Changing Skin

It’s been two years since we ditched the bus to roam around the globe to learn, listen and encourage. We’ve been to nine countries in that time and written story after story about that season.

We detoured back the US in November of 2016 and when we left Australia in November, we arrived minus one Holland. Our daughter, Graciana, stayed back in Australia to navigating the world of “adulting.” We have watched from afar as she has learned some hard lessons. Good Night! What a paradox to go from being so engaged in the development of your child, catching them when they fall, to then having virtually no ability to reach out and soften the blows. And yet, she has rallied and it has been a joy to watch her begin to fly!

For the past six-month we’ve been in Phoenix, AZ. (our longest stop in six years!) and have been just soaking in good family time. While here we have been journeying alongside my parents as they both went through a sort of metamorphosis, getting their new skin as I like to call it. They have both been working through their difficult cancer diagnosis. My father, battling an aggressive Prostate cancer and my mother with a slow growing non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  It has been an absolute joy to participate in daily community with them, lending a helping hand and watching them both overcome the obstacles set before them.

I have always loved my parents but I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this intense time with them has allowed me to fall in love with both of them in a new and fresh way. They are each so unique and fantastic in their own right and together they are team Price!

I have loved just sitting and listening to them reminisce and share stories of their lives. Some of them stories I have never heard before. If I could have kept a recorder going the whole six months, I would have. For now, those precious memories have been captured in my mind’s eye.

Over the months, we watched them go from about a three to an eight and as they continue to exercise, sharpen their minds and use food as a source of healing, they continue to excel. My dad has had a rebirth of creativity and over the time we’ve been with them, he has designed websites, written books for 2BRealMen and written curriculum for an online class for his Twisted Thinking Transformed material. It’s been a blast to watch him soar! Then, this past week we all pitched in and moved my parents into their awesome new apartment. They are happy and healthy, ready for a new adventure! And, as we leave them, we are expectant that it will be the richest chapter of their lives.

The season of backpacking/global travel, releasing our daughter into the big wide world, dovetailed by our current stop over with my parents, has been the most difficult and most engaging two years of our journey thus far. We have experienced a refining in ways that are still manifesting and will most likely be for the years to come. We have discovered that like the honey bee, we are built to pollinate. We launch, refueled and ready to ignite love, truth, and life…to any we meet along the way.

We’ll kick start our six-month journey in Phoenix, AZ and route north to CO then jog east to MI, loop back west through UT, then north to Calgary, Canada! Then west to Vancouver and south to LA, finally back to PHX!! That will take us approximately 8000 miles. Our hope then is to fly back to Australia for another trek around the globe. More info on our actually routing HERE…

Lastly, it’s been brought to my attention that I need to ask more often for help/support. So, if you feel led to give monthly, so as to spur us on practically but also build up our faith, you can do so at MODERNDAY.

Thanks for caring for us with your faithful prayers and encouraging words this past season. We look joyward to continuing to share the love and stories along the way.

 

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From There // To Here

It’s the final countdown!! We launch for our 2017 US/CANADA TOUR on JUNE 9! Dates below…

Craig has been working like mad to get our bus in good working order for our six-month trek around the US and Canada! He’s been dealing with all the mechanical issues, installing under cabinet lighting, a new Air/Con system (which we’ve waited nearly six years for), and giving the bathroom a facelift. Plus rehearsing and writing music, helping my parents with odds and ends and working a part-time job building stuff for other people, the man is an absolute machine!

Anyway, we have a pretty amazing route set before us, which will take us approximately 8000 miles. We’ve got loads of stops and we can not wait to see so many of you kinfolk!!

