A swig of nail polish remover: set yourself up for surprise


Vineyard in our Airbnb host’s backyard

Once in a while on this trip we are caught off guard…sometimes that may happen when you accidentally take a sip of nail polish remover instead of mouthwash, and other times it may happen
when you catch the sunset just at the right time.

Surprises have popped up along the way throughout our travels these past three months, yielding a range of emotions, from fear (uncertainty over a loved one’s health) to awe struck (swimming with wild dolphins or stumbling across fantastic views in ‘our own backyard’).


Sunset at the Pear Orchard Lodge


One of my favorite take-away’s (this is also the phrase widely used in Australia and New Zealand as our substitute for ‘take-out’) thus far into our trip is to:

Set yourself up for surprise




  1. Eliminate expectations: Traveling the food is different than home, the time it takes to get from point A to point B is completely whack (even though google maps says it is only a three hour drive and it actually takes six), that couple that you initially pegged for anti-social locals actually happen to be some of the most interesting people (in the world?).  Example: Stopped at a pub in Cape Town to get nachos (expectation of cheesy, meaty, guacamole covered awesomeness, but instead got some plate with tortilla chips basted in something sweet and sadly disappointing…)
  2. Wander: Stunning views, local pubs, a run that leaves you feeling inspired are inevitable…turn off the GPS, get lost, and see what you find.  We were on this great 12km hike, found a narrow, steep sloped path to wander down, and were rewarded with a pristine beach all to ourselves.


    Beach hidden within Abel Tasman National Park

  3. Talk to everyone…anyone:  I was in a camera shop, and the associate that helped me out had a crazy collection of photographs from the West Coast, New Zealand…his stories and photos inspired us to drive the long windy roads of the West Coast to find our own inspiration.  Another awesome experience we had was running into a local pub

    O’Sheas Restaurant, Machans Beach, Australia

    in Cairns, Australia where we stumbled across two middle-aged people at the table next to us.  The man was an ex-miner, the woman was a 60 year-old mom that sold her house to live in South America for a year in spite of her children’s attempt at discouraging her.  These two individuals alone have set us up with enough information to travel southeast Asia for weeks (the notes are in my wallet waiting  to be used)!



So you’re set up to successfully be surprised…

Grab hold of the cliché, and really go with the flow, adapt to, and enjoy the moment…it sure is true you never know where you will end up, what will make you laugh,or the unexpected memories you may be able to enjoy with some of the best.


Brief stop in North Carolina around Thanksgiving to visit uncle Billy…doing better now!



Frank & Sasha’s wedding!

Can’t wait to see what the next 3(ish) months has in store for us!!


2 Responses to “A swig of nail polish remover: set yourself up for surprise

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I’m really grateful for this forum to be able to stay connected to you and Laurel as you travel! I also really appreciate the mindful tidbits of your Adventure that you share! Keep us in the loop when you can… so happy to know you are safe!

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Sounds truly amazing….except for drinking the nail polish remover….does remind me of the time you took a swig of the Irish Moon Shine. Enjoy your travels….keep sharing stories..and Be Safe! Love you!