kim rambling

“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” ― Émile Zola

Our trip around the world comes to an end. I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think that when it came – it would be so hard. I am deeply proud of all of us. This adventure would have been a completely different one if we weren’t all together. From the sights we saw (Taj Mahal, the pyramids, The Colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower to the experiences (swimming in the Ganges, using really bad bathrooms, being thirsty and hungry, walking in Gandhi’s footsteps, trekking to remote villages) to the food (from garden to table) to the people we met (new friends and old) – this trip has been over the top! I am ever so grateful to the Huss’ for asking me what I wanted to do with our time in between Jesse’s jobs. Montreal was not an ideal situation for us, but it set us up for the adventure of a lifetime. If you always look to the positive- amazing doors will open.
Our kids have been in four schools in four years, we’ve moved around so much in the last couple years (especially in last six months) that when people ask me where we’re from- I have to stop and think for awhile. We are lucky that they are pretty tough kids who understand what our lifestyle is like. This is part of their deal at least until they’re 18 – then they’ll fly the coop! I am amazed at their physical energy, their inner strength, their ability to adapt in new situations and they all have an amazing sense of humor. My goodness, that can get you very far in life. Emerson is tenacious. She will figure out how to survive in any given situation. She also has a loving side with animals and friends- she is fiercely loyal. She is also a killer navigator- she was our living GPS – navigating us through Europe. Maddux is a trooper- a true explorer. He loves hiking, nature, wildlife and seeing new things. He is a stellar traveling companion who will keep you laughing even when crap is hittin’ the fan! Lennon has been our leader. He likes to be in the front of the pack and has boundless amounts of energy (most of the time.) At times when he was cranky- we had to stop and remind ourselves that he’s only five. Lennon acted as a peacekeeper for Emerson and Maddux always encouraging everyone to remain calm.
Jesse made this all possible with his planning, his enthusiasm and his ferocity when it comes to working hard and completing a project. He has the strongest work ethic out of any person I have ever met. He threw himself into the preparation and execution of our adventure as he does with everything else in life and it rocked!!!!!! The trip destroyed any expectations we might have had when we began the adventure. We saw wonders of the world, we went into different hospitals around the world (thanks to Emerson getting rabies shots), we visited temples, mosques & churches, we rode camels, elephants & horses, slept in the desert, climbed a pyramid and went inside!, went skydiving, swam in the Ganges, came face to face with mummies and King Tut’s tomb, floated in the Dead Sea, touched the Wailing Wall, the Berlin Wall, saw the leaning tower of Pisa, saw where Jesus was crucified, where Buddha’s eyebrow hair is housed and walked where Ghandi walked right before he was killed. We fed a jaguar, hippos, pet a tiger, got attacked by a pack of monkeys, watched people poop on sidewalks, learned a whole lot about the Vietnam War, saw bodies cremated, played with children that had never seen white kids, swam in a pool right next to the Nile, saw Mona Lisa & The Thinker, slept in a car, an airport and alongside rats and cockroaches, rafted in the Himalayas in Kathmandu, walked up a waterfall, went sand sledding, explored caves, tunnels and visited with stellar people (and all that is just the tip of the iceberg!) Oh, life is good!!!
I have been struggling with the Marschmadness blog ending for some time now. I was afraid that it would be too sad and final, but then I thought it doesn’t have to come to a full and complete stop. Our journey is on-going and our life in and of itself – is “madness.” I looked up the word for a clear definition and it means craziness and lunacy. Life is crazy- change is constant (good and bad.) How you roll with everything is up to you. Do I deal with life differently than the average person? Sure, but I never wanted to be average anyways! I love this conversation from Alice in Wonderland: “Have I gone mad?” Asks Alice. The Mad Hatter replies, “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
If you’ve followed along the blog from the beginning or just popped in here and there- thank you so much for joining us on our journey. (Thank you to all that helped us along the way, made comments, sent love/positive energy or just wished us a safe journey. It all worked!)
I don’t know what Marschmadness will become, so I will just let it unfold as it should.
I will end the official world travel portion of my blog with words from Louis Armstrong’s song “what a wonderful world.” (I love this song so much that when Jesse and I got married- I walked down the aisle to it!)
“I see trees of green, red roses too
I see ’em bloom, for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue, clouds of white
Bright blessed days, dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.
The colors of a rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying ‘how do you do?’
They’re really saying ‘I love you’
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
than I’ll never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself …….what a wonderful world.”
Indeed it is.

Onward and upward, my friends! Shine on!!!
Love!

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Thank you John and Baerbel!

“Our chief want in life is someone who shall make us do what we can. This is the service of a friend. With him we are easily great.” – ralph waldo emerson

Thank you both for going out to dinner with us one night in Montreal and asking all the right questions! You lit a spark that roared into a blaze. We will forever be grateful for your insight and insane generosity! We love you and are so happy our paths crossed. Can’t wait ’til we meet again.

