Born in the wine country of northern California in 1971, before it was know as wine country, my first 13 years were in a tract home in a subdivision near the elementary, middle school, and high school I attended.
In the neighboring fields that were not yet developed, I rode and fixed bmx dirt bikes, played in the creek catching crawdads, tadpoles, and frogs, and many hours in the sandbox and play structure in our backyard with the neighborhood kids and my brother, nearly two years older than I. We also had a play house. We also shot bb guns in the back yard. My dad had rifles and pistols.
I developed an interest in plants while gardening with my dad, the annual planting of the tomatoes, landscaping our front and back yards, having the chore of trimming the neighbors ivy off our side of the 100 foot long fence.
Somewhat of a delinquent neighbor, the ivy guy had a couple of torn up VW super beetles he claimed he was going to fix up. They sat in his side yard my entire childhood. We had every type of VW when I was growing up. I never liked them, their whirring sound, and always felt car sick in the back vinyl seats with those dumb windows that didn’t open, only propped and inch and locked. One of the VW buses we had blew its engine on the way to Disney Land. While my dad was worried he ruined our vacation, I was excited we got to ride in the front of a tow truck.
So I developed an interest in plants, plucking things around the neighborhood to decorate my sandbox neighborhood homes where my matchbox cars parked. Rode my bike on mothers day to a nursery and bought my mom a dianthus, Sweet William, which I guess I watered for many years because she said it died when I moved out and she was sad.
So I switched from Montgomery high school to Santa Rosa High School because they had a plant science program and were next door to the community college.
I met my wife at the community college and we walked our graduation with our daughter wearing a graduate cap while sitting in a front pack.
Ohio State was where my wife had family and where we got our masters degrees. I worked at a nursery and a sprout farm in a basement. We came back to California for a year and got pregnant before heading out to her job with the Department of Defense working with the preschools on army bases in Germany.
As civillians living off base, our son was born with two German midwives.
I had no work and the language classes weren’t quite making sense yet, so I had no friends there either, in the small 1000 year old walled village where we lived in the newer construction outside the walls near a series of lakes with swans. I planted a lovely vegetable garden and many flowers they said were lovely.
After the depression diagnosis by the military psychologist and heavy meds, I returned to California for a treatment program. Then the divorce. And struggles and debt and lawyers and parental alienation.
Many years growing older and bored of landscaping, I had been doing a side gig selling cookware. I decided to make a break from NorCal and move to Los Angeles, where I met Zoe.
One afternoon following a traffic stop with the LA County Sherrif, I strangely ended up in jail, at which point I’d had enough with the corruption of LA (they were since investigated by the FBI and the leadership quickly resigned). So we moved to upstate New York, Zoe’s home town of Ithaca, where I worked in farm to table restaurants and developed culinary skills. In 2015 we moved to Brooklyn where we now keep an apartment. We rent out our cars and apartment whIle dodging winter in warm places where the dollar is strong and the food is fresh.
Our 2016 South America tour was five countries in two months. Two months in Southeadt Asia or 2017. And that is why this blog exists, a place to see and remember epic travels in amazing places!