Six days and counting…Posting during departure periods…Delicious low carb smoothie recipe…

Throughout Tasmania and Australian states, there are many wood carvings
in honor of Australians throughout history.

Today, its Thursday in this part of the world.  Early next Wednesday morning, we’ll depart for the airport in Hobart, an approximate 45 minute drive depending on the morning traffic.

This is one of two plaques posted on the above memorial wood carving.

We’ll be flying domestically from Hobart to Sydney which requires less advance arrival time at the airport than for international flights.  Tom always feels more comfortable leaving early to ensure we arrive with plenty of time to spare.

Recognition for the soldier of the Boer War.

As far as I’m concerned an arrival one hour prior to the flight is plenty of time to check our bags, get our boarding passes and head to the appropriate gate.  Invariably, we end up sitting in chairs for two hours prior to the flight.

Over the past almost 26 years, our goal is to compromise when we disagree. If one of us compromises to put the other at ease, the other doesn’t argue or complain.  Ultimately, ensuring each of us is comfortable is of our utmost concern.

In the town of Franklin we walked along the riverbank enjoying the beautiful scenery.

We can sit at the airport as easily as at our home-of-the-moment while awaiting the upcoming flight.  Many airports offer free Wi-Fi and relatively comfortable seating in a variety of cafe’s where we can order a bottled water and entertain ourselves online while waiting.

At times, when departing on an early morning flight, I’ll post a short message that the day’s post my be a little late which I’ll upload from the airport while we wait.  On some occasions, I’ll prepare and upload the day’s post once we get settled upon boarding a cruise.

There are houses across a narrow road along the Huon River in Franklin, many of which have lovely flower gardens.

At other times, I’ll prepare the post the prior day, along with that day’s post as well. Preparing two posts in one day is time consuming when its completed in addition to wrapping up the packing.  Also, we always include our total expenses separately for each location.  These figures must be prepared well in advance since this process is also time consuming.

I continue to strive to take care of myself as I make my way through the one week antibiotic regime prescribed by the local doctor. Although the drug’s side effects are preventing me from feeling up to going out or doing anything of significance, I’m making every effort to get well.

When we left the house, the sun was shining but by the time we reached Franklin, it was cloudy again.

Its a combination of rest with some mobility, avoiding spending time lying down or in bed and eating healthfully while making an attempt each day to consume sufficient nutrients.  I’ve continued to prepare most of our meals during this period of time, more with the intent of moving about, although Tom happily helps when I ask. 

During this illness I’ve been using a free app to calculate the day’s nutritional components.  Here’s the link to the free app. (Make sure to download the free edition which is easy to determine).

I’ve been feeling very hungry lately eating such small amounts.  But, over these past months I’ve only been able to eat small amounts in any six hour period.  Today, the beginning of day three on meds, I’ll try adding a small salad to my midday meal. 

Flowers in a tree with the cloud sky backdrop.

We’ve been eating our main meal around 1 pm, giving me ample time to eventually digest the meal.  I concocted a healthy and delicious low carb smoothie that’s easily digestible for both mornings and evenings, preventing me from having to eat again to deal with the consequence.

If any of our readers have digestive problems, a smoothie may be a good adjunct to light meals while recovering.  Here’s my smoothie recipe that seems to abate my hunger for a few hours:

Jess’s Low Carb Digestive Smoothie

1 ½  cups water or  unsweetened coconut milk or water
2 scoops unsweetened vanilla low carb protein powder (or appropriate servings size based listed serving size)
½ cup unsweetened, unflavored organic Greek yogurt
1 T. organic unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. organic ground flax seed (Don’t use if diarrhea is an issue.  This natural product may be helpful for constipation and is non-habit forming)
½ tsp. powdered unsweetened Vitamin C with sodium ascorbic (See here for benefits of Vitamin C)
½ tsp. organic powdered cinnamon
Low carb sweetener to taste (a must in some form that works for you)

Blend all of these ingredients into a blender until lump free.  Pour over a large glass of ice and serve. This makes more than one serving but it tastes so good, I usually add the balance to my mug.  If you have a powerful blender, add ice to the blender after thoroughly blending ingredients.  Urgent: Please check with your doctor should any of these ingredients be an issue for you.

Many varieties of roses are found in Tasmania with suitable climate.
With six days remaining until we depart, I continue with optimism and enthusiasm for what is yet to come over these next months.

Happy day!
                       _________________________________________

 

Photo from one year ago today, February 23, 2016:

The unique architecturally interesting Te Kewa Kewa Bridge in New Plymouth, New Zealand was quite a sight to see.  For more photos, please click here.

Another challenging day in paradise…More challenges to come tomorrow…

We drove through the village of Urata.

Our refrigerator died overnight. Luckily, it wasn’t the freezer that was packed with meat. Just the refrigerated portion. Two days ago, we purchased groceries and roasted chickens, much of which has now gone into the garbage having spoiled overnight. We can’t take a chance with any of it. 

We put everything we could in the freezer, packing the tiny space as tight as possible. Some items couldn’t be frozen and joined the rest into the garbage.

Upon arising yesterday, I commented to Tom that the fridge didn’t seem cold. It had been so hot and humid these past days we thought we may have overloaded the small fridge with the addition of the hot roasted chickens and piles of room temperature vegetables which may have caused it to cool down.

We kept checking the butter. As the day wore on, we knew it wasn’t going to get cold when eventually the butter was as soft as if it was sitting out. We didn’t have a thermometer or means of checking the temperature.

It appeared that the residents of Urata are into fishing as a primary source of income.

Around noon, we contacted Mario and within minutes Junior arrived to check it out. With the freezer working full speed, Junior adjusted some settings and said he’d check back by 2:00 pm at which point, we all agreed something had to be done to keep our food from spoiling.

By 4:00 pm, a serviceman was here much to our surprise.  At Fiji time, it could have been days. By this point, we’d begun tossing food, leaving items we knew would be safe to eat such as butter, cheese and sour cream.  Earlier, we’d already placed all the hard cheeses into the freezer, squeezing to make room.

He asked us to remove every item from the freezer which as tight as it was packed was a task in itself.  With Junior’s help we got it all removed and temporarily stored it in the insulated Costco bag.

We’d had no choice but to toss the recently made jar of our salad dressing and the remaining opened mayonnaise. Luckily, we still had unopened mayo and sour cream to use to make another batch.

The service guy got the fridge working again and waited along with Mario and Junior long enough to ensure it was working. The refrigerator was new when we arrived almost three months ago and shouldn’t be having problems this early. By 5:30, we were back in business, although cautiously optimistic. Today, it’s working again.

Although citizens of Fiji are often poor, living off the land and sea, they never fail to observe and appreciate the beauty surrounding them.

