FINANCIAL strife forces one family to rethink their values, pull up roots and hit the road.
Each January a music festival brings a small and welcome crowd of musicians and music lovers to our town.
The musicians wander through town, injecting delight and stories from their often semi-nomadic lives.
Among this year's lot was an American family who had hit the road after the Bank of America foreclosed on their home loan.
They'd got caught as America's housing bubble burst.
Their story offers a picture of how one middle-class family coped with financial challenges and how that family feels about the country that let greed drive its lending practices.
Dru Lynch, 51, has degrees in communications and human nutrition.
Her husband, David, 54, is a movie sound effects expert, and their children are Carey, 18, Declan, 15 and Miles, 13.
In 2005, they bought a house for $565,000 at Los Osos on the Californian coast just as house prices peaked.
Earlier this month the Bank of America, which acquired the failed mortgage lender (Countrywide) that lent them the money, bought their house at a foreclosure auction for $305,000.
(During the crash, the Bank of America was successfully sued for $8.5 billion for Countrywide's predatory lending.)
The couple were caught in a vortex; David's work dried up, Dru was working further and further afield as her job demanded and then promised bonuses failed to eventuate.
The housing price bubble burst and their house value dived.
They sought to readjust their loan but the only terms the bank offered were untenable for them: no interest for five years, then a big payment and variable rates.
They tried to negotiate.
"Our ex-lawyer friend told them they'd lose if they took the house from us. They'd have to pay commission on its sale, they'd get less for it and they'd have to fix it after we left," David says.
In the end, this family, proud to the bootstraps of its good credit record but stressed to the eyeballs, sold their possessions, pulled their kids out of private school, handed the house keys to the bank and walked out.
Dru wanted to travel anyway, David wanted to see if he could be a professional musician and it was the last year before their boys would begin to drift into their post-secondary school lives, a last chance to travel together.
Since then, they've hitched a lift on a relocating cruise ship to Hawaii, joined an Occupy Wall St protest in Auckland and taken a contract to drive a vehicle from Melbourne to Cairns in five days, taken up house sitting and last time we spoke they were crossing the Nullarbor on another vehicle delivery contract.
"In two months we went from being totally settled with the kids in school, a dog at home and all the normal stuff, to selling everything, cars, washing machine, the lot," David says.
In those weeks they woke at night wondering if they were doing the right thing, but when they found a school willing to educate the kids online they decided to go.
The Lynches consider their trip, their "leap of faith", the best investment in their kids' education to date.
"Someone asked how we could afford to do this and I said, well, it's cheaper than divorce," Dru says. "Now we have nothing to go back to," David says.
"We don't even know where back is. I'm calling this my America: Love It or Leave It Tour. Maybe we'll find some place that will work better for us."