If you see yourself on our route and would like to connect with us, we’d be delighted! Just send us a message at thehollands @ thehollands.org

Our routing will be as follows:

June 9-11 Los Cerrillos, NM
June 12-13 Taos, NM
June 14 Colorado Springs, CO
June 15 Wellfleet, NE
June 16 Omaha, NE
June 17 Des Moines, IA
June 18-21 Mt. Vernon, IA
June 22-25 Green Bay, WI
June 26-29 Sturgeon Bay, WI
June 29-July 2 Urbana, IL
July 3-14 Muskegon, MI
July 15-16 Chicago, IL
July 17-26 Sturgeon Bay, WI
July 27 Milwaukee, WI
July 28 Elkhart, IN
July 29-31 St. Louis, MO
Aug 1-2 Kansas City, MO
Aug 3 Hays, KS
Aug 4-6 Denver, CO
Aug 7-10 Timberline, Frasier, CO
Aug 11 Heber City, UT
Aug 12-20 Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 21-25 Yellowstone, MT
Aug 26-31 Bozeman, MT
Sept 1 Somewhere between Bozeman and Calgary?
Sept 2- 5 Calgary
Sept 6-7 Banff
Sept 9-10 Kelowna
Sept 10-13 Vancouver and surrounding areas
Sept 14-20 Mossyrock, WA
Sept 21-22 Portland, OR
Sept 23-28 Bend, Or
Sept 29 Somewhere between Bend, OR and Redding, CA
Sept 30-Oct 1 Redding, CA
Oct 2-8 Oakland, CA
Oct 9-15 Carmel/Monterey, CA
Oct 16-17 Los Angelos area
Oct 18-25 Phoenix, AZ

Of course, we’ll be merrymaking all along the way and our tour dates are up at www.thehollands.org

Look forward to seeing y’all out on the open road!!
Love,
The Hollands!

Culture Shock; The Art of Realigning Orientation

Thinking of embracing the nomadic lifestyle? Or how about just taking the family on a holiday? Here are a few ideas and practical ways to work through culture shock, from our family to yours.

First it’s important to understand that each society has its own beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviors, and social habits. These give people a sense of who they are, how they should  behave, and what they should or should not do. These ‘rules’ reflect the ‘culture’ of a country. People become conscious of such rules when they meet people from different cultures. And so, culture shock is the interesting phenomena of realizing you don’t know those rules.

Culture shock has been defined as the feeling of disorientation, loneliness, insecurity or confusion that can occur when one is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

Culture shock may come with any of the following symptoms:

  • Homesickness
  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Need for more sleep than normal
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Compulsive eating or loss of appetite
  • Stereotyping of and hostility towards host nationals
  • Lack of energy

As nomads, we’ve found that the more we thrust ourselves into new and unfamiliar surroundings or sit at the table with folks who think differently than us, the more barriers are broken down. And so, it is important, as we travel, to honestly accept that culture shock is a natural part of the experience, yet we have learned ways to quickly realign our orientation so that we can really engage, understand and enjoy the world around us.

One of the ways we do that is to embrace the physical symptoms and if possible we allow our bodies to get more sleep. We also pay attention to our food intake, making sure to get enough energy rich nutrients and plenty of h20. When possible, we cook for our hosts as this allows for us to eat foods that are familiar. It’s all common sense, basic stuff, but the key is to pay attention and embrace our bodies needs, whether for food, liquids or sleep.

Emotionally, we combat potential depression by talking about how we are feeling, specially if we’ve been in a situation where the world around us is dark and destructive. We talk about the feelings that are evoked when we see things that make us angry or uncomfortable and we allow each other to have those feelings as we process them out. That’s actually one of the greatest gifts of traveling as a family, having someone to talk to about things we are feeling. For instance, when we went to the Killing Fields in Cambodia, we all had a mutual experience that was quite traumatic, so to be able to sit and process with each other as well as with our hosts was a real gift in helping us move into the reality of where we were in the world. By engaging those emotions, it allowed us to develop a real sense of empathy for our Cambodian neighbors.

Mural in Bondi Beach, NSW Australia
Mural in Bondi Beach, NSW Australia

One of the greatest killers of compassion is when we stereotype, picking out all of the obvious differences and developing short-sighted opinions towards our host nationals. It’s a common way of responding to culture shock and easy to slip into that sort of thinking. However, we try to catch it as quickly as we can and instead we try to find similarities. It is when we look past the obvious differences and seek the similarities that our minds eye begins to adjust, telling our brain that what we are experiencing is familiar or at least familiar enough to begin to unpack our defences and open our hearts to learn from our hosts. We try to avoid quick judgements; seeking to understand by asking questions and looking at things from our hosts point of view. One of the most critical things that we consistently have to shelf is the belief that our cultural habits are ‘right’ and others are ‘wrong.’ Sometimes our hosts actually ask us to compare and contrast our culture to theirs but usually we answer that we haven’t developed enough of an understanding about their land to compare and contrast but if they have questions, we’d be happy to tell them things about our homeland or upbringing so that they can better understand us.

