Guanos 2018

by The Good Life on November 13, 2018

in Uncategorized

This weekend, we got so lucky.  Great waves, offshore wind and no one really out since its Guanos….

This Autumn, we were lucky enough to be able to take some time off for paternity leave (which I will write a whole other blog about), but we aimed to take some time off work to enjoy some time with our new addition Lilly.
So quickly we set to planning how we wanted to plan it out and quickly landed on some beach time in the autumn when luckily France, Spain and Portugal are blessed with some wonderful weather and so we waited for some flights to go on sale with Delta and 42k miles later per ticket we were bound for Europe.
I thought I would break it into multiple steps across what we did:
Stage 1 : Flights to London : we managed to snag tickets for 42k miles each for flights direct to London which really does help when traveling with two kids.  Last thing anyone needs is layovers anywhere.
We had a couple of days at home to get the kids some rest.  One night our son slept 15 hours which was nice for his surprised parents.
Stage 2 : Ryanair to France!
I haven’t flown with Ryanair in years since I was snowboarding.  Luckily they were actually pretty simple as long as you book flights early get your luggage sorted and away you go.  Only had one mishap where the young chap on boarding refused to give me a baggage ticket for the stroller despite his co-worker saying that they could.  A couple of words later and we were on the plane.  Ryanair is an interesting animal, its cheap but then you have all these extra costs but if you read the small print and plan ahead its easy and cheap enough.  You just always see people who turn up expecting British airways but paying Ryanair.
Stage 3 : 12 days in France!
France is without doubt one of the places closest to my heart.  Good weather, amazing food and wine and good waves.  We rented a big house with some good friends who thankfully all helped us out as it really does take a village sometimes.  Sani, Spencer, Fabia, Jackie and Alex you all deserve a medal for how you helped us out.  We had a pool, plenty of shade, plenty of places to sleep, nap and snooze for both kids and parents.
We got lucky also as Lennys birthday co-incided with our stay and so Gary Greenshields could bring Archie along for a party.  We got a house with like 5 bedrooms, lots of outdoor space and sometimes you forget how important space and an area to just hang out is.  Seignosse where we stayed is great as its close to the surf spots up in Seignosse and Hossegor, close enough to the wonderful food spots like Chez Minus and Capbreton.   Its also good as you can head down to Bar Jean in Biarritz or San Sebastian for a night out.  We managed to hang with Bryan and Caley for a few days here before there own whirlwind euro trip too.
Stage 4 : The VAN!
Ah the van.  Oh the van.  When Mareike suggested this I was so excited and that level remained throughout my time.  We worked with Indie Campers who were great at every step of the process and really made it easy with delivery at Biarritz airport and drop off in Lisbon.  The van itself was had two full sized beds, with a shower and seats for us all.  We managed to live in there for a week and it worked really well.  The key to another trip would be just ensuring that we pack a bit lighter.
It did lead to some interesting evenings trying to get into your bed and repack at the same time.  It all worked out fine in the end.  I just had one unfortunate incident with a stroller but otherwise we all walked away unscathed.   Traveling by Van is so fun as you can go at your own speed, so one day we drove for like 500 miles and stopped by a beach on the way for a swim but kept a loose schedule.  Another day we just stayed at one spot in Portugal all day long.  It does take the family to be pretty easy going and prepared to have some fun along the way.  I’m lucky that my wife and kids seem that way inclined and we definitely made some memories that we’ll keep forever.   The highlight of the trip was our stop in Galicia.
 We had driven from St Vincent a few hours away and we decided to try and make Nemina down in Galicia on the far northwestern corner of Spain.  We had been given some amazing tips by friends.  This one involved driving down tiny village roads in our big old van, through fields, by wind turbines and then we ended up at a pretty empty beach with a beautiful little cove with just a few people around.
We went up to fine a spot to park for the hight and then paddled out for an evening session.  Beautiful waves, cool and clear water with a crazy sunset.  That will live long in the memory.
We then made our way down to Peniche and Ericera where we ended up for a few more days, which was great to explore and not need to keep the kids in the van for hour after hour.
Down here there was one day which summed up why a van is nice.  Mareike went to go get her nails done and get a massage so me and the kids drove up to an overlook by a beach and just hung out for like 3 hours, playing in the van, watching the surf, eating snacks, hanging together.  Its always the small things but that was amazing.
Staying in Ericera as it had a great combination of surf, food, wine, some insane tasting Portuguese breakfast gallete and of course great sunsets.
Stage 5 : Lisbon
After a week in a van, it was a refreshing change to have a nice air bnb to call home.  A warm shower was very very welcome addition.
Lisbon is growing at a rate of knots.  In portland you always can tell the state of the economy based on how many cranes you see.  In Lisbon there are probably 20 in the skyline such is the pace of growth.  One of the places thats been growing is Comoba, owned by legend, friend, idol, Greg Martin.
In Partnership with Marlon Lipke and a couple of others they have the best coffee and food spot in Lisbon I’d argue.    They also serve beer and cocktails!
Matcha pancakes, great coffee, good vibe, its a wonderful zone and the boys have really made it their own.  We also managed to spend some time at Santa Cruz which has just opened up a beautiful zone called the Noah Surf House, with food, surf a shop and more stuff that looks good for instagram than you can shake a stick at.
We spent time exploring Lisbon, which with two kids is quite the mission but very good to see it all.  That also involved a train ride up to Estoril a cute little beach only 30 mins away on the train.  I also managed to snag a couple of rad days of surf in with Mark Ruperelia, one of my longest friends who is as much a legend now as he was when we first met.
Here he is tucking into some Coxos breakfast.
So after a month on the road I’d honestly say its one of the best adventures we’ve done as a family and I cant wait for more.  The great thing about taking a longer period off is that you can actually switch off and be present and just enjoy spending time without thinking about work.  For that opportunity I am very very grateful.
I’ll post some more about paternity leave and other stuff but now most stuff is on instagram anyways, I guess I dont need all the photos, but again, just wanted to share our plan as a lot of people have asked me.
Heres to Europe!
The one who makes it all possible…

France 2018

by The Good Life on October 14, 2018

in Uncategorized

I’ll write a few thought out blogs in the coming weeks, but for now just wanted to fire up some photos from an insane trip this last month.

