” (the airport) but our friends had other plans. Hannah really wants to sleep at an airport. Dad talks about doing it all the time. I am sure we will get the chance.

On the 19th is the big flight into JFK, New York. We get picked up from the airport and brought to Poughkeepsie. Isn’t Poughkeepsie a great name. It is one of those words that can make you giggle just for the fun of it as it rolls off the tongue or off the keyboard. Poughkeepsie. You gotta love it.

Anyway, back to the real world. We have known these Mauricio and Shauna for 25 years. Our kids can’t believe that we were hanging out with them before we all got married. They got married 6 months after us and have kids finishing high school as well. We last saw them about 11 years ago.

Czech Republic

Dinner and a Movie

Went to Mathias and Carrie’s house for dinner. Tan made a Vietnamese 4 course banquet. Our friends, the Mudrick’s were there and other new friends. The house was full of happy kids and dogs. We got to meet  Steve and Oddny Gumaer. They started a group that puts teams in the jungles of Burma to help people who are running from the military. Yea, you read that right. Pretty harsh stuff that we have never heard of before. The military runs the country and when they want oil or anything else valuable on the land a village is at they just take it. Well, they don’t just take it, they burn the villages, chase and kill the inhabitants. They have done this to thousands of villages. These aren’t some minority group in their country it is just normal villagers. Steve and Oddny told the story of a nine year old girl whose village was attacked and showed us a short movie. Steve and Oddny’s group put teams of people in the jungles to provide safe havens for people to run to and get help. They even have doctors on their teams.  I tell you, I had no idea this was going on.

Czech Republic

Divoka Sarka

Sorry for the silence but we have been camping on some friend’s land in the Divoka Sarka on the outskirts of Prague. It is an old farm that was last used by the Nazi’s. Legend has it that the Communists and the Nazis had a bit of a battle right at the edge of the land. The new owners plan to make it into a retreat center, farm, home for 3 families and ??? It was a wonderful time with frequent bike trips to the spring fed pool and the pub right next door, which can only be reached on foot or bike.

We have received a homecoming welcome from our old friends. Made new friends that feel like old ones already. We have had our backs cracked by the muscly amature chiropractor next door. Chased fireflies with his wife. Heard hilarious stories from a very aminated czech ambassador. Heard from a Thai businesswoman about an amazing education program she is involved with in Thailand where their students learn practical skills for life and their 8 year old graduates must build a house before they can graduate. We drank great czech beer (the kids drank Kofola, alias communist coke) and ate great czech food.

WOW! What a great week. We have now left and are at the SLOT art festival in Poland. We have been invited to return to Divoka Sarka after SLOT to do some work on our truck. Hmmmmm… what would you do?


Me and My Piano


Today I got a special piano. I was playing it all the time. I tried it out in the shop before we bought it to see if I liked it. Everyone stopped to look at me. Even the man trying out a harmonica. I played “I have a dream” from “Mama Mia”. I didn’t make any mistakes. I liked my piano so much that I stopped to play on the streets as many times as my mum would let me. TJ