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You have probably heard of “slow food”, but what about “slow travel”? We are on a journey of seeing the world with the goal of slowly savoring the places we visit. We may not see it all, nor do we visit all the tourist hot spots, but we are immersing ourselves in the places we visit. Here is a sampling of what we have done in our first year (almost) of slow travel.

In mid April of 2013 we packed up our few remaining belongings and headed for a few days in Portland, Oregon. This is such a fun city anyway, but is special for us because both of our grown sons live there. We enjoy Portland for its vibrant little city culture, full of intriguing neighborhoods. Our kids know so many great places to eat, walk, swim and just hang out. We have enjoyed these little haunts and the lovely and green parks and rivers.

Next we whizzed (not so slow here) across the US to get to Boston and hang out with Neil’s dad who is in his 90’s and just made the move from California to Massachusetts- what a trouper! Here we enjoyed walking the lovely little neighborhood just coming into spring. We walked in the Audubon grounds and went to a little farmer’s market for fresh oysters and produce.

Our first official house sit (not for family) was in the greater Toronto area, where we relaxed for two months. We enjoyed using the great train system into Toronto, walking, dining and visiting the pandas at the zoo and the amazing Casa Loma, a palatial home built by a visionary who loved tropical plants and beautiful architecture. Our home was a relaxing oasis with a little pond and a lovely sunroom with hot tub. Here we watched summer turn from chilly enough for coats to humid and sunny. We walked each day, along the shores of Lake Ontario.

After another week connecting with family we flew off for another slice of Portland summer, four relaxing days on the big island of Hawaii and a long flight to Perth, Western Australia.

Banyan Tree Sanctuary, Kailua Kona, Hawaii

The view from the pool area at Banyan Tree Sancturary, where we stayed with our friend, Raybo.

Our destination was a little country town not far from the southern coastal town of Albany, WA. We spent almost six months here, getting to know the lovely locals (mostly retirees with little houses and big gardens and lots of time for activities). We learned to play Indoor Bowls, played Scrabble with an Aussie slant, and I (Laurie) went weekly to a lovely pottery studio where I made life long friends.

Not sure where we would head next, our long chats with our neighbors soon revealed that Bali was the obvious choice. We allowed the seasons in Bali, Thailand and Japan to dictate our next few months of travel. This will take us to a return to Boston about one year after we departed California. There we will pick up our car and head for Arizona for some really slow travel time around Phoenix, Scottsdale and Sedona.

By combining long house sitting assignments with adventure travel we are able to visit exotic places like Thailand and Bali, then relax and recharge during a house sit. While sitting we have time to write, catalog our photos and make plans for the next trip. We have a few destinations in mind, but mostly we let the next house sit dictate the new adventure location. The Universe has unfolded a brilliant itinerary for us and we are loving sharing it with you.

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