The Mixed Emotions

I’m super excited to FINALLY be going on this long-awaited adventure with my love, Rico. As I have stated before, I have been dreaming of and planning this epic road trip for some time now, and I’m totally over the moon with joy that we are actually going to be doing it in 33 short days! But…

As I’m prepping for our HUGE moving sale this weekend, I’m having to say goodbye to a lot of possessions, and the comfortable life that went with them. This is putting me in a somewhat melancholy mood.

Not to mention the thought of leaving all of our wonderful friends here in DC who have become more like family than I ever thought possible. Who knew almost five years ago that I would find my tribe in this diverse and politically charged city? I sure didn’t. I mean, I’m more of a rural America, small-town type of girl. I never imagined I would actually enjoy living amidst the hustle and bustle of the DC metro area. But, that’s exactly what happened.

Of course, that wouldn’t have happened at all without the music community that Flashband introduced us to back in 2013. The people we have met and played music with over the last 4+ years have truly been some of the finest people I’ve ever known… yes, Freddy, even you! I love you all! I will miss you all! I have stated the same in a previous post.

You have all helped me during my MS exacerbations, offered to drive me to doctor appointments when Rico couldn’t get off work, offered your support and love during difficult times after I lost my job, and just been amazing friends! I love you!

However, the road calls, and I must answer. The mountains, rivers, lakes, streams, meadows, canyons, beaches, and interesting people that are in our future are singing their siren song, and I am caught in the spell of the wanderlust. I must go, but I am saddened by the departure.

I will forever cherish the times we have shared, the songs we have sung, the laughter and the tears… all of it!

As we go off to make new memories, find more of our tribe, and experience many more exciting adventures, I will always have a special place in my heart for those of you who have made my life supremely excellent throughout the past 4 years, 8 months and 17 days.

We will be back around to the DC area next year, so don’t forget about us! Follow us here on our blog and on our YouTube channel, and Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As long as we stay connected, we will never be far apart!

Big Love,


The Learning Curve

The process of planning an epic road trip is overwhelming, to say the least, and often filled with more questions than answers. As a somewhat technically challenged individual, I have come up against a lot of things that have caused me to stop my forward progress just so I can watch YouTube tutorials on the thing that I am struggling with.

I love YouTube, and I especially love the people who take the time to make these tutorials. I am in awe of not only their knowledge but their dedication to educating people like me.

The latest thing I’m struggling with, in the technology realm, is learning how to use my newly acquired GoPro. We got it by bartering with a fellow artisan, and she cannot locate the manual. I have solved that problem by downloading the PDF of the manual I found online. Now comes the hard part—figuring it out.

My learning style is very hands on—I’m a Kinesthetic learner—I have to have someone show me while I have the thing in my hands and can do it right along with the instructor. That’s where YouTube comes in… Rico and I will be looking at the manual, watching the tutorials on YouTube, and playing with the camera at the same time. Hopefully, we will figure it out. If not, we have a dear friend who is a pro at the GoPro and he has offered to help us if we need it.

Recently, I had to learn how to edit videos. I’m here to tell you folks, it wasn’t easy for me to find software that was both awesome and easy, but I found it, and I’m going to plug it here. (I don’t get anything for this recommendation—they don’t even know who I am) It is called Filmora by Wondershare, and it is the easiest video editor I’ve found. I downloaded free trials of several different editors, and this one was the winner. Totally user-friendly, lots of built-in tutorials, and really great effects. If you are looking for video editing software, I recommend you check it out.

I also am learning all about domain names and website building, as well as promotion, public relations, marketing, and social media managing. It’s really daunting and extremely time-consuming, but I’m really enjoying it. I’ve found loads of information on YouTube about these topics as well.

I’m sharing all this information to let you all know that, no matter what it is you need to learn, you can do it! It doesn’t matter what your age, education level, health, or anything else is—you can learn how to do it. I’ve discovered, with the help of the internet and good friends, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

As I acquire more knowledge, I’ll be sharing little tidbits with all of you here on the blog and on our YouTube channel. Be sure to tune in and maybe you’ll learn something from this old dog.

Big Love,


The Farewell Tour Begins

We’ve been in the Washington, DC area since January of 2013. I can’t believe it has really been that long…

In that time, we have made friends with the large and vibrant music community in the DMV, and it is going to be very difficult to leave.

When we first got here, for about 8 months, we were absolutely miserable. We had been involved in an exciting community in San Antonio filled with musicians and artists, and we were missing all that creative interaction.



Enter Flashband. A co-worker of Rico’s suggested he check it out, so we did, and we were instantly welcomed into the hive of supremely talented people who formed a lively community through this incredible organization.

Although Flashband has had its ups and downs over the years, it is still alive and kicking, and now part of the amazing world of 7 Drum City, which is a cornerstone of the DC music scene.

With Flashband and 7 Drum City in our lives, we began to thrive in DC. We formed multiple bands, both temporary and long-lasting, and became friends/family with a group of people who are both gifted and fun.


We began hosting monthly (eventually semi-monthly) potluck jam parties at our house in May of 2015, and it just got better. Soon 7 Drum City began hosting their own potluck jams each month, and our circle of friends and family widened.


