Uncategorized

The Next Adventure – No Address Required Abroad

Oh man, we suck at this blogging stuff (but we are pretty good at Instagram – so you should follow us there). We have a draft of a post from our visit to Chicago 4 months ago…Well, plenty has happened since then. We’ll start where we left off.

February – A Different Chicken Sandwich 

We have wrestled with the question, “Is Chicago still home?” So, knowing we were going back to visit, we were filled with both excited anticipation and anxiety about going back to the place we called home for 10 years, in which we had some of life’s highest highs and lowest lows.

Ok, so please address this weird, nonsensical header, already. Ok, I’m getting there – stay with me. We used to live around the corner from a restaurant in Lincoln Park called Dunlay’s on Clark, and they made my favorite grilled chicken sandwich of all time. Basil aoli, arugula, Monterey Jack cheese, tomato and herby seasoning that just married perfectly into a delicious taste bomb. So, on this visit back, we headed for this restaurant and I was very ready for it. When we sat down and I glanced at the menu, I realized it was gone. Not on the menu. Replaced by some far inferior fried chicken sandwich. I was heart broken, and we almost went somewhere else. But we decided to ask our server if, by chance, they could still make it. She assured me they could (I was not the only traumatized customer), and I was so relieved, and the excitement was rekindled. Fifteen minutes later, what was set in front of me was some completely different imposter of a grilled chicken sandwich. I had been led to believe that they were recreating the menu item I loved, when what they actually did was give me a grilled version of the new sandwich. I resigned to removing some items and getting some different toppings, but it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t bad at all, just different. Later, in the Lyft home, a friend asked, “How was the chicken sandwich?” To which I replied, “It was the closing of a chapter…” The next day, Reed and I were talking about our feelings about being back. After some reflective quiet, he said, “It’s a different chicken sandwich.”

It’s been exciting to see the changes that have occurred in Chicago since we left. And though it partly seems comfortable and familiar, we don’t feel a sense of belonging anywhere. There’s no doubt it’s a very special place that has much to offer that no other city can boast. It still tugs at my heart, but we have a lot of adventuring left to do.

After returning to the RV in Austin, we began our trip West through New Mexico and Arizona. Deserts and mountains were pretty, but we missed the ocean.

March – West Coast Best Coast?

We took a gamble on San Diego and booked a month stay at an RV Park that had so-so ratings online. We needed to slow down our travel pace after 5 months of moving cities every week. Really, we wanted to take a longer break earlier, but we didn’t want to stay longer than a week anywhere between Florida and San Diego.

Our gamble paid off. The RV park was great, the location was phenomenal, the weather consistently great, the surf always good. We visited Seaworld (second thoughts on the splash zone…), multiple museums, La Jolla cove, sunset cliffs, and obviously the beach. Reed also found a coworking spot blocks from the beach and a short bike ride from the RV.

And surprisingly to us, San Diego has a pretty vibrant musical theatre and opera scene. Rebekah went to multiple auditions in San Diego and up and down the Pacific coast. She loved the chance to get back into singing. She got way more comfortable belting audition cuts in the RV when all the neighbors could hear. It was some great audition practice…and maybe more than just practice.

April – To LA and Back

When our month was up in San Diego we decided to head up to LA. We booked an RV park that was right on the beach (also right under the main LAX runway…). We had a bunch of friends to visit, sights to see, and – of course – visit Disneyland (thank you Julie for the awesome, low cost trip). There were some really cool things to do and see in LA, but we found ourselves missing San Diego.

Fortunately, we had a reason to return to San Diego. Rebekah landed the amazing lead role of Diana Goodman in the musical Next to Normal at Coronado Playhouse. So we journeyed back down to San Diego (same great RV park). The kids were reunited with their friends at the RV park, the weather continued to be amazing, and our tans just got darker.

We settled into a routine of life and grew accustomed to our little part of San Diego. It is amazing how fast you can settle in somewhere, even when you don’t belong anywhere.

May – Rehearsal, Ultimate Frisbee, and Spain

Rebekah’s rehearsals ramped up in May and the show opened last Friday (see this amazing review of Rebekah’s performance). Although the show is a heavy story, Rebekah felt energized and alive through rehearsing and the first weekend of performances. It was great for her to be back on stage and to see her as the star of the show.

Reed and the kids found a welcoming group of ultimate players to join every week. They let the kids come in and play points throughout the game. They have all upped their game quite a bit. Lina is not that far away from being able to be a real player. Reed was also able to join their weekly league and their club team for a tournament. Where he of course hurt himself…

Reed had a particularly exciting week in May where he got to join the rest of his company in Spain. This was the first time he met most of the team in person (after 10 months of working together.) It is quite a long trip from San Diego to Gandia, Spain, but it was one of the best weeks of the year. And while Reed was gone, Rebekah got the exciting and terrifying job of moving the RV to a different RV park (and was very thankful for all the help from my mom)!

Over the almost three months we’ve been here, we have really loved the SoCal vibe (although we miss the truly urban city qualities such as convenient public transportation and walkability, and there’s something to be said about the midwesterner demeanor.)

Future – Finishing the US Stops and Taking on the World

Our stay in San Diego will last until mid-June. After that we will travel to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Denver. Then make stops in Lincoln, Madison, and Chicago to see family before…

We take No Address Required abroad. We are planning a 7 month trip across 7 cities in Europe and on the Mediterranean. We plan to leave in early September and make our way through Paris, London, Athens, Beirut, North Africa, Rome, and Spain, spending a month in each city/country. If you’ve spent any time in these places please contact us with your advice on anything.

We just put the RV up for sale (check it out here), and are making the travel plans to start this awesome next adventure. If you are interested in the RV, contact us through the form. We are super excited to travel internationally and show the kids the world.

Reed

Husband to Rebekah, father to Lina, Cainan, and Paxton. A lot of random interests and not afraid to take chance.

rrawhouser@gmail.com