It’s hard to condense a person into a blurb, and we hate talking about ourselves in the 3rd person, but here’s more about us than pretty much anyone has heard in one place before:
Dan is our family’s endlessly-patient, empathetic, kind-hearted and much-beloved leader. He keeps the wheels turning with his business consulting company, ROI Capital Consulting, which he started after many years in the corporate world, where he’d worked with a Who’s Who of Silicon Valley, was quoted in The New York Stock Exchange Report, American Compensation Association Journal and in the book “In the Company of Owners”.
But he hasn’t always been a businessman. As a kid he thought he’d be a scientist, and spent many hours “studying” the outdoors in the backyard of his San Francisco home and on the beaches of Pt Reyes, in Marin County, CA. In his teens he ditched school and hitched to Utah, where he skied powder as often as possible. In his early twenties he returned to the Bay Area unsure of what to do next. A family friend in the dance world said they needed more men, and asked if he could jump in the air and spin around two times. Skiing moguls had made that more than possible, and a dancer was born. He trained intensively and joined the Margie Jenkins Dance Company, performing and touring with them for many years before returning to school in his 30s, ultimately entering the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at UC Berkeley.
While glad of his careers in both business and the arts, his proudest contribution has been as husband and father. An introvert by nature, mornings walking with Jen and evenings reading to the kids are his favorite pastime, though he’s up for any adventure we put in front of him. He still loves science, and he still tries to ski fresh powder as often as possible.
Jen’s favorite place to be is anywhere new, particularly if it involves a beach. She is the gypsy soul behind this nomadic adventure, and the glue (aka stubborn spirit) that holds everything together. She started researching nomadic, world-schooling families in 2007 and is thrilled we get the chance to give it a go ourselves. An adventurous “outgoing introvert”, Jen loves the ability to soak up new sights, sounds, tastes and cultures.
She’s never been one for routine, choosing to go her own pace and march to her own drummer from the start. An entrepreneur to the core, she started her first business at age 8. A member of MENSA, she started college in Indiana at age 15 and transferred to Cornell University at 18. She moved to the Bay Area to marry Dan, ditching the Ivy League in favor of business, where she had a successful career in high-tech. She rose from sales exec to Director of Strategic Alliances, and ultimately VP Global Sales and Marketing, a position that gave her a taste for international travel. While Dan kept to the steady paying corporate world, Jen took much of her pay in stock. When high tech collapsed, she started ROI Capital Group, a real estate investing advisory firm, at which Dan joined her in 2006.
Jen is also an internationally shown conceptual artist, whose works can be seen at www.ThisIsArt.Org. She was one of the first artists to be involved in the creation of The Museum of Non-Visible Art, which was highlighted on CNN, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, E! Online and even The Jimmy Kimmel Show, as well as written about in national publications including Huffington Post, Time, The New York Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. These days the bulk of her time is raising and educating the kids, enjoying life, blogging, and planning the next escapade.
You may not see as much of Alex on our blog as you would like…because WE don’t see as much of Alex as we would like! He’s busy chasing his own dreams. After attending high school in Marin County, California, Alex moved to Montreal, Quebec to attend McGill University, where he received his B.A. in Psychology, Behavioural Science and Philosophy in 2011. He fell in love with the European-vibe and thriving music scene and never left. Now 27, Alex is a Senior Medical Writer/Sales Engineer at A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, which creates in-depth eLearning and mobile learning training programs for the pharmaceutical and bio-tech industry.
At least that’s what he does by day. By night, he rocks out for his fans, as a singer/guitarist/songwriter for First You Get The Sugar, a band which plays larger music festivals such as POP Montreal, Canadian Music Week and New York’s CMJ Music Marathon, has released multiple CDs, and recorded at Converse Music’s Rubber Tracks, where they were interviewed by CNN and MTV. First You Get The Sugar has been positively reviewed by critics – Cody Conard of Brooklyn’s Big Takeover Magazine says “Montreal’s First You Get The Sugar have the makings to be the next indie darlings…something entirely new and utterly infectious…” CBC Radio stated about their song “Pearson” that “If McCartney suddenly finds he’s missing a song, he’d be wise to look here.” Alex’s songs, “Pt. Reyes” and “Foreign Lands” are now being played on the radio. Their music can be purchased through iTunes and heard on Soundcloud. You can also follow the band on Facebook, Twitter (@1stUGetTheSugar), on their Youtube channel (FirstYouGetTheSugar), and Instagram (1stUGetTheSugar). We’re very proud and thrilled for him!
