We decided to stay in Viseu :)

August7

It is funny, but after our huge trip to look at other cities, we decided that it makes the most sense to stay here in Viseu :)

We felt that the lower cost of living, the fantastic weather, the great biking, the easy access to nature, the amazing people, and the community that Lindsey and Calico have built are all things we didn’t want to lose. Plus, with the lower cost of living, we can take some fun trips during Calico’s summer breaks.

We still have some worries about the quality of the schools and their reliance on rote learning over critical thinking skills. But, I don’t think those are big worries until he is much older. Portuguese is a great language for Calico to learn. We are hoping he can make the leap to Spanish and eventually have three languages under his belt.

Viseu is a bit small and we miss some things bigger cities offer. But, for what we gain we are happy.

We really liked Bordeaux, France, but after talking to French accountants and business owners, it didn’t seem like a good move when starting a business. And, it was going to be a lot more expensive. It was weird as multiple French people sent me 2-page emails on why I should not move here (given the climate for entrepreneurs and businesses). It sounds like it is a great place to retire to, but not to try to create a business within :(.

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41 Years old :)

July20

I turned 41 years old this year (in Viseu). Lindsey and I had a long lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Then when my son was back from summer camp we did cake and presents (I got a new rainproof jacket!). Calico made me some fantastic artwork, and his summer camp even helped with some additional decorations.

I have this habit of rereading the Wheel of Time every decade. I first read them in college. I reread them when I was 30 when the final book was out (on anamazing trip). And, I reread them when I turned 40. I am always amazed how books are such great mirrors. Every time I read that series I see new things about myself, the story, and the characters.

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Sold our home in Boulder.

July10

We officially sold our house in Boulder this Friday. We bought the house in March 2016 after looking at it on a whim (we had been looking at some rentals in the area). I loved its bone and location. Lindsey was pregnant when we bought it and it became Calico’s home for the first 3.5 years of his life. I am glad it has a new owner who will hopefully love it as much as we did. It was a good house and the first place I really felt was a “home”. 

It was a really hard decision emotionally to sell it. Although an easy one logically.

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Lyon, Bordeaux, and home!

July10

We are back home in Portugal!!!

It is so nice to be home :). I love working from my office with a nice office chair and a big monitor.

Aix was a bit of a bust for us, we had some great times with Marton and Vera, but it was super hot and not a great setup for Calico. So we left a few days early to go check out Lyon and Bordeaux as we slowly drove toward home. I also took the week off so that I could spend time with Calico. We haven’t gotten as much time together as I would have liked this year. And, Lindsey needed some downtime to explore those cities and see what she wants in a more permanent home.

Beach near Aix (and some park shots)

We had a wonderful time at a beach near Aix. I love swimming with Calico and I tried to get him started on learning how to swim (he needs some lessons)! And, the other two photos are from a Japanese garden where Calico could play in the stream.

Lyon France

Calico and I ate at an amazing French Vietnamese place. Calico tried Wasabi (a little too spicy for him right now). And, I took him to a museum which I haven’t gotten to do much with him on this trip. He put on his Egyptian hieroglyphics goggles and made up an entire story from what he could read. We spent the afternoon chasing after a magical crow while trying to avoid the cat that winked at us.

And, I managed one bike ride along the river.

Bordeaux France

Bordeaux clicked for both Lindsey and me which is a really good sign :). We think it is a good place for a long term home and digging into some research into all of that.

I had a blast with Calico and managed a really nice bike ride on a converted rail trail.

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The hardest part of this trip…

June19

I’ve lost the majority of my quality time with Calico on this trip and it has been very frustrating. Why? All of my time has gone into:

  1. Vetting cities and neighborhoods we are looking at. We do this as a family, but Calico and I don’t get to play and it is rather boring for him. It isn’t the same as going to the park together or a hike.
  2. Trying to keep up with work… while working less due to #1, #3, and #4.
  3. Driving.
  4. Increased time for food prep.
  5. Workouts to keep my back and sleep going well.
  6. Resting and trying to stay sane and not get sick (big fail on this one as I didn’t make enough time to stay well).

I don’t see a way around this problem, as the main limit is time.

If I drive to a new city on a Monday that means I have to do 5 days of work in 4 days. And, if I take a few half-days to look at the city with Lindsey that further constricts work. The business has definitely suffered as a result (which sucks).

