Wayfarer Family » explore, dream, discover

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About Us

Welcome! We are the Marshall Family, and this is our blog… a place to record little snippets of our life abroad.

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We (Isaac and Jen) first laid eyes on each other in the fall of ’99, and the rest, as they say, is history! We were married on the gorgeous Oregon coast in July 2006, and spent our first year of wedded bliss tackling our masters degrees and earning our teaching licenses. Not long after graduation, we packed up our furry kiddos, Bella and Miller, and set off on our first overseas adventure!


From 2007-2011 our home was the ever-changing construction zone that is Dubai. Working together at the American School of Dubai, Isaac taught elementary art and Jen was a 2nd grade teacher. We learned to sleep through 24-hour construction noise, rocked our sunglasses year-round, bartered in souks, enjoyed the western comforts of the world’s largest mall, developed Wayfarer Studio, traveled to 17 different countries, and expanded our furry family by an awkward little desert cat we named Safa. Our love for each other, our teaching expertise, and our shared passion for travel and photography grew during our 4 sunny years in the desert, and we are eternally grateful for our time in Dubai.

5year31(Wedding and Dubai photos courtesy of Green Door Photography)

In August of 2011 we set off on our next big adventure, traveling further east and landing in Shanghai, China. Living in the largest city in the world, in a completely new culture, can easily be compared to riding a non-stop roller coaster (and we’re not just talking about the crazy taxi driving!). Our vitamin-D supplies plummeted dramatically while our wool sock collection grew, but we are so glad we took a risk and dropped ourselves smack dab into the middle of a completely different environment (well, most days!). Travel remains a passion of ours, and we’ve continued exploring new countries since moving to Shanghai. We’re working very happily at Shanghai Community International School in the newer area of Pudong, where Isaac is the middle school art and drama teacher, and Jen teaches 1st grade.


We welcomed our sweet Isla (pronounced eye-la) into the world on October 17, 2013, and each day with her is sweeter than the one before! She truly is the happiest little pumpkin, and we absolutely love watching her cute personality develop. A born wayfarer, Isla had already visited 3 continents by 15 weeks! We can’t wait to explore more of this big, beautiful world with her!

IMG_3720We are incredibly thankful for the amazing experiences we’ve had thus far, and eagerly look forward to all of the adventures that lie ahead. We are thrilled to be exploring, dreaming and discovering together- life is good! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our site and learn a little more about us!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-Mark Twain

Melanie El-Daye - June 29, 2011 - 3:06 pm

I was among the lucky people who were taught by the amazing Mrs and Mr. Marshall. Having Mrs Marshall as a teacher taught me to love life, animals and appreciate the tiny details in my life. A big thanks to both for coloring our lives and making footprints in our hearts that will never be forgotten. I miss you a lot and wish you all the luck in Shanghai,
love Melanie

admin - July 9, 2011 - 2:33 am

Wow! You brought tears to my eyes- thank you! It was my pleasure! What a wonderful year we had=). I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures in China. I can’t wait to hear all about you experience in 3rd grade! xo

Jan LaRocca - August 10, 2011 - 2:07 am

What a great “About Us” page!!!! Excellent writing 🙂

Tanja - March 29, 2012 - 6:19 pm

Hey guys, I just want to say thank you for this great site and especially photos. I googled on Kangqiao where we will be relocating in summer (hopefully – no housing found yet) and found you. Gave me a glimpse of what life might look like soon and made me very excited!! So, thanks again, greetings from a german family currently living in Belgium.

Cameron McGregor - April 16, 2013 - 6:49 pm

Hello Isaac and Jennifer! I wanted to write and say how much fun my wife and I have had reading your blog and how useful we’ve found it! We will be moving over to Shanghai this summer to join you at SCIS and your blog has been extremely useful in offering us some insight into daily life in Shanghai! Thanks!

Jennifer LaRocca Marshall - April 25, 2013 - 11:23 pm

Hi Cameron! Thank you so much for your kind words!!! That is so exciting that you’re coming to SCIS. Will you be at the Pudong campus? Please feel free to e-mail us with any questions you have- we’re happy to help! =)

Anne Webster - November 10, 2013 - 3:30 pm

So good to have found your Blog…wow.. you certainly are an inspiration. what caught my eye was you and your mom and your new addition.It brought tears to my eyes as I identified with you and your mom. We are in Dubai and our daughters and grandchildren live in England and Holland repectively. I know your bitter sweet feelings..My Mothers heart bleeds ..but understand the need to let your children go….I want them in my Nest! Praying for you and enjoy the way you see life. I know Louise..you may know Shelley and Nadine from ASD…also friends of ours…. .