Chiang Mai days

Walking to the pool...keeping cool with our umbrellas
Walking to the pool…keeping cool with our umbrellas

I’m sitting here pool side writing this blog from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Today we leave Chiang Mai and head further north to spend time in the mountains and hills surrounding Chiang Mai and to spend more time with Evan’s brother Tim, our sister in law Oi and our niece Bam and nephew Ben.

It has been a good week. It’s been a week of acclimatizing to the heat. It’s been a week of exploring the neighborhood we’ve been staying in. It’s been a week of spending time with family. We have also eaten some really good Thai food. There has not been a day that has gone by without us eating some pad thai, one of Jamey and Becca’s favorite Thai dishes.

We started doing some home schooling this week, concentrating on getting the kids familiar with Thailand and it’s surrounding countries. They have been learning important Thai phrases, such as “where is the bathroom?” and “can I have some water please?”. They are both getting really comfortable with buying things at the local convenience store as we practiced counting to 10 in Thai before we left. I have been impressed by how easy it is for them to walk into a shop or restaurant and use what little Thai they know to communicate.

Early in the week we all went to see Tim’s family’s dentist. Evan had some dental work done on a previous trip and was very impressed with the dentist, so we decided we would all go and have her examine our teeth. Becca got a clean bill of health! Jamey had one small cavity that needed to be filled, and it turns out I had a cavity that was forming between 2 teeth. Evan needed a crown removed and a filling done as well. She was able to do my filling, Jamey’s filling and Evan’s dental work that morning for all of us, using typical western dentistry procedures. Our bill as we left was $70 US! Now we love our dentist back in Idaho, but for the price, it couldn’t be beat! Evan will return in 3 months before we fly to New Zealand to have a bridge put in. His bridge will cost $300 when all is said and done.

This has also been a week of adjusting to our life as we travel. It certainly is much slower in pace than what we were used to. Jamey and Becca have more hours to fill in each day as they don’t have friends to meet up with or libraries to ride their bikes too. I’m not off to work for 9 hours a day. Evan still checks in with his business emails daily, but can do this very efficiently. 

We are still figuring out how to all get along with each other while we are spending so much time together. For the most part Jamey and Becca have been getting along very well. The heat certainly can make them fiesty with each other so if we stop for a fruit shake in the shade, their attitudes and kindness towards to each other changes for the better. It was so great for them to have their cousins spend the night at the house we are staying at in Chiang Mai. I loved seeing how quickly they became comfortable with each other. Ben and Bam were amazing market guides one evening. It was so great having them with us, explaining all the different food choices available.

We have also been finding ways to deal with homesickness. Becca has felt this the most. We have been swimming alot this week. She told me that when she is swimming, she feels like she is back home so that has been really helping her feel better. We’ve also found that having some food with us that is familiar helps with homesickness to. We found a box of a cereal similar to Corn Flakes for the kids for breakfast and while it didn’t taste exactly like typical american Corn Flakes, they loved having cereal for breakfast.

I shared with a friend this week that we were all feeling a touch homesick because life here is so different than life in Idaho, and my wise friend said, “ah, but that is why you travel!”. I appreciated her wisdom. I needed that reminder. 

Here’s a sampling of pictures from our time here this week. Off today to see the mountains, may not have great wifi while we are away but I will reply to comments and post again when we get some wifi back!

Keep well everyone, know that we are thinking of you and enjoy the last few weeks of summer before everyone heads back to school routines!

xo Nicola

Our first days, Hong Kong

on our way
on our way, photo taken by Jillian Roderick Killburn
Bon Voyage! photo taken by Charlene Babb
Bon Voyage! photo taken by Charlene Babb

After 20 hours of travel, we arrived to Hong Kong International airport at 11pm. We were weary from a near full day of travel, and made our way to the apartment we rented through Air B&B for our 4 day stay in Hong Kong in the neighborhood of Sai Ying Pun.

The streets were quiet as we walked from the bus stop to the apartment, with many shops boarded up and closed for the night. The scene the following morning was so very different. Hong Kong came to life with people walking up and down the streets. We passed shops that sold any thing and everything. We passed by women carrying whole chickens in small plastic bags as they made their way home. We passed by fish markets and vegetable markets. 
We spent much of our time in Hong Kong exploring the various markets and parks that were close to our apartment. We kept our trips short in the morning as none of us found the humidity and the heat easy to tolerate. We spent the afternoons reading and cooling off in our apartment before wandering out to check out another part of the city in the evenings. Their public transportation system is incredible. It makes it so easy to find your way.

