Who is Liesbet?
Liesbet, a writer and memoirist I met in November 2015 on my blog, visited our home last week with her husband Mark and furry “daughter” Maya:
A teenager when a world map captivated her attention, Liesbet has pursued her dream to roam the world ever since:
- Native of Belgium, gaining American citizenship in 2019.
- Travels with husband Mark, whom she’s known since 2004.
- Has been writing a memoir of their nomadic life, including an eight-year sailing adventure, which took them from the Chesapeake Bay all the way to Tahiti, where they sold their floating home.
- Since the summer of 2017, have lived in a 19-foot Mercedes sprinter Westfalia camper named Zesty.
- Blogs about her itinerant life and her writing process regularly on Roaming About.
Since it’s January, I served them a hearty menu for lunch: chili with sour cream and shredded Cheddar, French bread, broccoli & cabbage slaw, a relish tray, and strawberry, lime, & mango sherbet for dessert.
A Valentine table decor seemed called for. After all, how many couples can survive (even thrive) together almost 24/7 for sixteen years. Wow!
Besides, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
Liesbet and I enjoyed a 4-hour visit, catching up face to face. It didn’t seem like a first encounter at all because I had already perceived her personality and aspirations from our online conversations.
When I met Liesbet at the door with hugs, the first words out of her mouth: “You look exactly like your picture!”
She did too, but I didn’t realize how tall she is. (She and Mark are both quite tall!)
Maya, who contentedly snoozed in the sunny lanai, took a walk in the preserve with us after lunch.
Then, we got a tour of the compact camper, which includes all the necessities. A 360-degree inspection of their RV, revealed living space (driver and passenger seat swivel into living room chairs), kitchen with sink and tucked-in refrigerator, shower, toilet, and lots of storage–over, beside, underneath–quite efficient!
Environmentally conscious, they’ve equipped their dwelling with solar panels.
Liesbet and Mark live on a very tight budget, which she summarized in a recent blog post: https://www.roamingabout.com/expense-report-2019/
Perhaps their willingness to forgo luxury for the common goal of savoring a life less ordinary is one key to their success.
Comparatively speaking, Liesbet is still young and has lived a life chock-full of many exotic destinations, her heart’s desire. Lover of adventure but also as writer, she ponders, “What should I include in my memoir? What slice of life? What theme should I focus on? (The rigors of travel on a budget? My relationship with Mark?)
Her take on the conundrum of memoir writing came through in a comment over two years ago on my blog from November 5, 2017 shortly after I met her.
Transforming the story you want to tell in a neat, attractive and compelling package must be the hardest thing!?! The more I read about memoir and the more I am trodding along with mine, the more I feel like I will need some professional help at some point. Not so much with creating the stories, adventures and highlights – that is what my life is about after all – but with the right angle, format and all that good stuff.
What aspect of Liesbet’s life would you be interested in reading about in her memoir?
How would you answer some of her questions about memoir writing?
A question or comment for Liesbet?
Where is the farthest you’ve traveled in the world? A favorite destination?
Good morning, Marian and Liesbet! How wonderful that you got to meet! It sounds like you had a lovely visit. I can’t help with the memoir writing, but good luck, Liesbet. Marian, I’m so pleased that you have all these events for your book. You’ve worked so hard, and I’m glad it and you are getting publicity (and sales).
Good morning, Merril and thanks for the wishes. Now you have to tell me how you manage to always be the first commenter on Marian’s blog. Are you in Europe? If you’re in the States, it’s pretty hard to “beat” Jill! 🙂
That’s so funny. I’m in New Jersey, but I’m awake early. Sometimes Jill does beat me. 🙂
She’s up with the chickens as she so vividly claims. 🙂
I’m just up with the cats. 😉
I’m so happy you were able to hook up with Liesbet and Mark in person, Marian. Hopefully they were able to enjoy some Florida sunshine and warmth. Wishing Liesbet all the best with her memoir and I’ll be waiting for her book on living on a shoestring budget, too!
