Category Archives: Travel Adventures: Living Our Dreams

Surfing In Jaco

Today the boys got to go for their surfing lesson at 8 am ..Although it was low tide there were some good waves to ride.

The boys were with their instructor _DSC3589Gonzalo who is an awesome surfer and really pushes the boys hard….and they love it.

They both managed to ride a wave after wave….And even waved to the camera while doing it…

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I got this one

I got this one

 

Of course there were also some spills…

Ooooo nooo

Ooooo nooo

 

Or not

Or not

When it was all over the boys felt great and can’t wait till they go out again tomorrow.

I'm cool

I’m cool

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Surfing With Josymar

The morning after we arrived in Jaco the boys and I had the incredible opportunity to have a private surf lesson with Josymar, one of the top surfers in Costa Rica. _DSC2914He is a talented and well-known surfer, an enthusiastic instructor, and very passionate about his sport.  The boys just loved their lesson and did amazing.IMG_4504

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4422I managed to catch some waves but was out of breath after only half an hour, but I did not want to quit since it was so much fun….Tonia was taking some pictures and watching us nervously from the shoreline. 
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We can’t wait to get out again

A Rainy Day …Yahoooo!

Today was a great day….Tonia and I were up at 6:30 am…yes I was even up : ), the boys got up around 7:30 and by 8:50 we were out of the door and heading to Budget car rental to pick up our car for the week.

Of course the car was not ready at the time we booked it since they had to bring it in from the airport town of Liberia, so we decided to go to the bank to cash some money which was an interesting process…when you first walk in to the bank you are greeted by an armed guard who asks you what you need then gives you a number and directs you to a seat so you can wait for the tellers to call you.  It is very quiet and formal, only one person is allowed at the teller at a time, and you must have your passport at all times…no one seems to be in a rush though and the teller actually smiles.

After the bank we decided to go for a coffee at a small cafe

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(Costa Rican coffee tastes great by the way). and while there we met a couple who happened to be involved with the art community in town and asked me to submit my work for a show…so I am excited about the opportunity. After our coffee we headed back to Budget and picked up our car, the rep was great and very professional although not in a rush…it is so hot here so everyone moves a little slower. 

Did I mention that it is really hot here.  It seems that there is always a layer of sweat on your skin.

We headed to Santa Cruse (a small town about a half hour drive from Tamarindo). For lunch we enjoyed a Fish Casado which is a typical local dish

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..it was fresh and tasty and with service to match…and only cost about $10. 

While we waited for our meal though we were excited when we heard some thunder….and then the rain came down!…the rain seemed to cool everything down and no one seemed to be concerned about getting wet.  The rain was welcomed with celebration, coming in the midst of a season with not nearly enough rain, and an overwhelmingly relentless heat that need to break.  Yahoo!

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The low clouds created a mist rising over the forest on the surrounding hills so I had to stop for a quick picture.

When we got back into Tamarindo the rain started again and the streets were muddy.

Navigating the rain filled potholes with the little Toyota was a challenge, but we made it home and prepared a healthy dinner.

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By the way we still have running water. Another Yahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve Arrived!

After nearly a year since we thought about this big move…we are finally in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, and it is hot…I mean really hot!

The final days leading up to this point were a blur, we had to to clean and deliver our boat to its new skippers. 
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Tonia and I then had to pack our home and prepare it for the new family who
would be moving in next month, meet with the bank to take care of our accounts,_DSC2673 meet with the lawyer to sign all the forms for the house sale, and then sort and pack our things for storage. And finally we had to tackle the “packing room”, a room full of the essentials which we would take with us into ten suitcases and four carry-ons. _DSC2759 This was a big challenge as there were so many things we really wanted to have here but had to instead pack away for another time.

To add to the craziness Tonia’s and I had to pick up our passports in MississaugaIMG_1138 (an hour plus drive away from home) the day before we were leaving.  Needless to say we were stressed, but we did manage to do it all in the neck of time…..We arrived within 40 minutes of closing – and were happy to have them in our hands.

An hour later, on August 18, we reached our hotel by the airport and had about a half hour to rest before some friends and family members came to say _DSC2779goodbye to us…we had a great time with everyone, and of course some hard and emotional goodbyes. 

