Saturday, November 30, 2013

A new Chapter.....

As many people have followed this blog over the years, and we've been amazed by the people we've met through our adventures, we had a difficult time simply closing the chapter to the adventure and trying to pick up again with 'normal' life. Some of our reader have been curious how the kids have adjusted back to life on land, living in a new town, and picking up the pieces to their schooling.

Kids are amazingly resilient and adaptable as we've seen, and I think we as the 'grown-ups' have had a more difficult time in some ways. The emotions of this adventure are really hard to simply put on the shelf.

So, we're prepared to embark on a new adventure!! This one is all about helping families do and achieve big dreams and goals. We get asked frequently questions like: "Where do you start planning an adventure like this?" "How much does it cost?" "Weren't you scared of pirates?"

Our plan is to start a new platform called:! It is going to be a weekly podcast/radio show where we will interview families who have completed, or are currently traveling and adventuring in all sorts of ways: sailing, biking, RV'ing, etc.

These are families who have left the comforts of home and we are thrilled to meet them and hear their stories of success, failure, things they wish they'd done differently, everything! We want to inspire families to learn what option are out there, and more importantly, how they can set and achieve big goals!

We'd love to have you on the journey with us and please visit us at:

Thanks for all your support through this website over the years, and we'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


So, something pretty amazing happened during Maggie and Levi's trip to Israel that at least deserves it's own blog post!

Josh had asked for Rachel and I's permission several month ago for Maggie's hand in marriage. We love Josh and even more importantly, we know how much he loves Maggie. So, we agreed, not knowing exactly how or when they would be able to get married. The trick with international relationships is visas and residency papers have gotten very complicated all over the world. I don't think any nation is easy these days to get permission to live and work in.

But they are committed to each other and to making their relationship work, so when we sent Maggie and Levi to Israel, we were expecting an excited phone call sometime during the trip to hear about the proposal.

It came only 3 nights after they left. Once Maggie and Levi had arrived in Israel, Josh was anxious to propose and he had a great set up planned for Maggie. She love Nicholas Sparks books, and he had hollowed out a section of her favorite book and hid the engagement ring inside. He then had a dinner set up and afterwards, a quiet dessert set up on a roof top overlooking Jerusalem. He had friends get it all set up with candles and once they were on the roof, he gave her the book. She loved it, but didn't realize you had to open it to get the REAL gift! She was ecstatic and though tears, accepted his proposal.

They then joined the friends who had helped set it all up and had a group celebration! Good times!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Maggie and Levi - Globetrotting on their own....

Things have been moving quickly since we've been back to the US, especially since we've arrived in North Carolina after our road trip last Summer. Maggie and Levi were invited by some dear friends we met in Israel to be in the wedding of their oldest daughter. Of course, Maggie and Levi jumped at the opportunity to make another trip back to Israel and see all of their friends there again.
They also invited their cousin and his wife, Corey and Alida to make the trip with them. So they met in New York City 'on their way' and spent almost 3 weeks traveling around Israel and hanging out. 

It was a bit nerve-wracking for us, partly because our kids were traveling to the other side of the world, but also because we wanted to go with them!! Of course, no complaints at all from Maggie who was able to see her boyfriend who she has been maintaining a long distance relationship with (with a visit in the middle), so she was ecstatic to see him. He's the dashing British bloke in some of the photos. 

They had a great visit and the wedding went well. Corey and Alida also fell in love with Israel. Maggie and Levi were the 'tour guides' showing them some spots they really liked from our time there. Places like the dead sea, En Gedi (a nature walk with waterfalls) and of course, Sea of Galilee. They also spent a lot of time walking and walking and walking around Jerusalem. It is really an ideal city to walk because the weather is usually amazing, and you can hardly throw a falafel over your shoulder without hitting a archaeological site of something incredible. 

Here's a couple pictures from their trip: 

More pictures at: Picasa photo album

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What pipe?

Of course, not all is roses when you buy a 93 year old house, and we planned on finding a few surprises :)

One that wasn't a surprise was the fact that when you ran the tub or sink in the 2nd upstairs bathroom, water was gushing down the wall by the front entry. So we knew that was going to priority number one after moving in, as the bathroom was off limits until we had it fixed. All of sharing the other bathroom upstairs was like old times on Mehari, so no big deal. 

I tore into the wall one Friday morning, tracing back where the leak was coming from, and removing all the old lath and plaster wall that was all the rage last century. It must have been a lot more time consuming building this way "in the old days" but it sure makes for a LOT stronger wall! I mead this thing was solid! And almost 3/4" thick. A lot different than the 1/2" flimsy drywall you find in most places today. 

I also had a plumber friend I'd met on a house inspection scheduled to come over and give me a hand when I got stuck (notice I said when, not if) And when he saw the old pipes and connections in the ceiling, he pulled out his phone and started taking pictures saying "this was back when men were men!" I'm not entirely sure if that's really what you want to hear from your plumber whose on the clock and being paid by the hour.....

It took no time at all for us to find the problem, the huge 4" cast iron drainpipe running down the inside of the wall, was totally split and water had been just pouring straight through it and into the crawlspace below. I mean pouring. So, problem located. He ran to get parts and I got the rest of the section of wall torn out, and when he got back we started cutting. 

We ended up cutting out a 7 foot section of cast iron, carried it out and threw it in the front yard. As soon as it landed it broke into three pieces and desenigrated. 

So, new pipe installed, dry, and ready to go. All that's left now is a small repair to the wall by the owner :(

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New place

As we're getting settled in, we're trying to find our place and how we fit in Wilmington.

We're all really enjoying exploring new corners of our neighborhood, and finding great deals on furniture for the house......what can you say? Craigslist is amazing! For people reading who aren't familiar, or in a counrty where it doesn't exist, Craigslist is basically an online classified place where people can list (for free) things they want to sell or job listings, or whatever. 
It really blows our minds after seeing some very different places in the world culturally, that Craigslist is just an awesome place to find great deals on stuff and, it turns out, meet some really cool people in the process! Talk about a win-win!
There's been two occasions now where we found something on Craigslist, a table or desk, and by the time we call, it's already sold. But in both instances, the people have said, I have more stuff to sell, so come by and see what you want. They've both ended up giving us some crazy "package" deals. In one case, it took 4 trips with a pickup to bring everything back to the house!

So, we decided we'd show some of the things we've picked up and how we've been able to so far, fill our whole house with furniture for less than $1,000! Not too bad for 3 weeks work so far! At the rate we're collecting, we might be thinking of starting a 2nd hand recycled furniture shop :)

Also, about a 10 minute walk from our house, is an awesome farmer's market/grocery store where they specialize in locally grown fruit and veg and also locally made honey, etc. It's a great reminder for us of some of the markets we were able to shop at during our travels, so that's been cool as well. A huge bonus of shopping there, is the bakery/coffee shop inside which has incredible coffee for $1.00, I mean really, let's keep our priorities straight!

So, "baby steps back into society", and that's a snap shot of our last couple of weeks. We'll post some of our furniture "bargains" in the next post. 

~ Hems