It was so nice to finally meet Marian. And maybe we can even do a repeat the coming months, as we will be in Northern Florida for a little while. There has been sun and warmth, but – as you know – the last few days have been serious winter weather with winter coats and wool hats. But it should warm up again today.
If I ever write that shoestring budget book, it will be because of you. 🙂
As with other commentators, I am just thrilled how blogging has connected folks; I’ve had a few similar experiences and cherish those interactions. Thanks for sharing.
Connecting through our blogs is wonderful and rewarding, but nothing beats meeting up in person. I’m glad you had similar experiences, Beth.
Hi, Marian and Liesbet! So glad you had a lovely visit. That’s awesome! As for what I would want to see, you said it best, Marian: “Perhaps their willingness to forgo luxury for the common goal of savoring a life less ordinary is one key to their success.”
The farthest I have been is to Shanghai. I traveled there (well, really, we landed there, then drove three hours to a city called Wujiang) to teach at an English camp. Fifteen of us had over 400 students!
Hello L. Marie! I love that quote of Marian as well and if I tackle another book project, that could be the perfect theme to go by and keep me on track. Marian certainly has a way with words!
That English camp in China sounds mighty hectic and challenging! If my life would have taken a different tack, I have a feeling I’d be teaching internationally as well.
After having lived in a motorhome a little larger than Liesbet and Matk’s for 2 1/2 years, I am certain that the nature of their relationship is vital to their success living in such a confined space with only the basic necessities of life. There are many challenges to be faced, in our case the heating system breaking down in the coldest days of winter and having to wait nearly 2 weeks for it to be fixed is a good example. It might not have been so bad in a warmer climate, although the heat of the summer also brings its own problems.
I’d like to know what prompted them to choose this kind of nomadic life (in our case was Peter’s cancer diagnosis), the type of challenges they have encountered and how they overcame them and if they ever felt like throwing in the towel. What’s next for them? Highlights and lows are always very interesting.
You certainly understand our lifestyle, having lived it for two-and-a-half years. It can be (and often is) challenging, but that’s the trade-off for our choice to be free. Not having heat in winter sounds extremely uncomfortable, let alone for two weeks. I hope you settled in a motel room during that time!
Interesting you mention the climate when living in a camper… Everyone agrees that we need to be able to “live outside” as our indoor space is confined. Yet, often it’s either too cold or too hot. Having a dog now made that part a bit trickier as well. Mark and I have been chasing the perfect climate in the US for a few years and find it impossible to be comfortable 365 days a year. For some reason, we’ve always managed to catch the “coldest winter ever”, the “wettest spring ever”, or the “biggest heat wave ever”, in places from Arizona to California to Canada. 🙂
I like your questions – very human and fascinating – and I’d love to answer them here in detail, but it would produce an entire new book. Let me start with the last one: what’s next is as much your guess as mine, because we never plan. My hope: another international trip in a camper.
What prompted this lifestyle is not a particular event. As a matter of fact, Mark’s cancer diagnosis is what made him quit this lifestyle in the past. I’ve always loved traveling and did so extensively before I met Mark, who used to live a “normal” life. At that moment, it was almost time for me to return to Belgium, but Mark was eager to start his adventures. So, I kept going. 🙂
Yes, there have been many challenges (most are part of my memoir) and I think determination, love, and being in survival mode is how we overcame them. And, yes, there have been times we wanted to quit it all… because one thing is for sure, this nomadic lifestyle can be exhausting, especially since I’ve been doing it since 2003.
Hello, Liesbet. How nice to meet you like this! First of all, I’d like to express my admiration to you both for having lasted this long in your camper van, especially since you’ve been doing it for 17 years now. Secondly, thank you for your in-depth answer to my queries and for allowing me to get to know you a little better.
