BootsnAll Travel Network

When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

April 27th, 2012

As we continue our quest for the life less ordinary, we realized we needed our own website to fully portray the life we were searching for.

Although it is VERY new, we hope you follow us over to take a look. Our site is called The Next Big Adventure, and will go back and highlight past trips, while following us on the path that will lead us to our long drive south on the PanAmerican in a couple of years. ( ) This site will officially take over where the Adventures of Jim & Rhonda leaves off.

As we plot our escape, we’ll keep you entertained with posts of camping here in the USA, getting the camper fully set up, gear reviews, and foodie insight.

We are forever indebted to Sean, Chris and the gang at Bootsnall for hosting this site over the last few years,as well as being our original source of inspiration for leaving the first time around.

Come along and follow us on our Next Big Adventure!!!

Cheers, Jim & Rhonda


Year End Reflections and Gratitude

December 21st, 2011

As another year draws to a close I’m once again astonished at how quickly time passes by these days. Here I am, another year old, and still in my cubicle, dreaming of being back on the road. I am attempting to exercise patience….never one of my greatest strengths!

In some ways it feels as though we just returned from our RTW. I can still SMELL the streets of India, TASTE the noodle breakfasts in SE Asia, SEE the sundowns over Africa. And yet, it also feels like forever ago and I have antsy feet. I am incredibly grateful for each and ever moment of our travels over the years and yet, at this moment, I am also incredibly grateful for our life in general. Along with all the amazing experiences we’ve had over the years I also remember the not as amazing experiences…the horrific beds, cold showers, cramped bus rides and a whole lot of bugs, and thank God everyday for my comfortable bed and hot shower. Do I want to get back out in the world, absolutely, but I am certainly going to make sure to express my gratitude at the comfortable life we lead here in the United States.

Having spent much time in parts of the world where people don’t have choices and are merely working hard to survive, my main focus at this time is GRATITUDE. As I sit in my cubicle, bored even though I have work, restless even though I feel exhausted, irritated with the small things not working my way, I take a moment to realize many people in this country and around the world would gladly take my job any day of the week and be grateful for the opportunity to be able to pay their mortgage and feed their children.

We have several close friends who have family members experiencing serious health issues, most poignent ly Avrey, a friends niece who is 11years old and has spent 4 of those years battling cancer. Every caringbridge journal entry rips my heart out and we are helpless to “fix it”. More than ever I am grateful for our health and the health of our family and pray everyday for our friends who are less fortunate.

We are grateful for our wonderful friends and family. We are truly blessed with amazing people in our lives. Our day to day existence is enhanced by having such inspiring people around us.

In this past year we have increased our friends many times over by networking amongst other travelers. I am often in awe that in a 30minute lunch period I can catch up with Warren & Betsy in Chiang Mai (, Tree & Stevie in Peru ( and Kim & Brian ( here in Portland who are preparing to embark soon on their dream trip. I am grateful for the technology that allows us to create a network of friends around the world who are truly our biggest inspiration to follow the life of our dreams rather than following the status quo.

Finally, I am deeply grateful still for being married to the most wonderful man in the world, truly my soul mate. After nearly 24 years together I am even more in love with him than ever and excited everyday to continue this journey along the road of life together. This love, along with our love for our amazing dog, Maddy, makes our little family complete. Maddy has brought great joy into both of our lives and it is truly a case of “who rescued who”.

2012 is sure to be full of challenges for many of us. As I occasionally feel stressed regarding my reduced work hours and smaller pay at work, I take the time to focus on the fact that we are still ok. We are SO incredibly rich in more ways than money can measure and in comparison to many are even rich in that way. We are increasingly excited about continuing our plans for our roadtrip to South America and anxious to spend many more nights in our camper having fun with friends. I am going to continue to live each day fully and create a life we want to lead.

Best wishes to all our friends and family around the world for a healthy, happy, and inspired 2012!

With gratitude,

Rhonda & Jim

Tags: , ,

Our upcoming plans

November 22nd, 2011

Rather than do a blog entry this week I”ll just refer you to the great article that featured us on the website Briefcase to Backpack.