For us, the most difficult symptom of culture shock to overcome would be a feeling of homesickness, which is quite funny because we haven’t had a “home” in five years. Even so, the further we go in our travels, the farther away we feel from those who we hold dear in our hearts and the feeling of homesickness usually hits when some sort of world travesty happens. And yet, everywhere we go, we find a sense of home with those saints we meet along the way and so, our faith is what helps to keep this one in perspective. We are a part of a bigger family picture and staying open to this nomadic lifestyle allows us to connect with our extended “family” in ways that we never knew possible.

 

 

The Highlands of Vietnam

Di Linh (Vietnamese: Di Linh; French: Djiring) is a district (huyện) of Lâm Đồng Province in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam.

As of 2003 the district had a population of 154,472.The district covers an area of 1,628 km². The district capital lies at Di Linh.

And, that is about all Wikipedia has to say about the place. But, we would add so much more!

IMG_7729First off, going from sea level in Phan Theit, rolling through hills up to about 4000 feet into the highlands was spectacular! And the stops on the way up offered a taste of some of the best coffee in the world. And, for those who don’t know, coffee is one of Mr. Hollands love languages.

The coffee city that gets the most attention in the region is Da Lat and I’m sure it’s a wonderful place for tourists. For us, however, connecting with locals and learning about life through their eyes is more important. So, we were pleased when our friend Joe invited us to come with him up to visit Di Linh, to share a meal, story and sacred space with his kinfolk, who all happen to be coffee farmers.

IMG_1214The community treated us to a traditional meal, coffee of course, and we sang together. We were honored to find out we were there first international guests! We shared our story and they shared theirs and what we learned is that they have the same struggles many of us have around the world with desires for a good, healthy, long life and dealing with the many obsticals that can get in the way.

IMG_1230We met Than, a generational coffee farmer. Thans ancestors had farmed over a hundred hectares but after the war, his families land was seized and he now farms about two hectares. From that 2 hectares he produces 10 tonnes of bean; Arabica, robusta and a third coffee which is a blend. Most is sold to dealers to be exported.

He taught us about the growing process stating that the trees last for about 50 years, and produce bigger yields each year. Harvest time is in December and he hires on about 6 extra migrant workers to help with the harvest. A tarp is set on the ground that catches the beans as the workers pull them off the branches. Then the beans are then set out in the front yard to dry for 10 days before being packaged. Than also grows red flamingo flowers in green houses through out the year and sells them to stores all over Vietnam.

Honestly, Di Linh could have been any little rural town in the US where folks are hard working, value the land they live on and care about their families and their faith. It’s off the beaten path but for us Di Linh and the people we met there will always hold a special place in our hearts. And the coffee, that was just the warm up to the truest love language there is, connection.

 

 

Red Apple School

Many people have asked how do connect with so many host around the world? Well it sometimes goes like this, we met a fello Muso at a folk music conference in Austin, TX named Emily Clepper. Over the next five months we became friends with Emily. When we were getting ready to leave Austin and looking at our east coast routing, we mentioned our desire to head up into Canada and hoped to roll through her hometown of Quebec city. She referred us to her friends, Vann and Chantel, who lived just south of the city. We introduced ourselves to them via good old Facebook and they invited us to come. We spent a lovely week with them, sharing meals, story and song. During our conversations, we shared our desire to explore south east Asia. Vanns interest perked and he told us about his friend, Tinh Mahoney, in Vietnam. Vann and Tinh met when they were young teenagers and had kept in touch over the years. Vann told us that Tinh was a musician and film maker and had a wonderful story that included building eight school in Vietnam. One particular school had a unique story as it involved a group of unlikely contributors. The story goes that Tinh was in the United States performing his music and was invited to a prison in Oregon. While there he shared his dream to build a school. The prisoners were touched by his story and collectively decided to donate one year of their wages towards the building of the school. We were inspired by the story and Vann introduce us via Facebook to Tinh. We begin conversation via email and Skype, dialoguing about a potential visit. We looked on the map to see where Tinh lived and began to course our routing his direction.
And that is how it works. And this is the story of our time with Tinh in His hometown, Phan Thiet, Vietnam.
We arrived late afternoon by bus and took a short taxi ride to the Red Apple English school where Tinh works and lives. We were welcomed by his team, Tam and her sister Nguyen. That evening we “sat in” as English speaking guests. Each of us sat at different tables and the students made the rounds visiting each table and practicing conversation with each of us. They asked all sorts of great questions and after the class we all jumped on mopeds and went for dinner. Tinh treated all of us to Pho’ and later we enjoyed a local dessert soup called Che.