While it is true that we lived in our motorhome for 2 1/2 years, we also travelled in it extensively since the spring of 2010, when we got our first motorhome, a coachbuild, and travelled in it through Europe an average of 4 times a year during school holidays, the summer trips lasting 6 or 7 weeks. As you can imagine, we endured all kinds of mechanical breakdowns and all sorts of weather, including a very scary storm in Portugal and The Beast from the East in southern France, where we reached -8C near Toulouse! But whatever the hardships, we remember it all with fondness and look forward to our next break at Easter.
I kept a diary, which eventually turned into a blog, for all that time, but sadly I’m stopping my subscription at the end of January. I think I will follow your progress from now on and look forward to reading all about it. All the best to you both and hope Mark’s cancer, like my husband’s, is a thing of the past. Happy travels!
You must have covered a lot of ground in Europe in all those RVs. Fantastic.
Are you sure you want to cancel that blog subscription, after all the time, effort, and energy you put in it? The reason I ask is that I’m still paying for the web hosting of my old sailing blog (active 2007-2015) and I would regret losing it all, so it’s worth it to me to pay the $15 a year or so to keep the address/url. And, I know other sailors still get benefit out of it.
I’ve been a nomad for 17 years, but in different modes of transportation eight of those on a 35’ sailboat. Zesty has been our home for the last three years. 🙂
Today was actually Mark’s “last” check-up in Boston. The five-year mark. So far so good.
Yes, we visited many countries, especially when we took a whole year to travel during Peter’s convalescence.
As for my blog, it costs nearly $90 a year and, because I won’t be travelling so much, I really don’t think it’s worth it. Thank you for your encouragement, though.
Your life as a nomad really intrigues me and I’d certainly love to read all about it.
Congratulation to Mark on his recovery. I know only too well how scary it all is. Peter had his check-up in October and all was well, but needs to go every 3 months, so he’s due another one next week. Fingers crossed.
Ooooooh, Marian! I’m so flattered by your post about me. And Mark. And Maya. And Zesty. It was a joy to meet you and Cliff – you spoiled us rotten with good food and lovely gifts. Time went by way too fast.
Thank you for featuring me. I didn’t see you take any notes. 🙂 You did a perfect job with the facts and with finding the older comment on your blog. You’ll be my inspiration to get that memoir finished. And by that, I mean published as the story is written, but could benefit from being condensed some more.
I’ll keep an eye on your book presentation schedule and look up where those events take place. We will be in St. Augustine for a while, so maybe I can borrow a car and visit you once more, later in the spring. I’m still in awe of your organization skills and making it all happen!
Liesbet, I didn’t need to take notes. As you may guess, my memory is supplemented by your detailed “About” page, which readers can access when they click on your website: https://www.roamingabout.com/about-us/
About connecting again: The Feb. 29 book festival in downtown Jacksonville would feature hundreds of authors (10-3) . Also, if you are still in the area, you’d like the March 21 book signing at the funky Chamblin Books Uptown on a Saturday, 12 – 3:45. If any of the dates suit your schedule, you could certainly ride with us.
Thanks for that. I’ll keep it in mind. I also forgot to mention that I really like your title for this post, Marian.
How absolutely lovely to read this! Lucky all of you to have this meeting, chats and glorious food and Maya the sweet dog. Liesbet and Mark, keep on travelling and truckin’ – nothing can match the value of this experience of seeing the world in different places and circumstances, including the lovely people you meet along the way – Marian, take a bow 🙂
Write from your heart, the good and not so wonderful, the trials and tribulations, your impressions and experiences at the time, and in hindsight – I note that you don’t need that kind of ‘advice’ but start off well and the rest will follow.
Marian, you have a lovely schedule ahead – good luck with it all …
Good morning Susan! I’m glad you enjoyed the read and your remarks are spot on! I wouldn’t want to live any other way as the rewards beat the challenges. 🙂 And, you’ve pretty much summed up how my memoir is composed – and all in the present tense, so everyone can come along for the ride.
😀 if you ever come to South Africa, do come and stay – we’ve got space, for Maya as well. In the south of SA – and that goes for Marian and her husband as well. He’ll meet my animator son –
Thank you, Susan. Writers and artists meet – that would be lovely!
