Christmas on the Road, 2015-2020 John’s reflections

When we first set out on our On The Road Journey our mission was to learn what it was like to actually live in, rather than just visit, other cultures. It never really occurred to us that this was a really big mission.

Since 2015, we have not been home for Christmas. Please, do not feel badly for us. It’s been our choice to see parts of the world that we’ve never seen before and may never get to see again, More importantly, we get to see these places during a very festive time of year. We thought today was a good day to share some of these experiences with you.So, the tradition of “being home for Christmas” has not been at the top of our priority list,

2015 — Ventura, California

Our very first official pet sitting experience was Christmas 2015 in Ventura, California. It was quite the time. One dog (Kiko), two cats (can’t remember their names), and Bun Bun the bunny who stayed outside and was pretty easy duty. It rained just about the entire time but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. John and Kiko became close buddies.

2016 – San Miguel de Allende

In 2016 we decided to spend 5 weeks in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Several friends in Fountain Hills, Arizona, our home, had spent time there, and had loads of good things to say about it.

We found a terrific apartment in “El Centro” just a few blocks from the “jardin” (the main plaza) but at the top of a very steep hill, We agreed to walk both ways everyday. Taxi’s are so inexpensive it would be easy to opt for one instead of walking up the hills. We walked everyday and surprisingly lost some weight.

Both of us immediately fell in love with San Miguel. The people are so happy, the food amazing and inexpensive, the architecture fascinating. The history and the art and culture are diverse and upbeat.

Christmas is a very big deal in San Miguel, all of Mexico for that matter.

2017 – Naples and Palermo

Naples and Palermo were particularly interesting as many friends and relatives advised us to visit another part of Italy. They said Naples was dirty and unsafe.

It turned out that with the exception of the weather (it was very cold and dreary in both cities) we really enjoyed ourselves, made great new the-rest-of-our-life friends and created many “forever memories”.

First, let us address the concerns of dirty and unsafe.

We should say this was said mostly about Naples. Ok, so the streets and sidewalks are not pristine. Have you ever been to New York, or Paris? Enough said about that.

Now, as for safety, if you are extremely concerned about safety, our advise is stay home. These days you need to be careful wherever you go. We have not had a single safety issue during our nearly five years of steady travel that is worth mentioning.

2018 — St. Albans, Australia

We found Australia mildly interesting. St. Albans, two hours from Sydney into the bush, was perhaps the most interesting place of all. A pet sit on around 14 acres with 3 cats, two dogs, two horses and 3 Alpaca. We thought we’d have our hands full. It turned out that the animals were a cinch compared to other stuff.

The house had little air conditioning (December & January is summer in Australia) and it was “hotter than the blazes of hell”, as John’s Dad used to say. On top of that, we had to cross a river via ferry to get to our home, just down the road from the Settlement Arms, the oldest Pub in Australia, and the place, one mile away, where we had to go if we needed anything at all.

So here we are in the bush on 14 acres —
— we had no backup power (before we got the generator)
— we couldn’t reach the homeowners (they we camping in New Zealand on their honeymoon
— we had 10 animals to care for (one with cushing’s disease)
— we had sketchy air conditioning
— it was hotter than all get out
— and the only help could be found at an old Pub 1 mile away.

To say we had a blast would be a gross understatement.The experience was like nothing we had ever done before. Oh, and we didn’t even mention the car trouble we had that cost us $3,000.00 US.

We would not trade this memory for anything.

2019 San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

We had wanted to return to San Miguel de Allende ever since our first visit. Two pet sits magically appeared (one a referral from Aussie pet siting friends Glenn and Jacqueline Lamb). December 8, 2019 to Mid March was just perfect as our home in Arizona is rented during those dates.

Both of us had quietly wondered if we’d like San Miguel as much as we did during our first visit in 2015. Surely it must have changed in five years.

Not that much, though. It felt like home right from the start. Two very different pet sits awaited us. The first in the Los Frailas neighborhood with three Chihuahua’s (Prince Charming, Pia, and Princessa). The second in the Ventanas Golf Resort sitting for Brenda (a very energetic street rescue) and Bug (Jitterbug, a big cuddling loving Bernese Mountain Dog and two cats, Mona and Mocha.

2020-2021 – Big Canoe, Georgia

And this bring us to our current Pet Sitting assignment in Big Canoe, Georgia. This ranks right up there with our Top Pet Sits of All Time.

The home is over the top beautiful, the homeowners went out of their way to decorate the entire house for Christmas (just for us), the dogs (Blue and Rudy) are wonderful, the cat Snickers has the most vocal personality as he struggles with his identity (he thinks he’s a dog), and the area is gorgeous. What more could we want?

White Christmas in Big Canoe

To be sure, our Christmases for the past five years have not been “traditional”. But, we have created terrific memories and we’ve learned how people around the world celebrate this wonderful season.

Thanks for following us. We look forward to seeing you On The Road,

Bev & John


los frailes dogs_01 14 20_j B and kids _edited-2

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