A Return “Home” to a Beautiful Tahoe Wedding

After a year on the road, we were really curious to find out how it would feel to come back in San Francisco where we lived for 11 years prior to this life now. Would it feel strange to be back? Would we now feel out of place? How would it be to see some of our friends after such a long absence?

Well, we got the perfect opportunity to take a trip back to San Francisco for our good friends’ David and Haley’s wedding in Lake Tahoe. David and Haley have been close friends with us for many years. They visited us in Mexico over Christmas last year right after their engagement, and it was “Reverend Dow” that asked us to repeat-after-him for our own I-Do’s a little over 2 years ago.

IMG_5783.jpg

Perfect weather and scenery for a beautiful beach wedding in Lake Tahoe


For their wedding, we were thrilled the date worked well and that we were in a place where we could take a break and feel safe leaving our van unattended. Sadly, we’ve missed other weddings and important events because of the difficulties figuring out in advance how/where to fly home from and what we’d do with Titus. For their wedding, everything lined up perfectly for us. We had just booked a trip to the Galapagos before the wedding, so we knew exactly where we were going to be in Ecuador. Ecuador is a great place to leave from because of the safe airport parking and they don’t put anything in your passport that would tip off a customs officer that that you are leaving a vehicle unattended in their country. Which due to import rules, is a very big no no for foreigners.

Also, this trip back would give us a great chance to see our friends, experience SF again, and for Jenine visit some of her family. We were especially keen to travel back as we are starting to think about where we want to live next year after our trip (although, we’ve stopped considering this a trip and instead consider it simply living life on the road). Seeing our friends and our old city again would bring those emotions into our decision of what we’d like to do next.

Well it was completely amazing, and in some different ways than we imagined. There wasn’t really culture shock, aside from speaking english and having amazing restaurants everywhere, and it didn’t feel strange to be back in SF, although, I don’t think that SF can ever truly feel like home. It’s more of a beautiful luxury resort that’s completely amazing for however long you get to stay there, but it also feels like once you check-out, the next person is eagerly waiting to check in, they are willing to pay way more for your room than you were, and you are not sure if the front desk even still remembers you.

Most importantly though, we were excited to see our friends and see how we can pick things back up with them. Relationships are, more than anything else, what leads to the most happiness in life. And we were truly humbled by the love we felt from the people we care about. It was so great to see some of our best friends (AKA our SF family), and realize that distance doesn’t mean that friendships need to change.

We of course had to answer the question “How does it feel to be back?” over and over, And the answer truly was – “It feels great!” It feels great to see our friends and family, it feels great to see people doing so well, it feels great to be at this incredibly special wedding, and it feels great to see some of the beautiful parts of California again.

IMG_5832.JPG

Post wedding after party!

IMG_5785.JPG

Jenine and I looking much sharper than we do on the road

IMG_5789.JPG

Me and my best friend Sanjay reunited again!

IMG_5788.JPG

The ladies looking beautiful

IMG_5807.JPG

SF with love

What does this mean? Are we homesick?

George would say: Certainly I feel like I’m missing great times with people I care about. But on the other hand, it did feel natural and easy to plug back in and being away made the reunion feel that much more special. The trip back was pretty easy, and maybe these days nobody or no place needs to feel that far away if you work on staying in touch and visiting often.

Jenine would say: Homesick isn’t the right word. Peoplesick? It really made me miss people even more, and I left feeling a little sad. True friendships pick right back up where you left off, no matter the time or distance, but I would be happy picking them back up more often. Although, like we mentioned, so many of our friends and family have already “checked-out” of the SF/bay area, and undoubtedly more will do so in the future. So being back there isn’t necessarily the answer.

We do agree that it is important to work on the relationships we care about and keep them current. We try to chat with people back home often on the road and stay up to date. If we decided to live abroad on a more permanent basis and if we work on maintaining our friendships, we think we can keep them healthy. In some ways, you can make them stronger. Nobody calls anybody anymore, so when you get to talk on the phone, it feels special. Less and less people go and visit each other, so when we get to visit or someone comes and visits us, it is very very special.

It’s still up in the air whether we return back to the west coast next year, but either way, we’ve learned something important about maintaining and working on relationships. We unfortunately did not get to see everybody we wanted to, as we were in Tahoe and it was a quick trip, however, we’ll be in touch!

