About Me

I grew up home educated in California and then got my undergraduate degree in Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young University (BYU), where I also studied Arabic, Latin and philosophy. I spent 2002-2003 doing volunteer work for my erstwhile religion in Santiago, Chile, where I learned Spanish. Tony and I were married in 2003. Axa Elisabeth joined our family in 2005, and Raj Dominique came along in 2007.

We’re chronically peripatetic. Mostly, we like it. Sometimes it gets a little out of hand, like the time we moved five times in one year. We’ve lived in Tunisia, the Philippines, San Diego, Florida, Washington, Ireland, Utah, and Italy. Our latest adventure has taken us back to Europe, and the beautiful city of Amsterdam.

What we did in Utah: Tony finished his degree in business while I worked as a paralegal at an immigration law firm. We had our first baby at home on campus, but didn’t tell our neighbours till after the fact. We went to the International Cinema every week and had ice cream from the Creamery almost that often.

What we did in the Philippines: Backpacked from island to island, two-month-old baby in tow (well, actually in Didymos baby wrap). We were officially there to study small to mid-sized manufacturing companies, but really we spent more time scuba diving, shopping for crazy-cheap pearls, eating seafood, and hiking into tiny mountain villages.

What we did in San Diego: Started a company manufacturing and selling sports jerseys imported from the Philippines. We also gathered eggs from our chickens and milked our goats twice a day. We still miss the beach, Trader Joe’s, the Zoo, and the Avocado Capital of the World.

What we did in Washington: Watched the rain outside our windows. We also drank raw goat milk, saw waterfalls, had our second baby at home, and tried to keep from being eaten by the coyotes and cougars in our backyard.

What we did in Ireland: Unsuccessfully searched for our sealskins. We looked in ruined abbeys, ivy-covered Georgian mansions, and green pastures, but it turns out that we’re no more Irish than we are selkies. However, it was a lovely place for an extended visit, especially during the summer wet season (as opposed to the winter wet season).

What we did in Italy: First time around, we lived in Saluzzo and tried to get Italian citizenship. Second time around, we lived in Chiusa di Pesio and succeeded in getting Italian citizenship. Third time around, we lived in Florence and fell in love with the Arno but not the crowds of tourists. Fourth time around, we moved back to Chiusa di Pesio, where Tony took a job with an Italian manufacturing company.

What we did in Tunisia: We arrived in Tunisia in January 2011, five days after the Revolution toppled long-time dictator Ben Ali, touching off the Arab Spring. For eight months, we lived in a beautiful town called Hammamet, soaking up the sun at the beach, visiting Roman ruins, working with a grass-roots environmental group, and writing exciting accounts of our adventures.

What we did in Florida: I worked in marketing for a company in Palm Coast. Tony ran the house like a well-oiled machine, oversaw the homeschooling, and collected Euro games. Axa and Raj spent most of their time hunting for lizards, millipedes, turtles, and other wildlife (oh yes, and studying hard).

What we are doing in the Netherlands: Tony works for a local green energy tech startup. I am pursuing a Research Master’s degree at Leiden University in History, with an emphasis on Cities, Migration & Global Interdependence. I also serve on the editorial board of Hiraeth, a digital magazine, podcast and artistic/literary collective. After several years of homeschooling, the children spent a few years in a bilingual Dutch primary school. They now both attend a Dutch gymnasium (university prep school focussed on the classics). We ditched our car when we left the United States, and are loving cycling everywhere.

The thing is, the more places you live, the more sentimental you get about every beautiful place you’ve once called home, and the more tantalising it is to think about moving somewhere new. We really do want to settle down someday. We’re just not sure where. We’re still in search of a dream to call home.

I love hearing from readers! Feel free to drop me a line at lyralen[@]gmail.com.

I do not love hearing from marketers (and never write sponsored posts or otherwise monetise my blog, so please don’t ask; you will be marked immediately as spam).

Header Photo Credits:

Tuscan countryside, Italy

Chocolate Hills, Philippines

El Djem, Tunisia

The Langhe, Italy

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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