About us – Alison and Don

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In our sixties, (Don is now seventy-five) with apparently no other authentic option, we sold our car and apartment, sold or gave away all our things, and set off to discover the world. And ourselves. We started in Italy in 2011 and since then have travelled to Spain, India, Bali, Australia, Southeast Asia, Sweden, Mexico, South America, New Zealand, Cyprus, and more – it’s all in the blog archive. We will continue travelling until it’s time to stop – if that time ever comes. So far it suits us very well. We are interested in how the world works, how life works, how the creation of experience works, how the mind works. As we travel and both “choose” our course, and at the same time just let it unfold, we discover the “mechanics” of life, the astounding creativity of life, and a continual need to return to trust and presence. Opening the heart, and acceptance of what is, as it is, are keystones for us both.

Interests: Alison – in no particular order: travel, competitive figure skating (as a fan), blogging, photography, writing, acceptance, authenticity, walking/hiking, joy, creativity, being human, adventure, presence. Don – the same except replace figure skating with Formula One motor racing.

To discover more go here to read an article we wrote for Retirement and Good Living and here to read an interview we did with Nomadic Matt.

Changes: in March 2017 we made the decision to stay in Vancouver for at least the next twelve months. After five years and eight months travelling the world without a home we knew we needed a time out. Travelling is stressful and Alison’s body felt pummelled. She needed to stay in one place long enough to see doctors so that she could sort out some major muscle imbalance. Then we found the apartment! The rent is about half the normal rent for such a place in Vancouver. It was too good a deal to pass up. So once again we have a home, and for the first time since the end of August 2011 we own a car and furniture. We will continue to travel though not in the way we did before.

Alison has a seven-week solo trip to Japan and China beginning in late April 2018. Don is staying home this time to take care of the bears.

606 thoughts on “About us – Alison and Don”

  1. Hello. I have become a fan of your posts! 🙂 Loved the write-ups and photography 🙂

    Looking forward to stay connected 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful blog… so glad I found it. I look forward to following your adventures in the future. Ali

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey there Alison! You inspired this blogpost of mine: https://thesnowmeltssomewhere.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/real-travel-experiences/
    Just wanted to let you know! 🙂 Have a great day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A beautiful website.I read your all blog posts except the posts in last two month but i hope i will read them too.I love your way of telling travel tales. I read a lot of travel blogs but your blog is the one which i really like most and read all of it!.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Bless you, Alison! I just got an email from the Editor that my blog has been selected to be featured on WordPress Discover next week. All because you sent here the recommendation!! I am really just speechless, and I am so thankful that you have done such a kind act for me and my family! I don’t have the words right now to express my gratitude, but truly thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Stephanie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh you are so welcome! I’ve been following your blog from nearly the beginning I think and loved your story. I’ve watched as your writing and photography has gotten better and better. The Bride of Cotopaxi! I *never* would have thought of such a wonderful metaphor! And you carried it all the way through so well. Anyway I knew they’d like what you’re doing. I look forward to seeing your blog show up in Discover!
      Alison

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Definitely enjoying your blog so far and I look forward to reading more. Best, Ash

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Alison and Don – Your site was recommended to me by Simone at Retirement and Good Living. I currently reside on Vancouver Island, but previously spent many years abroad. I blog at RetirementReflections.com. I look forward to following your adventures and reading more.
    Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Donna, nice to meet you! I’ve been checking out your wonderful blog. I love how all the connections come about! (Thank you Simone). If you’re ever in Vancouver we could get together for coffee. I imagine we have a lot in common, including a belief in miracles 🙂
      Alison

      Like

      • Hi Alison and Don
        Just read your recent blog. See you are in Vancouver, we have just come back(last week) from a month in Vancouver and Alberta did 2000 miles driving in Albeta, visiting relation up north near Grand Prairie and as many places we could inbetween. Had 10 days in Vancouver renting a flat in our favourite part by false creek. My husband is when possible actively involved with the oldest wooden tug in Canada based at Britannia boatyard – SS Master – she will be open for visitors this end June/July – Canada day. We had a terrific time, as we hadn’t been to Alberta before, can’t wait to return. It’s on our list …… One or two or three other places a little before that yet but return is on cards to see our relations. Also met up with penfriend of mine of some 40 years, in Vegreville, she lives in Provost, so that was great for us too. Pity we didn’t know you were in Van we could have met for a chat. Maybe next time…… Jean

