Our 4 Legged Friends

As of September 2017, Johanne and I have had the pleasure to care for:

43 dogs, 17 cats, a turtle, a tortoise, various birds and chickens.

Click here to see our happy gang.


We have certainly learned about a variety of breds and their unique behavior. We have enjoyed every opportunity that has come our way.

Thank you from our hearts to the home owners that have given us their trust.

joyful travellers

Of Pillow Tops and Coffee

Johanne and I have been house and pet sitting for 18 months now and we love every moment. It has its challenges but they a minuscule compared the joys we are experiencing.


So don’t get me wrong I would not change our lifestyle for anything. I do however want to share with you two things, that when combined, add a sense of pure luxury to any house sit: a fluffy- soft pillow top mattress and fresh local coffee.

Now we have learned that “fluffy-soft” and “fresh” are relative in nature. Much like: “no mosquitoes here” and “my dogs never bark”, these terms are subject to wide interpretation.

Let me paint for you my perfect house sit. The owners have left us the keys to their clean and comfortable home; they will be away six weeks. The fridge is full of fresh local fruits and veggies, the private pool is just a few steps from the living area.


The delightful pets are low maintenance and a joy to care for. Getting the picture?

Morning sunlight warms my face and a soothing ocean breeze ruffles the curtains. We are lying on a cloud, a king sized cloud at that. Down filled pillows cradle our heads. As we arise, there are no stiff joints or cramped muscles, our entire beings have been thoroughly replenished. Waking on a cloud brings a smile to my existence.

Into the kitchen we glide where the day begins. With care and attention, exotic local coffee beans are ground to perfection. By a simple process their richness is turned into liquid gold and my senses come alive with anticipation.

Pouring the elixir into mugs turns whole milk a lovely teak. The aroma is divine!!

Johanne and I settle on soft chairs and marvel at our surroundings. We hold hands and clasp our prized mugs with the other. Full bodied, full-sized (Vancouver sized) cups of java. Simple indulgence at its fullest.

We share our dreams and contemplate the day in front of us. It is a moment to appreciate the fullness of life. A life so rich that I ask for a top up! On many days it is served with a slice of homemade banana bread. A few simple pleasures have turned this perfect house sit to extraordinary.

I raise my coffee mug to you and hope that all of your future sits are filled with fluffy-soft luxury.

joyful travellers

A Tale of Two Geckos – The Book

Doug’s long anticipated book is:

Now on amazon.com

Click Here

for Canadians amazon.ca

Click here

What readers are saying:

“This book is a must read for everyone desiring to change their lives and pursue their dreams. I’ll have to re-read it over and over again. These two courageous geckos did it!”


“I predict the Geckomana will take off as  the new trend after reading this book”


“I was just going to read one chapter and get back to what I was doing…I couldn’t put it down.
“Life’s Inspiration” written with love, honesty and experience. Loved it!”

Doug Book Cover


It is our story about how we transformed our lives and is written to entertain and encourage readers to consider the changes they would like in their lives.

Please enjoy our story and kindly share it with a friend.

joyful travellers

Celebrating Our 1st Year as Nomads

April 7th – As of today Johanne and I have been slow travelling throughout Latin America for 1 year.

It has been a fabulous experience- the best year on record.DSC03764


We have lived on the rim of a volcanic craterDSC01736 - Copy

come to experience wonderful Colonial Cites:

Aboulivard - CopyDSC04089








swam on deserted beaches in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and in pristine cenotes.


DSC03812 We have climbed Mayan Pyramids and gazed down the throat of el diablo.DSCF4279




We even took a break to honeymoon in Cuba:


We have met hundreds of people along the way and have  nurtured many lasting friendships that we value immensely.

the joyful travellers


DSC01816 (2)



Discovering Quintana Roo, Mexico

Although I have been in Mexico more than a dozen times I always find pleasant new surprises. It is a country so rich in history and interesting geography.

Currently we are vising Quintana Roo, the state that forms the eastern part of the Yucatan peninsula.



According to the guide books Chetumal was suppose to  be a place that was not worth visiting however Johanne and I found it to be most enjoyable. It is very safe and largely overlooked by the Cancun crowd.


Clean and quiet a wonderful malacon stretching for miles along the Caribbean shore.


How can you not love a place that  has a statue of Bob Marley?


Bacalar, Pueblo Magico is our next stop, a small town perched on an stunning fresh water laguna.


The laguna is 42 KMs long and fed from  below by two deep water cenotes.


Bacalar is rich with history from the days when pirates lurked in the mangroves raiding the Spanish settlements.

The Spanish built a fort here in the 1700’s which was later captured and held by Mayan rebels in the Caste Wars.





Great food and affordable accommodation are abundant.





Cenote swimming


We are very pleased that we took time to visit this often ignored corner of the peninsula.


joyful travellers

Uxmal – Mayan Magic


Gazing out over what remains of a once great civilization, so many questions arise.