Our favorite day was our last day when we got to see the view of Hong Kong from the top of Victoria Peak and found a lovely beach side spot on the southern side of Hong Kong Island called Shek-o. We swam in the sea, Jamey and Becca body surfed in the waves and we felt less sticky and more relaxed being on the beach where it wasn’t so crowded.

It was such an interesting experience being in Hong Kong; however, the smells and busyness and heat were overwhelming at times. I think we each felt homesick at different times during our 3 days in Hong Kong. Jamey and Becca are now starting to understand the term “culture shock” but found things that they loved about Hong Kong despite how different it is to Coeur d’Alene.

We headed for Chiang Mai, Thailand on the morning of Aug 21st. My Canadian friends and family will appreciate how excited I was to be able to sit in the lovely Hong Kong International airport and watch and listen to an hour of The Tragically Hip’s final concert. It brought back so many memories of my days at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario…the soundtrack for those great years. Gordon Downie will be missed.

We are now in Thailand! Sawadee ka!! (hello in Thai) Hope you are all well, we miss you!

Mise en place…

My clothes for one year…

Mise en place is a french cooking term for “everything in its place”…it’s uncanny the timing that this term popped up for August 16th, in my “Happiness Project-one sentence journal for mothers” that I have been writing in since June 2013. Mise en place, everything in its place…as we head off on our journey. The quote in my journal states, “mise en place is preparation, but it’s also a state of mind.”

For the past 2 1/2 years, Evan and I have worked towards this date. It is here, everything is in its place. Barney is peaceful, the house is ready for the renters, the cars have been sold. Our passports are ready for stamps from foreign lands, our backpacks are packed. International drivers licenses have been purchased. We all accomplished the 100 mile challenge. We have spent the last few weeks saying our good byes to friends and family that we will think of fondly and certainly miss while we are away. The plants have been watered.We just took one last dip in Lake Coeur d’Alene with some dear friends after dinner with our treasured adopted grandma Julia.

Thank you Idaho for being such a beautiful place to return too…but we are ready! Everything in its place! Jumping in feet first!

Becca taking one last jump into Priest Lake 8/14/16, taken by Jen Lamb
Becca taking one last jump into Priest Lake 8/14/16, taken by Jen Lamberth


Next post will be from Hong Kong. Please keep in touch!

love, Nicola


One week away!

Empty now...but soon to be packed for our adventure!
Empty now…but soon to be packed for our adventure!


Our back packs sit empty, yet they will be ready to go when we are. I had my last day of work Aug 5th. It was so nice to celebrate my last day with my colleagues and my patients.  I was surprised to find myself tearful on my drive home from work. I think it all just hit me then. We are doing this. This trip that we have talked about, and planned for and saved for, and dreamed about is happening. We are one week away.

Our cars have been sold, the house is getting prepared for our long term renters, we are spending time with friends and eating the last of our food. The backpacks are ready with our nations flags…good conversation starters in airports, bus stations, hostels. Also a reminder of home when we are far from home. We are one week away.

I almost cannot believe that we are one week away, but at the same time this trip has been on my mind nearly everyday since Evan and I conceived it over 2 years ago.  We are now one week away.

A week away from stepping away from the familiar, the known, the routine…and stepping towards the unfamiliar, the unknown, a different routine. Stepping toward an adventure, an experience, a chance to see the world through the eyes of our kids and each other. We are one week away!

Can’t wait! World, we are ready for you!


Hi, it’s Becca



Hi, it’s Becca here! I am going to tell you how I’m feeling about our big trip. I am nervcited (nervous+excited). I am also sad because I am going to miss all of my friends.

We all miss Barney, but we’ll just have to think about the happy and funny experiences that we had with our beloved dog, Barney.

I am most excited to go to New Zealand to see my cousins, and also some from Toronto. I am going to have my birthday in New Zealand.



Hi, it’s Jamey

Hello, it’s Jamey here. My mom told me to do a blog post about how I am feeling about the trip.

So, the big trip is making me nervous. I know I’m going to have fun, but it’s going to take a lot of getting used to. I am excited about the currency and meeting people. I know this trip is going to be fun and I can’t wait!!!