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Jean, nice to meet you. Sounds like you had a great time out west. We also love False Creek. It’s a nice part of the city. Maybe we’ll get to meet next time you’re in town.
          Cheers, Alison

          Like

  8. Sylvia Strawford said:

    Hello Don & Alison
    Came across your blog whilst browsing. I am seriously thinking of selling everything up and travelling the world solo,when I travel I need to do it alone. I’ve travelled in the past alone and it doesn’t phase me. I would like to start in 2yrs time when I’m 60. I feel life is too stagnant and here is not enough of a challenge in life at he moment. So in the next two years I will do plenty of research before I commit myself. I would then like to travel for the next twenty + years,health permitting…. Sylvia

    Liked by 1 person

    • This sounds great Sylvia. Of course I say Go for it! It sounds like a fabulous plan, and clearly you’re used to travelling alone. And anyway you’re never alone as you always meet people along the way.
      Alison

      Like

  9. you guys didnt come to africa though.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ester wulkan said:

    Hello .I am looking for your blog.
    My name is ESTER WULKAN

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Ester. I deleted your email address. I do not reveal my email address to strangers. The link to this blog is alisonanddon.com, but since you are already here on the blog you know that.
      Alison

      Like

  11. Hi! Amazingly, one of the places you haven’t been (yet) is Morocco! We just spent 2 months there and loved it. You can read about my adventures there at http://yvonneandmike.com. You have to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don hasn’t been to Morocco. I was in Morocco in 1979 as part of an overland expedition from Johannesburg to London. And yes, I loved it and would love to go back. Sometime soon probably we’ll take a couple of months to explore Portugal, Spain and Moroco.
      Alison

      Like

      • Since you’re people who like to take time, take time in Morocco. They are among the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, and it’s so worth staying in places long enough to get under the surface (except perhaps in Marrakech; they’re so overwhelmed with tourism there).

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Alison and Don
    We took the same journey of body and mind about 30 some years ago. Sold the house, had a big yard sale. We never fully returned to a “normal” lifestyle of consumerism like good Canadians are supposed to.

    Your posts are very insightful. I discovered you during a trip to Ek Balam and Ria Lagartos as I was looking for info on Merida. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi George,
      Thanks for your kind words. Hope you liked Merida better that we did 🙂
      Ria Lagartos was definitely a winner! And that whole time in the Yucatan was fascinating.
      It sounds like you’ve had a rich full life, as most unconventional lives seem to be. Better than the alternative 🙂
      Alison

      Like

  13. We never made to Merida this trip, I did visit there before. I had a really good feeling there, but that was lo those 30 years ago.Ria Lagartos was interesting for me, but if I did not have some Spanish language skills I think it would have freaked me out. We had a real problem, arriving on a national holiday weekend and the hotel we’d reserved had no record of us and literally no rooms anywhere to be had. Ah, trust in the gods of travel to help us, and they did.

    Like

    • Gotts love those travel gods 🙂
      And yes there’s frequently been times we’ve been glad of (some) Spanish language skills. We had no problems in Rio Lagartos, but did in other places.
      A.

      Like

  14. Me and my husband are very inspired by you two. May be we will do the same when we are older and our kids are around the globe…..

    I love love love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a wonderful compliment. I can only say that 5.5 years of being nomadic was the best thing we could have done and I really recommend it. It has changed us both enormously. We have recently settled again in Vancouver, though we are certainly not done travelling, just taking a bit of a break. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.
      Alison

      Like

  15. Hi Alison & Don!

    I didn’t find your email so I write you here 🙂

    Just a quick note to let you know that I featured you in a recent article named:

    Top 30 International Retirement Blogs in 2017

    Here’s a link to the article:

    http://www.welovecostarica.com/top-30-international-retirement-blogs-2017/

    I’ve also made a special badge for you here:

    Feel free to download and use it anywhere you wish!

    Once again, I hope your inclusion in the list drives some new readers to your blog and I look forward to staying connected!

