Heaven or Las Vegas

Title inspired from this song. Listen while you read.

After a weeklong birthday bender in Mexico City, we flew back to the States on the 23rd of December to celebrate the holidays with my side of the family for the first time in ten years. Even though my sister and Cyndi, one of whom usually hosts us when we’re in LA, were between houses (both waiting to move into new ones), eleven of us still managed to convene for homemade lasagna and gift exchange at my sister and Phil’s temporary apartment in Hermosa.

Despite the tight quarters, I don’t think any of us felt cramped.

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A couple days after Christmas, Tree took off to Arizona where he and ten of his best friends went on the mancation of all mancations: Fourteen days, five rafts, one kayak, and one stand-up paddleboard down the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. No cell phones. No Internet. No electricity. Just tents, campfires, huge rapids, a lot of booze and even more testosterone. They celebrated New Years Eve under the stars and rang in 2016 getting wild in the wild. Despite suffering two back-to-back storms that brought five days of rain and frigid temps, the boys had the trip of a lifetime.


In the meantime, Sol and I spent two weeks doing the L.A. thing. As much as I’ve grown to love wild spaces, dirt roads and dusty pueblos, I still love the City of Angels, and all my angels in it. 

But, one thing about L.A, you need a car. So, as a total long shot, I put out a “Calling All Cars” post on Facebook asking if anyone had a loaner for me. 

Enter Anjie, blog follower and new lifelong friend. Even though we’d never met in person, she offered me her car while she was in Italy for a couple weeks. Finally six years of documenting our personal life on the Internet paid off! Seriously, I was blown away by her generosity and trust in me and, yet, I totally understood it because my universe is ruled by the same laws. 

Thank you, Anjie, for loaning me the wheels to enjoy my hometown and, more importantly, being a grand example of a brave and generous heart. I’m looking forward to drinking copious amounts of wine together in Umbria next year and laughing about the heinous key debacle. 

So what’d we do in L.A? 

We went to the beach..

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We went to Vromman’s bookstore in Pasadena to hear children’s story time.


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We visited childhood friends…

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And their kids! 1

And I went to the Magic Castle!!!!

I went with my sister and brother-in-law, and my childhood friend Dandi and her talented magician/juggler husband, Micki.  Not only did Micki get us all on “the list,” he even played chauffeur and gave us a personal tour. If you’ve never heard of  The Magic Castle, suffice to say it’s hands down the coolest thing to do in L.A. Home to The Academy of Magical Arts, the Magic Castle is a private clubhouse for magicians, and in order to go to the famous old mansion to see one of its mind blowing shows, you have to be invited by a member, and you have to dress up. Even though it’s foo-foo and exclusive, it redeems itself by being wonderfully tacky. Upon arrival, you’re welcomed by Irma, the ghost who lives in the piano. Not only does Irma take song requests, she also replies to questions with a musical sense of humor. For instance, I asked Irma what she thought of Donal Trump, and she played the theme song to Jaws

Unfortunately, they don’t allow photos inside, so this is all I got for you. 

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And we got to spend much needed time snuggling with my sister, Alexis, and niece, Abigail. (and you, too, Uncle Phil) 

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These two cousins are only ten months apart.

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For the last week Tree was gone, we flew to the northwest to visit Noni, and more aunties, uncles, cousins and one Great Grandpa Don. 

Having now done numerous transcontinental flights, a short three hour jaunt is nothing for Soleil.


We made delicious dinners, drank wine, laughed, played, and had great conversations. The holidays were perfect. Gracias familia! 

We reunited with Tree in Yuma, Arizona, mid-January. After three months of living out of a suitcase, it felt great to be together again in the Bounder. I’ve discovered I don’t really mind how small my space is, so long as I have my own space. 

Thanks Pa and Nana for taking such great care of our home and letting us stage our incoming and outgoing plans again. It’s always great hanging out! 

We’re currently in Las Vegas, climbing at Red Rocks, until mid-March. 

Let us know if you’re in the City of Sin. I like fallen angels too 😉

Milestone! I can do a pull-up!

In the next blog post, I’ll go over our 6 month plan before we hop on a plane in August to go to [insert X continent] for [insert X amount] years. 



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  1. Sounds like a good time! I’m constantly taken back by people’s generosity on the road. It’s amazing and a shame that we only hear the bad news.
    I can’t wait to hear about your next destination!

    • Agreed! By nature, I’ve always operated off the principle that most people are good and want to help, but traveling affirmed that belief with so many day-to-day examples. Not to say there aren’t scary people out there, but living in fear of a few at the expense of getting to experience the incredible kindness of strangers would be a tragic loss. Thanks for taking a minute to say hi! Reading comments always brings a smile to my face. xo.

  2. Auntie Alexis says:

    We miss you guys already and can’t wait for the next visit!

  3. Damn… those are some dead sexy pics of the Grand Canyon!

    • Right? One of the friends on the mancation is a professional outdoor sports photographer (obviously). It’s hard to not take great pics of the Grand Canyon, but these ones are next level awesome.

  4. So Beautiful

  5. frame it!

  6. What a great photograph!

  7. ” So Precious ” ~ <3

  8. This photo could be in a magazine!

  9. Great picture

  10. Professional photograhy!! So cute that little muchacha!!

  11. hippyscientist says:

    Love the new post! VisitingEurope? Come say hi! I’ve been reading your blog for years but haven’t got up the courage to comment. My partner is in the US, I’m in europe and you’ve definitely given us a new lease of life in ignoring the norm and forging your own path. I look forward to your updates and feel like I know you, even though it’s only been through your blog posts! Here’s to the rest of 2016 and beyond!!!

    • Hi!!! Yes, you guessed it! We fly into London on August 8th. From there our plan is pretty loose. We need to get residency in a country so we can stay a few years in the EU; we’re thinking Germany will be the easiest place to start for that, and to buy a rig. Where are you? We’d love to meet up. It’s always good to start a trip by making new friends 🙂

  12. oh my goodness what a great picture! and how awesome that one of your followers loaned you a car!!! and now friends for life…so great!!!! 🙂

  13. I still have your salsa!! Come over for chips salsa and vulture time

  14. I read thru your blog, and that last photo of Sol, asleep instantly choked me up – didn’t see that coming *smiles*

  15. Thank you Anj Villalobos! Especially for being so understanding during the key debacle. xoxo

  16. Wow, such an honor to be mentioned in your blog! You can borrow my car and lose my keys any day of the week Stevie Trujillo!! Looking forward to finally meeting and sharing many bottles of wine here in Umbria. 😉

  17. Just discovered your blog today and shared it with a friend who homeschools her teenagers and also wants to travel. We are from Wales in the UK. Europe will be an amazing adventure for you. I am so excited to be following them. The photographs are amazing and little Sol is just beautiful. My little adventurer is 9 yrs old and has a thirst for all things outdoors she is full of life and wants to discover everything! We have plans to travel the world when the middle one who is 17 is settled at Uni the eldest who is 20 is already settled and starting to have a taste for adventure having made lots of international friends in his university. Happy travelling X Yvonne X

    • Hi Yvonne. Nice to meet you! Thanks for taking the time to reach out and say hello. I really love receiving comments from readers, fellow adventurers, and other mamas from around the world. We’ll be starting our European trip in London. Perhaps our paths will cross!

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