October 16th, 2011

HOME. That word congers up different things to different people. We are currently “at home”. In February, 2010 we purchased a lovely home on 2 acres. It has a fantastic, huge, covered palapa…..the main reason we purchased this particular property, 4 outbuildings and an open floor plan. When we were on the road we truly felt like we were the best versions of ourselves, but, of course, we missed friends & family. We missed holidays at home. We missed being able to have a dinner party on the back deck. Now we are back in the life we left.

However, we long to be on the road once again. The quandry of it all is ever present.  While we reveled in ringing in the New Year in Laos we also wished we were home celebrating with friends. Participating in the Christmas Eve pageantry in Hanoi with 2 million Vietnamese, most on motos and dressed as Santa was extremely entertaining but we missed our traditional family holiday.

We spent that year dealing in many superlatives… birthday watching the Melbourne Cup races with friends in Australia, Thanksgiving on the beach in Bali, a very unique Christmas in Hanoi, New Years eve in Laos. We started 2008 with Valentines Day watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, spent Jim’s birthday floating the Nile, and woke up long before sunrise on our 18th anniversary to climb the highest sand dunes in the world in Namibia to watch the sun come up beyond the clouds. Not every moment of the trip was fireworks, of course, but we have to be honest and admit it was a damn good year!

We love our friends and family. We have a very close group of loved ones around us and appreciate them daily. But, we also want to be back out there discovering the world. I read a quote once, something along the line of wanting to travel full time if you had a second life to have here at home. How true that ideal is. Having experience both, we do want the best of both worlds!

For now, HOME is our life in Oregon. Other than family, the things we truly missed last time were  comfortable beds and the ability to cook. With our decision to drive to South America we have taken care of those two concerns. That just leaves missing our friends and family. By going slower, taking longer periods of time in different locations, we hope that we have many visitors along the way. We also plan on storing the truck & camper and flying home occasionally, all of which will allieve some of the homesickness we felt before.

At this moment we are taking advantage of what we won’t have when we leave again. BBQs on the back deck, family holidays, watching our nephews play football, and hanging out with friends. We are appreciating the gorgeous Pacific NW we call home and have spent over 30 days this summer camping in different regions.

Maddy is in heaven here, truly one of the most spoiled dogs around. She has 2 acres to patrol and call her own, a doggie door so naps can be had indoors or out, and a raised front deck to watch the day go by. She is also an excellent traveler and camper and is ever anxious to explore new horizons.

We had a fantastic garden this year, experiencing for the first time in years the joy of growing much of our own food. I had forgotten the intense satisfaction of building a raised bed, filling it with dirt, planting a seed and watching something miraculous take place.

So, the question as always is…what makes a home? As much as Jim, Maddy & I have been loving where we live, what truly makes it a home is that our pack is together. It really doesn’t matter if we live in town or in the country or, eventually, in our camper, WE are what makes a home. The things around us, while nice and having been lovingly acquired over the years, are just things. I think, perhaps, the most valuable lesson of our RTW is that we realized how little value material possessions mean to us. Will this make it easier to sell everything when we next depart? Well, perhaps, perhaps not. We are a society seduced by materialism and even while we, personally, are not great consumers, it is comforting to come home to someplace filled with familiar things. Even though we are both on board with reducing I am sure there will still be sad moments to see the items around us go to new homes.

I think HOME can be different things at different times and involves truly embracing each moment in life. Right now, we are at home here and yet all of our planning and plotting is going into making home our life on the road. They are both right at different moments in time.

Tags: ,

Playing Catch-Up

October 6th, 2011

I apologize to anyone who faithfully followed along on our RTW blog and homecoming only to have me completely drop the ball over the last (gasp!) 2 years. A lot has happen, and I will spend some time blogging about those events, but even more importantly, some big things are going to be happening!

This entry I’ll just do a quick recap. In late 2009, when I left off, I was back working at my old job at Grand European Tours and Jim was working in inside sales. We were making less money than before we left but our situation had improved from the life of PT retail for me and 14hr days of Schwans sales for him and, we had itchy feet. Without the means to flee the country again we decided on a plan. We would attempt to re-create our last couple of years before our RTW trip. We would buy a house, fix it up, pay off our newly accumulated debt, sell in a couple of years and take our money and run, this time having a lot more insight on how to really do a RTW trip well.