And, while traveling we are less strict on routines so Calico wakes up later, I wake up later, and then I am working till later. And, instead of doing food prep that gives me 9 meals I am doing meals one by one which means a lot more time going into cooking/prep each one.

I am very thankful for our time in Croatia as we got some of that back as we’re able to just chill (I love taking him to the beach). I am looking forward to being home in Portugal so we can spend more time together doing fun stuff.

Lindsey and I had to cut a ton of our couple time, but for us driving time is pretty high quality. And, we got to eat out with each other a lot which is fantastic. We are both looking forward to being home and adding movie date nights back. And, I can’t wait for Calico to be in school so we can do some lunch dates!

In hindsight… I think it would have been better if I stay home with Calico and Lindsey would fly to check out cities on her own. Then once she finds something she loves I would fly/drive to check it out.

posted under Dear Calico, Family & Marriage | Comments Off on The hardest part of this trip…

Funny Calico story…

June3

We drove from Croatia to France this week. We stopped in Italy for the night at a beautiful monastery. It was nestled in the hills of a beautiful region we hope to return to one day. And, as we lay asleep this happened:

Laying in bed, with the windows open and the cool mountain breeze lulling us to sleep in a quiet monastery in the hills of Italy near the Avigliana lakes, we suddenly heard a loud series of male satisfied groans. Ben and I have a little giggle. Calico exclaimed, “wow! He must be lifting something really heaving, like over a hundred pounds.”

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3 day ride on the Parenzana trail over Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy…

May23

I cycled the Parenzana trail over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

What is it? It is a converted rail trail and the first two days were some of the most beautiful rides I’ve ever done. Day 3 was along the coast and a bit more urban/busy. The trail is ~123km in length and goes from Istria Croatia to Trieste, Italy. It spends around 13km in Italy, 32km in Slovenia, and 78km in Croatia.

Istria, Croatia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. This is my 3rd time visiting Croatia, and I can’t wait to return. It is one of my favorite countries in the world. 

Lindsey and Calico were my support crew and met me every day around lunchtime (or after). It was nice not to bike with a full load of bags. Huge thanks to them! We stayed in a really nice B&B in Slovenia and did a tasting menu which was a blast. I’ve never done a fancy tasing menu and I really enjoyed it (Calico did a great job as well and did his own kid’s tasting menu).

Rough itinerary?

  • Day 1 – ~38km and 440m elevation over 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Day 2 – ~30km and 374m elevation over 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Day 3 – ~60km and 300m elevation over 3 hours 7 minutes
  • Day 4 – We explored Trieste Italy a little but didn’t see much. It was Sunday and very hot. We saw a fort, a restaurant, and some gelato :). I hope one day I can go back and walk around it more. It is hard with a 5-year-old as they can do more but don’t walk the same distances as when they are in a stroller.
  • Day 5 – I woke up at 6 am to do a 25km bike ride around beautiful Slovenia and then we drove home. I would love to ride more of Slovenia one day.

Rough map of where we were exploring:

From my trip to Parenzana:

Day 1

I snapped my bike tool, probably going the wrong way when I got a flat on my front tire. Luckily some nice Austrians saved me (especially as I embarrassingly packed my wrong pump as well). My support team picked up a new tool and pump for me :).

Day 2

Day 3

From my bonus ride in Slovenia:

Very fun!

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Graz Austria, last city on the fast trip…

April24

We had a wonderful stay in Graz Austria. It was nice to be in a smaller town and we were a little out of the city so we had a little yard. It was amazing to wake up to the sound of birds. I got a few bike rides in and we had an awesome easter hike. It was especially nice to stay in a place that had a real office chair (my back was super happy).

Whats next? Some much needed downtime in rural Croatia for at least a. month to recharge.

posted under My Thoughts | Comments Off on Graz Austria, last city on the fast trip…

Dresden, Prague, cold, and exhausted…

April11

After Berlin, we headed to Dresden Germany for a week, and then to Prague for a week.

I forgot to mention our valiant steed that is powering this journey. We are driving a Ford Tournen Connect (which I LOVE). It is quiet, has great gas mileage, super smooth driving, has huge windows, is great for a tall person, and the seats are upright and keep my back happy. The bike rack setup is not optimal, but everything else is well done.

I haven’t been to Dresden since my German high school trip in 1998. I was so busy and burned out that I didn’t do much this trip beyond two long bike rides and a lot of work. I did an amazing forest ride in Dresden which was one of the best rides I’ve done yet. I hope to see more of the city and museums in the future.