The next morning we rose at 4:30 to catch a sunrise at the local beach. It was dark when we left the house and when we arrived, the beach was packed with all sorts of folks. They were exercising, swimming, running the beach, and burying themselves in the sand; as apparently that has medicinal value.

After the beach, we went back home and enjoyed a light breakfast called Xoi (pronounced soy), which consisted of rice black beans coconut crushed peanuts sugar and salt. It was served alongside a big bowl of exotic fruits. My favorite being Dragon eyes. We we napped during the heat of the day, had a light supper and worked with more students in the evening.

IMG_7636We caught another sunrise the next morning. Two sunrises in a row, that’s a big deal for us night owls, but it was worth it. This time we all rode mopeds to a fishing village and watched the fisherman bring in their catch. There were many women on the beach as well, carrying water and making street food to sell. We were absolutely amazed by their strength. And they were absolutely amazed by Craig’s mustache. 🙂

After, we stopped to see the famous red Sand dunes. Rolled up and down the hills. And enjoyed the soft silky red sand.

Then we went to a resort to visit some of the students we had met the night prior. They invited us to come and enjoy breakfast and when we arrived we could hear a beautiful guitar playing. We later found out that it was Tinh’s CD. The food was delicious, the resort was beautiful and the staff very friendly. We were very impressed that one of Tinh’s students named Nhi, could not only speak her Vietnamese and English but she could also speak fluent Russian! We discovered that many of the tourists come to this area are from Russia.

That evening while our hosts taught school I made a simple dinner of Fish, mango salsa, rice and vegetables. We slept hard that night and the next day Craig helped Tinh build the stage and get the side yard ready for that evening’s concert. We took afternoon naps and then begin to prepare a meal to serve all the guests that would come. About 75 guests came, students, parents and a few foreign guests we had met at the resort. The evening was filled with music, laughter and joy. Many of the students performed and even one of the guests who was visiting from Slovenia shared a song. Our set was jolly and we were able to teach many of the students our lyrics so they could sing along, we especially loved hearing them sing “Old Man’s Town.”

The only thing that could have topped our time with Tinh and the Red Apple School would have been to have Vann and his family there to share in the memory. Thankful for those who send us on as connectors and thankful for those who receive us on the other end!

Ditch The Bus

Yep, you read right, we’re ditching the bus. Well, at least for a little while, or maybe longer,  who knows.

It all started when we decided to book another music tour to Australia. While in the planning stages we had lots of conversations as a family about all we’ve learned in the past four years about ourselves and our creator through full-time travel. We recognized that our family is built to come alongside and encourage. We also realized that we are “learners” and we thrive when our theology and understanding of the world is rocked to the core and deconstructed. And, boy have we been rocked!

And so, over the past few months of conversations we’ve started feeling a stirring in our souls. That same longing that first invoked us to dream and take the leap of faith, giving our possessions away and hitting the road began to roar and we began to ask, was there something more?

Over the past two years we have been meeting and nurturing relationships with people  from all over the world but mostly in Southeast Asia and those interactions inspired conversation about potential visits. And, so as we were planning our very practical musical tour, we found that the question of how long we would stay over and when we would return was open for debate. And so, we did what we alway do when we don’t have the full picture, we moved forward.

We bought a one way ticket!

I mean, why not, we already live gas tank to gas tank, what’s the difference if it’s a bus tank or an airplane, train or van tank that need filling.

As soon as we bought that one way ticket, we knew we were entering a new chapter in our journey of faith, community and creativity.