Thank you for the offer, Susan. We will take you up on that whenever we visit your country. We have a good friend who lives there as well and SA is very high on my list of places to explore and feel.
A memoir focused on the joys and challenges of living and traveling fulltime in an RV would be a fascinating read. Reading about it would be almost as good as living it.
My husband and I bought a 24′ Nomad fifth wheel about nine years ago and outfitted our long bed truck with a fifth wheel hitch. We were all set to travel the country. But before we could hit the road with Red Heeler Cattle Dog, Lady, a Supercell storm pounded our truck and RV with hail the size of softballs — only the hail was not soft! The truck was severely damaged, but repairable. However, our RV was totalled.
It was insured, and the check from the insurance company was enough to buy a very nice replacement. But just at that time, my adult daughter and my husband’s adult son needed urgent financial help. So we made the decision to use the insurance money to help our kids. And our dream of traveling across the country and the continent in an RV remained only a dream.
Now that we are nearly a decade older, I am glad to have a home that does not move. 😀
Wow, what a sad story about your truck and RV, Linda Lee! A hail storm totaling a fifth wheel, that is major damage. Such timing as well! But I’m glad the insurance came through and you got all your money back. On hindsight, it seem like it was meant to happen, so you could both help out your kids, which I’m sure feels like money better spent. I’d say maybe you can try again now, but you sound pretty happy being settled in a non-moving house. 🙂
I’d love to write a second memoir about the RV life one day as well. My first one predominantly covers our eight years on a sailboat.
Linda Lee, your eventful history with an RV would come under the category, “All things work together for good . . . ” even though your dream was suspended. What a compassionate heart you have, helping your kids with insurance money. Thanks, for adding more flavor to the conversation here. 🙂
I find it fascinating to see how other people live their lives, so this glimpse into a roaming lifestyle is great. Not for me, but interesting. As for the farthest I’ve been from home geographically… I guess it’d be Kawaii.
Hi Ally! Yep, this lifestyle sure isn’t for everyone. Most of my (Belgian) friends find it all very cool, but couldn’t do it. 🙂 I’d love to go to Hawaii one day. It’s on my mental list, but would be hard with a dog…
Marian — I never fail to smile while reading your posts, this one is no exception. I’m sure you can well imagine my face-splitting grin when I read: “Perhaps their willingness to forgo luxury for the common goal of savoring a life less ordinary is one key to their success.” yes, Yes, YES!
In unique Laurie-style (how else?) you are living a life less ordinary. Your readers love you for it. I’m glad this post made your grin. Thanks for allowing it to lead you to comment too!
Laurie, isn’t that the best line in the entire blog post? Yet, it’s such an easy thing for us to do as luxury is just that: luxury. Not really a part of “real” life experiences. Although, I have to admit that a comfortable couch, unlimited electricity, and a non-military shower would feel mighty good once in a while. 🙂
My blog is called “In Transit” (http://ens-intransit.blogspot.com/) because I’ve been a world traveller for most of my life (although not in a camper and not always by choice). I am retired now, and my blog is written with the perspective of looking back at all that has occurred. I see you are a Belgian native. My husband and I lived in Belgium for six months in 1968, learning French in preparation to go to the Congo to do Bible translation work. I experienced my first pregnancy there, so it will always hold a special place in my heart! I have not met Marian personally, but would love to visit her and have a heart to heart the way you did. She is obviously an awesome hostess!
Elfrieda, it makes sense that you have named your blog “in-transit” because you often publish retrospectives of your life on-the-go. I’ve wondered about that, and now I know for sure.
Thanks for visiting today and meeting Liesbet, who speaks Dutch along with English, but I have an inkling she speaks French too. 🙂
Always trust that inkling, Marian. 🙂
It’s always nice to meet other world travelers. I’ll be sure to check out your blog. Love the name!
Marian is an amazing hostess.
