The Call

In the words of Marianne Williamson: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Searching for Gibsons

December 21, 2004
In January, 2003, we moved to British Columbia with the idea that we could live there permanently. We had visited the little town of Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast several times on holiday and had fallen in love with it. The first time was in the fall of 1996. We had committed to an Alaskan cruise that departed Vancouver, BC on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. We left Seattle with the plan to find a place to stay Saturday night in Vancouver but guess what? - There was no room at the inn! We couldn't find a vacancy anywhere. We happened to belong to Days Inn club so we called their help line. The nice young man in Tennessee told us there were vacancies in Gibsons, just a short drive north of Vancouver. We happily made reservations and headed out of town. The four lane freeway abruptly ended at the water. Thinking that we had missed the turn off, we retraced our path only to return to the water! After calling our Tennessee friend back, he rechecked and announced that there was a ferry crossing necessary to get there. After a magical late afternoon crossing, we drove into lower Gibsons and found our motel. Gibsons is a fishing village that time forgot. People walk the streets for entertainment, going down to the pier to watch boating traffic, looking at the towering, snow-covered mountains, spying the ferry on its hourly crossing. We were enchanted. Since we were very nervous about our cruise having never been on one before, we wished that we could have canceled it and spent the week in Gibsons. It was a good thing we didn't because our Alaskan cruise was magical - but that's another story.

Our home in Gibsons overlooked the harbor and we awakened each morning with eagerness. We went exploring by car and by foot. Almost every evening, we walked down to the harbor after dinner to look at the boats and daydream about where they had been or were going. We made friends at the coffee shops and spent hours conversing with them over a pastry and a cup. The accents were captivating, the customs just different enough to be interesting and the exchange rate fluctuated daily. We were in love with a new country, a new home, a new beginning.

Then in May or so, we met some ex-pat Americans who informed us that we could only stay for six months out of each calendar year. We resisted at first, determined to become illegal aliens, hiding from the vaunted Royal Canadian Mounties of lore. But eventually, sanity prevailed and we planned our departure, saddened but fulfilled by our time there. The only problem since then is that we tend to measure each place we visit by Gibsons standards and all fall woefully short. Just this morning, we realized that as much as we like the Port Townsend, Washington area, it's just not our Gibsons. Will we ever find a replacement?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Northwest Report

Almost two weeks in Port Townsend, Washington! My, how time has flown. What a glorious place this is with it's snow covered peaks, waterways and forests. We can see the Olympic range draped in it's winter coat of white from our chairs in the front room. On clear days we can see Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainer and the Cascades. This feels like home to us. We feel good in this environment.

We will be house/pet sitting here into the New Year. Our charges are one very large black dog (lab mix) - Markus and 2 cats, Suzie and Mimi. The cats are feral. Their owner, MaryAnn, has tamed them enough to be indoors. They are locked away in a bedroom while the bathroom remodel construction goes on here. They seem content enough in their room. Suzie has her leg in a cast from an injury she suffered when she escaped into the crawl space below the house. She spends most of her time securely nestled into the corner of a carpet lined box. She goes back to the vet in two weeks and has her cast removed. I am sure she'll be glad and so will we. She can't lift her bum leg into the litter box and often misses. Jay and MaryAnn have 2 horses who are boarded out in the country. We go by there once a week for a visit and to deliver a large bag of carrots.

We are camped out here but quite comfortable. The owner's have not moved their household furnishings up from California yet. We have a nice bed, camp chairs, a folding table, fridge, stove, washer and dryer. They recently installed a lovely gas fireplace, the nicest we have ever seen. The fire very much resembles the many campfires we have warmed ourselves by. We sit around the fire in the morning and evening.

This area requires exploring. No matter which road you take, it eventually reaches the water. The other day we were driving along the banks of the Dungeness Wildlife area near Sequim when we spied a bald eagle, high atop a scraggly pine. My photo doesn't do it justice. When I mention bald eagles to the locals, I get a "ho-hum" response. I hope I never get there since it is so exciting everytime we see one. The weather is grey with lots of sun breaks. The sky is constantly changing. Yesterday, as I was driving to the post office, the Cascade Mountains were awash in brilliant sunlight even though we were in the grey. The contrast was surrealistic but alas, when I grabbed for the camera, I realized that I had left it at home.

