Living Out of and in a Suitcase

I try not to complain about how much I travel for work because 1.) the ability to travel freely is a privilege denied to many and 2.) less than three years ago I was jobless, burning through my savings and living in a roach infested apartment to save money while we got our feet back under us.

During this time, Oscar was a constant. A constant source of happiness, love, support, stability and non-judgement.

Going back to trying not to complain about work travel… I missed my connection tonight – the last one out – due to the airline’s mechanical error with check-ins and am spending the night at a Detroit airport hotel. One more night away from home and my Big Guy and my Little Guy.

Robinson and I leave for vacation tomorrow. We’ll be gone five days and this was going to my one night to snuggle Oscar before leaving again. I’m sitting in my hotel room feeling lonely, sad and guilty. Somehow, Oscar is able to feel this too. Robinson sent me this picture just minutes ago of Oscar. He climbed into our partially packed suitcase to snuggle. I feel you, Little Buddy. See you in the morning.




Oscar is My Design Muse

We just moved into a new apartment. The move was significant because I spent eight of the last twelve months living out of suitcases, between India, Colombia, and a couple random apartments in Washington DC.

We sold all of our furniture and moved with only our clothing and a couple boxes filled with art and memories we’ve accumulated from our travels over the past 10+ years. It’s both good and bad. It’s hard on my ego to get rid of stuff I like and shrink my life down to three suitcases and two boxes. Every time I’ve done this, I’m reminded that all of the comfort I find in owning and amassing things doesn’t matter and it can disappear quickly. This leaves me feeling incredibly vulnerable and incredibly free at the same time.

One of the good parts, beyond being reminded of what is really important in life, is that every move to a new country lets us start fresh. It lets us be open to a new chapter while still holding on to a mix of the favorite things that we’ve hung on to along the way, all of which have their own story. Here are a couple:

IMG_5948Three years ago, when Oscar was eight, I took him to get to get professional pet photos. Here they are on the left of the above picture. I love them. The woman who did them specializes in “Joy Sessions” or professional photo sessions with a pet that is dying. I wanted my photos to be of Oscar is his prime. For more information about the Joy Sessions and Sarah Beth Photography, please visit:  The Joy Sessions page always leaves me in tears.

On a happier note, the large capybara street art canvas in the photo was done by Crisp, a street artist in Bogota. I loved the street art in Bogota and now have a piece of the Bogota streets with me. When we unwrapped the canvas for the first time, Oscar started omitting a low growl and the fur on his back stood up. I think he thought it was a real animal for a minute!


The above picture shows our Mexican Otomi bedspread we bought at a market in Mexico City, one of our favorite cities in the world. Mexico City was where we were visiting when we first made the commitment to live abroad. It’s accented by this Eero puppy sculpture. We’ve moved with this puppy sculpture at least five times now. Oscar inspires me to have dog related designs.


And finally, here is Oscar in his new surroundings.

Going “Hunting”

Oscar snuggled me all night last night. Usually he’ll start off the night snuggling, almost spooning, then move to the top of the covers by Robinson’s or my feet for most of the night, then come back to snuggle close in the morning.

Last night he snuggled close all night long. Maybe he know’s I’m leaving today. Dog’s have that sixth sense.

I’m traveling almost once a week, but usually for no longer than a couple nights and when I’m not traveling, I get to work from home, which gives us a lot of quality time together. I used to hate going to work every morning, leaving the house, to see him go out on our porch to watch me get in the car. When I’d come home from work, he’d still be there, looking. It’s so nice to be able to spend more time with him.


Oscar “showing” me his disdain when I travel by leaving poop by my side of the bed.

When I travel a lot, Oscar tends to get mad and poop on my side of the bed, sometimes near the bed, sometimes actually on it. A couple of years ago, I started to bring home treats for him and put them in my suitcase. It was my way of trying to convince him that the reason I left was that I had to go “hunting” for him. I’d come home and he would rifle through my suitcase until he found his treat. When I started doing this, he quit pooping on my side of the bed. You can bet I’ll be bringing home a treat for him this Friday 🙂