Having tossed our chicken dinner along with the mushroom casserole I’d made to go with it, we had few options for dinner this late in the day with everything frozen. We decided to take out a small portion of leftover cooked taco meat adding an extra package of beef mince for a meal of taco meat topped with pizza cheese, a side of cabbage salad which I chilled before dinner in the freezer in baggies, bacon and onion green beans and muffins. 

The dinner was fine although taco salad without tomatoes and lettuce, neither of which we had on hand made it less enjoyable than usual. We only purchase tomatoes when we’re having certain meals. Lately, quality lettuce hasn’t been unavailable. Cabbage has been our go-to salad vegetable in all of our travels since it keeps well for many days in the fridge but cabbage used for taco salad didn’t quite fit the bill.

My concern until the fridge was working again was a back-up plan. I’m the queen of back-up plans, not hysterical, not panicky, just desiring a plan. Mario managed to get the repair guy to agree to bring us a small hotel-sized refrigerator from his shop by dinnertime if he couldn’t get the fridge working again until we’d get a new fridge on Monday.

But, the day’s events didn’t end there. When Junior arrived around noon, he informed us there’d be an entire power shut down in Savusavu on Sunday (tomorrow) from 8 am to 6 pm. All businesses will be closed including all restaurants, markets, and shops. 

Handmade fishing and transporting rafts in Urata.

Today, I’m cooking enough Asian burger mix to make dinner for a few days, freezing any leftovers after tonight’s meal. The freezer, if left closed, should make it through the day without defrosting during the 10 hours. At 5:00 pm tomorrow, we take out more of the burger mix from the freezer for Sunday’s dinner. 

With the power supposedly returning by 6:00 pm making dinner should be fine. If not, I’m making a meal we can reheat on the gas stove lighting it with a match.

With no power, nowhere to go on Sunday (Rasnesh spends most of his day at church and with family) we have no choice but to stay put. In this scorching heat, without power, we won’t be able to use the fans. Even today, with the use of the overhead and standing fans, the heat and humidity is very uncomfortable.

With the mosquitoes on a frenzy after days of rain and humidity, its nearly impossible to sit outdoors right now. unless covered in DEET. We’ll remain indoors during the 10 hours power outage frequently showering to stay cool. Also, the ants have returned after the rains and with today’s cooking, we’ll be busy tonight washing everything to keep them under control.

The lush jungles surrounded every area are a constant reminder of the beauty Fiji offers its people.

No doubt, our laptop and phone batteries will die halfway through the day, even if we manage to darken our screens. I guess we’ll be playing Gin for the better part of the day.

Last night around 7:15 pm, the power went out for 20 minutes while we were watching an episode of the UK mini-series “Banished” (worth watching) on my laptop. We continued to watch the show in the dark.  I’d wondered if when the power is out the dongles will still work for Internet access. We tested it and, to our surprised discovery, that at least without power, the dongles may work.

However, if you don’t see us here tomorrow with the entire city’s electricity down, which may have an effect on Vodafone towers, you’ll know we couldn’t get online to post and we’ll be back the following day.

Whoever said living in Paradise doesn’t have its ups and downs, hasn’t stayed in Paradise for very long. We tend to look at it this way: We have our health, we have a roof over our heads, we have food and water and most of all we have each other. Our goal for tomorrow…staying cool, keeping our food safe, and no whining.

There it is folks. Back at you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, November 21, 2014:

The beauty of the Maui we know and love isn’t always only the sea and sand. The countryside and mountains create a picturesque scene. For more details and Maui photos, please click here.

A rainy and windy trip to the market…Rounding out the week’s menu…

Talk about tropical climate!  Today’s view from the veranda.
The muddy roads, the long, steep drive down and then back up this mountain was an adventure in itself. All we needed to do in the pelting rain, was to get to the village to shop at the Vodafone kiosk, the Farmers Market, the New World grocer, and Fiji Meats where Helen was holding some items for us.  

Helen often runs out of ground beef, referred to as mince in many parts of the world, requiring we call ahead to place an order for the meat and roasted chickens to ensure we can get what we need. Otherwise, she runs out of chickens by noon each day and other meats within a few days of her Saturday delivery.

All the meat in Fiji is grass-fed. The beef cuts are different than those we’ve found in other countries and the beef can be tough if not slow roasted. With only a countertop oven and no large roasting pans, slow roasting is not an option, especially when it would use considerable power to run. (We try to stay mindful as to how much power we use, wherever we may travel).

As a result, the only beef we eat is the grass-fed mince, ground pork, and free-range chickens, which we’ve found to be excellent. We’ve narrowed our weekly menu down to a science, carefully planning each day’s meals. 

The tiny freezer contains meat for the week, streaky bacon, bagged portions of Tom’s daily egg dish, homemade low carb flax and almond meal lemon poppy seed muffins and low carb coconut cookies. Also, ice, ots of ice.  We Americans like ice with our cold tea.

After trying various cuts of the beef we’ve determined we prefer the taste and texture of the mince better than the other cuts of beef. It’s not your usual “ground beef.”  It has a texture and flavor far beyond the red-dyed ground beef we’ve had most of our lives. It’s comparable to a rough grind of the finest steaks in the world, even a bit chewy as if roughly ground at home. No dyes, no chemicals. The way we like it. 

To add fat to the beef, we often include ground pork, “pork mince,” making some of the most delicious “mince” dishes we’ve had to date. We have a variety of recipes we alternate, never becoming bored with the varied options. 

Unable to purchase fish, other than huge whole fish caught fresh daily, we haven’t had fish once since our arrival. With little room in the tiny freezer, buying an entire fish makes no sense, nor are the knives here sharp enough to filet a fish, even if there was room in the freezer. 

The freezer door is also jam-packed. I’m not as organized in putting food in the fridge. Its not my “thing.” I stuff it in. If the door closes, I’m happy. Notice the ice pack, just in case, we old-timers, have an achy joint. Thank goodness, we haven’t had to use it since we left Hawaii.

Having beef and pork, including occasional pork chops, five nights a week and chicken two nights has been how we’ve rounded out the week’s menu. Of course, there’s a degree of repetition, but with the good recipes we’ve found or created, we hardly flinch at having a particular dish time and again.

There’s a favorite recipe, Mushroom Burger Scramble, that we particularly love, making it as often as the ingredients are available. The recipe requires fresh mushrooms which are only available on occasion at the New World Market. Mushrooms aren’t a popular ingredient in Fijian cooking and aren’t available at the Farmers Market.

The recipe, which I borrowed from a low carb site, (click here for the recipe) also requires cream cheese. For weeks, there was no cream cheese at the market. I asked the store manager, Sarah, if they ever get cream cheese and she said they do, but not often. A few weeks later, there was a dozen packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese for sale in the refrigerated case.

A few weeks ago we finally found cream cheese at the market. Now, they keep it well stocked. Also, I’d asked for a “turner” and a few weeks later, it was there.

