Bean n Bob's Big Adventure travel blog

Our little apartment in San Francisco.

Skiing at Heavenly in the Sierras...

Colleen rips it up at Whistler in British Columbia.

Morning in the Sunset District...

A view from the morning commute - fog reaches into the bay...

A lazy day in the apartment, with the afternoon sun shining in.

At work - a fire on fourth street in Novato and some...

The nighttime commute - we sometimes stopped on the way home to...

This trip began long ago, before we met again, when we each separately dreamed of traveling the world. We met again in San Francisco, ten years and a lifetime away from our Vermont childhood, and living out West was an adventure itself. Colleen lived in an apartment in the Sunset District, next to Golden Gate Park, and I'd drive up to visit her any chance I got. We'd walk through Chinatown, walk to the beach, or take off exploring up or down the coast.

Our first home together was a houseboat in Sausalito, which rocked on the rising tide and had a loft bedroom with a view of Mt. Tamalpais. One morning I looked out the back window and a seal was watching me from the water. The fall went quickly; a rat terrorized Colleen and with the winter rains the houseboat began to leak. We moved to San Rafael, with the help of friends who just stopped by on their travels. One of them, Forrest, had traveled all over the world, and we envied his freedom and admired the will to leave everything behind. We began to talk about traveling around the world.

But Colleen was still in school, and I had to work my way into newspapers, so there was never time or money. After she graduated, we moved into a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, and I became the sports editor and then the editor of the Novato Advance, the best little weekly newspaper in the Bay Area. My working life revolved around Tuesday nights - deadline night - and hers around her three jobs, teaching, being a nurse for Kaiser, and a nurse practitioner for Canyon Manor.

In between, we lived the life in San Francisco, going out to the Mission District, skiing at Tahoe, hiking around Marin. We also knew that eventually we'd move back to Vermont. Before we did that, we decided to travel around the world.

So the planning began, first with a Lonely Planet guidebook, and then with a dozen of them. I'd look through them and read the best stuff out loud to Colleen as we lay on the couch on weekends. We'd sit in Naan n' Curry, the local Indian food joint, and talk about the day we would eat real Indian food in India. Colleen wanted to see the orangutangs in Sumatra; I wanted to ride a boat down the Mekong in Laos. I told her about pink river dolphins we might see in Cambodia - she didn't believe they existed. They exist on the Internet, and maybe they are for real. We're going to go see for ourselves.

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