We did buy a house in early 2010, adopted the most wonderful dog in the world… a black lab mix AKA “designer dog” these days, we named Maddy but often refer to as blackdog, and moved to the country. The plan was to spend a couple of years getting things figured out and to travel around South America and Antartica, the only continents we had not yet conquered.

While celebrating our 20th anniversary on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, one of our favorite places on Earth, I suddenly had an epiphany….I turned to Jim and said “Why don’t we drive to South America instead of taking public transportation?” He replied “do people do that?” I had no idea, and even now have no idea why I asked the question or why I suddenly knew that we were destined to make that drive.

Once we returned home I started researching the subject and found out that not only had quite a few people made such a drive but a lot more were doing it as I searched. With that in mind we started searching for our ideal roadtrip vehicle. We decided on a Toyota Tundra w/ a pop top Palomino Bronco camper on the back and purchased them early this year. We’ve spent over 30nights camping in them so far and are loving life and can’t wait to get on the road full time. The two main things we disliked about our backpacking RTW was the horrific beds and not being able to cook easily. Both problems solved!

Now, we’re hitting full stride. Planning and plotting. Saving and selling. We’ll get everything updated on this blog and eventually create our own website as we now strive towards creating a location independent lifestyle. What we learned on our trip and since our return is that we are most alive when on the road, meeting people, discovering all the fascinating things this world has to offer. And, isn’t that what it’s all about!

Stay tuned for more details about our adventures the last 2 years and much more regarding the upcoming changes.


Rhonda & Jim

Tags: , ,

That time of year rolls around again

November 25th, 2009

It’s a bit overwhelming to realize tomorrow we celebrate yet another Thanksgiving Day.  2 years ago we were in Bali, eating Italian at a lovely beachside restaurant and just beginning to realize we really didn’t have to go home soon! Now, back to the more traditional American holiday (much as I love getting together with Jim’s family… I vote for Bali!!!) Time flys by so quickly it becomes even more important to truly live your life NOW rather than waiting for that someday moment.

We are trying to practice the ‘living in the moment’ theory here at home. While I would rather be on the road, we do have much to be grateful for. We both have jobs in this difficult economy, we have a cozy house to live in, great friends and family. We’re happy, healthy and most of all together. We are still spending most waking moments planning our next big escape, but appreciating the conveniences and, yes, luxuries of home… knowing we’ll have a warm shower, having a super comfortable bed to sleep in , and being able to eat pretty much anything we want for dinner on any given night, all things that were sometimes few and far between in our life on the road. We’re appreciating our fantastic dog Maddy and are thrilled to have been able to rescue her. Life is good.

Happy turkey day to all and practice being grateful a little bit for what you do have. We can tell you first hand that for most people in the world every day is a struggle just to survive. When you’re pissed at the Verizon morons (that would be me), or the mailman (that would be my sister in law), stuck in traffic, tired of your job, etc. Just remember what is good about your life for one thankful day, hug everyone you love and hey, hug someone you don’t know, and keep in mind.. you can always complain again tomorrow!

Living the dream (and beginning our spanish lessons next week!), Love, Jim & Rhonda


Loving Fall in Oregon

September 22nd, 2009

The last 6 weeks has been loaded with activity! For myself, life back at GET is busy, busy! Bookings are still slow with the down economy but I’m having to learn two new reservations systems within company and then last week we also changed over to a different airline computer system. My brain is a bit fried but..they say knowledge is power right?! Jim’s work is also keeping him busy. With he & Mike now the only 2 employees at their location they constantly on their toes. However, for both of us it sure makes the days go by quickly.

We’ve been having amazing weather, although very changeable from day to day. We have gone camping twice in the last 6 weeks and then spent Labor Day weekend at Ron & Dario’s mountain cabin with them and some other friends. It was rainy & chilly but that was perfect for eating too much, drinking too much, and reading by the fire. Nice!

Sep 11 -13 we headed off for camping at Cape Lookout, on the Oregon Coast. We hadn’t been to that campground before and arrived on Friday at noon to find the most perfect day imaginable. For anyone who hasn’t been to the Oregon coast, well, let’s just say it’s not always shorts & tee-shirt type weather! However, on that day it was around 75degrees, sunny, and miracle of miracles, no wind! We got camp set up and spent the afternoon playing on the beach with Maddy…wonderful time. After heading back to get jackets and some drinks we had a fantastic sundowner on the beach with a glorious sunset. Sometimes, things just all come together!