We have tried two Unity churches now, one here in Port Townsend and one in Kingston. Our plan is to go over to Sequim next Sunday, then make a decision about which one feeds our spirits best. Until the next time.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Nesting and Passing Time

Charlotte: Since leaving Sacramento and moving up to the Grass Valley area we have been a little down all week. We feel lost. It occurs to us that even though we love to travel, experience new places and meet new people, perhaps we need a nest somewhere. Moving is supposedly a very stressful experience and I think we are feeling some of that this week. Without a nest, maybe this moving every few months is taking a toll on us. As we think back, it seems like we get down every time we move. We love the feeling we get when we hit the road, headed to a new place... but the week before we leave and about the first week after we arrive at our new destination we are down in the dumps. Is there a pattern here? Duh? It is especially hard this time because we have made so many friends in Sacramento. We are leaving "family" behind this time but we know that we will return for visits.

We are excited about heading back to our beloved northwest. It feels more like home that any other place we have been. We haven't been back in almost 2 years now. Maybe before we think about any more housesits we should find a place to call home. It would be fun to get all of our worldly goods out of storage. It would be like Christmas since we haven't seen any of our "stuff" in so long. We stored everything away in 1997 and hit the road. It would be nice to have a place to go back to once in awhile..... a place where we have "community" and a sense of family. We'll be at our next housesitting assignment in Pt. Townsend, Washington next week. Perhaps being there will help us in answering some of these questions.

Larry: I've been taking a break from my farm chores by sitting on the front porch watching a kingfisher hunt for his breakfast. What a simple life, eating what you catch when you're hungry. I was watching the leaves fall from a tree - talk about being present! One or two leaves would drift down, then a breeze would pluck a dozen or more so that a flurry of leaves fell. The ground beneath the tree was solid with yellow and orange color. I was struck by the metaphor of life and passing time . Our days float by like the leaves of autumn, some days faster than others, some weeks fly by without our noticing - all joining the past and accumulating around us. In order to appreciate our time here, we must stay present and watch each day as it drifts toward the past. Too quickly, our life will be represented by the stark bareness of the leafless branches.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Golden Dream

Journal entry from 1983 ~ the gold mining years
High Sierra
Cold Water Creek

The day started out the same as most mornings. The air was brisk, even cold when I slipped out from the warmth of our down cocoon. My breath plumed in front of me as I inhaled the pungent piney air. I lit the stove to start the coffee and then stirred the coals in the fire ring. Adding a handful of chips and bark, I blew a few strong puffs and was rewarded with a slender flame that I encouraged with more wood. The fragrant smell of wood smoke filled the air. From the safety of a high limb above, a squirrel scolded me for my efforts. By the time the coffee was ready, Charlotte had joined me at the fire and we contemplated our day, warming one side at a time against the chill of the high mountain air.

After a hearty breakfast, we loaded our backpacks with our lunch and enough gasoline to run our dredge for the day. The hike down the steep trail to the river took about 15 minutes with an occasional slip or two. We had carved the trail in a series of switchbacks because of the steepness. The creek didn't look any different that day either. The towering trees formed a canopy over our heads and the clear, icy mountain stream plunged and gurgled it's way past us. We were mining for gold in the High Sierras of Northern California using a suction dredge - sort of like an underwater vacuum. The gold in this particular stretch of the river had been meager to average. The creek seemed stingy, wanting to hold onto it's treasure. Somehow though, I sensed a shift - a tingling deep in the primitive part of my brain.

Charlotte and I took turns underwater and this morning was my turn to begin the day. The water was icy cold and the first dive began before the sun hit the water so no one argued for the first shift. The water was so cold that we piped warm water from the engine down the back of our wetsuit. I began to clean the jagged bedrock with the dredge nozzle. The surface of the rock didn't prepare me for what was about to happen. I was working along a smooth fluted groove in the rock when I came to the hole. It was circular and about 3 feet across. We called them boil holes because sometime in the geological history of this stream, there had been a waterfall here which had provided the energy to create a vortex that had carved the hole out of solid rock.