How special that you lived in Belgium for a little while and gave birth there. Interesting that you decided/had to learn French in Wallonie (or Brussels?) and not in France, but I’m sure that had to do with your mission in the Congo. The dialect is different. I hope you got to see a little bit of both countries as well. I bet you Zaire was an incredible experience…
Actually, Liesbet, our baby was born in the Congo, a few months after we arrived there. He was six weeks premature and only lived one day. The saddest day of my life! You can red about it in a blog post I wrote June 14, 2014.
Oh no! I’m so sorry to read that, Elfrieda. And for bringing back these sad memories. I totally understand that it’s a big part of you and will always be. <3
I am so delighted you got to meet face to face and to chat for four hours! I’m so impressed with your life style, Liesbet. I think writing a memoir would be difficult and Marian is the perfect person to talk to as her’s is a great example.
Darlene, as you may suspect, Liesbet has enough material for 2-3 books. Among other things, we talked about which angle she wants to pursue first. Thanks for offering your thoughts!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Darlene. I think Marian and I could easily use four more hours to talk blog and book stuff. Our husbands were there, so we couldn’t bore them too much. 🙂
Always great to meet someone like minded and the hours just fly by. I’m sure the hubbies found something in common as well. (other than writer wives)
The best thing about the internet is that sometimes we find people and stories so aligned with our own that we have to meet in person. Congrats, Marian, for building a community here that attracted a writer as fascinating as Liesbet. I travel a lot, but I have not used this method. I used to fantasize about doing so, however, mostly when I was grading student papers after midnight. 🙂
Oh, Shirley, are you glad you DON’T have to grade papers ever again. Paper grading was about the only thing I didn’t like about college teaching. A colleague admitted once, ” I’d teach for free, but you’d have to pay me to grade papers!”
About the serendipitous meeting: Liesbet and Mark travel all over North America, but sensibly seek the warmer states in winter. This is their first trip to Florida. I’ll see what the verdict is about returning. Availability of campsites is one factor, and I know that they have enjoyed the Osceola National Forest, just west of our city. We’ll see.
Availability of free campsites… Tricky stuff! 🙂
Hi Shirley! I used to grade student papers as well (sixth grade) back in Belgium, but that wasn’t what made me dream of changing “careers” or lifestyle choices. 🙂 The thing I hated most about being a teacher was all the red tape and the fact that we had to do “everything” – no substitute teachers or supervision people or personal time off or meetings within school hours in Belgium! But maybe that has changed by now.
I’ve been waiting anxiously to read this post – two wonderful bloggers I “know” meeting up in person. Hooray! Love the photos of you all.
I have many creative writing students who are interested in writing memoir. The best path they are taking is writing what I call “pods” from my prompts. For instance (with a simple example), if I say, “write about the color blue – 10 minutes” a person might suddenly remember the time she was training to be a pool summer lifeguard, and an older (established) male lifeguard almost drowned her in a spate of too-much enthusiastic training. A quick, fast-paced story written in 10 minutes, that then has the writer remembering more about her lifeguarding days (and the guys who kept asking her out). 🙂
Anyway, my writers and I have found that writing in short “pods” can really help in creating an exciting memoir. I also always suggest reading good published memoirs. The Glass Castle and Mennonite Daughter come to mind.
Marian – what a hostess you are! Love your theme and menu and lovely hospitality.
Other writers, including Liesbet, will read your writing prompt, and benefit. It strikes me that writing “pods” would be a good pre-writing exercise, one to get the juices flowing, especially on a day when inspiration runs low. Also, a great group exercise: The sharing would be fun – maybe even hilarious.
I gladly share the honor with Glass Castle, although I’m sure Jeannette Walls doesn’t know about Mennonite Daughter, at least not YET – ha! Jeannette’s heroine had a nomadic family life too, but not by choice as Liesbet and Mark have done.
Thanks for your enthusiastic response here. I think we’ll hug too when we meet eventually. 😀
Absolutely (re hugs)! By the way, I attended a talk by Jeannette Walls a few years ago. She is an excellent public speaker, and talks as openly and warmly as she writes. Perhaps you should send her a copy of your book! ;-0
Well hello Pam!