Yesterday, after our usual purchases at the Farmers Market, we walked over to the grocery store to find Sarah smiling when she saw us. They had a huge bin filled with fresh mushrooms. We grabbed all we could, changing our menu for the upcoming week to include the above recipe, now that we’d have mushrooms.

Sarah and I have chatted on each of our weekly visits. Yesterday, she invited us to her home for dinner. I felt badly having to decline when she was so kind to offer. I explained, profusely apologizing for declining, that my life-changing way of eating would make it impossible for her to prepare traditional Fijian foods that I could eat, when most include starches and sugar. 

How we’d have loved the experience. But, I always remind myself  that we wouldn’t be traveling the world if it weren’t for my way of eating totally changing my life. By now, surely I’d have been in a wheelchair or living like my dear eldest sister with the same condition, who’s been lying in bed 24/7 in horrible pain for the past 10 years. I was heading down that path a mere four and a half years ago. Today, I’m pain-free and active.

The black bag contains the remaining chicken which we’ll have tonight. Today, I’m making the muffins and Tom’s green beans. Each day we stay in, I cook a portion of the foods we eat regularly, spacing it out to ensure I don’t have a single day that requires all-day prep. Messy? No matter.

After the market, Ratnesh picked us up and we headed a kilometer down to the road to see Helen at Fiji Meats to pick up our order: two roasted chickens, several packages of the finest streaky bacon on the planet and numerous packages of beef and pork mince. 

We’d need to eat the two small roasted chickens over two nights when the fresh mushrooms needed to be used as soon as possible when they don’t stay fresh more than a few days.

Since we loaded up on extra products they happened to have in stock, we spent more than usual for a total, between the three markets, of USD $228, FJD $484. This included two packages of ground coffee which is referred to as “plunger coffee” as shown in the photo below. 

The plunger coffee sells for FJD $14.89, USD $7.03, for a 200 gram bag which lasts for a week. Each package has a complimentary little package attached.  The coffee is grown in Fiji and compares to the finest we had in Hawaii.

New World has been out of plunger coffee for the past two weeks. While I shopped, Tom ran out to the street to two other markets looking for plunger coffee, thrilled to have found these two packages, the only available.

Soon, we were back on the road home. It had rained during our shopping trip. We were wet but not “to the bone” as expected. We hung our parkas to dry on the backs of the dining chairs (no hanging rods here) and the dampness in our clothes soon dried.

Getting up the steep muddy road to the house was equivalent to “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” as Ratnesh expertly maneuvered his way up the muddy rocky climb. We couldn’t help but squeal and laugh with the roughness of the drive up the mountain.

To begin the shopping trip each week, Ratnesh drops us off at the Vodafone kiosk on the street picking us up later after we call from the market as we’re checking out. As a final stop, he waits for us while we collect the meat at Helen’s store. 

Today, I’ll work on making more room in the refrigerator to fit these eggplants. A few times each week, I make a huge wok of vegetables, stir-fried in ghee, well seasoned, often including eggplant, peppers, onion, carrots (small amount) and lots of fresh garlic. Tom won’t taste it. For him, I make a batch of fresh sautéed green beans with onions, streaky bacon and spices, also cooked in ghee.

He helps us carry our huge haul up the long uneven walk to the house. Lately, with his help, we’ve been able to carry everything to the house in one trip. As a result, we’ve paid him FJD $30, USD $14.13 for the round trip as opposed to his usual FJD $20, USD $9.42. 

Many of the local businesses only accept cash payments. The New World market is the only store that accepts credit cards, charging an additional 2.5% fee on the total bill. 

Between the Vodafone store, the Farmers Market, the meat market and the driver, all requiring cash only, we spent FJD $435, USD $205. (This total included FJD $150, USD $71 cash for data). At New World, we paid, FJD $260, USD $123. 

With the fees charged by our bank for using the ATM in a foreign country and the charges the local bank charges for using the ATM machine, it pays to use a credit card at the grocery store.

Its raining so hard we can’t see the ocean.

Once back home, as always, I spent the better part of an hour washing and sorting all the produce and making room in the tiny refrigerator, the same size we’ve had many times in the past. We’re getting good at this.

We never left the house the remainder of the day when the rain continued non-stop as is the case again today.  So be it. We have plenty of food, plenty of “strong signal” data, lots of books to read, and now a plethora of movies and TV shows we’ve recently downloaded to watch in the evenings. We’re almost tied at playing Gin.  What more could we possibly need or want? 

Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2014:

One year ago today we flew from Honolulu, Oahu to Maui. Many flights had been canceled due to warnings for possible Hurricane Ana. Luckily, our flight made it through and after picking up the rental car, we headed to the Costco store in Maui, where we loaded up on food and supplies we may need if the hurricane hit with power outages. For more details, please click here including the final total expenses for the 11 nights in Waikiki Beach. 

A work in progress…Island living…

The lush green hills of Vanua Levu with a vast array of vegetation contribute to this island’s astounding beauty. 

The realities of living on a fairly remote island are frequently brought to the forefront. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t comparable to living on an island, for example, on the upcoming returning US TV series, “Survivor.”

We don’t have to sleep on a palm frond on the ground, gather wood for the fire and forage, fish and hunt for our food. Big difference. Then again, we aren’t going to win $1 million for our efforts to attain comfort, nor would we want to make that type of effort, totally out of our league.

Often we stumble upon other blog writers who live on the various islands carrying heavy backpacks, sleeping in tents or hostels, showering at campgrounds, or bathing in the sea and eating what they can find offered on roadside stands at modest costs. That’s not us either.

Tom took this photo atop the steep cliff, he climbed.

When we look at our old lives with every convenience we could possibly need, we’re shocked we did as well as we do going from a life of abundance to a life of minimal amenities.

Sure, we’ve noticed the simple items we previously took for granted and certainly could use; a metal spatula to flip eggs (no such thing available in the village); a baking pan (we purchased a few cheap tinfoil pans); a large pot (if we ate pasta, which we don’t, a pot large enough to cook the noodles which would be useful for many of our dishes): a TV, (in order to watch the news); a more comfy bed (it feels as if we’re sleeping on a box spring and we just maybe); cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and pre-grated cheese (none of which is available in any of the stores); more than one ground coffee selection and the eventual arrival of our box of supplies we’d shipped two weeks ago from Australia supposed to arrive in under ten days.

There’s a lake on the perimeter of the property.

This list could go on and on including having a car, a washer, two chaise lounges by the pool, and stable working wifi. This morning I took out the dirty hand towels I’d placed into the freezer last night (to avoid ants) and washed them by hand, hanging them on the veranda railing to dry.

Today, the wifi is working. Yesterday afternoon, it wasn’t working for several hours due to an outage. This morning, I typed fast and furiously in hopes of getting this post done and uploaded before we lose the signal again out or it slows to a crawl with the busy online weekend activity. 