    You can reach me at maxwell@welovecostarica.com

    Regards,

    Maxwell Salo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Maxwell! We are so very honoured to be on your excellent list.
      And thanks for the badge – I’ll add it to the sidebar along with the WordPress badges.
      We’re so pleased to be included!
      I’ve added you to the list I keep of future travels – so I’ll be sure to contact you if we decide to come to Costa Rica.
      Alison

      Like

  16. Carol Ownly said:

    Hi from a fellow Canadian,
    Read your daily budget. Am going to
    Australia soon and wondering how you
    kept costs down.
    I noticed air bnb’s surprisingly inexpensive
    and have used many over the years.
    Otherwise Australia seems expensive.
    Do you have any tips on cutting
    costs in Australia or did what I might,
    just suck it up ha.
    I think it is absolutely fantastic that you decided to travel full time.
    Carol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Australia is expensive, no doubt about it. I’m Australian so we stay with relatives some of the time. Also probably the best deal for accommodation is cabins in campgrounds (sometimes known as caravan parks or holiday parks, or some variation of that). These are self-contained cabins sleeping anywhere from 2 up. You have a bathroom, kitchenette, dining table and beds. Simple, but effective. Since you have a kitchen you can make your own meals and cut costs even more that way. We’ve stayed in some beautiful places this way. This site will give you some ideas, but there’s way more beyond this.
      https://www.turu.com.au/accommodation/caravan-parks
      You’ll find them in the cities too, though probably not centrally located. And the big cities also have hostel options. Hope this helps.
      After 5.5 years we just recently finally decided to give up travelling full time. Time for a time out 🙂
      When do you go, and where in Oz are you thinking you’ll go?
      Alison

      Like

      • Carol Ownly said:

        Thanks for info.
        We go Feb and March/18.
        Picking only 4 areas and taking it slow.
        We can go back next winter to do more.
        Like to stay in an area longer than
        “13 countries in 8 days” type of travel.
        May be our new place to escape winter.
        We have done parts of S America,
        Vietnam, Az. wherever it is warm in our
        winter. Bali/Singapore on list.
        Will read more of your travel experiences
        and thinking it was fantastic you just
        got out and did it.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Beth Kovatch said:

    I’m thrilled to have found your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi,

    Hope you are doing good!

    I just reviewed your site alisonanddon.com and impressed with the quality work on your site.

    I was wondering if you allow some Sponsor Posts with do-follow links.

    Could you please send me the Pricing/Details?
    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Regards!
    Nageen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just so I understand – you want to pay me to advertise something here on the blog? Is that it? I’m sorry but I wouldn’t be willing to do that. I don’t do sponsored posts.
      Alison

      Like

  19. Enjoy reading your travel tales! I read some of them and i myself learn a lot from your travel stories by just sitting on my couch. Thanks for sharing such inspiring tales.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I just found your blog. And I would like to follow. Juli

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Juli. I must update this page. We are actually no longer nomadic, having reestablished a home in Vancouver, but we are still travelling – Japan and China coming up in the spring.
      Alison

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Alison. I need to read your whole blog which will take more than one day since I am still busy at work, though I am self-employed, I do find time to do all these things. Thank you for responding. Happy to learn that you are now settled in Vancouver, wow, is on my list of travel.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. How inspiring your profile is! Thrilled to have chanced upon your blog.

    Like

  22. Hi. I just want to say that yours is the first blog I’ve ever followed, and it is still my favourite. My husband and I are doing something similar – well, not exactly similar, because on a much more modest scale. But you are so inspiring. Plus, would it be cheeky of me to ask what kind of camera you use? Your photographs are stunning – a testament more to your talent, I suspect, than the camera!
    with kind regards, Bev x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Bev. I’m always pleased to be an inspiration, just because I think of all the people who have inspired me over the years and how we pass it around and keep sparking off each other to go live a richer life.
      All the photos over the past 3 years were taken with a Panasonic FZ1000. I’ve just recently upgraded to a Panasonic G85 (mirrorless) but haven’t put anything from this camera up on the blog yet. We’ll see how it goes. All the shots from my upcoming trip to Japan and China will be with the new camera of course.
      Alison

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Linda Bassingthwaighte said:

    Love your writing and photos of Japan. I’ve never been but am fascinated with the many diverse aspects of the country. Thank you for inspiring me to consider traveling to Japan. So happy being on your own for this trip is working out for you Alison. 💕 Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Linda. It’s a really interesting place, very unique, and definitely worth a visit. Solo travel is fine, but not nearly as much fun as travelling with Don 🙂
      Alison xo

