Our Plans for the Rest of 2014: Portland, California, Half Marathon, and Central America

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In our fifth year of travelling things haven’t got any less exciting—we learned to sail a yacht in Malaysia, went hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey, and survived an adventurous housesit on a remote farm in Spain. So, what’s next?

We are currently back in England on our annual visit to catch up with friends and family, and attend a wedding in Bath. We’re not the biggest fans of our native land (especially the weather), but we’ve tried to focus on the positive aspects of the country during this visit—you can see our Things We Like About England photo series over on Facebook.

On Sunday we head off again to spend a few months in the US.


Our first stop is Portland, a new city for us and we can’t wait to explore its quirkiness and vegetarian food scene—my list of restaurants and food trucks is already way more than we can fit in during our nine day visit (although we’re still open to more suggestions!). We’ve rented an Airbnb apartment just off SE Hawthorne.

We’re in Portland to attend XOXO, an experimental festival celebrating independently produced art and technology. It features stories from creators who use the internet to do what they love; discussions on the challenges of being indie; and a showcase of music, storytelling, films, and video games. We’re looking forward to discovering new artists and meeting other independent app developers.

San Francisco

Greens, San Francisco

Vegetarian restaurant Greens: quite possibly our favourite restaurant in the world

San Francisco is our favourite city and this will be our fourth visit (perfectly timed for the best weather in September-October). Each time we stay longer and this time we’re planning to spend a whole month here (thanks to our very generous friend Jason who is hosting us in Lower Pacific Heights). We can’t wait to experience living in the city and our plans don’t involve much more than eating, working, yoga classes, and exploring some new neighbourhoods.

Half Marathon in Sonoma

J Rickards winery, Sonoma

Looking forward to running past vineyards

When I completed my first 10k race at the end of last year I said my goal for 2014 was to complete my first half marathon. After much searching I’ve signed up for the Run Wine Country Healdsburg Half Marathon on 12th October. I’m a bit worried about the rolling hills, but we loved Sonoma when we visited last year and I’m looking forward to a scenic course through the vineyards of Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley. I’m not sure I’ll be up for wine tasting after running for over two hours but I’m sure Simon will take advantage!

I’m following Hal Higdon’s 12 week Novice 2 training programme and the weekly long runs have been quite challenging—I’m up to nine miles now, the farthest I’ve ever run. When I started the training I wasn’t as fit as I was at the beginning of the year; my running had tapered off a bit during Southeast Asia’s steaming hot season and the hills and heat in Turkey. The thought of running 13.1 miles is still very daunting, but I’m keeping going and trusting in the programme to get me there.

If you have any tips for running my first half then please let me know.

San Diego

San Diego is another new city for us and we don’t know much about it other than our good friends and fellow app developers/travel bloggers Tom and Jenny are housesitting there, it’s by the sea, and there are tacos—that’s enough for us!

We are also planning to visit Disneyland when it’s all decked out for Halloween!

Trail Wallet Update

Simon keeps saying he’s going to stop working on our Trail Wallet budget app and start creating iOS games, but it has been so well received that he can’t seem to step away from it. The next update will be out towards the end of September and should be the last for a while. It’s going to be a major one to make sure that Trail Wallet is ready for the new iPhones and iOS 8. There will also be a completely new summary screen design, improvements to the pie chart, and some fun additions.

Guatemala? Mexico?

We’ll probably be in the US until early November and then it’s time to head south for the winter. By then we know we’ll be in need of one of our 2-3 month “settled down” periods where we rent an apartment, but we haven’t decided where to go yet. It will be somewhere in Mexico or Central America and our requirements are a quiet and scenic location, decent WiFi, affordable apartments available to rent, good food, and a yoga studio nearby (ideally where I can get a month’s unlimited pass).

Our top choice was Lake Atilán in Guatemala, a beautiful volcanic lake surrounded by Mayan villages, but I’m a bit concerned it’ll be too cold for me as the average maximum temperature is only 22 C at the end of the year.

Another option is finding another small Mexican beach town as we loved living in Playa del Carmen and San Pancho last year and we’d like to explore more of the country. Please let us know if you have any recommendations!

We don’t often do updates like this on the blog, so if you’d like to be the first to know our plans then sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Are you planning your next travel adventure? See our Travel Resources page for our favourite tools and gear to help you plan the perfect trip. 

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