Atop the steep hill on Sewak’s property, we were taken by the views.

Am I complaining?  It sounds as if I am. But, compared to email, writing online cannot depict the “tone” in one’s voice or the “expression” on one’s face to grasp the full meaning of the words.  We’re surprisingly content. 

We’re finding “workarounds” for all of the above items and more: cooking in small batches due to lack of proper pans, flipping eggs with a butter knife; listening to podcasts on our phones to stay abreast of the news; grating chunks of cheese by hand (there a hand grater here), using the tiny fine blades for grating mozzarella to “look like” Parmesan cheese; and playing Gin when the power and wifi are out.

Only a few months ago, Sewak had this road excavating reaching high above his house.

With good lettuce, hard to find, and not a staple of Fijian cooking, we have no choice but to purchase whole cabbage for our nightly salads. As in many countries, few have shredded cabbage in a bag. Each day I slice the amount equivalent to one of those prepared bags of “coleslaw mix.” 

It’s a tedious process along with scraping off the skins of whole carrots (no working peeler here) and then dicing them into tiny pieces for the coleslaw. Unable to find any suitable dressings in most countries I also make a huge batch of salad dressing to last for several days.

Last night, for the first time in Fiji, we had steak for dinner, the very best quality the meat market offered. We’d purchased enough to last two nights, cooked fresh each night. It was tough with lots of grizzle, making chewing quite a challenge. 

Sewak explained it was only 10 years ago that electricity was brought into this area to fulfill the needs of a few homes.

Grass-fed meat can be tough at times. It was the kind of chewing where one ends up with a huge wad in their cheek, unable to get it, masticated enough to swallow, resulting in spitting out a ping pong sized clump into a paper towel. It reminded me of the overcooked steaks we ate as kids with the edges curled up from being overcooked under the broiler. Tom struggled with it last night. Me, not as much. 

Tonight, we have a comparable amount of steak left for dinner. Currently, it’s marinating in a marinade I made this morning. I suggested to Tom that I’d be happy to finish the steak over the next two nights and I’ll make something else for him. He refused. He insisted he’d eat it one more time. With the small freezer with little room for meat storage, we only keep enough to last for one week. It’s unlikely we’ll purchase steak again here in Fiji.

Fiji’s coral reef is second to none in the world and a favorite location for scuba divers.

We have enough frozen meat on hand to make Sunday and Monday’s meals and then, on Tuesday, we’ll shop again. Each week, I create a menu of our nightly meals followed by a grocery list on the app on my phone commensurate with the menu. This prevents shopping from being confusing and willy nilly at the time, especially with the limited products available in the shops.

Amid all of these relatively minor inconveniences, we’re happy to be here in Savusavu, Fiji.  Our workarounds are indeed “working.” The sense of pleasure we derive from figuring out ways to adapt continues to fuel our desires to continue to visit remote locations throughout the world in years to come.

With a 70% chance of rain today and 90% for tomorrow, it appears we’ll be staying put over the weekend. With dozens of new photos to share, plus a fun video we made, we certainly won’t be at a shortage of material until once again we get out to explore.

The ocean is always mesmerizing from every angle.

Have a fabulous weekend! We certainly will, rain or shine, tough steak and all!

                                         Photo from one year ago today, September 19, 2014:

It was one year ago we arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to await an upcoming cruise in six days sailing to Hawaii. Finally, we were heading toward the US island where we’d see our kids and grandkids over the Christmas holiday. For more details, please click here.

Negative comments from a reader…Torn about responding…

Sunrise over Trinity Beach.

It’s a rarity that a reader sends us a negative comment. When it does occur, perhaps once a year, I struggle over whether or not to post the comment or to ignore it.

Long ago, we wrote that the intention of our site is about joy and fulfilling dreams, not an arena for negative comments and bantering back and forth in disagreement over topics or comments we’ve made. That doesn’t mean we shy from a discussion. But, in doing so, kindness is always of the utmost importance.

We don’t express political or religious views or present any negative comments regarding any person’s beliefs or preferences. From time to time, I may discuss frustration over the food industry’s money orientated goals of presenting chemical-ridden foods at us in the US markets. If this offends anyone, that’s never been our intent.

Over these past 41 months, since we began posting, we often mention the recovery of health I’ve experienced from changing my diet, a choice I’ve made for life. Tom joined me in this path except when on cruise ships and dining in restaurants.

Through sharing recipes and resources through books and medical research documents, we’ve had an enormous response from readers all over the world who have chosen their own path through their own research. 

In dozens of cases, readers have written to us via private email requesting the book list we compiled that helped me discover my own path which if they choose, may prove to be beneficial for them. 

We never claim to be medical professionals or experts in any of these fields. We always encourage readers to seek professional assistance in choosing their path to improved health. 

We’re simply laypeople, literally hungry to learn ways in which we can extend the quality of life in our senior years, which ultimately adds to the joy of continuing our world travels, hopefully for years to come.

Yesterday, when I received this comment, I struggled over whether or not to upload it to the site. The reader wrote:

“Your husband is right. You obsess over food. It’s annoying and will probably mean I quit reading altogether. I read only about the first couple of paragraphs of this page, scrolling down, and when I came to the recipe, scrolling faster.”

Here is the link to the post on which the above comment was made. (Oftentimes, readers are “catching up” reading posts from months or years ago). This post was uploaded in March 2014 but the comment arrived yesterday. If you’ll click the link to this post and scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see comments made by other readers at that time. 

I didn’t post the above reader’s comment online in the “comments” section at the end of the post. I didn’t since it included her name and to avoid publicly using a person’s name to address an issue, I am posting it here without the name.

Now, for my response to the reader which I assure you is done so, not with the intent of criticizing the reader but to address what may in fact be an issue for some of our other readers…our ongoing discussions of food:

Undoubtedly, I make frequent references to food including the shopping, quality of products, my perceived healthfulness of products, our way of eating, recipes, and often photos of meals we’ve had in restaurants or cooked “at home.”

As all of our readers are aware, changing my diet changed my health to such a degree it allowed us to travel the world. Had this not happened, we’d never have been able to travel. I won’t go into all of that again. Most of you know the story.

But, traveling the world is often a story about food and culture. In reading many travel sites, we often find ourselves admiring food photos and stories since for many travelers, it’s all about the food, the great restaurants, the fabulous finds of the “tucked away” spot that filled their bellies and hearts with love and joy, often a treasured story they’ll tell for years to come.

For us and the limitations of my way of eating, we tend to stay away from restaurants in some countries which are more inclined to use flour, sugar, and starch in the preparation of food. 

