Monday, November 9, 2020

Happy 8th Re-Birthday to Me!

Happy 8th Re-Birthday to Me! 

Eight years ago today, I stopped letting life happen to me. I rebirthed myself into a new life lived deliberately. Oh, what a journey it has been! 

The first few months of my eighth year were fairly typical. The highlights of those months include:
  • Leading a bike trip in Chile for Discovery Bicycle Tours.
    Cycling through the Lakes and Volcanoes region.
  • Living for seven weeks in Cuenca, my mostest favoritest city in South America. (It was a pleasure to have my Mom visit me for the final two weeks.)
    My Mom in Ecuador.
  • Housesitting for two kitties (Jakki & Judo) and a hot tub in my home state of Illinois for four weeks, and kitty sitting for Bean in beautiful Bellingham for 11 weeks.
  • Helping Discovery Bicycle launch their Adventure Bike Tours. (I look forward to leading the first two trips, the Green Mountain Gravel Adventure and the Olympics to Cascades Adventure, next summer.)
  • Writing an entry in My Gratitude Journal every day for an entire year.

...and then the coronavirus entered the scene.  

I hadn't quite appreciated just how dependent my life had been on travel -- bike touring in the summers, journeying overseas in the winters, and, in the in-betweens, housesitting for other people when they traveled. As has been the case for everyone, the pandemic put a crimp (a pretty major one) in my lifestyle. I had many adventures planned for this year. Many of those adventures were postponed, but most of them were cancelled. Onwards to Plan B Plan C Plan D Plan E Plan F for 2020! 

For the first time since I stopped letting life happen to me eight years ago, I feel as though the circumstances of the world have made it a wee bit challenging to deliberately live my life as I so choose. The pandemic, protests, and political unrest have been a source of anxiety -- a feeling that isn't typical for me. In these trying times, I've been grateful for the trivial things that have brought me joy and a heartfelt smile:
  • Listening to the amplified birdsongs during the initial stay-at-home orders, when few cars were on the roads and few planes were in the sky.
  • Hearing neighbors banging pots outside their front doors at 8pm every night during lockdown to represent unity and support for one another. (I have since set a nightly alarm on my phone that makes a banging pots sound at 8pm.)
  • Absorbing the restorative energy of trees.
    Relishing in nature at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.
  • Sailing on The Puget Sound.
    A blissful afternoon sail.
  • Journal writing to process and heal.
    Writing through my worries in my handmade journal.
  • Enjoying affectionate feline company. (Given the social isolation of the pandemic, I was grateful to housesit for Ricki in Bellevue, Meadow in Bellingham, and Haida in Seattle.)
    Snuggling with Ricki.
  • Temporarily escaping the real world via an intriguing novel. (I've read dozens and dozens of books in the last few months.)
  • Meditating and yoga, which never fail to soothe. (I had a delightfully delicious experience with The Presence Process, a ten-week meditation program into present moment awareness.)
    Relishing in The Presence Process.
  • Watching a bird move into the bird home my housemate and I built for the backyard.
A Bewick Wren houseshopping.
  • Watching neighbors stop to peruse the Little Free Library my housemate and I built for the front yard.
    Our Little Free Library.
  • Commuting by bike between Bellingham and Seattle. (These 90-mile rides were the closest I came to bike touring this summer.)

I have been fairly vigilant during the pandemic. Having firsthand experience with the chronic effects of a virus gone haywire, I appreciate the long-term dangers of the coronavirus. For the most part, I haven't felt comfortable traveling or visiting with friends. But, as time has progressed, and as we have come to understand more about the safety of wearing masks and social distancing, I've become more comfortable in cautiously resuming my lifestyle. 

Last month, I bought a cargo van to convert into an adventure mobile. Though I've greatly enjoyed being car-free, the van will allow me to safely resume adventuring in my own little bubble come spring. As I've been curious about van living for years, it's nice to have a Covid project that enables me to delve into that curiosity and to broaden my explorations in the near future. 

Cheers to a new year! Cheers to the re-birth of hope in our country! And cheers to the resumption of deliberate living!


  1. Great photo of your mom! Hi, Alice! Sarah, thanks for this post. It inspires me to start blogging again. I had not heard of the pot banging! Was it hard to find a place to house-sit as so many people were staying home during Covid?

    1. So good to hear from you, Kelly! I hope you and your family are doing well.

      The first time I heard pot banging was when I was in Barcelona. Every night, folks would bang pots while marching through the city showing solidarity for the Catalonian independence movement. The first time I heard the pot banging for the pandemic brought back memories from my visit to Barcelona. And now the sound of banging pots brings back multiple memories! When my alarm goes off nightly at 8pm, I take a minute to stop whatever I'm doing, close my eyes, and be grateful to be healthy and alive.

      As for the housesitting, I figured I wouldn't have any housesits until the pandemic passed. However, a few of my regulars felt comfortable doing their own travels and needed someone to watch their kitties. I've been especially appreciative to have kitty love the last few months.

      I've also fallen off the blog writing bandwagon. I've been doing a lot of writing, but all of it has been personal writing. I'm glad to hear you'll be starting up your blog again. I love reading your posts!

      Hugs to you, Kelly!

  2. Happy re-birth Sarah -Enjoy traveling in your Van and your planned bike tours next year. Sounds like your ready for more adventures!

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  4. I have just come to your blog from a JL Collins link and must say you are an inspiration and are living a life along the lines of what I am hoping for myself in a few years. I am excited to see how your Van build goes as this is the major project I plan to take on during the year of time I give myself to sell my various belongings and home before setting off to become more a citizen of the world. I really have enjoyed reading quite a few of your posts and am glad you have your voice out there!

    1. Hi Phoebe. Thanks for reaching out!

      The van build is chugging along. For a number of weeks, it wasn't appearing as though there was much progress, as I was focused on acquiring materials and doing "foundational work" (the floors, insulation, etc). I'm now to the part of the build where every build session is resulting in visible progress. It's fun to slowly see everything coming together.

      Enjoy the process of downsizing and becoming more free. Tis a rewarding journey. Cheers!


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