I’m thinking you might be the next writer on my “list” of favorite bloggers to meet soon. 🙂 Or maybe the second one in line as there is someone else in Florida I’d like to meet in person and I’m not heading back to Boston any time soon. Mark actually will be returning from there tomorrow. He hit the coldest spell of the year…
Thank you for the idea/tip/prompt about “pods”. I can’t see why that wouldn’t work or deliver some interesting memories and stories. And, now that I have my own signed copy, I plan on reading Mennonite Daughter again this year. 🙂
By the way, someone inserted a pink belly in those photos of me…I don’t actually look like that at all.
Pink bellies are better than green bellies – or blue ones! 🙂 Yes, it’s been bone-chilling cold here, thus, jealous of your time in FL. Hopefully when you are next up this way, it will be delightfully warm spring or summer. 🙂
It better be! 🙂
Hello Marian and Liesbet, how wonderful two cyber friends actually meet up face-to-face! I experienced this a few summers ago as three internet and writing friends visited the Portland area. Getting to meet each of them was a special summer gift.
As far as recommendations for Liesbet, read as many memoirs and books on memoir as you can which will give you insight to various formats, choices in what to slice of your life to share, etc. Some suggestions are included at these links on my site, https://sherreymeyer.com/suggested-reading-lifewriting-resources/ and https://sherreymeyer.com/book-reviews-book-reviews-list/. Thanks to both of you for sharing your time together with the rest of us!
Wow, your lists are exhaustive and useful. Sherrey. And your advice to read memoir is a sound one for any author, especially a memoirist. When I first started blogging, I noted that Shirley Showalter had read/reviewed 100 memoirs as she was writing her own. You are on the same track as your links to book reviews demonstrate. Thanks for sharing your amazing resource with Liesbet – and others.
I’m glad you got to meet some writer friends. If/When I visit Cliff’s family in Vancouver, I will surely make time for a visit (just over the border)!
Thank you for those tips and resources, Sherrey! I’ll be sure to check out your links. And, so nice you had blogging pals visit you in the Portland area. We have good memories of our stay there – a few nights at a cheap parking lot in town, and one night on the house boat of a sailing friend who lives “in” the Columbia River. I think that was on Hayden Island.
Meeting blogging friends seems easier if one party travels a lot. Most of the bloggers I met in person live out west – California (three) and Vancouver Island (two), where I missed out a few, not realizing they lived there until later!
Hi again Sherrey,
I now had a chance to look at your incredible list of book titles on the craft and book reviews. Wow – you do love memoirs! Reading them and writing one. 🙂
I’d like to add that I really enjoyed reading and working with “Your Life as Story” by Tristine Rainer and I also find a lot of value in the articles by Jane Friedman on her blog.
Great list of upcoming engagements for you, Marian.
How very cool that these explorers came your way, I’m sure you both enjoyed it immensely, thanks for sharing. It sounds like she’s asking the right questions with what to do/organize for her memoir.
I have yet to meet anyone I’ve only met online, but I hope that will happen sometime too.
Maybe meeting you will happen soon, Melodie. It would be lovely to visit Virginia this year, which didn’t happen on my launch.
I hope you get to meet other author friends too, maybe some whose work you edited when you worked at MennoMedia.
About the visitors: Florida is very attractive to explorers who are mobile, like Liesbet and Mark. It remains to be seen if they will return as there are several variables. They would be welcome at our house again though, that’s for sure.
That is very nice of you, Marian. I’m still having beautiful visions of that wonderfully red Valentine’s display on the table. And we surely enjoyed the leftover chili for lunch. 🙂
Hello Melodie! I like how you’re calling us “explorers”. I never thought of it that way. And, I hope you’ll be able to meet some blogging friends soon. It’s always a rewarding and interesting experience. 🙂
Hi Marian and Liesbet! Blogger meet-ups are so much fun! It’s like meeting dear, long-time friends for the first time. I haven’t met sweet Maya yet, but have been lucky to get together with Liesbet and Mark several times (and hopefully again in the future). How nice that you were able to spend time together and catch up.
