Lydia and Mike Pontius
My travels in a nut shell. I began traveling right out of High School when I went to Mexico City with Adrianna, who was an exchange student we hosted. Mexico City was so vibrant and huge but being 18 I didn’t even know to be overwhelmed. It was perfect for my ADHD - the sounds, the smells, the colors, the traffic, the food. It was the first taste of travel and I was hooked.
I returned to the states, went to College in North Carolina, finished in 3 years and was off to California, aplace I had dreamed about since I saw a car driving through a Redwood tree in my Weekly Reader in Elementary School. I made California my home from the age of 21 to 35, seeing and experiencing as much as I could from the Puget Sound to Baja Mexico, while living in LA, SF and San Diego.
Mike and I met in San Francisco, married and moved to San Diego to live on a sail boat for 10 months. Then we decided, with his son in Maryland and our parents aging, we would move back east. We were both born in New York and our family was mostly on the right coast. We spent a year in Palm Beach County, Florida, but after spending one night in Charleston we decided to call this home, that was over 25 years ago and we still love to share its beauty and uniqueness with others.
Mike and I both did a fair amount of moving around before we met and it was time to plant some roots. We temper that with travel for work and pleasure. Together we have traveled to most States, Mexico, several Caribbean Islands, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Italy, England and Bermuda. We are hoping this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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I've had a varied and non-traditional working life, or maybe I'm just near the forefront of a new, non-career approach to adulthood. Today I suspect all that I've done by choice are now steps that people take out of necessity. At any rate, I've had a bunch of mini-careers set in many different places.
I grew up in a little exurban town north of NYC. Chappaqua is its name and it has come to prominence as the primary home of Bill and Hillary Clinton. According to a close friend who still has interests in Chappaqua, the Clinton's bought Ricky Thompson's old house. But that's a little too inside baseball for this quick trip down memory lane.
After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1974, my race to live in as many different places as income would allow began. First it was a short stop in Denver. I liked it fine but I couldn't get used to how dry and brown everything was. I met my first wife in Denver and was married living in Omaha (her home) just before turning 24. We lived in Nebraska for 5 years where I wrote a novel, published a magazine and began an advertising copywriting career. Next it was off to the Boston area to go into business with my brother. My one and only child, Matt, was born there. After a couple of years we sold out to a Canadian company and I ended up opening offices for them in Washington DC and Baltimore. Bored out of my mind, I left the Canadians and my wife at about the same time in 1983, while living in Baltimore. I know that sounds callous, but the fact is that I did leave her, though I stayed close to be near my son as long as I could. I started a travel agency in Columbia, MD and then had a falling out with my partner (I've learned the hard way to avoid financial entanglements with people who have a lot more money than me.) Then I took a management consulting job and spent a year or so on the road, Sunday night to Friday night. Finally, when Matt was about 6 I left for Los Angeles because that's where my girlfriend at the time was from.
In LA, I went into the boat business or, more precisely, writing ads for a big yacht broker in Marina del Rey. I lived on the beach above the Chart House restaurant in Redondo, so I never had to mess with traffic. My main memory of LA? The constant noise. The yacht broker I worked for went to jail, owing me quite a bit of money, so a fellow employee and I decided to start our own brokerage business (again, he had the money). To start, we bought a yacht broker's business in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco. I was 39 years old, sleeping on a hide-a-bed in a basement in Hayward, CA. That's when everything in my life changed for the better. I met Lydia.
I started an online diary this summer to convey what it’s like to move to another country.