This reality definitely hinders our experience to a degree. In a way, it’s a limitation, not unlike those that many people experience at some point in their lives. And, we chose to adapt to the best of our ability…finding homemade food, grocery shopping, and recipes bringing us that same kind of pleasure.

Yes, I’m obsessed with food. Always have been. Always was a great cook and loved to entertain. It’s a hobby. It’s a passion. Food is love. And now, for us, food is medicine. And yes, Tom occasionally reminds me about my passion, obsession, and hobby as he gobbles us the next plate of fabulous food, thanking me for a good meal.

Another important point for us, perhaps beyond our personal enjoyment of food is the hundreds that have written to us over these 41 months that have asked for booklists, information on medical research, and recipes that they may decide to peruse in their own search for renewed health. 

If in this process, only one person through gaining inspiration in reading our posts has found a solution through a diet that has improved their health, every single one of the 1112 days that we’ve sat here writing and researching will have been worth it. 

As for the recipes, there are literally hundreds of people that have written to us requesting recipes for a meal we’ve mentioned or a food photo we’ve posted. Instead of spending the recipe via email, knowing there are others less inclined to write, we post the recipe online.

If this above-mentioned one reader decides to stop reading our posts that’s a personal choice and we’re saddened by that decision. It’s easy to scroll past those points that one may find less interesting or desirable to their owns tastes and interests. 

Our goal is not singularly about food. If you’ve had an opportunity to read the posts of the last several days regarding safety it’s evident that is the case. We strive to provide a wide array of topics that may appeal to all ages, those who sit at their kitchen table each morning, a cup of coffee or tea in hand, that travel along with us. 

We feel your presence and appreciate every single one of you.

Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2014:

We visited the Victoria and Albert Museum for an excellent educational day. For more photos, please click here.

Both of us had a great day at the museum.

Controversial thoughts to share…A new delicious recipe…Living life on our terms…Tom’s sunrise photos…

An amazing sunrise over Trinity Beach, Australia.

Yesterday, we decided to grocery shop one day early when I needed a few ingredients to make a new favorite side dish (see recipe below) for dinner. I know. We make a new item that becomes a favorite and we make it over and over again.

When we tire of the item, we stop making it for a while to bring it up again in the future, perhaps months or a year later. Why not? Some may say, “Spread it out over time, savoring it each time.”

We do savor it each time until we don’t. Besides, we’re living life on our terms and if we want to eat the same side dish night after night, we can. That’s one of the aspects of our lives, we absolutely love. The only rules we follow are:

a.  Laws in our current location
b.  Filing and paying US taxes

Self-imposed rules:
a.  Follow our personal moral code: kindness, consideration, honesty, and integrity
b.  Health as a priority:  good food, good sleep, exercise, Vitamin D from sunlight, and a positive attitude
c.  Harmony in our relationship with one another, those we love, and all others
d.  Spirituality based on our personal beliefs, not imposed upon others
e.  Tolerance of each other and the lives and choices of others
f.   Making a difference in the lives of others less fortunate, not writing about it, bragging/talking about it. 

Of course, there are the obvious self-imposed rules of paying bills, keeping our environment clean and tidy, cooking meals, doing laundry. Those are a “given.”

In reviewing these “rules” in our lives, we see no rule that says we can’t eat the same salad, the same side dish or the same snack day after day, meal after meal. We like it that way.

I’m always impressed by how well he captures sunrises and sunsets.

So much of our old lives were dictated by expectations; some self-imposed, others imposed by others, and many imposed upon us by society either globally or locally. 

If we didn’t follow suit on some of these expectations, there were often some type of consequences; some imposed upon ourselves via guilt and bad feelings and others imposed upon us by rejection or the obvious disappointment of others, spoken or unspoken.

Example: What if we stayed inside on Halloween with the lights out? What if we didn’t buy the Christmas wreath from the neighbor’s son? What if we didn’t attend a friend’s daughter’s gift opening the morning after the wedding? What if we didn’t attend a family gathering at a campground that included a two-hour drive each way? What if we didn’t help a friend move?

It changes so quickly.

Does not doing these things make us selfish people? In our old lives, we thought so. Now, as we look back at all of these types of situations we realize we may have and could have chosen to respond differently, living life on our terms while still providing a modicum of love and caring to those around us. 

In essence, we did too much, at times as a result of love and desire to please and at other times due to a sense of responsibility. At other times, we didn’t do enough. Isn’t that really how it is? Aren’t we all similar in this manner and yet, we seldom, if ever, discuss it and most certainly, never write it down?

The magic is almost gone.

The simplicity of our lives now is difficult to describe. In step and in sync with one another, life is infinitely easy.  Guilt is not within our realm of feelings. The day to day responsibilities we bear are easy to fulfill with nary a moment or feeling of pressure or discomfort. 

Our biggest challenge is the upcoming two travel days beginning on September 7th, ending on the 8th when we land on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji. Sure, there are ups and downs, annoyances, flight changes, waiting in lines, and an occasional feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have these apprehensions.

And then, the sun appears.  Our world is truly magical.

Overall, living life on our terms wherever we may be is for us, the ultimate choice for happiness in these remaining years of our lives. Some have criticized us for making these choices. How could we leave those we love behind? We didn’t choose this life to leave those we love behind. We chose this life to move ourselves forward.

Here’s the above-mentioned recipe:

Jess’ Low Carb Mushroom Casserole  
15.6 carb grams for the entire recipe  
Easy prep 
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion  
1/2 stick grass-fed butter  
1/3 cup heavy cream  (not half and half)
1 large free-range egg  
2 large free-range egg yolks  
1 cup grated Swiss or, if not available grated mozzarella
Salt, pepper, garlic salt

Preheat oven to 375F, 190C. Line a medium-sized baking pan with parchment paper or coat generously with butter.

Saute the mushrooms and onion in the butter. Add the seasonings and cook for about 4 minutes., stirring occasionally.  In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Cool the mushrooms and onions for about 20 minutes and then combine all the ingredients.  Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake 30 minutes (sometimes longer). 

Once cooled, we cut this recipe into 6 squares each having one square with dinner each of three evenings. We add a protein, veggie, and salad for a fabulous easy low carb, grain-free, starch-free meal. Last night, I had lamb chops while Tom had pork chops. With this dish as a side and another side of steamed green beans with a small number of julienne carrots, large romaine lettuce, and diced celery salad, we had a wonderful meal. 

Later in the evening, for a sweet snack we each had homemade low carb coconut macaroons. (I used the remaining eggs whites from the above recipe to use in the making of the macaroons).

                                             Photo from one year ago today, August 6, 2014:

No photos were posted on this date one year ago in Paris when we had to catch an early train to Versailles. However, we had a very busy day on the 7th which included a fabulous museum visit we’ll share tomorrow and dinner at the highly popular gourmet restaurant, Les Ombres. For more details, please click here.

