Clear As Mud

Oregon Trails

This is our second summer of going on a trip with Chana Laya, while the rest of the crew is in camp (or out of the house).  We love to find a city (or town) that we have never explored before, and just show up without a detailed plan, and tackle the uniqueness of the locale. We only had a few days, so we picked somewhere that’s relatively easy to get to from Bozeman.  This year it was Ashland/Medford, Oregon, two short flights away from Montana. 

While on our trip, I put a question box up on Instagram. A question came in asking “How do you travel so much, expense wise and time-off wise”. It’s not the first time I have been asked this question and I think many more probably think it :). I did speak about it in my stories, but I feel compelled to share my thoughts in this article, giving the discussion and my viewpoint a more permanent space. My thoughts on this topic is layered and nuanced, and so spending time expressing my perspective will allow for more articulation on our decision making without feeling like I’m on defense. 

I choose to share big chunks of our life on social media. That of course comes with the inevitable judgementalism. I get that, and I can live with that reality, but I can’t live with the judgment influencing me to hide parts of myself or my life. It’s important for me (this is not true for everyone) to show up in the reality that I am in, unadulterated and undiluted.  I Have spent much time and a full session in therapy processing this and reflecting as to whether I should base what I share on what “people can handle” or “what they will think”, balancing it with the internal flip side of the coin telling me “You gotta read the room.” Ultimately there are going to be people who judge your life and your choices. My job is to show up in the way that feels right for me. Over the years I have worked hard on finetuning the balance of sharing and oversharing. My sharing might be your overshare, but ain’t that the beauty of us being individuals. 

These are my thoughts surrounding travel. I believe that because I share so much of my life, you see all the little road trips and quick getaways we do, and it looks like we are always traveling. We also happen to live out west, where a quick drive is so spectacular that it’s hard to imagine that it’s not a whole trip, but rather a few hours’ drive away. In addition to that practical nugget, we do go on one big adventure a year, sometimes we skip a year and sometimes it’s more than one a year, but that’s the average and I think it’s important for our family. 

I grew up on Shlichus (Chabad emissaries) in San Antonio, Texas. My Parents did a beautiful job modeling for me and my siblings how to balance a very public life of service and the importance of quality family time. We always went on trips, sometimes it was a short drive to the Texas coast and other times it was bigger adventures. To me, it was the secret sauce in the success of living a life that involved so much personal output with minimal resentment. 

And now it’s my turn to model that for my family. 

I have figured out that the life I chose to lead requires breaks, rest, recovery, and quality time with my family while away from home. There are the 2/3 day respites we take that are a drive away and there are the two-week adventures we take that require a year of planning and lots of savings to pull off. 

Life is a lot, with immense responsibilities and overwhelming pressures. Raising children is a lot. I have found the way that balances it all out for me and my family. 

So, I will continue to share, I will continue to model the life that I have worked really hard to create. There is a very big will to travel, so we have found a way. You have heard me say this before: the world is a beautiful place. If you can’t travel across the world right now, maybe you can hop in the car and drive a few hours and find the natural beauty nearby. 

I hope this provides a little insight into the way we see it. And when I take you along on our family shenanigans, I hope you can appreciate the thought, the depth, the logistical planning, the financial planning and the intention, that goes into it all.

Wow! Ok! Thank you for hearing me out. Sorry if you just came here to find out about Oregon. By now you probably already know that you never get a travel post without some musings, but without further ado, Oregon!

It is very fun to land somewhere random with no real reason or preconceived notions, and just check it out. 

One of my favorite things about Ashland was the unique and beautiful landscape and topography, if you will. Rolling hills, beautiful vineyards, innumerable trees! It was gorgeous and unexpected. Just driving around town was a treat. 

When we landed on Sunday afternoon, we went straight to an animal/bird refuge and sanctuary. It was hot and they had a petting zoo that did not go well, all the goats descended on Chana Laya, she did not appreciate it to say the least. But then we got to meet and learn about a bald eagle named Ms. Jefferson (MJ) who injured both her wings as a baby while falling out of its nest and has never been able to fly. She has been at this sanctuary for seventeen years and boy does she have a personality. It was fascinating to hear all about it and she was very entertaining to watch. The visit was redeemed. 

Next stop was Trader Joes to stock up on some food. Coming from a place with no Trader Joes, that’s a treat into itself. Then off to our little farmhouse rental (which ended up having rats in the ceiling, but that’s a story for another time) to settle down. 

The next 3 days we spent exploring nearby cute towns. Jacksonville was my favorite! We drove 2 hours to Mount Shasta, ended up on a scary dirt road with the most gorgeous views. We had picnic lunches, canoed on Lake Siskiyou, and drove to the caves at Lava Beds National Monument until Chana Laya declared that “this is creepy, and I am not going into any more caves”. We drove through a plague of locusts in Merrill, Oregon, which was disgusting. We got to see how glass is made and do some glass blowing of our own up in Grants Pass, and the views everywhere we drove was majestic. It’s hard to put the beauty of nature into words, as the song goes “it’s a beautiful world”. 

Ma Rabu Ma’asecha Hashem. 

We really enjoyed one-on-one time with our baby (there are perks to being the youngest, I tell ya) 

Stay tuned for our big family adventure happening soon 🙂 


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.