About Us

Free Bird is how we feel about our life now.

Michel and I are leaving it all behind to go and immerse ourselves in other cultures. This blog exists so that we may share our thoughts, experiences, and photographs with you as we travel.

My name is Claire and I am a 53 year old career woman. The later part of my career has been spent as a project manager implementing large software projects.

Claire on vacation in Laos

Raised in Central California, I moved to LA for college and stayed there until 1994. I experimented with travel in those days but those experiences were mostly limited to places that a rental car could go. In the late 90s I traveled internationally for the first time. Jamaica, Germany, and 3 weeks in the back seat of my friends BMW driving through Italy. I was hooked. Still, hotels were booked in advance and the route planned.

Enter my husband Michel. We met in on a boat. My parents boat to be precise. I moved from Cali to Fort Lauderdale in 1994. I left my computer programing business and took a few months off to sail around the Bahamas with my folks. Michel and I hit it off immediately spending many days sailing around Biscayne Bay on his 27 foot Stiletto Catamaran.


Michel is a traveller. He spent time as a child with an explorer named Francis Maziere who visited his family in Louveciennes, France. Michel is French, born in French Brittany, raised in Paris. He was inspired by the stories he heard about exploration around the world. In particular Francis Maziere spoke of explorations of the Amazon and Michel longed to be there. As a young man he experimented with race car driving and eventually became a photographer. He worked as the assistant of Helmut Newton who was an unconventional fashion photographer. Michel worked in Paris, Brazil, and Toronto, eventually gaining his own claims to fame.


Michel sailing on Spirit of Fort Lauderdale

Being from French Brittany he was a sailor and longed to sail around the world. In 1986 he started sailing full time, most of that as a single handed sailor. Michel stories can fill pages on their own but the full time sailing ended when he was ship wrecked coming from Guatemala to Florida.
He fulfilled his longing to travel by exploring most of the world, including canoeing the amazon.

Amazon woman


Last slaves of Brazil – Seringueiros de Amazon

As I travelled with Michel I learned that all the planning and reservations in advance actually detract from the experience. The most amazing experiences are spontaneous. The small connections that occur with local people in their own towns are what make it unique and really amazing.

In his heart, Michel is a Brazilian. We have traveled to Brazil many times on vacation. If you visit us you will probably hear music from Bebel Gilberto or Caetano Veloso playing in the background. Our living room was full of paintings like the one of Canoa Quebrada, Ceara below.


Michel’s painting

I believe that Michel has a special talent for portraits. We had wonderful time wandering Guatemala in the far end of the Quiche Provence. Michel was able to capture the unique faces of the people. Look forward to future posts on our blog for the special faces of local people.


Guatemalan market scene


Guatemalan road scene

Thailand and Laos were among our favorite vacations. We find a calmness and simplicity in Buddhist countries that is irresistible. We will begin our trip in Bangkok in September 2013.



Together we have decided to grasp this moment and take time for what may be the greatest adventure of our lives. We hope that you enjoy the laughs, tears, and mishaps as we share them along the way.

Laos river scene

Free Bird Lyrics

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on now
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.

But if I stayed here with you
Things just couldn’t be the same.
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now

7 replies

  1. Thanks for sharing. I miss you.

  2. Yes, we will remember you. Nice, congrats to both of you.

  3. You are so right. The most amazing experiences are spontaneous……
    Beautifully written Claire.

  4. Bravo Claire ! Well written and great to share this with you… and we learn a lot about you two. .. Love. Patricia

  5. Hello, hope you are well. I read a book from Francis Mazière regarding mysteries of easter island. I know he passed 20 years ago bug he speaks about a book or manuscript on rongo rongo writing from 1936 on page 122. I wonder which book or manuscript this was.

  6. Hola Claire! It’s Lisa from the Spanish class. It’s so fun to learn more about your travels and I look forward to following your stories on your next adventure. If you’re ever in Denver, let’s meet up!

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