Image used under Creative Commons: Birthday Cake by Will Clayton

It’s the roamantics’ birthday! It’s hard to believe it was two full years ago that I leapt out of bed in the middle of the night and purchased the domain that would turn into this site…but not right away. The best of intentions turned into three short posts the following week to family and friends during a trip to Vietnam, and then…silence. But then one year ago, on July 14, 2010, I started blogging regularly, through what’s been a hugely transformative year in my life and the life of this blog.

So when Mike and Lucy from 1000 Places to Fight Before You Die nominated me to participate in Tripbase’s My 7 Links project, I thought it would be a great way to celebrate the past year and highlight some older posts that new readers may have missed.

Tripbase asks each blogger who participates, to provide a link to a post for each of seven categories they’ve chosen. I’m mixing it up just a little by changing the order I list them in, so that readers will travel through these posts in chronological order, getting little snippets of this year of my life and blog as things happened. Just click on the post titles below to read each.

So since it’s a birthday party, let’s get the party started with a post about my birthday suit shall we?

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

First Nude Solo Getaway- Conquering a Fear

I had this experience during the one-month separation leading up to my split with my partner of ten years, and I’ll be writing more on this in future posts. I felt this one could have received a little more “exposure” don’t you? ;)

Your most helpful post

How to get a Good, Safe Tattoo Abroad

My ex and I took a trip to Rarotonga in September and it inspired me to write this detailed how-to. I’m proud to call it a must-read for anyone considering ink.

A post whose success surprised you

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Travel Lessons

There’s a saying that goes “No man is a friend, no man is an enemy, every man is a teacher.” I learned a few things from some tiny “men” in my life during my separation, and it was a hit.

Your most beautiful post

Squatting in Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Having just split, this post was a birthday tribute to a happier birthday past. I chose it as most beautiful for the sentiment, the writing, and the photos.

The post that you are most proud of

And Then There Was One

I’m most proud of this post on so many levels. First, I’m proud that I had the courage to change the course of my life after ten years when I was deeply enmeshed but it wasn’t working anymore. Second, I started this blog because I wanted to get over my intense fear of putting my solo creativity on display, as I’d avoided doing so by being a creative collaborator my whole life. With this post, I took my boldest creative leap ever (to me) at the most emotionally difficult time possible. I’m proud of that! Third, I’m proud of the blogging community & readers for demonstrating what incredibly supportive, compassionate, thoughtful, inspirational, and kind people you are through the comments on it. So glad to be among you!

Your most popular post

Cute + Green = Creen! Buying a Creen House on Wheels

Newly single, I cooked up a plan for my first big solo adventure, an epic road trip with an eco-minded, minimalist twist… and the support for my tiny new life was huge!

Your most controversial post

The Vancouver Riot- Thoughts and Photos

I don’t really write extremely controversial posts, but on my first stop on my road trip, I experienced a massive riot that had me reflecting on how negative experiences can color our perceptions of places. For some the riot did that, for me…

It was quite a year. I learned how to tweet, to make a blog, endured a breakup of a long-term marriage, made genuine friends, learned from, got inspired by and processed through this blog, received and offered support, overcame enormous fears through it, sold everything, made a new home on wheels, and now I’ve started sharing my biggest dreams in life- I’ve taken off to travel indefinitely with this blog. I can’t wait to see what roam antics this year holds and I really hope you’ll stick around to find out as I do. We’re just getting started! Now let’s eat some cake while these awesome bloggers I’m nominating put together their 7 links. Cheers and Thanks so much!


One Step 4ward

35 Summers

A Cruising Couple

Quirky Travel Guy

“Get off the bus at Jasmine Guest House and then walk past it toward Ochheuteal Beach until you see the huts. You’ll know!” The directions to a paradise that was not supposed to exist by a fellow backpacker who’d already discovered it. It was January 2004 and Francisco and I had just come from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and were excited to spend the week leading up to his birthday on a gorgeous, quiet beach…for free.

We followed her directions and our backpacker informant was right, we knew. Clustered on a beautiful stretch of white-sand beach, were a few rickety huts handmade by young, enterprising locals who had decided that this land, owned by developers who planned a fancy-shmancy golf resort, would make a great temporary business spot for them. They were squatting, and now, so would we.

We arrived at Chaimoy Love Shack (YES!) and instantly fell in love with Chaimoy, the young, extremely smiley “owner”.  The deal as she explained it, confirmed what we’d heard- we could stay for as long as we liked for free in the loft above the bar as long as we agreed to buy most of our meals from her. Looking around, we wondered where else we would have anyway. We checked out the menu and saw that no meal was over 2 USD and lots were under that. The fact that we didn’t drink much? Not a problem. The place had everything we wanted- a basic mattress on the floor with a mosquito net, toilet & shower huts, food, ocean, sand, sunsets, hammocks, and even some extras like a pool table and other squatter spots nearby that showed free movies at night. How many others were currently staying here? None. Sold! Or well, not really sold, as it was after-all, free.

Our days were amazingly simple. We would wake up, walk down a ladder to our front row seats on the sand, order breakfast and eat there, alternate reading and swimming, order lunch and eat there, alternate reading and swimming, shower, and get back in our seats to watch the sunset.  Kids sold fresh fruit on the sand; “MADAAAAME! YOU BUY MY FRUIT!!!” Sweet, relentless little 8-11 year old salespeople we bought from and talked to. We had the dorm-style loft to ourselves for the first half of the week and were so close to the water it sounded like the tide came in under our bed. For Francisco’s birthday on January 7, Chaimoy surprised him by going into town and buying him a birthday cake. This place was nirvana. It was the most relaxed I ever remember being.

It would be great to go back there, but I know we can’t- it’s no longer the same. Google searches ultimately lead to a dead end after a mention of a Chaimoy’s Frog Shack.  And why not? No culture, place, or people are static. We’re all dynamic, in a constant state of remodeling, just perhaps at different speeds. Like many travelers we were lucky enough to grab a moment in time in a place we loved, and can only hope to do the same, in new places, in the future. Oh, and we can be grateful, very grateful.

Happy Birthday Francisco :)

Have you ever been to Ochheuteal Beach? Chaimoy Shack? Ever squatted? Been to a place you can’t really go back to? Tell us about it!

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