After that we hit the sack and even managed to get a few hours of sleep. _DSC2799

Before we knew it though it was time to get up (3am) and head to the airport. _DSC2803the boys were great and did not complain about having to get up so early. They were so excited. Even after we stood in line for over two hours they were well behaved and able to hold it together.  Thanks to US customs we almost missed our flight…yes we arrived at the gate just over seven minutes before the plane was scheduled to take off…that was crazy.

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IMG_1143Our flight was uneventful and after a brief stop in Atlanta we finally landed in Liberia, Costa Rica…We even managed to have almost all our suitcases arrive with us! All except for one which stayed in Atlanta for another day…Costa Rican customs was great, they never blinked an eye, and off we went with four carts of luggage onto Costa Rican soil.  As we walked out of the airport we were greeted by a familiar face holding a sign with Tonia’s name on it….it was our shuttle driver who had brought IMG_1154us to the airport the last time we were in Costa Rica…we loaded our bags and an hour later we were in Tamarindo in front of our new home. We were greeted by a smiling condo manager (Liane) and two other gentlemen who helped us to bring our bags up to the third floor…We were welcomed by a plate of cookies, and a bottle of wine being chilled in the fridge.  Thanks so much Liane!  You are the best!

Did I tell you how hot it was?….well lets just say it was really really hot…we were tired, excited, and looking forward to a nice cold shower…….That was not to be though as we found out that our condo did not have running water and there were workers who were installing a reserve water tank in the condo….of course we were told that this would be done in a an hour or so.  Turns out we learned right away what is meant by the term Tico Time….

Now we are in our third day and finally today we resolved the water issue.  Lucky for us we have a pool and the ocean is only six minute walk from here so we are just rolling with it and hopefully we will continue to have water tomorrow.

For now we’ll just say “Pura Vida”…or in another words, take it as it comes, be in the moment, live the good life….

 

Letting Go: Nine Days and Counting

So today we said our goodbyes to Mom and Dad and Auntie Laura. It was an emotional day for Tonia which is to be expected…For me it was a little easier as I was busy at Camp Cuisine where I get to spend the next four days teaching 27 kids how to prepare and appreciate good food. Rewarding.

We also spent some time with our boys sorting through their room…it was a little hard for them at times as they had to make some hard decisions between things they wanted to bring and the things they could not due to the limited space in our suitcases.  We had to explain a few times about the limited space we had, they did great and we are proud of their resiliency.

It is amazing how much stuff we managed to accumulate in the 8 years we’ve been in Barrie.  It is quite liberating to let go of so much of it…although hard at times as we tend to get attached to so much of the things around us.  Today we let go of our books, the big 55″ television by our cozy fireplace and the dining room table where we came together every night telling our stories of the day.  It was the gathering spot for games we played and often had great meals with family and friends. We will miss this space and these things, but all in all it is nice to let go of these objects.

A couple of days ago we accepted a deposit on our sailboat.  A bitter sweet day.  We made a lot of memories on the boat.  It is sad to see it go.  “Mast Confusion” will always be a fond memory and will continue to give us many hours of telling stories of adventures on Lake Simcoe. We are happy to know that it will give much joy and weather many storms with its new skippers!

Tomorrow will be more online work for Tonia, camp for me and the boys and of course more sorting and packing.

Then off to Teta’s to see my sister and my niece who are leaving Canada to go to their homes in other corners of the world, Dallas, Texas and Haifa, Israel.  It was a treat to  get to connect with them and spend a few days with them before we all part ways on our separate planes…..

It is very surreal that in nine days we will be in a new country and starting a new life….OMG!

 

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The Last Supper: Ten More Days and Counting!

After months of contemplation, an exploratory trip to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, many months, and what seemed to be endless hours of work to prepare for our new adventure, (including selling our house, boat, and most of our possessions) we are finally in the packing stage with only ten days left before we board a plane from Toronto to Costa Rica.

Of course we have had many gatherings with family and friends to say our farewells, sometimes there were tears….there has also been much encouragement and support.

We are very excited, sometimes nervous, and often full of anticipation.

We will share our journey with all of you.  We have been consumed with the preparations but we are back online and will share all the details about our decision and our plan, and the adventure of our transition to life in Central America!!