Pyramid of the Soothsayer

Many of the answers remain a mystery today particularly what transpired to cause such a rapid and dramatic decline to this once powerful civilization?









Founded  around 700 AD the  Mayan center of Uxmal was the home of  approx. 25,000 people. It is said to be the most majestic of all the Mayan  cities. There is much Mayan mythology about the city once being ruled by Dwarfs.

I found it interesting that this center was built where there was no cenote for water as is the case with other site.



Getting up is the easy part.

We were extremely impressed at how well preserved and presented this UNESCO  location is and  our 3 hour walk about was very enlightening.

More Information


Getting There:

Uxmal is 65 KMS south of Merida and there are many tours offered stopping here and the other sites on the Puuc Trail.

Johanne and I chose to take the local bus from downtown Merida- it takes about 1.5 hrs. and was  just a few dollars one way. There is also a local bus tour on Sundays

There is also very comfortable  accommodations and restaurants just as you enter the site. Maybe stay a few days and experience this area by moonlight.


Make sure you put the ruins at Uxmal on you “Must Do List”.

joyful travellers

Merida, Yucatan, Mx.

Johanne and I have found this to be a very safe and comfortable city offering many enchanting plazas and parks. Strolling the tree lined streets we discover a variety of interesting nooks and crannies.


Street Performance
Street Performance

There is free nightly entertainment at various locations in the historical district where you can experience a real local flavour.

Every  Sunday they close off much of the old city around the Plaza Grande so that families can ride bicycles together.

Artists and musicians add to the relaxed atmosphere and there is great street food to experience.


It is a city steeped with culture and tradition, plus it offers a high quality of life to its residents and guests. We are always greeted with warm and welcoming smiles.

The city is also an ideal starting point for visiting the pristine beaches

dsc02339-copyalong the Gulf of Mexico as well as the numerous nearby Mayan sites such as:


“We can highly recommend Merida as a place to visit and enjoy”.

Hint: (It is very HOT in September)!!


the joyful travellers

Resource: The Yucatan Today is the best Travel Companion magazine we have seen. Great maps and current events.

To Drive or Not to Drive in Central America?


Is it safe for me to drive in Central America?


I have recently been confronted with the above dilemma and you may well be too.



Let me share with you what I experienced when I mustered up my nerve and got behind the wheel of a car in Nicaragua.

Chaos like you cannot anticipate meets you as you pull out onto the road. All of your senses come to full attention, adrenalin rushes in.  I don’t remember this being on my driver’s test – ever!!

Be prepared for a myriad of massive trucks, barreling buses, taxis, horse carts, tuc-tucs, scooters, bicycles and pedestrians all vying for the same narrow ribbon of concrete that is misnamed  a highway. To me there is no rhyme or reason, but somehow it all seems to have a flow.













The road way itself is littered with the pesky pot holes and heavily camouflaged speed bumps. Don’t be looking for signage or directional arrows for guidance as they are most often forgotten or misplaced. Sometimes what you think is actually a road headed back to town will instantly morph into a goat trail or alley into someone’s yard.


Oh and that one way that I headed down in the wrong direction? The locals were generally amused and forgiving.



I have yet to mention the living moving obstacles which will include; dogs, chickens, horses, cows, lots of cows, and the old guy pushing an ice cream cart.


Little kids laugh and play unsupervised along the sides of the road and the buses load and unload at will.


The other day I found myself in the driver’s seat staring down a very large bull that had little interest in giving way to little old me. In good time he and his buddies shuffled along down the road.



Of course this is what you see in the light of day;   don’t even consider venturing out after night fall, lighting is optional.


So did I answer the question?

Not really but maybe you get the picture.

the joyful travellers

Cruising down the Baja in an RV.

We are happy to feature Anders and Liz Treiberg and their travel blog. Doug has been friends with these two for several decades, all the way back to the Realty World days.

They travel extensively and are living their dream as Two Geckos with a camper.

Their website is very informative and rich with travel tips and photographs.

Just click on the link here to follow their amazing adventures.

Liz and Anders

Thank you Anders and Liz, and hopefully our paths will cross someday soon.

joyful travellers

La Vida en la Ometepe, Nicaragua

As house sitters we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a variety of local environments.

I have heard the term “slow travel” used, it offers a “feel” for the place that a few nights in a hotel does not.

Currently we are on Ometepe Island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. We have tried to capture what everyday life looks like in photos:

dsc03139Living in the shadow of 2 volcanoes accentuates the temporal aspect of life.


Ruta De Evacuation


 Well at least you will have time to enjoy the shade:




Wash Day




Puppies Always Bring on a Smile



Mystical Surroundings

dsc03061Enjoy Every Moment








Contact us if we can House/Pet Sit for you.

the joyful travellers