The next day, alas, wasn’t quite as nice, although fairly warm and no wind. We took several long walks on the beach, bummed about, and headed into Tillamook to get Jim a new beach chair, his finally having bit the dust after being ripped for over a year.  A storm blew in late that night and we had to get up around midnight to batten down the hatches, throw some things into the car and tent , stack everything down a bit better.. I fear the sunshade may not survive that wind. No worries.. up Sunday to head home fairly early and were shocked to find brother in law Ken home from deployment for the week!! Amazingly enough, pretty much EVERYONE else knew but us (they were getting us back for surprising them when we got home from our RTW) and no one spilled the beans.

Obviously, with that new development, Sunday night turned into a welcome home party and Monday morning was messy to say the least. Lucky me, I got to sit through 7hours of training on the new airline system. Oh joy! However we survived and started a busy week, dinner together, the boys taking a camping trip for 2 days with Ken’s brothers, and my pulling out my back a bit unloading the new keg (well, we had to have a new keg you know!) Friday night commenced with enchilada night at our house and what seemed like gallons of tequila. Ken was off again Saturday morning but, fingers crossed, may not have to actually leave to Afghanistan until October.

We have decided to go to Puerto Vallarta for our 20th anniversary next year. Jamaica was becoming a bit complicated trying to use miles, the hotel we wanted wasn’t availabel, etc. and when we started talking about it we realized that, although we do still want to get to Jamaica, Puerto Vallarta has such meaning to us we should go there. We’ve been there more than a dozen times. it’s sort of our place of refuge at moments like after my mom passed away as well as where we go to really just get away and relax. So, planning is going full force. Can’t wait to see our old friends on the beach.

As far as other travel goes, I spend my lunch hours drooling over other peoples blogs at We are still planning our next getaway for 4-5 years down the road and I’m honestly not sure we’ll last that long. Whenever I read a blog about a couple who has decided to NOT follow the path everyone expects them to and decides life should be about more than working 40-60hrs a week just to get by I remember that  is what we want too and we’re already straining at the bit. We really want to lead a “life less ordinary” and while we made a good start with our RTW, we’re not done!

One good thing about being back at work is that I’m writing a lot of catalog and webpage copy and even did a couple short blurbs for our ads in AARP so maybe I can get some travel writing thing going, even just freelance every so often.. that would certainly help keep us on the road longer. Until then, we’ll keep doing our thing, still enjoying spending most of our time together and dreaming of past and future travel and plotting the next departure. Until next time,Still living the Dream!

Cheers, Jim & Rhonda


Yet another job change or… “as the world turns…”

August 10th, 2009

Boy, the last month has been completely unexpected. First of all, the job I left Dosha Spa for, Direct Travel World, turned out to be a complete bust! I give the owners credit for building a company but they are very unorganized, I was offered literally no training tools and they decided to completely change the structure of the company between the time I was hired and when I started so nothing was as I’d been told. I spent lunch hour of day 1 crying in my car and telling Jim I wasn’t sure I could do it. However, as always, once we discussed options and had a plan I felt a bit better. Since the job was only 4 days a week (not 5 as I’d been told) and from only 7-2:15 we just decided at least it was a consistent schedule and I’d suck it up and hit job hunting for something else full force.

I spent 2 weeks sending out dozens of resumes, calling on jobs, filling out applications and going door to door to drop resumes. Nothing much was coming of it in this tough job market but at least I was feeling productive. Then, miracle of miracles, I got an email from an Elizabeth at Grand European Tours (where I worked for  10 years prior to our RTW for anyone new to this blog) saying she got my email from my friend Jo and she was moving to Italy for 1yr and wanted to know what travel insurance we had on our RTW. I responded to her, of course, but also to Jo saying who is this person and can I have her job??? Within 24hrs I was on the phone with my old boss talking about options and the next day was offered a position back at GET. I was never happier than to walk into Direct Travel and give notice.