Ariana, whose name means “silver” in Latin, but “lion” in Hebrew” is our cool, mysterious, magnetic, lovely, luminous moonbeam…with deep strength and thoughtful, quiet confidence. She’s the kind of girl who doesn’t say much…at first…until people have shown their true colors, at which point, if there is an authentic connection, they receive the reflecting light of her smile, insight of her intellect, and the full contents of her heart. Once befriended, she is a true friend, and cares deeply no matter how many years or miles may separate. Ariana, who usually prefers Ari, pronounced “R.E.”, loves learning. She loves science and technology and is highly creative, happy to spend hours sketching, writing, crocheting, jewelry making, listening to japanese music, watching anime, or pursuing her latest interest – special effects make-up and cosplay. She is combining her love of technology with her creativity to learn graphics design and digital special effects as well, a skill she hopes to one day pursue professionally. A self-proclaimed introvert, (“aack people…Nazgul!”) she has nonetheless spent plenty of time in the public eye, thanks to Co-Founding Artzy Girlz, Inc., which sells award-winning products to raise funds to support art and multi-media in schools. In the course of work, she meets politicians, educators, press and even interviews reporters, fashion designers, and world-renowned performers She also helps event plan and facilitate “Artzy Adventures” which take kids and their parents on day-long cultural experiences such as Broadway musicals, art museums, ballet performances, architecture tours and more. She helped to create “The Artzy Girlz”, a cast of characters inspired by her true-life story of raising money and lobbying to promote the arts, and about whom she helped write and edit two fiction books, “Artzy Girlz Unite!” and “Artzy Girlz Forever?”. At 13, she’s growing up fast. We’ve learned from experience how fast the teen years disappear, which makes this time together even more precious!
Aaron has taken over the keyboard. He wants you all to know that “Derp derp de derp he won’t saaaaaay. Yes. (chomp chomp) giggle (snorting cereal up his nose)…” Yep…that’s Aaron in a nutshell. Glad we cleared that up….Oh, and snuggles, and best big brother ever, and best little brother ever…and intelligent, kind-hearted, fun-loving awesomeness! (still chomping)…
Seriously though, there are some boys who you know from the start are made of good stuff. Solid as the Earth and there for those in need. These are the boys who will grow up to be good men, good husbands, good leaders, good humans all around. We may be biased (we ARE his parents after all) but that’s the kind of guy Aaron seems like to us. He’s got an incredible combination of intelligence and heart and cares deeply about the people, plants, and animals that share the planet. He’s our gentle giant (at 12, people think he’s 15, which could have something to do with the fact that he wears size 14 shoes…). People sense that he is someone in which they can safely place their trust, and so he is often allowed to lead, (which usually leads to a lot of good fun…frequently involving video games, mischief, or both). Of all of us, he is the biggest fan of this nomadic adventure. He wants to do this “FOREVER”. He spent our first 10 months as nomads perfecting his wheelies and ollies. He has big plans to start a pokemon and yugioh e-bay store and recently started his own Youtube channel, which helps him stay in touch with friends near and far, while having fun gaming. Got kids? Have them subscribe today!
If Ariana is our cool moonbeam, Aurora is our burning ray of sun. After five years of trying, and pregnancies that didn’t make it to term, we finally got our wish of a 4th child to make our family complete in 2011. After all that wait, we barely made it to the hospital in time, and Aurora has kept us hopping ever since. She was born during the few hours it took for the sun to rise, and thus she picked her own name “Aurora”, which means “the dawn”. Every child is a gift, and Aurora is one that we’ve unwrapped slowly. Diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, a neurological condition that makes her highly sensitive and can result in difficulty regulating herself, as well as a speech delay that meant she didn’t speak until age 3, it took awhile for us to learn who she really is. Trapped inside her own head, with difficulty communicating her wants and needs, she would frequently get frustrated and overwhelmed to the point of major melt-down. We all definitely increased our patience and charade-playing skills! All those years she had done plenty of thinking though, and now, at 5, she is beginning to emerge as our bright, ferocious, creative, empathetic little girl. We absolutely adore her!
Sonia, full name Princess-Sonia-Captain-Underpants-of-Sparta, AKC registered “Princess Sonia of Sparta”, is our 9-years-old Samoyed fur-baby. We got her from a breeder in Sparta, Tennessee in 2007, when she was just 6 weeks old . She quickly became part of our clan, keeping squirrels on guard coast-to-coast. She’s always good for a fluffy hug and snuggle, makes sure we get regular walks, and keeps our floors food-free. She’s responsible for converting these former cat-people into dog-lovers and we’re forever grateful!
Thanks for joining us! We look forward to getting to know you better as we move onward on our journey!