A social event…A dish to make and bring along…It’s been a long time…Easy party recipe…

The mountains, although always hazy, are a sight to behold.

It’s difficult to remember the last time we attended a house party. During our travels over the 27 plus months, we’ve had to few dinner parties and attended a few dinner parties but only for small groups.

The full moon at dusk when tonight we attend the “Full Moon Party.”

Tonight’s party in Richard’s neighborhood, the “Full Moon Party” usually has an attendance of 30 or so guests.  How pleased we are to be invited! 

Living in Kauai is starting to feel like it would feel if we were permanently living somewhere; a warm climate, new friends, lazy days at the pool, a walk in the neighborhood, and a leisurely drive to explore the area. 

A distant ocean view.

Add the working out, the trips to the grocery store, an occasional dinner out, and our pleasant evening forays across the street to the ocean at “happy hour” often meeting new people, mostly tourists, and a few locals, and it really begins to feel like “home.”

But, for us, the reality lingers that nothing in our daily lives is permanent (except one another) and however comfortable and familiar an area may begin to feel, in no time at all, it will be over. We’ll be on the move again. Oddly, we love this fact.

Snorkeling is a favorite pastime of bathers.

Yes, it may seem odd to some that the wanderlust, we carry in our hearts, is genuine and liberating. We rarely wish we could stay longer. We’re always ready to move along, appreciative of the time we’ve spent, anticipatory, and enthused for the next upcoming adventure. 

A new house is being built beyond these trees.

Yes, it was sad to leave Marloth Park. But, it was a result of leaving the living ones behind, the people and the animals. The place, wherever that may be like most places has its ups and downs, pros and cons, none of which we seem to become overly attached.

As for a place, Kauai is certainly the most beautiful place in which we’ve lived thus far. No matter how close one may live to the ocean, it’s still the predictable, albeit exquisite view. 

Ants on a budding orchid.

But, here in Kauai, it’s the ocean, the mountains, the hills, the greenery, the smells of exotic plants, the sounds of the never ending crowing of the roosters, and the friendly people. And of course, there’s the perfect weather. 

There’s not much in the way of wildlife in Kauai. However, if 12 giraffes visited us in our yard here, yes, we might never leave. But, they don’t, and we’ll carry on, as usual, living in the moment while at the same time looking forward to the moments yet to come.

As the day come to an end.

There’s no sadness attached to leaving, only joy as a result of the experience. Even, the time is Morocco which was our least favorite, almost one year ago, there were aspects we did find memorable and interesting. 

When I was putting on my shoe while sitting on the bed, this little character wandered out from inside my shoe. I picked him up and put him outside for a more appropriate environment. 

Unfortunately, we were both ill while in Marrakech, Morocco; me twice, Tom once, due to the constant exposure to risky food in restaurants and germs flowing about the souks outside our door. 

Inside, the furniture was uncomfortable and it rained inside the open courtyard in the house. Although beautiful, the riad had many dangerous steps and stairways, definitely not suitable for the unsteady. We were relieved to finally leave.

Each strip of beach has its own unique appeal.

Other than that one experience, we’ve been happy at each location finding wonder and beauty, in a myriad of ways, that each locale uniquely provides.

For today, I’ll make the “dish to share” and as promised, leaving the recipe at the end of this post. It’s definitely a gluten-free recipe, but not one I can eat due to the sweet salsa included. It’s a recipe from dear Sue, our wonderful neighbor, and most of all, a friend in Minnesota whom amongst others, we miss dearly. Thanks, Sue!

Any strip of beach is beautiful.

We’ll be back tomorrow with photos and stories from the party and of another fine day spent on the glorious island of Kauai. Be well. Be happy.

Here’s the easy recipe which I doubled for the large group:

Sue’s Lone Star Grill Salsa Dip

8 oz. cream cheese

3/4 to 1 jar Lone Star Grill Raspberry or Pineapple Salsa*

1/2 to 3/4 C. cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 to 3/4 C. Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 C. sliced black olives
Spread cream cheese in a baking dish or 8″ pie plate. Spread salsa over cream cheese. Combine the grated cheeses and sprinkle over salsa;
top with onions and olives. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes.
Serve with taco chips or crackers.

*Here in Princeville, Kauai I was unable to find raspberry or pineapple salsa at the local grocer, Foodland. As an alternative, I purchased a savory chipotle salsa and a jar of pineapple/apricot jam which I’ll combine with the salsa for a similar effect.

                                                 Photo from one year ago today, February 4, 2014:
My broken screen laptop officially died one year ago today. As a result, Okee Dokee and I headed to Nelspruit to the computer store to make a purchase resulting in a short post. Please click here for the post on that date.

Planning for the future…Food costs…A year ago…Earthquakes in Italy…

Can’t imagine anyone would cut this down as a Christmas tree.
The strong winds the past few days prevented us from going out to dinner last night.  With the restaurants wide open and mostly outdoors, the cool powerful winds would definitely impede a relaxing dinner. Instead, again we visited the little grocer and purchased two whole free-range chickens for both Saturday and Sunday night dinners. 
With the small refrigerator and freezer in the house, when we purchase meat we try to use it over the next few days as opposed to freezing it. At a cost of US $11.57, EU $8.51 for both chickens, and US $5.76, EU $4.26 per chicken per meal it’s rather reasonable.  
The previous night’s rains brought water to the creek.

With Tom’s white meat preference and mine for dark meat, buying whole chickens is a “no brainer.” The chickens are fully cleaned, ready to cook. I peeled a ton of carrots and onions scattering them around the chicken in the roasting pan.

If we’d chosen to dine out both nights, the cost would have been at least US $130, EU $95.60. We can buy a ton of groceries for that amount.

Bushy.

We often cook the same meal two nights in a row.  I usually cook each night’s portion separately, rather than reheat the meal from the previous night. Some dinners work well, reheated but many we prefer freshly prepared.

For ease, I cut all the vegetables and salad ingredients we’ll be using for both nights to lighten the prep time the second night, making the next night a breeze. We love easy prep these days.

The tile roof, the greenery, and the sea create a colorful view.

Without starch or bread with our meals, prep is quick with the exception of a few meals such as stir-fries, GF pizza, and Mexican each of which require extra chopping, dicing, and general prep.

As much as we’ve both always preferred home-cooked meals to dining out, my interest in spending long periods in the kitchen prepping meal has greatly diminished since we began traveling. I’d much rather spend time experiencing our surroundings as opposed to spending endless hours in the kitchen.

For all we know this may be the fish guy from whom we recently purchased fresh tuna.

Of course, once we’re in Hawaii with family this coming holiday season, with some of the bunch with us for almost a month, my cooking and prep time will be greatly increased with as many as 16 of us for dinner for as long as two of the weeks. 