Janis, thanks for introducing yourself to me and my readers here. Maya is easy-going just like her “parents.” I notice that you have two niches on your website that I can identify with: travel and gratitude. Isn’t it funny that we worried about what we were going to do when retired! Now, there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Again, welcome to my blog, and thanks for commenting here.
Marian, if you have time to follow one more blog, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Janis’s. 🙂
She and I have a lot in common, including worrying (needlessly) about what we would do after retirement. Thanks for the nudge, Liesbet!
Hello Janis! Thank you for visiting us here. I sure hope you and Paul will get to meet Maya one of these years. Remember that first time we met and we brought the little puppy we were pet sitting at the time? I’m so happy and grateful that we managed to get together a few more times since then. You are both part of our wonderful memories of San Diego!
How fantastic you two got to meet up! We tried last year when Liesbet came to Toronto, but it was a heat wave long weekend and short notice so we lost out. Glad you guys had a great time it looks like. 😉
Yes, Debby, I remember your efforts to meet Liesbet last year: maybe another time.
Florida is attractive to travelers, especially in the wintertime. And, yes, meeting Liesbet was like seeing a long-time friend for the first time. Thanks for stopping by this evening. 😀
Hi Debby! You can blame us for the short notice. That’s how we roll! LOL. The heat wave didn’t make things easier as well, as the three of us were suffering a tad in our little camper without shade and felt like we had to keep moving. Another time, for sure! In Canada, Mexico, or elsewhere. When you finally find that place in Arizona and better political situations occur… 🙂
Amen Sistah! 🙂
Wow – what an amazing live they lead!
They are young and adventuresome, and yes, an amazing life!
Not that young anymore, Marian. But we take it! 🙂
Well, young, compared to me, Liesbet! 😀
It’s not too shabby. 🙂
Wow, what a lot of comments. Thank you.
I’m fascinated too with what I summarize as “Roots” meeting “Rootlessness.”
I would love to hear if Liesbet and Mark feel like refugees, and how you find refuge. I’m sure you deal with this in your blog, which I haven’t yet looked at. But, I intend to do that.
That’s a good point, Dolores! All my family and original friends are all in Belgium and I barely get to see them anymore. Maximum once a year. But, I’ve been used to that and I’m not a homesick kind of woman to start with, plus we have friends all over the place and sometimes make new ones. Of course, that’s not quite the same. I touch on that a bit more underneath. But, what is home? Always an interesting question. Just like the one, “Where are you from?” that we get asked a lot. Tricky.
The answer to that question and to your “refuge” one melt together in “We are from wherever we are.” More concrete: traveling with your own house, whether on wheels or on hulls (sailboats), creates that refuge wherever we are. On the other hand – and I think this is part of your inquiry – we don’t “belong” anywhere. We travel through. We are nomads. We are transients. To be honest, I (Mark not so much) miss that sense of community sometimes. (Although here is a fine line between being part of a nice neighborhood and staying somewhere long enough to know all the gossip. :-)) And I miss that we don’t have friends around. It gets a tad lonely sometimes. That’s why a strong relationship between us spouses is so important as well.
Well, your lifestyle is certainly getting analyzed, Liesbet, not a bad thing. Dolores is a contemplative person. Several years ago I met her online when we both took a course in “Family History” from writer/poet Ben Vogt.
You are certainly generating a lot of interest here and fielding the questions well. Wow!
Thank you Liesbet. I signed up for your blog and look forward to adventuring with you two. Your partnership with Mark is wonderful.
Thanks, Dolores, Liesbet will be happy to see this. Fellow travelers on our earth walk – that’s how I see you (us)!
