Who Are We?
Matt runs a food blog (as well as handing the food parts of our life). Born in New Jersey, Matt has lived in different places all over the world: California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, and New Hampshire in the US. Also, Belgium, Netherlands, and the UK in Europe. He has a recent background in Information Technology before he lost his sight, but before that he worked extensively in food service and prep. He’s a great cook and loves to share his love of food with others. Check him out on his site, Matt Food.
TC is our 15-year-old son, shown doing what teenagers do. He, too, has traveled fairly extensively: moving to Europe with us when he was one, returning for a visit when he was five, traveling all around the country with us in our little motorhome when he was nine, and most recently, moving down to West Texas from New England when he was thirteen. TC is currently a freshman in high school, studying Engineering with an eye towards getting an Engineering degree and moving to Denmark to work for the Lego company as a set designer. He is studying Spanish in school, but teaching himself Danish on his own time.
How Did We Get to This Point?
Matt and I got married in 1997, but with me being underemployed and Matt being in school, we were too broke to afford a honeymoon until three years later, when I was several months pregnant with TC. We took our first trip together, to Niagara Falls.
TC was born in 2000, and in 2002 Matt got a one-year contract with a computer company in Amsterdam, Netherlands, so we moved to the Netherlands for a year and took quarterly trips to the UK before moving back to the States in 2003.
Back we went in 2005 for a visit to the Netherlands, and to France so I could meet an internet friend there.
In 2010, Matt and I both worked for the decennial census, so when it ended and everyone got laid off, we decided to take some time and look for greener pastures (read: jobs) in other parts of the country. We bought a tiny, ancient motorhome, pulled TC out of school, and toured the country for 3 months.
We didn’t find jobs, but we did fall in love with the Southwest, and got ever more tired of the long, cold, New Hampshire winters (we traveled all through the fall and got home to NH just in time for winter to really begin!).
I researched and bought a 10-acre plot of land in West Texas –“east of El Paso, but west of everything else” —and we started looking online for jobs in that area. We found them a year later, both working for an animal feed company. We had sold our motorhome and upgraded into a 5th wheel, so we sold most of our stuff, packed up the rest into the 5th wheel, and moved down to our property.
Unfortunately, the office manager was extremely difficult to work for. We didn’t find out until later that she hired us out-of-towners because she already fired all the locals! It didn’t take her long to fire us, too. But by that point, we had already made the move and were invested. We loved our place; we loved the neighbors; we loved the desert scenery and the peace and quiet, and we had no desire to go back. We had enough savings to live on for a while, so we stayed put and settled in.
That’s when the plot thickens. Matt had been having a little trouble with his vision before we left NH, but it got a lot worse, very quickly. Found out he has diabetic retinopathy (we hadn’t known he had diabetes at all), and had become legally blind, which led to a whole host of other physical problems.
Our whole next year was spent driving back and forth to El Paso, 75 miles each way: seeing doctors, trying to save Matt’s vision, and trying to get him Social Security Disability. We had already gone through all our savings by this point, and neither of us could work—Matt was blind and in pain all the time, and I had to drive him around. We went through a period of 7 months with less than $300 a month coming in, and it was only through the grace of God and the generosity of our neighbors that we survived.
Fast forward six months: Matt was on Disability, which was more than enough to live on at our place out in the desert. Another few months, and he was able to travel again, and we spent a month in New Hampshire visiting my family. A few months later, we drove to California to see Matt’s parents.
Our off-grid camper in the desert was proving to be too small for us with a growing teenager, and the solar setup still left it too dark for a mostly-blind guy to function. I cashed in all the royalties from my first novel, and was able to buy a 30-year-old mobile home in the lower valley of El Paso. We relocated to the big city until we could afford to have the mobile home hauled out to our desert place and to get electricity hooked up there. Alas, that hasn’t happened yet, and we’re currently still in El Paso and dreaming of our peaceful desert home.
We still travel whenever we can, though. Most recent was our visit back to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving, where we bought our delightful new Prius, named Felix. Matt and TC flew home, while I spent a month in New Hampshire waiting for the transmission to be replaced so I could drive Felix home.
Matt and I have worked together at a couple of different places, and always enjoyed it. We love traveling together, and now with his disabilities, he needs me with him most of the time. I don’t mind—it’s my favorite place to be! But it means neither of us can get an outside job, so we’re starting this blog concurrently with our travel and food writing as a business venture.
So if you enjoy reading about our adventures, please take a moment to peruse the affiliate links and think about helping to support us in our endeavors. Also, we know that not all support is financial. We love to get in contact with the readers, so make sure that you say hello on Facebook or Twitter, subscribe to the mailing list, or comment on a post. If you’re a Jesus-follower, we would love to have your support through prayer.