The tingling became a constant vibration in my head. I slowly worked my way down through the tightly packed rocks and pebbles, my mind filled with visions of gold. About two feet down, the brilliant flash of native gold caught my eye. A perfect teardrop shaped nugget about 1 1/2 inches long materialized and I excitedly handed it up to Charlotte who was standing in the water next to me. Knowing how gold seeks the lowest level, I thought, "If this big piece is up here above the bottom, what must lie below?" Now I knew that the river was rewarding us for our perseverance. After clearing another foot or so, the hole began to slope inward, signifying that the bottom was near. As the last debris began to clear from the bottom, a golden glow began to fill my vision. There in the bottom of the hole, layers of gold nuggets gleamed with the shiny brilliance that had started wars and birthed the west. I handed the largest ones up to Charlotte. I motioned for her to cut the engine so that we could take a look in the box. Sure enough, it was lined with golden color.

Just as we were cleaning the last of the gold from the riffle box, a huge roll of thunder interrupted our excitement. A storm was right overhead. We raced up the trail barely ahead of the heavy droplets of rain. Breathlessly, we jumped into the pickup and headed for camp, exhilarated by all that the day had blessed us with.

Friday, October 22, 2004

ET, Phone Home
by Larry

Someone asked us the other day if we were tired of traveling and didn't we need a home? It got me to thinking about roots. Roots means family, community and a historic home to me. Those ingredients become problematic when you are on the road as much as we are. Charlotte and I are essentially, vagabonds. Actually, we are professional house sitters which means that we live in lots of different places for one to three months at a time. In just the last 18 months, we have lived in British Columbia, Atlanta, GA., Portland and Cottage Grove, OR., Dallas, TX., Denver, CO and most recently are living in Sacramento, CA! Talk about diversity! House and farm sitting has provided us with a way to see the country and meet lots of interesting people. If you are ever interested in looking into this as a way to thee the country or the world you can find out more at

Friendships are what holds us together and provides us with "family". Richard Bach says it best, "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each others life." As for a home where all our friends live, Bach again nails it: "Can miles truly separate us from friends? If we want to be with someone we love, aren't we already there?" In this manner, we carry our community with us.

Each new destination offers new opportunities to meet new friends, make lasting relationships, thereby expanding our family and growing our roots ever deeper into the rich tapestry of our lives.

Travels with the Bacons

Travels with the Bacons
by Charlotte
October 22, 2004

We are very excited about our new blog "The Heroes' Journey". We are thankful to our very special friend, Elizabeth, for encouraging us to do this. (who the heck knew what a blog was? ) According to one estimate, there are about 2.5 MILLION blogs on the net today.

For a number of years now we have been writing about our journey and sharing it via personal letters, email and the occasional travel newsletter. Our new blog will give us a place to share about our travels and the special people, places and lessons we learn along the way. If you are part of our "family", we welcome you to look in on us each week and find out what we are up to. If you are new to our blog, we welcome you to our "extended family".

Today we are in Sacramento, CA. We have been house sitting in Midtown for a delightful couple who are spending 3 months in Europe. Yep! this is another housecarer job! Their Craftsman style home was built in 1916 and has been tastefully modernized. We are within walking distance of shopping, restaurants and coffee shops. It is a neighborhood of quiet, tree-lined streets with a real sense of community. We still prefer the pastoral life of the country but this is very enjoyable. Next week we will begin packing for our next adventure which takes us first to Grass Valley, CA and then on to the northwest once again. This time to Port Townsend, WA.

During our stay here, we have been blessed to be part of a very special spiritual community. If you are ever in Sacramento, be sure to visit the Spiritual Life Center downtown. They are part of the Unity Church community. We have been blessed to be able to help build a Habitat for Humanity house while we are here. We are often the only ones working during the week except for the contractor in charge, Mike. He is a really nice fellow. We are working on the roof..... not too much competition for that job during the summer in Sacramento. Larry worked with his dad putting on roofs and so he thought this would be a good job for us. We get here very early in the morning and start our day sitting up on the roof watching life around us; kids headed to school, people headed to work, buses going by, barking dogs, joggers..... well, you get the idea. We work all morning and then come down around noon when the heat gets pretty intense. On the weekends when most folks show up to pitch in we have a password to qualify for working on the roof or rather a song.... they have to be able to sing or hum at least a few bars from "Up On The Roof". That is our theme song for this summer.

Right now we are participating in an annual churchwide program called Faith In Action. As part of that, each Sunday, we sing a special song together. When we arrived in Sacramento we found ourselves needing to stop for awhile, for rest and contemplation. We wanted time to think about where we had been and where we were headed, both in our lives and geographically. This song speaks of our chosen journey and we want to share the words with you.

