The birth of the Unpaved Highway

Let's get acquainted shall we? I'll start from what I consider to be the beginning of this Unpaved Highway...

2004. I walked into an Irish pub in Miami Beach and met a charismatic Argentinian named Alejandro. Three months later while holding a bouquet of plastic flowers we got married. The judge made me say my vows in Spanish (I spoke not one word at this point) so Ale's mom who had just come off the beach to be our witness (picture bikini top, mini shorts & covered in sand) could understand the ceremony. To this day I have no idea what I said.

We didn't tell my Dad about the marriage because let's be honest, no dad would be thrilled with the idea of such a quick marriage and I knew he would fall in love with Ale once he got to know him. So we went about our business hiding our wedding rings in our pockets every time we saw him.

Five months into our shiny new life my fitness instructor, fireball of a mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. It was everywhere and it was devastating. I was 25. I moved back in with my parents to help care for my mom and one calm evening while we were all sitting around, the conversation suddenly turned to Ale and me:

My Dad: "You and Ale are really spending a lot of time together Jen...maybe this is something serious?" (he was always terrified that I would never marry)

Me : "Dad there is something I need to tell you"

My Mom: "Oh no Jen... don't do it"

Me: "We are married Dad. Have been for six months now. It's definitely serious"

Well I am happy to say he cried tears of joy and immediately started calling Ale his son ( I knew that would happen).The cat was officially out of the bag. So we planned a small "wedding party" to celebrate and flew Ale's parents in from Argentina to join in on the festivities.

Three days before the party my mom died. And the wedding was replaced with a funeral.

When my mom was first diagnosed she had said to Ale and I "if you guys can survive this as a couple, you will be able to survive anything". I can honestly say that has gone on to be the foundation of our marriage. For starters, we work together (hello survival skills!). In the years to come we would have a very successful painting business (remember when faux finish was all the rage?) and then go on to open our first yoga studio. And may I just say that no amount of yoga could make owning a yoga studio relaxing. That same year my Dad would be diagnosed with advanced dementia. I was 30 years old at the time and little did I know that it was just the beginning of an 8 year journey through countless hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and nursing homes. The hard reality of it was that I lost my Dad at 30 but cared for his body until I was 38. In 2012 Ale would begin the process of nursing his mom through cancer who we eventually lost in 2015. One year later Ale's dad would be diagnosed with cancer and in in 2018, just a few months apart, we would lose both our dads to their illnesses.

So... that happened...

Let's fast forward to now... I am writing this on the eve of my 40th birthday while we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Coronavirus has me quarantining in our apartment in Miami while Ale is stuck in Argentina, a country who has just closed it's borders until September (we are in f*ing May right now). Both our yoga studio in Miami and our B&B in Patagonia have been mandatorily closed. We are separate, we barely have an income, and there is no end in sight. And yet, I've never been more hopeful. Cause here's the deal... I have had many years on this bumpy road already and I've managed to learn a thing or two. And so I thought now, in this incredible time of uncertainty, might just be the right time to share them. So I propose that we make this journey a bit more fun and we head down this rough road together. After all, a trip is always better when you are with a local!

I'll provide some stories, hopefully more than a few laughs, and with a bit of luck some inspiration you can take with you!

My friends...these uncertain times, these major bumps in the road... This. Is. My. Territory.

Looking so forward to the journey together!

Now that you know a bit about me, I'd love to know something about you! Fill me In...


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