After that, we headed to Prague!

I love these pictures of my son. He was super excited to get a jean jacket, it is something he has been asking for for years. And, he def hit some walls on traveling and needs some downtime as well. He had some good times at museums with Lindsey.

 

I am utterly exhausted. My body hit a wall in Prague so I just rested, watched tv/movies, read, and stayed home (a big cold front hit as well). I didn’t do any bike rides and struggled to work past lunch as I couldn’t focus on anything. I walked around the old town one day and Calico and I went to the Natural History Museum which was fun.

We’ve been traveling for 9 weeks to look at possible cities to move to. My son starts school next year so we are trying to figure out where we want to be during this next stage of our lives. My natural state is nomadic so the thought of being in one place is scary :). We’ve visited Montpellier, Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Dresden, and now Prague. We are now in Graz… and then we are going to a small rural village for a month to breathe and think deep thoughts about surviving in the dark icy sunless north.

Part of our rush for this trip was we found out my wife was pregnant and we wanted to find a home in time to have the baby there. Unfortunately, we found out the pregnancy wasn’t viable 1 week before we were leaving on this trip. So the last 9 weeks have been tough in so many ways.

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Berlin is an amazing city!

March27

We had a great time in Berlin and a huge thank you to Marton and Vero for showing us around.

Berlin was the first real international trip I did. I went as part of an exchange in high school and it was a life-changing trip. I was back years later for a work event, but I was so busy I didn’t see anything but the hotel. And, I got a cold during the event so I just stayed at an Airbnb afterward as I was exhausted. This time was better, we saw several neighborhoods, I got two bike rides in, and we ate a lot of delicious Asian food. Work has been intense so I didn’t get to see much more than that. Calico and Lindsey saw a ton of museums and I hope to join them when I get a little more time at future stops.

Lindsey celebrated her 40th birthday while we were in Berlin! I got her a really nice hotel room for two nights so she could have some alone time, relax, do whatever she wanted. The hotel room had a hammock in each room (which I think is amazing). We plan a lot more little celebrations for her as we continue our trip :).

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Düsseldorf Germany!

March16

Düsseldorf is an incredibly cool city, and we loved it (even more than Karlsruhe). It had the nicest grocery store I’ve ever been in, and we had several rounds of Vietnamese food (so good).

I had some beautiful rides down the Rhine and even took a ferry across on one big ride.

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Karlsruhe Germany!

March2

We are in the midst of a road trip and over the next 6 weeks we are going to explore 4 cities in Germany, then Prague, and finally Graz :). After that we are not sure, but going to take a look while we relax in Graz.

We are in Karlsruhe now and it is amazing. I am always blown away at the biking infrastructure and the attention to detail. It is a little intimidating as everything feels like it just works. We had some really good Syrian food yesterday and Calico is loving the parks (best parks I’ve ever seen). It is much colder than we are used to. Lindsey bought an amazing jacket before we left and we bought a new one for Calico this week.

I’ve gotten a few bike rides in to explore the town, nearby forests, and yesterday I made it to the Rhine!

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Interesting times: 2020-2022…

March2

2020 – March (pandemic)
2021 – January (violent coup attempt by Republicans in the USA)
2022 – February (Russia invades Ukraine, the world says fuck no)

My hope is that for 2023 things stay calm until late August, I’d like a totally chill summer.

And, we might be on the cusp of WW3 or a nuclear war. Plus we haven’t really got covid under control, we are just hoping a more lethal varient doesn’t emerge. “Fun” times!

What is on the future calendar?

  • 2023 – China invades Taiwan.
  • 2024 – A new and improved coup attempt by Republicans in the USA.
posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on Interesting times: 2020-2022…

Montpellier bike ride!

February22

Montpellier is a beautiful town, I hope to come back when it is a bit warmer. We’ve had a nice stay here this week, and it has been nice to have some bread treats here. It was also cool to see real flamingos out in the water!

posted under Family & Marriage, Fitness & Sports, My Thoughts, Travel | Comments Off on Montpellier bike ride!

Shepherd’s new front page goes live!

February2

Woohoo, last night we went live with the new front page!!! Almost 9 months after launch and we now have in place search, a real front page, and bookshelves (aka topic pages). It feels good to have a more complete website out there :).

We still have a ton of bugs to crush, but it is so nice to have a real front page instead of that big ugly placeholder :)!!!

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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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