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To all the veterans

Gwen holding a baby and kissing her husband who's wearing Air Force camouflage/BDUs

Kissing my husband goodbye, circa 1997

Today I honor the men and women of all races, ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations, political beliefs, religions (or lack thereof), and even different nationalities who’ve served in the US armed forces.

I appreciate your commitment and sacrifice—and that of your families—whether you faced armed conflict or faced a computer.

Special thanks to my husband, father, father-in-law, and uncle.

Happy Veterans Day!

image of boxes in basement

A graduation, a retirement, and a(nother) move

image of graduation ceremony

If it seems like I've been a bit distracted lately, I have. Life's been busy at Casa de Hernandez, pretty much for the last year.

In March of 2015, my husband was preparing for a September deployment to Afghanistan for six months when the Air Force said, “Never mind, we need you in Florida in three weeks instead.” Cue the scramble, and the complete upending of all of our summer travel plans. And, of course, a small celebration that he'd be staying Stateside (though I'm pretty sure some part of him was disappointed at the location change).

We're good at adjusting course on short notice, finding adventure in the unexpected. Some people are adrenaline junkies who find their joy by jumping out of planes, climbing Meru, or surfing 30-foot waves. We like to travel and explore, and move. (Good thing, right?)

image of boxes in basement

And, while it's been fun letting the Air Force pick where we go, exploring places we might never otherwise get to know, we're finally in a position to choose for ourselves.

This month, our youngest graduated from high school and my husband retired from the military. So, we're off to California. Sacramento, for now, while my husband goes back to school, with an eye toward moving to the coast in a few years.

image of moving boxes in living room

Yes, I'm still working on my next two Scrivener courses. Yes, I'm still working on Men of Steele #3. All are coming along slower than I'd planned, but the classes will be live by the end of summer, and I intend to have MoS3 out before the end of the year.

For the next few weeks, though, I'll be filling up my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages with pictures from our cross-country trip and some new adventures. Feel free to follow along and share your own.

Got any fun plans for summer?

Home is where you make it


There’s a part in the movie Joe Dirt where the old Cajun man tells Joe, “Home is where you make it.” Of course, Joe misunderstands to (dubious) comic effect, but the old guy has a point.

In the military, we say “Home is where the Air Force/Army/Navy/Marines/Coast Guard sends you.”

Right now in the middle of a move, I’m again reminded that home (for me, at least) is less about a specific place, and more about where you make yourself comfortable, hopefully surrounded by those who matter most. Currently, that’s a hotel room. In a few weeks, it’ll be a townhouse in the Boston suburbs.

I grew up as a military brat and am now an Air Force spouse. For me, getting attached to a particular house or city is pointless. Honestly, I’m not sure I could. As much of a pain as moving is, the idea of never doing it again is a bit terrifying. I’d miss the excitement of learning a new city. That exploratory phase when you see everything you can and “wear out” the area before it just becomes the place you live.

Now that we’re out of our Virginia house, I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to the latest adventure in a part of the country I haven’t lived or spent much time in yet. And I’m looking forward to making a home out of our next house.

That’s me. How about you? Like to move? Hate to move? Have never moved?

Roam if you want to

Arc de Triomphe, 2010

Saturday was Bastille Day. I have a special affinity for July 14th because we were in Paris on Bastille Day in 2010, nearing the end of one of the best family vacations we’ve ever taken. One we still talk about frequently with smiles on our faces.

I’m an explorer by nature. I love to travel and learn about other places, other cultures, and their unique histories. I love finding the similarities that make us all human, and the differences that make us all unique. If I could move to a different part of the world every six to twelve months, I’d do it.

Maybe it’s because I lived in Germany twice during my first eight years of life (courtesy of the U.S. Army), with parents who spent as much time traveling around Europe as they could manage on a tight budget. In the summer, we motored around in a tiny Volkswagen Rabbit, lugging a big orange tent, a camping stove, and sleeping bags. I remember a lot of icy-cold campground showers. During the winter, we skied in the Italian, Swiss, or German Alps, staying in rented rooms or apartments.

Norway, 1980

After we moved back to the States, we took a two-week tour of the U.S. and Canada, driving from Philadelphia to California (in that same Rabbit). Growing up, I didn’t go a single year without visiting someplace new (or old), no matter where we lived.

I’m sure it’s no accident that I married a military man. Luckily, one who shares my affinity for travel. We haven’t been stationed overseas, but we get to move every few years, and we’re always planning our next trip. As a family, we’ve visited more than 35 States, and nine countries so far.

I have big plans, but not the big funds to support them all. 😉

After my husband retires, I’m not sure we’ll be able to pick a place to live permanently. Just the thought of “settling down” somewhere makes me itchy. I might find a city I like and end up staying there forever, but in my mind there always has to be the option to leave.

Roam by the B-52s could be my theme song. Or Ramblin’ Man (if it were Ramblin’ Woman) by the Allman Brothers. I wasn’t born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, but I might as well have been, because pulling up stakes and moving on is in my blood.

What about you? Traveler or homebody?