Some amazing moments from David and Haley’s wedding in Tahoe. Thank you so much for letting us be part of your special day:

IMG_5784.jpg

It's official! The Dow's

IMG_2077.jpg

Dance Tunnel Mandatory

IMG_5819.JPG

Let's let the party begin!

View all pictures, including some of our drive along the coast of Ecuador leading up to the wedding. We were hoping to find some great beach camping and surf. We found the camping, but the surf was so / so as it was off season. It was actually pretty dead along the coast, which was peaceful, but it didn’t really capture our hearts.

IMG_5762.jpg

The monument at equator in Ecuador - Mitad del Mundo "The Middle of the World"

IMG_5767.jpg

We stopped by a little hippie town called Mindo in Ecuador and this vegan lunch spot made the best veggie burgers out of a converted VW

IMG_2724.JPG

Working on the blog on the beach in Ecuador - Playa Escondido

IMG_2045.jpg

Jenine striking a yoga pose in front of Playa Escondido, Ecuador

IMG_2738.JPG

One of the best camping spots you can find in Ecuador - Playa Escondido

IMG_2053.JPG

Jenine "working" on something on the playa

IMG_2055.jpg

Ecuador at sunset

IMG_2751.JPG

We stopped by the surfing town of Canoa and found this great little hotel to camp at that was quiet and had a beautiful set up.

IMG_2754.JPG

Wasn't really much surf in Ecuador but the sunsets were incredible

IMG_2760.JPG IMG_2765.JPG
IMG_5769.JPG

Ayampe Ecuador. This is normally a busy surf town, but it was DEAD when we showed up. Off season.

IMG_5771.jpg

Ayampe Ecuador, the famous island watching over the waves

IMG_5775.JPG

We camped at CoCo's in Ayampe. I can't recommend it enough

IMG_2059.JPG

"If you are a beginner surf, get advice from an expert"

IMG_2062.JPG

Upon landing in SFO, we were reunited with Tim who has been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for the past 4-5 months. It was a joyous moment!

IMG_5780.JPG

Hiking up in Lake Tahoe with friends at the wedding

IMG_5782.JPG

David leading his guys out for the wedding

IMG_5783.jpg

Perfect weather and scenery for a beautiful beach wedding

IMG_2064.JPG

Tim and I hike up to the PCT in Lake Tahoe to leave this message for David and Haley

IMG_5784.jpg

It's official! The Dow's

IMG_5785.JPG

Jenine and I looking much sharper than we do on the road

IMG_5788.JPG

The ladies looking beautiful

IMG_5789.JPG

Me and my best friend Sanjay reunited again!

IMG_5790.JPG

Too bad I wasn't looking

IMG_5798.JPG

Lake Tahoe

IMG_5802.jpg

The San Francisco Crew

IMG_5807.JPG

SF with love

IMG_5815.JPG

David and Haley

IMG_2071.jpg
IMG_5819.JPG

Let's let the party begin!

IMG_5822.JPG

plenty of wedding sing alongs of course

IMG_5830.JPG

Sanjay, why you wearing Colleens purse and carrying her shoes. Is this what it's come to?

IMG_5832.JPG

Post wedding after party!

IMG_2075.JPG

Dance tunnel - mandatory

IMG_2077.jpg IMG_2084.jpg MVI_5827.mp4
Posted in Ecuador, USA
5 comments on “A Return “Home” to a Beautiful Tahoe Wedding
  1. Sanjay says:

    So great seeing you guys. You are amazing friends to all of us!

  2. Emma says:

    Awesome! We do often wonder what a visit home would be like—glad you guys got the opportunity to find out. Although I guess you now have to ponder where home is… 🙂 Looks like it was a fantastic wedding. Congratulations David and Haley!

  3. Shawna says:

    I love that group picture with Dow and Haley in the middle – their smiles could not be any bigger!! What a happy day and reunion for you all. Personally I was really grateful to see you, Jenine, and we miss you too George!
    ~Shawna

  4. So glad you had a great trip back to the states. I know for your Dad and I, it was a VERY Special treat to see you Jenine. Your family, dad, and I loved it.
    Love mom and dad

  5. Haley says:

    Could not have made the day more special to have you both there!! Seriously meant the world to us!!

    I love this post and miss you guys so much!! Cannot wait for our next reunion 🙂

    xoxo