I’ve told you all this to say: I’m really going to miss these people! I’m teary eyed as I type this…

Potluck Jam #1

They have been best friends, shoulders to cry on, cheerleaders, partners in crime, fellow activists, family, bandmates, and all around incredible additions to our lives.

As we begin our “Farewell to DC” tour, we are realizing, even more than before, how much these people have given to us—what they have meant to us—and how difficult it is going to be to say goodbye.

We love you, and we’re going to miss you, but we’ll be back to play more music, drink more wine/beer, and celebrate together. Until then, my friends, stay well!

Big Love,

Lainie & Rico

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Sorry that I’ve been lax about posting lately, but I’ve been battling MS ugliness and I’ve been under the weather… I’m glad to be feeling better and back here in the blogosphere.

I have so much to do between now (September 8th) and our November 1st departure date, but I want it to be here already!

I said as much to Rico the other day and he said we needed all the days we have left to get everything done. He is correct, but…I don’t want to do all the stuff I have to do.

I DO want to write and paint and practice music. I DO want to shop for all the camping supplies we will need on the road. However, I DON’T want to decide what to keep and what to sell, price all the sale items, pack up all the keep items, go through the trash and donate items, hold the house sales, dismantle our DC lives, and say goodbye to friends.

(On the shopping front, we found a trailer that the Mini Cooper can pull, so I’m hoping to purchase it this weekend!!! YAY!)

If we could get to the adventure part without having to go through all the other stuff, I’d be fine.

Life is kind of like that, isn’t it? We work Monday through Friday, counting down the days until the weekend just so we can sit back, relax, and enjoy ourselves. We even have phrases to help us make it through the drudgery of the work week like “Hump Day” and “TGIF”.

One of the reasons we decided to take this adventure is that we can no longer tolerate that type of life—trudging through the five days of work and barely having time to live our lives during the remaining two days of the week. Life is too short for that! Imagine being a person who has to work 7 days a week?? That would be horrible, to put it mildly!

Why spend 40+ hours per week working (not to mention the commute) to pay for a house you barely live in? Why work yourself to death to line the pockets of some rich executive while you are living paycheck to paycheck?

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now…

Waiting, for me, is truly the hardest part. However, I have so much to do that time will probably fly by and November 1st will be here before I know it.

Here is my artistic to do list:

  • I just published another novel today (which means a lot of promotion is required), and I have another one I hope to finish and publish by the end of September
  • I’ve recently completed three new paintings, and my goal is to have at least 20 more finished by the time we take off
  • We have 20 songs in our busking repertoire, but we want to have 60, so we have a lot of music practice ahead of us
  • I’d like us to write and record at least 4 original songs before we leave so we can have something to offer people while we’re busking

We also have a lot of not so fun things to do, which will keep us hopping between now and our departure date. I won’t bore you with those details, but suffice it to say, it’s A LOT of stuff to accomplish in the 53 days that remain.

I’ll keep updating all of you on our progress as we head toward D-Day.

Big Love,


The Planner vs. Freedom

September 1st marks exactly two months until we depart on La Grande Avventura (The Grand Adventure). I am so excited about it, I wish we were leaving today. However, as Rico pointed out, we have so much to do before exiting DC, I should be glad I have an entire two months. He sometimes doubts my ability to accomplish everything that needs doing in sixty short days, but I am supremely determined, and so it will be completed. He also doubts our ability to be on the road with our dogs, our musical equipment, our camping gear, etc. for over a year in a Mini Cooper, but I believe we’ll be just fine. As I said in my last blog, Rico is the pessimist, and I am the optimist.

Additionally, though I’ve tried to plan out the next fifteen months of our lives down to the day, I know things will have to be adjusted and moved. Just today, a friend stopped by and told us about several different places we should visit and when we should try to be there because of exciting musical events in those areas. It got me thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t plan so far in advance, but I don’t really know how to do that.

I’m a planner by nature. I’ve been doing it most of my adult life, and if I’ve learned anything in the last several years (since my MS diagnosis), it is that the blueprint I first come up with must be able to withstand modifications and changes. It must be fluid and not frozen.

One of the things I desire from this upcoming journey is freedom—to be untethered—to be unrestricted in where we go and when we go there. I want to have the skeleton of a plan, but nothing totally fleshed out. After all, we are attempting to find ourselves in freedom, which means we must be unrestricted.

As a planner, this comes hard. Letting go of the reigns isn’t easy for me. I have always tried to control every aspect of every little thing in my life (mostly unsuccessfully), and I am struggling to just let go and allow the adventure to map itself out.

I don’t want an alarm clock, or a schedule, or a map, or a time table to dictate how things happen. I know there are certain times we must be in certain places, whether for ourselves or for someone else, but I don’t want that to be the norm.

I have the first leg of our trip planned out in great detail, which will get us back home to Texas for a long visit with friends and family over the holiday season. After that, everything else is loosely planned, and I am fighting to keep it that way.

For the first time in a long while, I don’t have a five year plan, a three year plan, or even a concrete plan past the end of this year. Where will we be in January of 2018? Who knows? And for once in my life, I don’t really care.

Big Love,


Balmorhea State Park.jpg