Photo by Kara Counard; Bloom Photography
Photo by Kara Counard; Bloom Photography

We don’t know how long or exactly where the road, sky or water will take us but we do have a light outline.

We will be flying out of Albuquerque Sept 15 and landing in Melbourne Australia the morning of Sept 17. We will stay for a week in Melbourne before flying up to Cairns for the Wallaby Creek Music Festival. From there we will fly down to Brisbane where we will try to source a vehicle (preferably a small bus or van) that we will travel/tour up and down the east coast in until November. (tour dates at http://www.thehollands.org)

November 18, we will fly to Manilla, Philippines where we will come alongside our friends the Hommels and learn/serve at JAZ Home, a residential home for young girls, offering solace and security in a hostile world. From there we will visit with filmmaker and musician, Tinh Mahoney in Vietnam to see life through his eyes, learning about a school he founded in his hometown and playing music. And, by early December we’ll be in Cambodia where we will connect with our friend Craig Greenfield at Alongsiders International and participate in a roundtable discussion on The Heart of God for Justice and our response through  Worship. We are also in early conversations with folks about possible visit to Indonesia and Thailand.

Jan 5, we know we’ll be flying back to Australia for another two month music tour, and from there we are open to possibilities continuing on in Australia or heading north again to Southeast Asia or going even further up into China or west towards India. We also have aspirations to connect with kinfolk in Europe. So, we’ll be waiting to see it all unfold as you are.

So, stay tuned! And if you feel inclined you can partner with us at MODERN DAY.

Behind the Scenes at Formula One

FanfestCraig was volunteering one warm Saturday morning at MLF. He was working alongside Jon Pattillo on an outdoor kitchen space. Jon is a local Austinite and owns a creative building business called AVEC Mode doing custom design and building for events, including SXSW, The X Games and Fanfest/Formula One. He appreciated Craig’s building skills and invited him to join his team for the upcoming Fanfest/Formula One event. His job would be at Fanfest, which was held downtown and featured live music, F1 venders, food, and drink. Craig would be the “Sign” team leader and responsible for making sure that all of the vender signs were distributed and hung pre-festival, and then during the festival work on little details that the venders requested, and finally post festival, the tear everything down.

In the meantime, Graciana and I were looking for little odd jobs via Craigslist that we could do together and found an ad for “merch” girls at the Formula One held here in Austin. Knowing that Craig was going to be working that weekend at the same event, we though it might be fun to experience it as well. So we applied and went in for a mother/daughter interview with Taryn at A+ Staffing.

What a fun experience to interview together, Taryn was welcoming, explaining the job and hired us on the spot. We referred my cousin and her boyfriend who just moved to town and they got the job as well. And so, the four of us became a team. Our thirteen year old even got in on the action, by being the dog sitter for my cousin, as well as, helping Craig down at Fanfest one of the days.

Circuit of the AmericasDay one included a 7am meet up on the north side of town to check in and get our assignments and passes for the weekend. Then we drove about 40 mins southwest of the city, to the Circuit of the Americas race trace where we met our clients, V12 Distribution International. Marc Amezanie, the owner, along with his staff, Patricia, and Josia welcomed us. They were in hustle mode and gave us a crash course on who they were and how to sell merchandise for them. Minutes later, customers arrived and we jumped right in. The actual mechanical process of sales was pretty cut and dry but the learning curve for understanding the Formula one language and who’s who was more challenging. However, a few hours in and we were pronouncing drivers names correctly and starting to understand our main brands, Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes.

After we got the swing of things I was able to get down to the real business of doing what we do best, bringing merrymaking, light and encouragement to those around us. But, how do you swim upstream in an environment were preconceived notions suggest that there is no common bond between the classes? How do you connect with another human being when the interaction is commerce driven and the bottom line is crucial? You see it’s easy for us to get caught up in preaching love and restoration when we are in environments where people are broken, open and coming to us for that purpose. But, when we are just regular Joes who need to get a job done, in a fast paced setting where greed and lust for status are core values, that is where our heart condition is really tested. And, you know me, I love a challenge.

Here’s how swimming upstream breaks down in these types of situations; temptation can come in the form of victim-stance and inflated thinking. Pride tries to convince us that we are entitled and there is a little whisper in the soul that suggest it’s OK to lie and work our angle in order to get what we think we deserve. In fact, it’s expected.

