Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where Oh Where are The Senior Nomads?

After three months at home and more recently, two weeks in France, we are basking in Spain's Basque region in the charming city of Bilbao! 
The view from our balcony in Bilbao, Spain.
I am not sure what kept me from posting after we arrived in Seattle at the end of July. We were home for several special occasions including the wedding of our son Christopher to his lovely bride Jamie, and several other important celebrations, but I thought perhaps our day-to-day life "back home" might not be that interesting. Nor was I sure it was "Nomadic" (boy did I have that wrong).

Chris and Jamie's wedding with big brother Alistair officiating
Our four children Alistair, Chris, Kelly and Mary!
We agreed with our renters to continue the lease of our Queen Anne townhouse through next summer so we continued our quest to find spare guest rooms with friends and family - and of course, some great local airbnb options.

After flying over what truly has to be most spectacular city from the air (that would be Seattle) we settled into our home-away-from-home in the Murray-Robinson's guest house on Mercer Island.

Besides Chris's wedding we also celebrated Ryan Eastham and Teddy Picha's weddings. Three long- time family friends celebrating the same special occasion - the marriages of our sons!

In between we spent two weeks in Victoria, British Columbia. I highly recommend more than a Clipper trip and high tea next time you head up north. It's not all stuffed beavers, maple syrup,  Mounties and Ye Olde everything! Stay for a few days and enjoy great street entertainment, good food, lovely seaside walks and some of the best thrift shopping I've found anywhere. We landed a great airbnb just far away enough from the main harbor to feel like we were in a neighborhood:

We had a Ye Olde Good Time in Victoria
A great day trip to Sooke Harbor on Vancouver Island
Continuing our airbnb lovefest we made a three day stop on Bainbridge Island for the Picha wedding and then settled in for two weeks on Phinney Ridge. It was it fun to 'live' somewhere else in our own city - and give our poor friends a break.  The apartment was well designed, well decorated and filled with every amenity you could need to be comfortable:

One of my best days home. Fishing with George Harris at dawn.
We took a quick trip to San Francisco to make the necessary personal appearance, with checkbook in hand, at the French Consulate to renew our French visas. These documents allow us  unrestricted travel throughout Europe for a year so they are worth the paperwork and expense.

While we were there we met with staff at Airbnb HQ to share our story - after all, we stayed in airbnb apartments for at least 300 nights this past year. Maybe we can help them encourage other "seniors" to give this lifestyle a try.
Posing in front of Airbnb's new logo at HQ
Then it was on to Portland,Oregon to see Alistair and Jenny and grand kids Spencer and Lucy. Theirs is a household full of love and laughter. And all that it takes to manage a 7 and 9 year old, hold down two incredible careers, and still keep everyone fed, focused and on schedule.

We all hit the road to continue family time at the Campbell Junior's shared home in Black Butte Ranch near Bend. It was a relaxing weekend filled with walks in the woods, puzzles and games, art projects and some solid college football.

Family puzzle time at Black Butte with Jenny and the kids
Time for the Nomads to break camp and head to Sun Valley, Idaho. Thanks again to the Murray-Robinson's for sharing their second home - this one in Elkhorn Village. We had three weeks of sunny days and crisp nights. We arrived just in time for the trees to change color and every day brought new waves of orange, yellow and deep reds against dark green spruce trees and mocha mountains.

The iconic red barn heading into Sun Valley
We also witnessed The Running of the Sheep - the highlight of the valley-wide Sheep Festival. This involved standing along Ketchum's Main Street for quite some time in anticipation of 1,500 sheep who would arrive when they were darn well good and ready. There were other minor distractions disguised as a parade, but really, it was all about sheep blasting and bleating past a brave pastor standing firmly in the intersection holding a crooked staff while attempting to bless these beasts er' they go to winter pastures. 

The big event! 1,500 sheep make their way down main street.
We headed back to Seattle through Baker City, Oregon where we had THE best breakfast in America at the small town classic Inland Cafe. I am going to stand by that without any facts whatever to back it up. Onward for the picturesque drive along the Columbia River Gorge for a quick stop in Portland before  two final weeks on Mercer Island before leaving for Senior Nomads Round II. 

One last top up at the genius bar!
This time we had a lot to accomplish - errands, banking, visits to the storage unit, finding a place to store the car, doctors appointments (including getting prescriptions filled for the next year), shopping for Christmas, hugs, tears, and most importantly looking after Tyler Robinson, our 13 year old Godson for ten days while his parents took a well deserved trip to Florence.

Michael and Kelly at Beethoven Lives Upstairs at Benaroya Hall
Finally, it was time to squeeze our lives back into two suitcases and two backpacks. Our motto has been "If we're still having fun, haven't run out of money, fallen out of love, or fallen over and can't get up" we'll keep traveling and enjoying being Senior Nomads one day at a time.

Here we go again!
As I mentioned at the top we are in Bilbao, Spain as I write this. More on our current whereabouts and future plans in the next post. 

Thanks for reading,

Debbie and Michael Campbell
The Senior Nomads

1 comment :

  1. Sounds like you all had wonderful time over there! Well, I am also making plans for an outdoor family party. I think Seattle would be best place for that. First of all I would make a list of affordable event venues Seattle before planning anything else.