The International – Bar & Restaurant

So the hubby and I were attending an awesome street fare last week in El Paso called Chalk the Block. See the review HERE. We were having a great time. Since, we brought our fur baby, we decided to eat at a local dog-friendly bar and restaurant instead of the food trucks. Needless to say it was disappointing.  But not the beer. The beer was amazing. If you want the details, click the link to my #YELP review.

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Mornings

Having decided to move my exercise regimen to the first thing in the morning to make it more consistent… no waiting to the end of the day to get it done and letting myself off the hook because it’s late.  This was the first morning I got to witness this city awaken at 6:30 in the am. Here, the city is serene and peaceful. Hardly anyone on the streets with the exception of a few workers heading to early opening businesses. Most everyone that works here lives outside the city’s borders and in about 20 minutes, it would be a completely different story. Taxis and other vehicles begin to flood the streets. Sidewalks begin to fill with people starting their own busy days. By 7:15, it is the normal full blown chaos of a typical municipality.
The city roars to life with all the sights and sounds one can imagine. Horns blowing, construction machinery lumber comes to life, and the deep tones of bus engines humming along as they ferry passengers to their destinations. But in the still of my morning walk, the rhythmic tunes of birds songing coupled with the flapping of wings made their own melody.  A few more blocks and off in the distance, I could hear the hypnotic whalings of the Islamic call to prayer. I had heard them before on recordings but this was live and in person. Translated… God is good… God is great…come to prayer. Astonishing in its simplicity but soul moving in its impact. It was impressive, to say the least.
I was alone in my thoughts. Appreciative of the fact that my better half had finally made it back home safely over the weekend. Leigh had to travel back to the U.S. for a week to work and as the travel Gods would have it, let’s just say it was not a particularly smooth endeavor. Needless to say, it caused me quite a few hours of stress. This morning’s exercise with the calm release that it provided, was just what the doctor ordered to set my world back on it’s axis. We are very seldom apart and I am always a bit off kilter without her within arms reach. Such is life however and I want to make the most of my alone time so I don’t get too depressed missing my beloved.

It was nice to gallop through the city and take the time to appreciate some of the architecture at the city’s center. Huge archways on old buildings. Quiet spaces for sitting. Artists sculptures for visual pleasures. All of this provided a tapestry that seemed to be gleaned from the imagination of a master impressionist of the 1800’s.  Once alive, the rhythm of Johannesburg is palpable. A constant driving beat of a city on the uptick. A synergistic collage of old world meets technology and the child it would spawn. The people are friendly and usually greet you with a smile and a friendly hello or Sawubona when I am taken for a local!  Not so different from my hometown in North Carolina, only on a much larger scale.
I think we are going to enjoy these morning jaunts when Leigh returns. It has been a little over 4 months since our arrival and Johannesburg still captures my imagination. It is still not exactly home but it remains a wonderful place to be!
Hurry home honey! I miss you bunches! Admit it you miss her witty interjections too, her usually bashing me for something or other, no doubt. No worries. She will be back to grace the pages of this blog before you know it.

Till next time
Peace and Blessings
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Reflections….

So many of you have asked why would we want to become transient.  Give up the security of a permanent location.  I know it sounds totally crazy! But to us, at this point in our lives, it makes perfect sense.  I only wish we had arrived at this place sooner.  You see we have owned the big, pretty house in the nice neighborhood.  We have owned the luxury cars. We have been there and done that.  It was nice.  But we worked a lot!  There were times when I would come home, eat, go to bed and get up, to start that race all over again.  I didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy what I had worked so hard for.

When I left North Carolina in the fall of 2012 to return to school to follow my passion (Teaching), I began adopting some minimalist techniques.  I also jumped on board with the tiny house craze.  I just love them. Well, the hubby, Tim, was not trying to hear about a tiny house.  Needless to say, we all have to follow our own paths. So, I began to reduce my “stuff.” Each year, I reduced and reduced.  Some years, I added more than I really needed, but that was my way of coping with some emotional issue.  #RetailTherapy

retail-therapy

When we began to prepare for our move to Johannesburg, South Africa, we decided that we weren’t sure where we would live when we returned stateside. It would depend upon our job situations. So, we gave away almost everything in our apartment in Long Beach, California and moved in with family for the last few months before we left. Let me tell you…it was the most amazing feeling!  We opened our doors at 10 am. The apartment was cleaned out by noon. The last family also offered to help us pack up what we had to move.

They say it is a blessing to give and I am a witness to that truth!  Our cups were running over after that experience.  We decided that we would continue to do that as we rented.  We love second-hand stores and can completely furnish an apartment with stuff we find there so why not, re-cycle it when done by offering it to someone in need.

recycle

Since being in South Africa, we have seen people with so much less and they still have a smile on their faces. There is the concept here called Ubuntu. (No, it’s not just an open source operating system). It basically means “humanity towards others.” We have lived our lives based on a pay-it-forward philosophy. This Ubuntu has resonated with us.  We want to live a life where not only can we enjoy the beauty in nature, come and go as we please but also help others. We have not decided how to give to others, but we do know that we will incorporate some regular volunteerism in our lives.

We also have several passions. We love wine. Cheap wine. Expensive wine. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s good to us.  I have also developed a taste for a whisky (with Tim’s prodding…lol) so I am looking forward to traveling around expanding my knowledge. Finally, we realized that we really enjoyed road trips!  We have had some of our best times in a car, whether it was going to a football game in Montreal, Florida, Wisconsin, Utah, Georgia, Arizona, Texas or driving to Mexico or Vegas for a mini-vacation.  We always have fun!  So we had initially decided to do the RV thang for a short term and then the more we researched it, we realized that this way of life could actually work for us.  I hate debt and this will help us get out from under it and remain debt free.

We also love to travel!  This lifestyle will afford us the ability to travel to other countries.  See friends who live abroad. Expand our horizons. We are going to meet up with some Norwegian friends next summer before heading back to the US. So excited!

Will we be full-time RVers for life?  Probably not, but who knows.  We will follow the route the Universe opens up for us.  Until later……

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And a Seed was planted….

My name is Leigh Lester-Holmes.  I am a pre-retiree. I have been with my partner, Tim, since 1995. We have been downsizing our “stuff” and our “lives” since 2012 when I decided to go back to school to get my PhD.  (I am still working on it). Currently, we are volunteering in Johannesburg, South Africa and living in the smallest space since we left our home in 2012.   I also have my own business, Holmes Unlimited. We are happier than we have ever been. We recently came across a Youtube Channel for Technomadia and that was all she wrote. We made the decision right then and there to go full-time when we return to the USA this fall.  We will be blogging and taking pictures along the way.

We love wine and whisky and hope to visit as many wineries and distilleries as possible. We also plan to  track down as many “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” locations as we can. We are foodies to our core!  Plus, we’ll be reviewing locations as well. I love to cook and I am learning to sew. Tim loves Football especially the Carolina Panthers so we plan to catch those games too.  We hope to find a company who wants to wrap the RV and we can earn a little come from it. Fingers crossed!

For us, this is about financial freedom and quality of life. We will share what we learn along the way. We look forward to getting your feedback on our blog and meeting up with you along our journey.