I Am On A Journey ~ words and music by Richard Burdick

I am on a journey to my true self
Today my sacred journey starts
I am on a journey to find God's love
I am on a journey to my heart

I am on a journey to find wholeness
Today my sacred journey starts
I am on a journey through the mystery
I am on a journey to my heart

I am more
than all I can see
Digging deep I find the truth

In my soul
I find the Divine
The same sacred Spirit that's in you

I am on a journey to find heaven
Today my sacred journey starts
There is love and beauty every moment
On my sacred journey to my heart

I am on a journey to awaken
Today my sacred journey starts
Take my hand and you can travel with me
On this sacred journey to the heart

The Detour (notes from our 2003 journals)

THE DETOUR (notes from our 2003 journals)
by Larry Bacon August 22, 2003

Well, here we are headed to our second assignment with housecarers  (our new house sitting agency) in Beaverton, Oregon by way of a conference in Portland. I don't know about you but seldom does an everyday event slap me up along side of my head with a message that says, "Hey, Larry, are you paying attention? Do you get this or do you need some more glyconutrients?" Let me tell you what happened on the way to Portland, Oregon from Atlanta, GA by way of Gunnison, Colorado. Charlotte and I headed west from Atlanta having spent nearly three months with heat, humidity, cockroaches the size of mice and southern fried food. The farther west we drove, the lighter we became, both literally and figuratively. We could identify with the early pioneers - setting their sights on the Oregon Territory. Wild Indians, deserts or floods couldn't deter us from our destination! By the time we reached Colorado, I was soaring - in a frenzy to arrive on the west coast - home at last!

Early one morning, we dropped down from the continental divide on Monarch Pass and entered the pleasant community of Gunnison. It had been several days since we had checked our e-mail so we were anxious to locate the local library in order to access the internet. Over the next hour, three different individuals urged Charlotte to take a detour to Crested Butte. They said something about not missing such an opportunity since we were this close. I, on the other hand, was still eager to push on so the 30 mile detour represented way too much delay. Let us just say that against my opinion, we headed off in our new direction and I pouted my way up to Crested Butte.

If you have ever driven along the Gunnison River, you will know how hard it was for me to maintain my aloof disdain for such a journey. Each turn of the road brought new vistas of still pools, rapids and the occasional fly fisherman wading in the shallows, stalking the wary trout.

By the time we drove into the tiny, magical village of Crested Butte, my spirits had been restored. It is nestled in a valley, high up in the Rockies. We were greeted by masses of flowers growing everywhere - baskets, barrels, buckets, boxes, beds and mounds. The air was crystal clear, warm in the sun but cool in the shade. We were even entertained by a distant thunder storm. The long three blocks of multi-colored businesses reminded us of North Lake Tahoe in California back in the 60s. We walked the length of town on the lookout for a place to eat lunch. The young man who took our order for a gargantuan Mexican style wrap, urged us to continue over Kebler Pass. He assured us that we wouldn't regret our decision to do so and the road came out in Delta, CO, our destination anyway. A lady in the visitor center said that by coming to Crested Butte, we had contracted the Ute curse – we would always have to return. When we asked her how many times she had been to Crested Butte, she replied that she had just moved back for the third time. Oh sure! One more detour! But by this time, I was beginning to get the picture.

We topped out quickly at Kebler Pass where we walked over to an old pioneer cemetery. That was the beginning of one of the most awesome sights I have ever experienced. The well maintained gravel road undulated and meandered along the top of the Rocky Mountains through an endless, dense grove of Aspens. You could hardly see through the stark white trunks, the trees were so thick. Dark storm clouds contrasted with the stark blue of the sky and the pale gleam of the looming peaks. It was just like being immersed in a Bev Doolittle painting! Where were the Indian spirits or the hiding bears? Were we to become her next camouflaged subject? (Look very closely at the picture of the aspens) Reluctantly, we left the Aspen forest behind and descended to the interstate to continue our journey. Returning to our original course, I realized how much I would have missed had I not taken that detour. I was struck in a powerful way by the metaphor this represented in my life. How many "detours" have I ignored, denying myself unexplored experiences and adventures? How often have I been so focused on my path that I missed doors along the way? My lesson for the day was to proceed a little slower, watching more closely for those delights along the side of the road (and to appreciate Charlotte’s wisdom more often.)