Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Then and Now – Christmas

Here is another topic for my “Then and Now” series. This festive time of the year has been different for us, over the years, as my article “Caribbean Christmas Afloat” in All At Sea magazine partly depicts. Underneath is a glimpse into our Christmases then (mostly during the time we lived and sailed on Irie) and now, at our current house sit.

2008 – Culebra, Puerto Rico

Mark, Darwin, Kali and I were ready to explore the real Caribbean in our 35′ sailboat. Unfortunately, the day after Christmas, our sweet girl Kali passed away and nothing would ever be the same anymore.

2009 – St. Pierre, Martinique

One of the most beautiful anchorages in the Caribbean was our location on Christmas in 2009. It was just the three of us enjoying a quiet day of giving Darwin a bath and exploring the town.

2010 – Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

This Christmas was the most fun one during our eight years on Irie. We had the company of our good friends Rosie (my BFF), Sim and Dave. Funky decorations and amazing food made the day complete.

2011 – Cholon, Columbia

Mark and I had decided to leave the Eastern Caribbean after three years and were traveling through Columbia on our sail west in 2011. Ex-pats threw a party on shore for the cruisers. It was a fun potluck with small gifts for everyone.

2012 – Linton, Panama

Mark and I were on the move throughout Panama on Irie in 2012. We had just finished hauling the boat and needed to sail back to the San Blas Islands to meet family. We celebrated Christmas, just the two of us, with yummy food onΒ  board.

2013 – Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

Christmas was celebrated with friends on Irie with games and yummy meals during cyclone season in the southern hemisphere. The evening before, a local food shack had thrown a potluck party for the cruisers.

2014 – Taha’a, French Polynesia

A year later, there was a cyclone threat and we were “holed up” in a safe anchorage with a few friends. We celebrated Christmas on Irie again with amazing food and good times.

2015 – The Villages, Florida

By the end of 2015, Mark and I had “moved” ashore and were house and pet sitting for Barnie and Brody in Florida, before the long winter in New England. We met up with our best cruising friends Sim and Rosie who were also in Florida, on their boat.

Now – Rocklin, California

This year, we celebrated Christmas in the suburbs of Northern California, with dog Hercules.

We browsed the downtown of Nevada City during Victorian Christmas and managed to not spend a dime. We have everything we need! πŸ™‚

We visited Theater of Lights in Sacramento one evening.

One of our most recent evenings, we took Herk for a walk in the festively lit neighborhood.

On Christmas Eve, Mark and I went to the mall (and did not buy anything, nor were tempted to enter any store) to soak up the atmosphere and spent the evening with good food (we made a vegetarian nut roast with roasted veggies), wonderful wine and each other.

Christmas was quiet with a lovely breakfast, time with Herk, gifts and a sunny walk.

And, the evening of Christmas Day, we drove to the expo of Sacramento to visit the Global Winter Wonderland exhibition. It was freezing cold, but the spectacle of lights brought some warmth into our body and soul.

How was your Christmas? Was it comparable to previous years?


  1. I’m glad to see you get out and about! I have to admit that the warmer climates look more tempting to me, but it’s also nice to be surrounded by traditional holiday lights and decorations. We also went to the mall one evening to enjoy the festivities and easily managed to spend nothing. We saw a lot of people rushing around with a bit of panic on their faces, though.

    • I think a good balance as with everything in life works best! For us that would be: live in the tropics and come “home” over the Christmas period to soak up the cold weather atmosphere for a couple of weeks. πŸ™‚ I’m glad to read you didn’t spend anything at the mall either, Janis. It is so funny, how I was looking at other people and funny sculptures and comfy seats in the hallways instead of the stores. Our priorities are so “weird”! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi, Liesbet – This post reminds me exactly why I blog…and keep so many photos! Preserving precious memories is a priceless gift. This is a wonderful “Then and Now” post!

    • Yes. Looking at it that way, blogging adds some depth to life, for sure. I have so many photos, though, thousands of them, and selecting them for these posts takes so much time! But, the “Then and Now’ blogs are fun to put together and look back at later. I’m glad you are liking them! The memories are, indeed, priceless. πŸ™‚

  3. This is such a cool post! So fun to have so many memories and wonderful places. It’s so fun to see how things change from year to year and where you have been!

    • Thanks, Melanie! These changes are only obvious when time has passed and experiences gathered, right? While Christmas never meant much to us, we always managed to do something special, whether it is food, friends, family or event related. I hope you had a nice time as well!! And, that your special, personal Christmas tree is still bringing cheer into the house. πŸ™‚

  4. Wow, you’ve really had some awesome Christmases! These seem very happy memories too x

    • We have had some good times with good company, and hope to see all our friends again, one day. Problem is, they are spread out over the world right now, still on or since recently off their boats. We are waiting to get a camper and go visit everywhere! πŸ™‚ I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Al!

  5. These all look great in their different ways!

  6. You’ve had such wonderful and diverse Christmas celebrations over the years. The Global Winter Wonderland exhibition looks like it was a lot of fun. We had our usual quiet celebration of Christmas curry and watching Life of Brian.

    • Quiet Christmases are good. And cheap! The exhibition was fair (too expensive for what it was) and cold, but it was something to do, in this unexciting environment. πŸ™‚

  7. You are a flexible soul to be able to enjoy your Christmas no matter where you are! We have a tradition of traveling about every 2-3 years or so with our kids, taking them somewhere far away so we get them all to ourselves for a week or so. Last year was Colombia, and we had a great time. This year, we gathered at our Chicago home; it was fun and joyful but also very sad as we all worked to empty the house we had spent two decades in so we can sell it soon. πŸ™

    • It sounds like your Christmases are never boring, Lex! I can imagine that having some alone time with the kids is most precious, especially if there is a “prohibition” of phones during that time. Colombia sure sounds far enough away to succeed in that. πŸ™‚ You are taking big steps now towards a different life. I hope you can focus on the excitements of that really soon. Saying goodbye to a home so familiar must be hard. I keep thinking about the time my parents will move out and sell their home, where I grew up and return to for a brief period every year. Gulp! Luckily, this is not bound to happen too soon. Good luck with your new future in 2017!!

  8. All those warm Christmases! They look fantastic! Glad you experienced a cold Christmas in Sacramento at those venues. Since I have been with my hubby since 2009, we spend our Christmases in San Diego, where we have experienced both warm and cold Christmases. We usually spend New Year’s in sacramento, but we managed to spend two in Mexico over the last 4 years. Noisy Christmases, quiet New Year’s some years!

    • I am not so happy with the cold this time of the year. San Diego sounds a bit more attractive. And, Mexico even more. πŸ™‚ Although, south of the border, this time of the year is extremely loud and hectic. Our dogs used to hate it. We were OK with it until some firework remnants fell on the roof of our camper. We rushed out of that area as quickly as we could and stayed hidden each time there was a Saint celebration or other festival going on. Have a wonderful 2017, Terri!!

  9. Oh my goodness what a Christmas collage the two of you have. I keep using the word inspiring ot describe the two of you. So adaptable and finding joy wherever you are. We did have a lovely Christmas and th addition of the wee grandbaby certainly added to the joy of the season.

    • Sometimes I feel that these places and circumstances are not a choice, Sue, but more of where we ended up somehow. We do try to have some joy wherever we are and the best thing of all is that Mark and I can do this together! πŸ™‚ It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. I cannot forget the smiles on you and David’s face each time you look at and hold that baby!!

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