After a long weekend I started back at GET 2 years to the day I was last employed here. It was like an amazing homecoming, they had 2 boxes in storage of some of my old files, the computer desktop was my same old photo I took at the Melk Abbey, all of my old friends were there, etc. Just fantastic. I wasn’t able to come back at quite the same position and, unfortunately had to start over with being low man on the seniority totem pole.  Apparently, HR in California doesn’t think 2yrs is an acceptable “leave of absence”. LOL, but I guess I can’t blame them there. However, starting benefits at GET are vastly superior to anything I’ve had since we’ve returned and, for that matter, to most jobs out there so I am content. I am here in my super-sized cubicle, surrounded by photos from our RTW and looking forward to more travels to come.

Because of the job change we were also able to move our horse, Bug, back to the barn where we had boarded her while we were traveling. It’s more money but I was just not as comfortable with where we had been boarding her for the last 4 months. She had dropped quite a bit of weight and when I brought it up the woman said “oh yes, I had noticed she was having trouble chewing her food well” but she had never brought it up to me. That started warning bells ringing. So, back she went to Sunshine Farms in Oregon City to hang out with her old pasture friends. We’ve all sort of come full circle… Jim in a new industry but working with his friend Mike, me back at GET, and Bug back at her old farm. Dear Maddy is really the only totally new change going on! I guess the phrase “the more things change the more they stay the same” is accurate.

We’re starting to plan our 20th Anniversary trip to Jamaica for 2010 and hoping we’ll be in Europe as well, now that I’m back at GET. We’re also renting a beach house for my birthday in Nov. Since my 40th in Australia was such a bust we decided we’re doing a “redo”.  Can’t wait to walk on the beach, have hot toddy’s in front of the fire, and just chill. For now just enjoying the summer now that our heat wave has lifted, going out on the boat and camping.

Other than that, I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted. Jim says he feels he’s got his old wife back, and things are just easier than they were one month ago. Life certainly threw us curveball when we came home and now things are changing again. It certainly keeps things interesting.

With that said, we’d still rather be on the road! But, reality bites sometimes, and for now we’ve got a good place to live, good jobs, a great new dog and life is good. We’ll just keep rolling along and see what tomorrow brings. We’ll enjoy all that we have and start planning and saving for Central & South America. Best wishes to everyone we love who has been so supportive both during our high & low times. As always, Living the Dream! Cheers, Jim & Rhonda


Changes, Changes

June 28th, 2009

Jim & I have had 3 exciting changes in the last couple of months. First of all, Jim got a new job. The downside is that he really enjoyed his day to day work at Schwans, but we just couldn’t handle the horrific hours any longer.  It’s too bad Schwans can’t realize people shouldn’t  have to work from 9am-10 or 11pm every day!! His new job is with his friend Mike working for Arlenco Distribution, a low voltage electrical company. They sell surveillance cameras, video equipment, receivers, etc. The work is a new challenge for him to learn all new product but on the sales side he’s a pro, of course. It’s 8-5 Mon through Fri and it’s made a huge difference to have him home in the evenings and also for him not to be totally exhausted every weekend.

The second big change was that we adopted a fantastic dog whom we named Maddy. I was walking into work one day and there was a woman walking a dog right outside with a coat on that said “adopt me”. I stopped to ask about her and this dog was immediately all over me, licking me, wanting to sit on my feet pressed against my leg, etc. I called Jim to have him look at Pixie Projects website for a photo of her and turns out they’d only had her 4 days so nothing online yet. Jim & I went to look at her together the next day and we took her home 2 days later. She’s 8-9yrs old, a black lab- Australian shephard mix and was found lost or abandoned in SW Washington. The humane society picked her up there and Pixie Project got her from them. (Ironically enough, the owners of the building that Dosha is located in are also the founders of the Pixie Project rescue). She’s exactly what we were looking and fun but old enough that she loves to just hang out and nap as well. She’s leash trained, crate trained, excellent at fetch, shakes hands, and is very polite…an excellent addition to the family!!! She loves going out on the boat and just this last weekend while camping she discovered how much she loves swimming.