For easy decision making, I created a folder on my desktop with recipes. Tom and I made a list for each entrée we’ll make, deciding that it makes sense to have the adults prepare breakfasts and lunches for themselves and their kids, while Tom and I make dinners. 

We never tire of the scenery on the island of Madeira.

We’ll keep the refrigerators well-stocked in both houses with simple to prepare foods, snacks, and beverages.  With many of our family members having particular food preferences and with so many of us, it won’t be possible to make separate meals for those with picky taste buds except chicken for Richard, the eldest, who doesn’t eat beef.

It will be easy to have a slew of frozen chicken breasts handy to make each night which may prove to be useful for others who may not like a particular night’s main course. My way of eating will easily incorporate into each meal when I can eat the meat we’re cooking, veggies, and salad.

This must be a variety of cactus.

Each night, we’ll make an entrée, a starch side dish, several vegetables, salads, and bread. Some nights, I’ll make a dessert particularly on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On other nights, we’ll have ice cream with toppings for cones and sundaes and microwave popcorn. 

I won’t be partaking in my former Christmas cookie baking frenzy. I’d rather spend time with our family than hidden away in the kitchen. 

Oceanview from the road above.

With enough variety, everyone will be able to pick and choose what they’d like. Most nights we’ll cook on the grill which is less time-consuming. I think of it as having a casual dinner party for 15 to 16 every night for approximately two weeks of the time with some family members staying shorter or longer periods than others.  It will all work out.

As for dining out, it’s unlikely we’ll all go out to dinner together. When looking up menus online of local nearby restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii, the cost for all of us would be well over US $1000, EU $735.36, just not worth the cost for us or for any of our kids. 

Hillside photos may often appear alike but we never post the same photo twice.

If any of our kids would like to take their families out to dine, they are free to do so while the rest of us dine in.  Once they see their first bill, they’ll unlikely choose to dine out again. Dining out and the general cost of living is outrageously expensive in Hawaii on any of the islands, as we’ll soon experience. 

In a mere four months, Tom and I will already have been living in Hawaii for two weeks beginning our four island stint until next May when we leave for Australia. 

Vineyards are everywhere with wine as a popular commodity.

It’s hard to believe we’re rapidly moving into another phase of our worldwide travels. Once we have another year booked in Australia, we’ll feel more at ease. Having no “stuff” and not knowing where one will be living doesn’t scare us. But, with future bookings in place, it provides us with peace of mind.

Let’s face it. Peace of mind is a valuable commodity that in essence, money and effort are able to buy, to an extent.  The challenge for us is always how much money and effort do we want to expend in order to gain peace of mind, sooner as opposed to later.

Today, we’ll be back at it, planning for the future, definitely on a mission to achieve our goals and continue on with the dream. 
                                                           ____________________________

No photo from one year ago today, June 22, 2013:

Last year on this date while living in Boveglio, Italy, we were experiencing earthquakes. It was Tom’s first earthquake experience. Immediately, we began checking online for statistics for our area and found interesting and useful facts some of which we posted as opposed to photos. For the link for that date, please click here

We’re having a braai “goodbye”party tonight…Here’s the menu…Wildlife continues on…

Male kudu, visited on Saturday, lounging in the shade. It was the first time, we’d seen a kudu lying down.

Yesterday morning, we went to the little house to pack all of our stuff to bring it here to do our final packing.  Finally, we have everything we own in one house, although we’ve lived in three houses in Marloth Park;  677 Hornbill Ave., Khaya Umdani, and now the African Reunion House

Taking photos of male kudus in tricky when their antlers are so tall.  He looks as if he’s ready to say something.

Thanks to Louise and Danie, we’ve had an opportunity to experience these three homes, enjoying each for its unique qualities. The Hornbill house, although acceptable to us, wasn’t comparable to the upscale aspects and, the quality of the other two in which we’ve lived since January 29th.

Collecting our remaining clothing and supplies wasn’t intended to complete our packing. With only one-quarter of our stuff here during this period, we definitely need to consolidate everything and pack properly using our portable vacuum to suck the space bags, enabling everything to fit. On Tuesday we’ll begin the process.

Another shot of this handsome Kudu.

In the interim, our top priority is hosting today’s “goodbye party” inviting those friends in Marloth Park that remain after many had left to return to their other homes in distant areas. As a result, there will be only seven of us, an easy number to manage for a sit-down dinner.

I’d suggested we make a traditional Minnesota/American dinner since we’d had several opportunities to try the delicious South African foods made by our guests for us on different occasions. But, of course, we’d include the braai, which Danie and Tom will oversee.

The Helmeted Guinea Fowls and chicks were having a good time by the braai.

The biggest challenge for us is the lack of availability of many ingredients typically used in American cooking.  As always, we discovered ways to improvise.

Although there will be foods that I will be able to eat, we are not making a meal befitting my restrictive way of eating for my health: gluten-free, grain-free, starch-free, sugar-free, low carb. Not everyone would enjoy such a meal. I decided to ignore my food restrictions when it came to our guests, picking and choosing what I can eat from the array of offerings.

This guinea hen decided it was time to stand atop the braai.

Only one of the items, the cornbread recipe, on the menu, requires a recipe that I had to “lookup” in the 3000 or so recipes I have in Dropbox. The rest is in my head, making the preparation much easier. Isn’t it funny how those old favorites come to mind when entertaining guests?  Isn’t it true that not having to follow a recipe, makes the preparation much easier? 

Many of you will agree. Have I missed cooking for company? Not since I changed the way I eat. Actually, I have little interest in cooking at all these days, although I was a major “foodie” in my old life. 

This one followed suit and also jumped atop the braai.

But, the friends coming today at 5:00 pm make me feel excited about making them a meal which will turn out well with substituted ingredients for those I was unable to find. I’ve never felt anxious or nervous about having company, nor do I now, although it’s been a since December 2012 when we last had a dinner party for more than two guests. 

It was Christmas and three of Tom’s sisters and two spouses stayed with us for four days in a vacation/holiday rental we’d booked in Henderson, Nevada for the holidays. 

Chicks are getting big but, no blue heads yet.

Tom’s birthday, on December 23rd, turned into a party for 20 when adding my son Richard who lives in Henderson, sister Julie from Los Angeles, three cousins from LA and Boston, and a few old friends who happened to be in Las Vegas. We’d all gathered to celebrate the holidays, Tom’s birthday, and our upcoming world journey, leaving the US only a week later.

The menu, a plethora of old standbys, makes the preparation easy, keeping me out of the kitchen once our guests arrive other than to make the potato dish which shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, with diligent prep earlier in the day.

The francolin, a common bird in Kruger National Park, often seen walking on the road, walked onto the veranda for a short visit. Tossing a few pellets her way, she was content to peck at them.

Making a dessert was too challenging when many of our favorite dessert recipes required ingredients not available at any nearby location. After this meal, I doubt anyone will have room for a dessert.