Breakfast everyday.

Potty training.

The happiest baby.

Chez Minus, my favorite place to eat.

Capbreton

Biarritz

The crew!

The one who makes it all possible.

Our house.

San Sebastian.

Harvest Moon

Way too much fun.  

He found Nemo.

Carissa Moore!

Alex & Jackie

Bar Jean, maybe my favorite place to eat ever.

Parenting.

by The Good Life on September 4, 2018

in America, France, Friends

I suppose I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, and now being a parent to 2 kids, I could say that I maybe have a little introduction into this field, but fully realize that me and my wonderful wife are at the beginning of the journey of being a parent.  Not sure if its going to weddings recently and seeing proud parents seeing their kids get married which spurred this on, but I suppose the enormity of being a parent is slowly dawning on me.
Its funny, before you have kids, you think about it but dont really know what to expect and no matter the preparation you cant really know what to expect, how the child will be or more importantly how you and your partner will be as parents.  Tired, exhausted parents sometimes too, which just makes things extra interesting.
But yes, you take a drivers test with lessons to drive a car and even when you have that license you know how stop start those first days with a car can be stalling on hills.  I guess thats kind of like being a parent, figuring it out as you go but usually you dont get lessons before hand.
I mean, think about university, you spend 4 years learning (after 11 or so years at school) to get a job of varying difficulties.  With parenting, you conceive and then 9 months later you are on arguably the toughest job you will ever get.  One where your boss changes their mind every few minutes, is tired and hungry quite often and mad at you quite a bit too.  You can try reasoning or bargaining with them or explaining you will have it done by end of day but with this little ball of fun thats not quick enough.  They want Juice now.  Like right now.
So whats the point of this blog?  Well basically just to pat each and every parent out there on the back.  Me and my wife are in the midst of a 2 year old and 6 month old and doing our very best and are very blessed to have happy and healthy kids but there isn’t an evening when we dont slump down on the couch at the end of a long day and just look at each other and breathe a long sigh out followed by a glass of rose like “yes, we made it through another day”.
 Only to go to bed and then get feet and elbows in the face from one of the kids who wants to sleep in our bed.  But at that same moment there is a feeling of being immensely proud of how we are doing, like many other parents juggling work, having no family around (maybe an 11 hr plane ride to the nearest family) and balancing just life and everything it throws at you.  I’m proud of the fact that we cover for each other to go work out, we encourage each other to go and see friends and that we take our kids everywhere.
Like I say I feel like we’re in the lucky side of things as there are single parents out there doing it, people with sick children and all I have is admiration for both.  As I said above, being a parent can be the toughest job on earth on a good day, but with an added element I can only imagine.
Its also to see how you each change and deal with becoming a parent.  My wife has become like a diaper carrying, multi snack holding superhero ready for any adventure at the drop of the hat.  I guess I know where she gets it from…
That said, there is nothing that compares to having your son or daughter look at you and smile, laugh, run over and give you a hug.  Thats a feeling like no other.  So far we have been lucky enough to take our son snowboarding, he has hung on my back surfing and hiked all around the Pacific Northwest on our backs and our daughter is about to do the same.  We’re actually headed for Europe soon, on her first flight to Europe so 11 hours with these two will be all sorts of fun.  
The one thing we’ve struggled with which maybe because we lived in Europe is the schedule thing.  We’ve tried but then It seemed like I wouldn’t ever see the kids with me getting home late and them going to bed early and so thats probably not helping us, but I wouldn’t swap those hours in the evening for anything.  That and the co-sleeping but otherwise its been great.
As my mother would say about her mum “kids just need to eat and sleep.  Make sure they get food regularly and they will be content, make sure they sleep enough and they will remain in a decent mood”.  Both my mother and grandmother were very simple in their outlook but also made the best of their surroundings and situations (my mum was born in London in 1942 during the war so you can imagine what my grandmother went through those first 3 years with bombings on London every day with her husband away with the Royals Fusiliers in the British Army).  Thats a pretty good leveler to think about situations others are in, and I know we are extremely lucky but thats the point of this blog.
I look around and see families with friends with 3 and 4 kids and have only admiration for how they are getting through days.  So I just wanted to say big ups, props to every parent out there holding it all together.  You are a star and deserve a medal yourself.  And to hope that my mother and grand mother are somewhere looking down proud of the job we are doing with our two kids.
Writing this did make me think though that sometimes Parenting can make you feel like its just you and your partner going through it, deep in the trenches, balancing kids, life, work etc and then I started thinking about amazing parents I know.  Sometimes as I say you can feel a bit like its you and your partner alone but there loads others going through various stages right now.  Just ask for help or advice at any stage.  So that kind of spurred me on to write the next post below thinking about some of the rad dads and mums out there who I look up too….

Parenting Role models

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Writing the blog above did make me think about how lucky we are to have so many good role models and so thought I should add a role call.  Sometimes […]

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Seaside

May 29, 2018

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Coffee Withdrawal?

March 28, 2018

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