Meet

PHYL

About Me

Hi there! My name is Phyl - I'm an inveterate traveler with nomadic tendencies and, uniquely for a woman traveler, prefer to travel solo. I am also a retiree - and in my travels, I have found an army of fearless retiree road warriors making the most of every day, traveling the world and living life to its fullest.

I have been on this earth for a few decades - that does not make me better than anyone else, it just means I have had time to experience many things and hone my interests.  Good wine cannot be rushed before it develops into a smooth vintage with a bouquet of different flavor notes, and neither could I!

Although I was trained in the social sciences, I went on to complete a course of study in design that stimulated a career in the hospitality and design industry involving supplying artwork and artifacts for hotel spaces.

Subsequently, Phyl On the Go has a strong focus on the refurbishment of historic buildings, known as adaptive re-use of space. This is my passion and my experience in the design field coupled with extensive travel in many countries, has subconsciously led me in this direction - if I'm not traveling specifically to see a new way of re-using old spaces, I'm certainly noticing it wherever I go.

HISTORY

Travel has been a constant throughout my life - and when I am not traveling, I am reading about travel or dreaming about the next journey. Curiosity is what drives me and I am grateful to have done a fair share of traveling before that ability was lost to borders closed by the pandemic.

Born in South Africa, I have also lived in the United Kingdom and most recently the United States, where I have been resided for the last 34 years. That's more than any other country, making me an honorary native Californian!

Presently settled in Marin County north of San Francisco, I feel blessed to be living in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, close to wine country, the arts, national parks and many other places of interest. In addition to vibrant viticulture, there is an emphasis on fine dining here, prepared with fresh ingredients by many well-known restauranteurs whose livelihoods are presently threatened by the pandemic. Happily, we may continue to support them through limited dine-in options and take-out!

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

As my birthday approached in 2013, I took stock of my life and realized I had been working too hard and playing too little.

I wonder how many people pause to take stock and reset their goals - this was my moment of realization, that something had to change. Can you relate?

Determined to begin a new chapter and curb the repetitive cycle of work, work, and more work, I planned a trip to Colombia, beginning in Medellin and determined to begin a new chapter of more travel and less work.

THE ACCIDENTAL BLOGGER

Friends expressed interest in my travels and asked me to update them with emails as I progressed on my journey. Rather than send multiple emails, I consolidated my news into what became known as: "Letter from …," with the 'from' being wherever I was at that time. Then I thought: why not do a blog? Except that I did not know how to create a blog. But, along the way, I did meet someone who had a successful blog, and I asked him to help me design and begin mine.

And that was the birth of 'www.phylonthego.com.'

It has had its ups and downs and technology is not my strong suit, but I have carried on as I enjoy the writing despite the battling with software. And it allows me to relive my experiences and to share them with a wider audience.

MY FOCUS

My main focus while traveling is architecture and design, with a special interest in adaptive re-use of space - repurposing historic gems.

Simply put, this term refers to reusing an existing building for a different purpose than for which it was used previously. This idea, simple though it may be, has made possible the survival of thousands of heritage buildings all over the world - historically relevant properties that would otherwise have been demolished as their original purpose was no longer needed. Firehouses, warehouses, factories, old schools, convents, churches, bank buildings, gas stations, and more have all taken on new life as boutique hotels, restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, dance halls, mixed-use shopping centers, and galleries that meet modern needs while preserving the past's character. It is sustainable urban regeneration that can breathe new life into dying neighborhoods and preserve unique aspects of the past that would otherwise be lost.

My interests converge in the reuse of these old spaces specifically for hotels - my passion. I love these old buildings, with their provenance and a rich patina, and I am fascinated to see how they have been repurposed and propelled into a new life while preserving their soul. They are radically different from the ubiquitous hotel chains. Nearly always, these restorations center around smaller properties retaining many of their original architectural features while incorporating sustainable design.

These properties are a feature of this blog and always appear under the heading "Adaptive Re-use of Space."

IN CONCLUSION

There are approximately 195 countries in the world -  and the temptations are endless. So grab an imaginary suitcase and come along with me as we travel the road less traveled … with never a dull moment.

COME ALONG WITH ME ON

the road less traveled