      Like

  24. Sandy Haddix said:

    How inspiring you both are! I love to travel, but being single (widowed), it’s sometimes hard to find someone to travel with. I am a youthful 70 so I may need to begin traveling alone. I want to see parts of the world I haven’t been yet. Good luck in your future travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Sandy. Oh do take the leap and travel alone. It’s really not so difficult, especially if you stay in hostels. If you haven’t been to Japan start there. It’s one of the safest countries in the world, and a place where I felt completely safe going out alone at night. Good luck! And happy travels!
      Alison

      Like

  25. When stuff like ‘a 1/2 priced apartment happens’, it is meant to be. I am 5 years and 5 months into my latest travel adventure and know that I too am going to need a change at some point soon. The great thing about life though is how many different kinds of adventures there are just waiting for us to have them. I try to live every day as if it is a grand adventure, wherever I am, whatever I am doing. Keeps me sane and happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh the half-price apartment stopped us in our tracks. You don’t turn down an offer like that, and it’s not a dim dark basement either. It’s small, but 1st floor with plenty of light, and all we need.
      I have no doubt that you’ll know where and when to stop and your own “half-priced-apartment” will present itself.
      That’s a great way to keep sane and happy!
      Alison

      Liked by 1 person

  26. T Stephens said:

    Hi! I just discovered your blog. What an adventure you have been on! My husband and I (ages 69 and 66) would like to start slowly with 3 months in Europe but have no idea where to base ourselves or if we should just spend a week here, a week there, etc. We like to sightsee primarily. No adventure trips for us. Haha! Love to live among the locals, try new foods, explore. Any suggestions of how and where to get started?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, I hardly know where to start. We’ve spent very little time in Europe, but generally Eastern Europe is less expensive than Western Europe. If it was me I’d start with countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia&Herzegovena, etc You’ll still get the old world charm of Europe and castles galore with half the crowds and less expense. But that’s just me. Perhaps it’s your dream to see Paris and London, or Provence – if it is then you should do that.
      Our travel style was very much make it up as you go along. For instance we booked an apartment in Buenos Aires for 3 weeks. We spent that 3 weeks researching/planning/booking/organising a 3 week trip around Patagonia. Then we flew to Mendoza for 2 weeks and spent that 2 weeks doing the same for travelling overland from there through the Atacama Desert/Altiplano of Bolivia and on into Peru as far as Cucso. And so on.
      We’d give ourselves a week in cities – Lima, Quito, Bangkok, Phnom Pen, etc. It’s enough to get a feel for the city and do some day trips to places nearby.
      But I’m not sure this is right for you.
      I think perhaps base yourselves for 2 weeks in a place you’ve always wanted to see. Two weeks will also give you time to research what’s worth seeing nearby and where you want to go next. Then go week by week for a bit then stop for another 2 weeks. You’ll be amazed at how fast the time goes, and how much there is to see and do, and really how little ground you can cover in 3 months.
      As for wanting to live among the locals and try new foods I definitely recommend apartments over hotels. Airbandb is as good a place as any to start. We also like booking.com because it lists apartments and you can book without having to pay up front. Usually it’s free cancellation until about 2 days before your arrival date. That’s all I can think of for now. Feel free to ask more questions. Good luck and happy travels!
      Alison

      Like

  27. Susan Abbot said:

    I just found your blog and am looking forward to reading all of it. I don’t see anything recent so I hope it is not due to poor health. We are from the Vancouver lower mainland and thinking of travelling Europe for a couple of months end April 2019 if we can do so on a bare bones budget. Having a young granddaughter near us keeps us at home mostly. Maybe when she gets older she will be open to adventure and travel with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Susan. I’m a bit puzzled as to what you are looking at when you say you don’t see anything recent. I spent nearly 7 weeks in Japan and China in April/May/June and have been posting weekly (more or less) about it. My latest post was three days ago. If you click on the title “Adventures in Wonderland” above it will take you to the most recent post, and there’s a list of other recent posts along the right hand side. I post about our travels chronologically about every 7 to 10 days.
      Thanks for your concern about our health. I had hip replacement surgery a year ago and that led us to reestablishing a home back in Vancouver after nearly six years of the nomadic life. Since then Don has needed a less invasive surgery, but I’m happy to say we are both fully recovered and fit and well again. Our only other travel plans for this year are to Montreal for Christmas with family.
      Next year for sure we’ll be off to more exotic locales. On our list: Africa, Eastern Europe, Portugal, and I’d love to go back to Japan.
      Thank you for your interest in our blog! I hope you enjoy it.
      Alison

      Like

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