July 12, 2020
June marks our 3-year Barefoot Diary birthday…or anniversary…or milestone…whatever you choose to call it. It has been three years since we sold everything we owned and hit the road as house sitting travelers. Yee haw!
So far, we’ve survived two hurricanes, gasoline rationing, and two “mini” earthquakes. We’ve stumbled through communicating in Español for three very distinct Spanish dialects. We’ve wandered around totally lost many, many times in many, many places. And, to top it all off, we have hunkered down in two separate cities as the CV pandemic hit. We are still hunkering and, miracle of miracles, we still like each other! (well, most of the time)
So, all that should count for something, huh?
Traditionally, for a third anniversary you are supposed to give your partner leather…or crystal. But, we are maxed out on the weight for all of our suitcases, and, since our adventures have been virtually shut down by Coronavirus restrictions, we decided to reward ourselves with…with…a new website!
As many of you know we used to do web development and marketing prior to becoming travel bums. We had used another CMS system for designing and creating our sites. But, I figured it was about time for this old dog to join the rest of web world and learn WordPress. Baby, oh, baby…I’m here to tell you, it hasn’t been easy. But, heck, we sure weren’t doing anything else! So, ta da! Check out the new Barefoot Diary website.
Yay, old dogs! Woof!
We started out our third year in Cuenca, Ecuador, and right smack dab in the middle of a house sit where we took care of three adorable kitties (Phantom, Patches and Diamond). This was the first time either of us had ventured south of the equator and we had done our homework. We were prepared for things like toilet bowl water swirling counterclockwise, rather than clockwise, southern hemisphere seasons being opposite of the northern ones, and the moon being upside down in the south. We were ready to experience a semi-sci-fi opposite state of things, sort of like Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. We loved it! What we weren’t prepared for was the rain and chill-to-the-bone temperatures. But, we got accustomed to being wet…and cold, and thoroughly enjoyed our time “south of the line!”
Check Out Our Cuenca Stories:
Next, we were fortunate to do a 10-day house sit with an adorable pooch named Bella in the city of Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico. It took me the whole 10 days to learn to pronounce the name of the city correctly. (kay-ray-tah-row) Wow! What a city. Rich in history, art and ornate architecture, we were sorry we couldn’t stay longer.
Did you know that Queretaro was twice the capital of Mexico?
The Queretaro Aqueducts are located In the middle of the city (and right outside our front door). There are 75 of these monolithic structures that were designed and constructed in the early 1700s to provide clean drinking water to the city. The tallest arch is roughly 23 meters (75 feet) so when we were lost all we had to do was look for the arches and eventually we found our way home. We barely scratched the surface of all that this marvelous city has to offer so we are hoping to return some day.
Queretaro stories: All Dolled Up
In between house sits we like to “reward” ourselves with mini trips where we can act like tourists, so we moseyed over to Mexico City, which is the largest city in North America. John found us a great place to stay in the middle of downtown (Centro Histórico) and we walked and got lost several times – there were no big arches there!
The coolest thing about Mexico City, for us, is the art: statues, fountains and galleries galore! We roamed the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which itself is an art deco, neoclassical architectural masterpiece and considered one of the finest art museums in the world. We were able to see, in person, the amazing mural artwork of Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo and José Clemente Orozco, which prior to our visit we had only seen in books and online. Our cultural chalices were filled to the brim!
Mexico City Stories: Por Favor Señor Postman
In 2017, we left part of our hearts on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. So when two back to back house sits became available on Vieques, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return for the 2-year anniversaries of both. It was great to be with dear friends and experience one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
In 2017, we left devastation, and returned to the lush tropical paradise that we fell in love with the first time we were there. We, again, swam at Caracas Beach at least every other day, I ran with the wild horses at Mosquito Pier and every Tuesday night we went to Trivia Night at a local downtown bar, Sombrero Viejo. Cliff, Bob, John, and I were four-time trivia champs. Yep, all our hours of watching Jeopardy finally paid off!
Puerto Rico Stories: Duck, Duck Mongoose
We had no idea how the world would change once 2020 got here. Nobody did. We consider ourselves blessed to have spent this unsteady time in Cancun at a beautiful home with a pool and a menagerie of adorable pets. We celebrated Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Christmas, Valentines, and John’s birthday there before we, like the rest of the world, entered the Twilight Zone and were officially ordered not to leave the house.
Cancun Stories to come: Falling for Isla Mujeres
After scheduling and having to reschedule flights 4 times we were finally able to get to our next house sit in the quaint fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Barra de Navidad. We are tending the three boutique villas of Villas Santa Barbara, during their off season. We are situated right on one of the canals, so instead of having cars driving by in front of our house, we are graced with a daily procession of fishermen in their pangas, off to work. It’s a blast and definitely something neither one of us has ever experienced.
Barra Stories to come: From Sea to Shining Sea – Mexican Style, Quarantini, Welcome to Barradise, and more!
A year ago we celebrated our 2-year travel anniversary with a piece called “Regretting Nothing.” And, guess what? Even today, one year later, having struggled with travel restrictions and cancellations, fervently combing stores to find masks and hand sanitizer when shelves were bare, living in a foreign country during a pandemic, and not knowing the future of house sitting, we still REGRET NOTHING.
When my sons were small and I’d take them to a doctor to get shots or I helped them prepare for something that would be painful, in “mom speak” I’d tell them to concentrate on anything but the pain, to think of something else…like Mickey Mouse! So, now, every time when we know there will be pain or hardship we all recite the mantra, “Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse….”
These uncertain times, too, shall pass, my friends. This isn’t forever. And, although it might look very different on the other side of it all, it will pass. “Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse….”
The past three years our shenanigans have been more diverse and downright wacky than we ever dreamed. We abandoned our old lives and took a chance on something we’d never done, and now I can’t imagine living any other way.
We are exceedingly grateful that you have chosen to be a part of our journey and look forward to sharing more stories, places and incredible people.