Tonight we enjoyed a quiet one in our home – an unusual occurrence among all of the farewells.  Today we had our “Last Supper” with Mom and Dad and Auntie Laura. Thanks Mom!  Your world famous homemade lasagna rocks!!!  Thanks so much for your hard work!

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3 Climates, 1 Weekend: Sailing Simcoe

The winds, as predicted, were strong and gusty, and had the cold chill of October despite being mid-August.  The days ahead were meant to be equally fall-like, with rain, low temperatures, and cold nights. But with the rapid dwindling away of summer weekends, coupled with the kids’ disappointment at the possibility of yet another weather-dependent summer trip being cancelled…..we decided to make the trip across Lake Simcoe by sail anyway.  Besides, the wind was coming from the right direction – a north westerly.

We had already forgotten that only an hour earlier we had been arguing about whose load to carry on board was the heaviest, or that we all blamed someone other than ourselves for the temporary misplacement of the dock keys, or the sense of urgency with which we crossed the final chores off the checklist: fishing bait in cooler, wined stored safely, water tank filled, toilet emptied, and all safety gear made accessible.  We had already forgotten that we had been a sweaty, irritated mess of a family, as the waves and the water quickly transformed us into a zen-like peace, where we moved at one with the wind.

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Our Sailboat – Mast Confusion – on Lake Simcoe

Krazy Kid, who had never been seasick before in all his three summers as a miniature sailor, played games with the clouds to keep his eyes on the horizon, and his nausea at bay.  Roo played solo in the cabin, unaffected by the constant roll of the boat caused by four foot broadside waves, determined to finish his chapter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, before bugging someone to join him in a game of Crazy Eight Countdown.

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Sailing

 

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Bassam’s strength was well needed for pulling the ropes, as the wind, now at twenty knots, was shifty and the sails needed constant adjustments.  And I kept my eye on our destination ahead, not yet even in view across the vastness of a lake with no end.  The tiller revealed the force of our lake, and with its constant movement and fierce resistance, it appeared to be announcing its command of our journey.  And all the while, the wind never bowing down, as if to prove its equality in ruling our way, its presence is made known by its constant rush through the sails.  Its brush against our skin, after hours on the water, began to feel like an affectionate rub from an old, wise friend.

 

We passed by Johnson’s Beach, then Big Bay Point, then Hawkestone, and Carthew Bay along our way, but not without pointing out the obvious and taking a peak of these familiar places through the lens of our binoculars. Eventually, the shoreline on the other side of the lake showed itself, and the tower marking our destination came in and out of view as the bow of the boat bobbed up and down.  Our surrender to the powers that have carried us across our lake have made the five hour journey pass quickly.

Sailing 3

 

Sailboat 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A part in the clouds and a window in time makes for two eager little boys who whip off their shirts, happy for the sudden sunshine and their arrival at Lagoon City beach.  The sand is still cool, but the shallow beach allows them the freedom to escape the shoreline for what feels like miles away, uninhibited by swim ropes or lifeguards, just two boys who think they are fish and are living in the moment.

 

Lagoon City beach is always the warmest on the lake, but the cold winter left the lake frozen too long and the cool summer has failed to warm it up.  It wasn’t this that invited their departure from the beach though, but the dark clouds rolling quickly in and the promise given by the distant rumbling of a storm sure to come.

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Lagoon city

Lagoon cityWe spent two nights in Lagoon City, and all the hours of daylight that fit in between.  When the weather settled to a drizzle the boys cast their rods, and when we ran out of worms we found shelter in our 23 foot Sonic, or alternately, the Lakeview Restaurant, right next to where we were tied up – a place to put our feet on steady ground or get a little bit of space from one another’s energy.

 

Restaurants are typically to be avoided on sailing adventures  – as we strive to keep close to nature and spend hours swimming in the very waters on which we travelled – but this time the Lakeview became part of our limited world and a spot we ran to while jumping between puddles in already soaked shoes, looking forward to a warm tea and a welcoming smile.  There, with the comforting smell of peppermint tea, and the friendly conversation with our server, we began to appreciate that the poor weather had successfully slowed us all down.   Between deals for card tournaments, we found ourselves immersed in the lazy lagoon scene just outside the rain-soaked windows….mesmerized by the continuous, light tap-tap of drops running down to gather in the sills and the seldom passing by of other boats that also decided to test the waters.