If Merrill is first I am usually the last ☺️You see I live in West Wales and it’s a very slow pace here 😁 Hello Liesbet , Mark and Marian you are so inspiring . I have always wanted to travel big ( I’ve traveled Europe) but have never done it , my one excuse being my dog . I have always had one and couldn’t live without one . I see you have beautiful Maya who is enjoying adventures with you …how wonderful.
How lovely to meet Marian . We are all a family here on Marian’s blog and feel we know her pretty well but to actually meet must be a hugging moment . I wish you all the best with your travels and memoir.
Arthur (King Charles ) get your hat and coat on we are off on our travels .
Cherry, you never fail to amuse. And you SHOW UP here, so no need to apologize for the timing. 😀
I’d love to join you in West Wales: first of all, to finally meet you, and secondly the slower pace, so appealing.
Grab your hat and coat, Cherry. Yes!
Based on my schedule, I’m often last commenting to Marian’s blog as well. This time is obviously different. 🙂 I sure love the slow pace you’re living at/in as well. Talk about a healthy lifestyle, being in the moment, and enjoying your surroundings…
Mark and I have lived with dogs extensively as well (ours and ones during our house and pet sitting years) – they are fantastic companions. We thought we could never live without them either, but when our last two dogs passed away – we were sailing full-time – we realized the benefits of not having dogs, which allowed us to cross oceans and visit islands we couldn’t have gone to with our furry friends.
That being said – based on the personality of your dog – travel is more than possible with them. We traveled with two big mixed breeds in Central America for a year in our previous truck camper and for three years in the Caribbean on our 35ft sailboat. Possible, but not necessarily easy. Yet, they are perfect to meet new people and start conversations with locals. 🙂 Having Maya has limited our options and freedom again, but she’s worth it and she is a really good traveler and explorer.
Happy travels (or walks) and trails with Arthur!
Meet-up are always neat! So glad you had this experience. I would like to discover the hardest place they have traveled to (for whatever reason) but were able to adapt to and learn from, and have fond memories of. Wow! You have a lot of comments, so many people must be interested in your meet-up. Thanks for sharing this story!
Hi, again, Amy. I usually get lots of comments, but not THIS many. My readers have become very interested in Liesbet and her nomadic life, which was the point of this blog post anyway. Thanks for stopping by on Spotlight Sunday and now on my blog. So honored!
You do always get a lot of comments, Marian. I think the reason they accumulated this time is because you and I both leave replies to all the comments. I bet you that boils down to about 33% more. 🙂
Hello Amy! Nice to see you here as well as in today’s thread at WLM.
Great question! Although, it appears tricky to reach a “hardest place” and then somehow have fond memories of it. But, it happens! The example I’m going to give you as an answer is more of a hard “journey” than a “destination”: it was our three-week Pacific Ocean crossing on our 35ft sailboat, from the Galápagos Islands to the Gambier Islands (French Polynesia).
Ten of the 21 days at sea were very rough and my husband and I pretty much got at each other’s throat and complained a lot, before turning into complete zombies, going through the motions of sailing and surviving. Nothing dangerous happened, just a lot of discomfort.
We were able to adapt to our circumstances by seeing the positive (me anyway) in the smallest joys and accomplishments. In general, we were and are able to adapt to any situation, since you have to in this lifestyle. Often, there is no way out or no other way, in the short run.
And, as with every experience, you come out of it wiser. I learned a lot about my husband’s desires in regards to our lifestyle (back then) and I learned that human beings are very resilient and adaptable. The reward (fond memories): exploring a little visited and remote island archipelago for two months, until it was time to sail on. 🙂
What a delightful visit. How very fun, Marian. I’m jealous!
Jacqui, how great to see your smile here! I know you support Liesbet to the hilt. When I discovered Liesbet and Mark were going to winter in Florida last year, it was an no brainer to invite them. I hoped they could “dock” in our driveway, but our low-hanging live oak in the front yard made that impossible. Still, we could share lunch and a 4-hour visit.
Not sure where you live, but Liesbet is a nomad, so no telling when your lives may intersect. Hope so! 🙂