Third and latest change is that I also just got a new job. On July 6 I’ll be starting at Directworld Travel. They’re a hotel wholesaler and get lists of people/companies who will be exhibiting at conventions around the country. They then contact them to attempt to sell them their hotel rooms as opposed to booking online, through travel agencies, etc. It’s all outbound calling- which is not thrilling but…… it’s Mon-Fri, 7-3:30pm, no dress code (no more all black- yippee!!!), holidays off, closer to home and more $$. So, while not exactly what I’m looking for it is certainly a step in the right direction.  I’m still on the list for county jobs for the next 11 months plus am going to keep looking at other options but I am really excited about having a consistent schedule. I am really flexible in many areas of my life but I do really like knowing what time I go to work and come home each day and am THRILLED to not be on my feet on cement for 8 hrs every day!! No more sore feet, no more evenings, no more weekends and no more holidays. Fantastic! Having said that, however, I will truly miss the people at Dosha… I made many great friends and had a wonderful time working with them.

Other than the big changes in our life, things are going along as usual. We’ve been camping a few times already for the year and just returned this afternoon from Lake Billy Chinook in central Oregon and had a fantastic time as always. We’re still seriously sorry that we’re not still on the road and we don’t really think that feeling will go away. Our year away just changed us too much to be happy in one spot, working at  so-so jobs, etc. is just not what we want to do. However, we’re very happy because we have a great life together.. we’ve now worked it out so we’re back to spending more time together again, enjoying the lovely summer weather of Portland and playing with our new addition. Until we are financially ready to hit the road again we’ll just enjoy family & friends and be grateful for the life we have.

For our long 4th of July weekend we’re lazing about on Friday, spending Saturday afternoon-evening at Ron & Dario’s new house at a pool party, and Sunday at Steve’s 40th bday should be a lovely, relaxing weekend around town. Other than that we’re really looking forward to summer weekends at the beach, camping, and the farmers markets.

Everyone have a safe & happy holiday and enjoy the lazy days of summer. Cheers Jim & Rhonda (still living the dream, just in a bit of a different way!!)


Spring is on the way

March 16th, 2009

Another couple of months since my last blog and it’s because, quite honestly, nothing too exciting has been happening to us. We wouldn’t give up our year on the road for anything but boy, we had NO IDEA how much our life would NOT be what we expected upon return. I don’t believe we could have possibly come home to worse economic conditions. Jim is still working at Schwans and still likes the work but the 60-65hr weeks are just killing him. I am still at Dosha and still job hunting for an office, Mon-Fri. job. Right now we seem to barely see eachother between my retail hours and his long hours so it really sucks.

The weekend between Christmas & New Years we moved Ken & Wendy out of this house and us into it. One word of advice…never, and I mean never, move 2 households in 3 days. Yikes! But, we mostly did it. At this point Ken & Wendy’s new house is not yet liveable so they’re still using the guest room and the office but things are moving right along. Ken left Friday for his 1yr deployment to Afghanistan (sad:( ) and Wen should be truly moved out of the camper and into the new house by the end of April. I know she’ll just be on the lot behind us but it is going to be strange not all living together after almost 8 months of being together.

Jim’s birthday is coming up this weekend and I’m treating him to a 1 1/2 hr massage at Dosha and we’re having a party that night. Certainly different than last year when we were cruising the Nile but will be fun anyway! We’re still dying to get away again. We are certainly going to make Jamaica work next year for our 20th anniversary. Silly enough, “Cocktail” was the first movie we saw together and we swore we’d get to Jamaica. Well, 21 years, 43 countries and 5 continents later.. we still haven’t made it! But, for our 20th  we are definiately going to finally get to that gorgeous island.

I am starting to plan part of our next extended adventure already.  We’re going to start in Mexico, work our way by bus down through Central America, and the circle South America. We’re planning on 3-4 years from now and because we won’t be selling a house this time we’ll have to work sometimes as we go but that’s will be great to actually be part of a community every so often and we can afford to be away longer that way.

So really, that is it. We’re all moved into the house and, while it’s cool to have all of our “stuff” with us again I have found it doesn’t mean as much to me as it used to. We do have  a lot of really great things we’ve collected from all around the world and it makes for an interestingly eccentric decorating style!

Fingers crossed Jim & I get new jobs soon so we can see eachother more and we’ll just keep doing our thing for now while dreaming of travels past and future! God bless you all and happy trails!