February ’16 – Snapshot of life in the Philippines

We recently came back from the Philippines where we were visiting families of the new kids that joined the ICM Choir. We had the chance to visit new communities and take a look at this beautiful country and beautiful people with fresh eyes.

It’s important to remember to stop from time to time, to look up from our mobile phones and take a look at the world around us. Here is a snapshot of life in the Philippines.

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Four Corners

With Michal having to take a short trip to Poland, I spent a fantastic week in Seattle with dear friends. They were terrific hosts; and my week was full of music, wonderful food and watching my first baseball game.

But as soon as Michal landed, we were back on the road, and as we’re getting close to the end of our trip, we have just accomplished one of the challenges that we set ourselves: to visit the most extreme compass points of the 48 States.

East: Quoddy Head State Park, Maine – 1st May

The perfect place to officially start our trip. With strong winds, freezing temperatures and rugged rocks, it was a chilly start, but the sunrise was just breathtaking and we got our first glimpse into Canadian territory.

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South: Key West, Florida – 22nd May

Three hours from Miami, and only 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is an interesting mix of tourists and free spirits. You can almost taste the spirit of the Carribean! And with the relationship between the USA and Cuba getting warmer,  that Cuban spirit is only going to get stronger!

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North: Lake of The Woods, Minnesota – 17th June

Unfortunately, you can’t actually drive up to the northern tip during the summer without going through Canada. In winter, you can drive right over the frozen lake. So, we drove right up to the southern shore of this stunning lake, and enjoyed a sunset dinner.

_MG_6036West: Cape Flattery, Washington – 3rd August

We reached the western tip of the 48 States with our friends from Hong Kong who drove all the way down from Vancouver to join us. It was foggy, and so when we heard deep, loud noises coming from offshore, we weren’t sure if they were ships or whales! With huge cliffs and mysterious caves, the western tip was a lookout for local tribes for centuries passed…_MG_9011

We only have seven states left to visit on the quest to visit all 48… but at the end of the day, it’s the journey, not the destination, that really matters.

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Heading West

It’s the first of May. And we are officially starting our trip, from the Easternmost point in the United States. Since we have come from the “Orient”, or the East, in Hong Kong, it seemed perfect for us to start on the East of the United States.

This morning, in Lubec, Maine, we were the first people in the country to see the sun rise. It was stunning.
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Lighthouse at Quoddy Head State park

When we woke up this morning, it was 1 degree outside! Our sleeping bags are definitely earning their keep. We’re pretty sure that we’ll be missing this brisk weather when we’re sweating in the Arizona desert; but it has made the start of this trip a little chillier than expected.

(The British influence is coming out as I feel the need to report on the weather!)

We have already spent a couple of nights camped out in the Defender. We’ve heard of people who have lived out of their cars for years at a time… and we’re definitely not pros yet! We’re still trying to figure out what should go where, on the roof, in the back, or under the seas to make sure that the most frequently accessed stuff is easy to get our hands on. Luckily we have had ideal conditions without rain or wind making things too interesting; but it’s an difficult task trying to get water and power and food and light all going before the sun goes down.
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Famous Maine Lobsters

From Maine, we will head down to Boston, Rhode Island and then Connecticut. We have already driven through some beautiful scenery in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, so our list of visited states is off to a good start.

We’re beginning to see some of the diversity and extremes of this country. There’s still snow on the ground in some higher hills, while it’s grilling and sunbathing weather further South. From the wide, industrialised highways to the narrow dirt tracks on the edge of the country, our Land Rover is taking us to this nation’s four corners.

From East, now we’re on our way South. We really don’t know what to expect… sitting watching the beautiful sunrise, we’re dreaming of the months ahead. Louise already has some opportunities to play music in NYC and    further south. We’re dreaming up some creative projects, but lets see where the road take us…