I liken the temptation to an undertow in the ocean on a windy day, pulling and tugging, trying to take you under, trying to drown you. But, if we can acknowledge and respect that it’s there, we are able to get back to the business at hand, free to sit on the sand and enjoy the sun or free to ride the waves. It’s a remembering who we are and why we are here that leads to the remembrance that we are all made of the same mud, we are all one and status or not, people are longing for real human connectivity and for healing.

Restoration work means that we have to be restored in our own souls first, before offering it to others. We have to be willing to look in the mirror and see our own junk, own it and release it to the God of mercy and grace. It’s worth it friends, no matter what situation you are working in. If you are open to the renewing of your mind, you will find that you are able to be used in situations where you would not otherwise have been, you will find the Living God showing up and giving you opportunities to delight.

V12 Distribution International For instance, one interaction I had on day two was with a modest looking couple, probably in their 60’s. It was a very cold morning and they came to get a jacket for the wife. The interaction was longer than most because she was so indecisive. I could tell that the $250 a jacket was a big-ticket item to them and they wanted to make a good decision. We shared about 45 min with each other, trying on jackets, discussing the pro’s and con’s of these jackets but the real interaction was the dance of kindness and patience that was happening between the three of us. The Husband was setting the tone by gently caring for his wife through kind words of affirmation, his spirit was strong but gentle. They debated but there was no pride or impatience in their conversation. I was encouraged watching them be ‘married’ and I told them so. They were taken by my words and maybe a little embarrassed but they were thrilled that I had noticed their love for one another.

Then, during quiet times on the grounds, there were little moments of connectivity between the staff. I learned about one of the young ladies desire to study nutritional therapy. We talked about my cancer journey and what real healing is. There were moments where the V12 owner and I were able to share story about he and his brothers journey starting the company 26 years ago, about the french family he grew up in and the good values his parents instilled in him and his longing to pass those things on to his own children.

Graciana had her own observations and awakenings during the weekend, having experienced for the first time droves and droves of grown men who could hardly contain themselves when they saw her. She had men flaunt their wealth in front of her, offering her opportunities to come live with them to their countries of Italy, Mexico, Germany, and the US. And, I have to admit, as her mom, watching close by, it was very hard not to rush in and roar like a Mother Bear.

IMG_0618We had great conversations after day one, on our drive home. She admitted that at first she really enjoyed the attention, that it made her feel powerful and responded in kind. But, by the end of the day she was drained dry rather than rejuvenated. She said it was like a sugar high, and afterwards she felt sick to her stomach. We talked about what it means to guard her heart and how she could approach the next day. The bottom line was that her biggest temptation was to believe the lie that their words and attention defined her worth and that she was nothing more than a physical object. I suggested that she be in prayerful through every interaction the next day, finding her worth as a precious child of God and asking God to give her a stance of purity and a presence of dignity. They came just as hard and heavy on day two and three but she was able to deflect their poison, still offering a genuine kindness and smile to them. I was proud of her and thankful for her openness to talk with me about it.

Craig also had his own experience in growth with a vender that was never happy, no matter what he did to try to please them. Here he was working for a fantastic company with a like-minded boss, working diligently, creating, caring and setting a tone that was righteous. And yet, Craig was challenged to stay true to his convictions of grace by offer it to those who surely didn’t deserve it. And, he did.

Formula OneAll in all, we really enjoyed the Formula One on every level and the experience that it offered our whole family. We got to see powerful and flashy cars, hear the rumble of their engines. We got to meet people from all over the globe, who are passionate about their teams and drivers, and had an opportunity to learn about something new and fascinating. Craig really enjoyed learning more about Jon and his company, finding out that all of the materials used during Fanfest were to be recycled and allocated to people and ministries around Austin. I loved the opportunities to work alongside my daughter and cousin, as well as, the other staff in our booth, sharing story and caring for one another. Graciana got to go home with a sweet Ferrari shirt. And, Banjo got a case of Monster drink from Fanfest and got to have a dog for the weekend, which was a huge delight for our little dog whispers.

In the end, this was another fantastic opportunity to grow and practice the discipline of our faith, to encourage and be merrymakers in this ol’ world of ours.