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We love you Britt! Thank you for all of your positive, fun energy along the way!

Brittany is Emerson’s best friend in Montreal. They met at school and became quite tight. Britt is funny, real, loyal, honest and amazing- one of the most stellar people I have had the honor to meet (very much like her mom!) I consider both her and her mom, Louise, my lifelong buddies.
Thank you to Britt (and family) for following our blog and sending funny messages and videos. We loved skyping with you along the way and seeing your smiling face! You are the BEST, we love you and are so happy we were in Montreal because now we have you in our lives! Everything happens for a reason. Yay!
(Picture won’t upload right now- will be posted as soon as I figure it out!)

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Never forget where you came from!

“Where you from? Where you from?” We have heard this question numerous times throughout our trip. In the beginning, we kind of stopped and looked at each other. Ummm…now we are “stationed” in Montreal, before that was LA, before that, Chicago, before that DC, before that….. Geesh- we’ve been around! But when someone asks us “where you from?” – we think they won’t know Racine, they might have heard of Milwaukee but know Chicago so we settle on that answer. “Where you from?” is an important question. If gives someone an insight (be it ever so small- into who you are.)
Jesse and I grew up Racine -a city in Wisconsin which is on Lake Michigan. We grew up with some brutal winters, hot, muggy summers, an annual fishing contest called Salmon-A-Rama, working class parents, public schools (we started dating in high school) and we drove old cars. We also grew up with good values. Being a good person meant something then and still means something today. Of course there are self centered, image conscious people everywhere in the world and I’m sure there are some in Racine, but all of our people are ‘good to the core’ type folk. If you need help with something, they will help you. If you need to drink lots of beer and talk about life, you can always find that, too!
(Interesting little factoid: some cultures view kindness as weakness. So the more conniving and dishonest you are, the more successful you will most likely be. Yuck!!!)
This past summer, my brother Jeff, called from a house party going on to tell me there was killer music and dancing. Friends and family had gathered to raise money for a family to pay for a gravestone for a young woman who had died earlier that year from cancer. Her nickname was Boo. While at the ‘fundraiser’ I stood in awe of all the people gathered to laugh, dance, hug and to remember, but also to give any money they could spare to help this family out. Mind you, this is not a wealthy community and people can’t just whip out their checkbooks to write a check whenever they’d like. (Incidentally, they did raise enough money for a nice headstone AND extra money that was donated to a children’s cancer fund. Wow!)
It made me so proud of where I come from. People like this are real and they expect you to be the same. They could care less what car you drive or what clothes you’re wearing. Fancy crap does not impress – it just makes spotting people with insecurity issues that much easier. There is little to prove when you are comfortable with who you are.
So back to the party where we were welcomed by Boo’s dad, Mark, who gave me a big hug as if he had known me for years and thanked us for coming. Boo’s sister handed out strength beads which people had made for Boo to hold on to while battling cancer. I took mine along with us on our adventure and I think they have proven to be quite lucky!
They remind me of her, of her dad, of our friends and family in Racine, of where we come from, but (most importantly) they remind me of why I will never tolerate people that don’t treat everyone the same from the bottom to the top.
In the places I’ve loved the most- the people have been like that- warm, good, welcoming, ‘take us or leave us’ type people who treat everyone the same because that is the right thing to do. Good people just seem to know that.
Wherever you are, Boo, thanks for the beads!

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“A journey, I reflected, is of no merit unless it has tested you.” -tahir shah

This photo was taken after Jesse and I were talking about plans to end our adventure. It is certainly bittersweet in so many ways.

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Trip is coming to an end. No longer need anti-malarials or altitude sickness pills!

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Everyone has “homework” to do

The kids have their schoolwork, I work on the blog and Jesse figures out the logistics (check out one of his strategy maps made for Berlin so we could see as much as humanly possible in the time we had!)

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Trimmin’ the fat

As we started thinking about ending our trip and getting rid of the rental car, we had to let some things go. Below is a pile of things that were important throughout the trip, as well as a pair of shoes that Lennon blew out! That kid doesn’t stop moving!

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“Your imagination, my dear fellow, is worth more than you can imagine.” -Louis Aragon

One of my goals on this trip was to emphasize to the kids that you don’t need electronics and plastic toys to have fun. Like Spongebob said in ‘The Idiot Box’ episode… “When you use your imagination, you can do anything!” The rocks are a “family” they made from rocks we collected while in Nice. The hammocks were made from sarongs and scarves. They also made board games and used little rocks to move along. Good times!

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Saying goodbye to our rental car- she went above and beyond the call of duty!

Here we are in the back…. comfy, cozy!

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