 

And eventually, after a brief inspection of the drenched cockpit and the waterlogged on board barbecue, we lengthened our Lakeview stay and ordered dinner, a bottle of wine, and indulged in one too many turtle cheesecakes.  The food was good – but even better was the feeling of being invited for dinner at a neighbour’s comfortable home, of sharing cheerful conversation and connection with all those whirling around us, and the relaxation in knowing we only had to carry our full stomachs to our gently rocking bed a few steps away.

The weekend was one of those where one hour runs into the other, and one day into the next, and so it happened that we were sailing the distance back to where we came from.  Today it was an eight hour journey across the lake and down the bay.  We found ourselves at one time flopping and floating and sunny and windless (seizing the moment, we jumped off the boat into the chilly water and dared one another to do the same) and at another time in the strongest of winds, heeling so much that our sails were in the water (and letting out exhilarated hoots and hollers for the speeds we were reaching).

DCIM100GOPROAs we rounded the last bend and arrived back, slowly maneuvering through the marina to settle our Sonic back in its space, we knew this was a trip without a climax, and that our laundry bag was so much heavier going off board than when it came on board – not just being weighed down by wet bathing suits and evidence of incredible wet sailing, but also by memories of rain and dark clouds, and the irony of being forced to be idle in our ever moving tent on the water.

 

We roll into the dock, and in that very moment we spot, first by our ears and then with our eyes, a Bowrider leaping the length of the bay, and we smile at one another – knowing that a weekend journey for us would only take that noisy boat about 40 minutes.   I had thought all this time we had been somewhere else, and had been focused on the making the best of a wet weekend, on exploring old territory in a new way, and in the last hours, on my eagerness to reach home.  But now, as I stared towards the distance from which we came, and watched that motorboat quickly shrink from my vision as it sped away, I realized….despite our hours on the water we had never actually left home….It was in this moment that I experienced the peak in our trip, the break in our wave…Lake Simcoe was our backyard playground, the giver of adventures, the tester of our strengths, the enforcer of the rules of unwinding, the trickster in creating illusions with the passage of distance and time, and the wise teacher of the all the gifts right here at home.

Krazy Kid’s Krazy Jellyfish Story

Watch to hear my story of what happened to me in the mediterranean sea:

Part One

Part Two

 

Highlights of Jordan, By Random Roo

In Jordan there is a place called Petra.  It is a place where some Bedouins live and also a very ancient place.  So this is a story about what I did in Petra on the first day:

We arrived in Petra and drove to our hotel called Petra Moon Hotel and stayed in it for 5 to 10 minutes. Then we went to hike in the ancient mountains and rocks there.  They have awesome caves and stuff like that, and we got the through the first part by horse, past the ticket centre.  We walked through towering rocks that were like 50 to 100 feet tall.

_DSC8236When we got through the crack with towering rocks, we saw a place called the treasury.  Go on to google images and search up “Petra, Treasury” and you will see a variety of images of the treasury.

Later on we went to the part where you can ride mules or donkeys.  I rode on a donkey.  The experience of riding one was awesome.  The thing I didn’t like about it was the people riding them getting something to whip them with.  We rode up a bunch of stairs on the donkeys until we got to a high place.  We decided to walk up the rest of the mountain.  Eventually we reached a sign which said “Best View Ever”. We walked up that part of the mountain, which only took three minutes to walk up.  Then we saw a tent with people in it. Four of the people in it were Bedouins and one of them was_DSC7762 telling jokes and tons of riddles and he was really funny.  Another one made us tea from scratch.  It took him about about half an hour to make the tea but it turned out to be the BEST tea I have ever had in my life! It tasted minty and like they put honey in the tea.

When we were done our tea we took ten or fifteen minutes longer to talk a little bit more.  Then we walked back down the mountain part, past the sign, and walked to our donkeys, where we rode them out in the dark._DSC8185_2

 

Home Sweet Home

Home! Boys tucked in their own beds….and everything done that needs to be done tonight. Ahhhhhh! It is 4:30 am in Israel, so essentially we have been travelling for close to 24 hours. So tired! But the good kind of tired!

Night!

Xxxx

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