Here’s the menu. I’m not posting recipes, due to a lack of time today. However, if you are interested, please request it from this link and I will email it to you as soon as possible.

Then, Mrs. Warthog and four babies had a good time at the braai after we tossed them a few handfuls of pellets. Notice them on their knees.

Appetizers (referred to as Starters in Africa)

  • Brie Cheese En Croute with Apricot Chutney & Slivered Almonds
  • Coconut Encrusted Chicken Tenders with Sweet Dipping Sauce
  • Medley of Crackers and Cheese
  • Nuts

Salad

  • Broccoli Salad with Raisins, Nuts, and Bacon (referred to as “Streaky Bacon” in South Africa)
  • Par 30 Salad with Fresh Greens, Cauliflower, Nuts, Bacon and Tangy Dressing

Entrée & Sides

  • Grilled Marinated Tenderloin Steaks (Filet Mignon) on the Braai (outdoor wood fire) with Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms 
  • Gianni’s Famous Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes
  • Seasoned Foil Wrapped Sweet Corn on the Braai
  • Made from scratch Cornbread, an old family favorite

This entire meal will be prepared today, although yesterday, I cut and washed some of the vegetables (using purified water). Having written most of today’s post late yesterday, I was able to hit the “publish” button at 10:00 am, leaving plenty of time to prepare before our guests arrive at 5:00 pm.

When the pellet pickens’ thinned out, Mrs. Warthog gave us “the look.” How could we resist? Look at her ribs!

Actually, planning this meal has been a great diversion for both of us, to take our minds off of our upcoming departure in four days, the construction delays on the road to the Mpumalanga/Nelspruit Airport, the 29 hours of travel time, the multiple times we’ll be required to collect our bags in order to go through customs, the expectation that our bags aren’t overweight, the hopes that the flights will be on time and the safe arrival in Marrakesh Morocco in a mere six days. Yep. A party was in order!

As three of the babies wandered off, she stood firm for more pellets, although she’s never aggressive or hostile. From all the interactions we’ve had with numerous warthogs over these past three months, both female and male, the only aggression we’ve witnessed have been when two families are in the same area. The babies don’t seem to mind, but the moms are very protective, chasing off males or other families. The locals find amusement and enjoyment from the warthogs, as we have almost every day.

Settling back into our routine…Quiet, not dull…New travel plans in the works…Eclipse of the sun today…

The Indian Ocean, clean, white sand beaches only cluttered with seaweed coming ashore during the rising and falling of the tides.

Having returned from our mini holiday 48 hours ago, we’re settled in and at ease. Everything is unpacked and Hesborn has returned our freshly washed, dried, and neatly folded laundry. Jessie and Gucci, our temporary dogs, are at our feet and we’re all content.

We’ve washed everything in sight that may have been contaminated by the exterminator that was here while we were gone and, blessed be, the crawling insect population has been greatly reduced. Of course, those that fly cannot be eradicated.

With summer in Africa fast approaching on December 21, the temperature rises a little each day and along with it, the humidity. We seem to be tolerating it well, living outdoors 18 hours a day. Even the three days of available AC at the resort didn’t matter to us as much as we’d anticipated, staying outdoors most of the time.

Walking the beach near the resorts, felt safe with security guards visible at every resort property. A reality we’ve found at other beaches in the world is the vendors freely approaching trying to sell their wares. This can be annoying, but we both respect the hard work of the people of Kenya. With no government assistance or food stamps, the work ethic is strong and when work can be found, the Kenyan people will go to any lengths to support themselves and their families. 

Now, we’re back to “work” researching where we’ll spend the “free” month we’ll have after living in Madeira, Portugal, from May 16, 2014, to August 1, 2014, a mere nine months away. 

On August 31, 2014, our ship sails from Harwich, England to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to Boston, MA as we work our way back to the US to hook up with our family for Christmas 2014. Taking our time, enjoying the process is the utmost in our minds as well as carefully planning as much stress-free travel as possible.

Figuring all of this out is more complicated than it sounds, for example:
1.  Where do we spend the “free” month after leaving Madeira that fits into our budget and time frame?
2.  Where else in Europe that we haven’t visited are we most interested in.  Do we break it up into a few places or stay put to keep our costs down?
3.  How do we get to the pier at Harwich, England from wherever we’ll be, which is somewhat of a remote location, a three-hour drive from London?

Hopefully, in the next few days, we’ll have all of this figured out sharing the details here. 

Although our luggage is greatly reduced, we still have two large, heavy suitcases, two smaller suitcases, two laptops bags, and a handbag, too much to haul easily with me unable to hold up my end with the bad shoulder. Also, it doesn’t all fit on our one remaining luggage cart.

Many times travelers simply hop on a subway or train to get around but we keep in mind, that most often, travelers only have two weeks of luggage with them, not everything they own, like us. 

There’s no way in the world, we could maneuver our bags down the steps of a subway or into a car of a train when one must change trains. (We read on CruiseCritic that the train from London to Harwich was a nightmare, travelers hauling their bags up and down long flights of stairs when required to change trains). Why create such stress? For approximately another US $150 over the cost of the train, we can take a private shuttle. For us, it’s a no brainer.

The end result of these limitations, we pay a little more and take easier modes of transportation. Once situated in a hotel or vacation home we’ll take trains and subways to see the sights that without hauling our bags will be fun and easy.

From the first day we left our old lives in Minnesota, our goal has been as we’ve represented in our motto at the heading this site, “Wafting Through Our Worldwide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity.” 

When one’s goal is ease, joy, and simplicity, there’s a price to pay. We’ve budgeted for that. There have been no surprises. Does that make us “travel snobs?” Hardly. It makes us mindful of keeping the stress to a minimum in an effort to avoid us getting “tired” of world travel. 

We continue to be as excited and enthusiastic now as we were the day we left, enjoying where we are at the moment, anticipating the next location and adventure, and loving our life “on the road.”

In a short while, we’ll walk to the produce stand to get fresh vegetables which are delivered daily from the farm by motorcycle. Fresh, grown without pesticides or fertilizers, there is a certain amount of waste, worms, and bugs to remove. But, once cleaned and washed using bottled water, they are as good as one might pick from their own chemical-free garden.

Tonight for dinner (after a disappointing dinner out last night), we’re having steak taco salads minus the shells, minus the sugary taco seasoning packets, instead of using real spices.  We’ll top the meat with hand-grated cheese, diced onions, olives, tomatoes, and avocadoes atop a batch of shredded head lettuce, the only lettuce we’ve been able to find in Kenya. 

Today is a total eclipse of the sun which will only be partially visible in Kenya, totally visible in Uganda. Later today, we’ll go to Hans’ and Jeri’s third-floor veranda to get a better view, well aware one cannot look directly into the sun. Point and click may be possible.