Today is the one year anniversary of leaving our old lives behind, to begin anew traveling the world…How are we getting along in this 24/7 lifestyle a year later? …

 

Only a mother could love this face!

In many ways, the first year of our lives traveling the world went by quickly. When we review what we’ve experienced in this first year, it’s hard for us to imagine that we managed to see so much. In essence, it’s comparable to being on vacation for 52 weeks, a lifetime of one-week vacations for many.

Any regrets? Overpacking. But, we understand and accept that we had no concept of how hard it would be to travel with so many bags and, how much we’d actually need to have with us. Many warned us. 

This affectionate camel leaned on his owner’s shoulder when I approached.

We had to learn on our own, as with many life lessons, donating and dumping along the way with only one large suitcase, one carry on and one laptop bag remaining for each of us. And yet, it’s still too much with 30 additional pounds to unload before we leave Kenya in a month. We’ll figure it out.

Any other regrets? None. We both know for sure that we picked the right person to travel with! We get along so well; making decisions together, laughing as much as possible, still enjoying romantic evenings and magic moments together, more often than one might imagine. 

I have always wanted to ride a camel but the bad shoulder would leave me holding on one-handed, too risky up that high for an old-timer like me.

Only in a rare instance does Tom get grumpy. I ignore him and his occasional grumpiness goes away in minutes. He says I don’t get grumpy. But, now and then I may “think grumpy,” usually keeping my mouth shut and, it goes away. I suppose grumpiness boils down to this…keep it to yourself and it goes away.

For us, other aspects of getting along are; the willingness to admit to being wrong; apologizing when necessary; complimenting and appreciating each other, and sharing equally in tasks and responsibilities. And, we’ve found that if we don’t like elements of our surroundings, say it once, either fix it or if it can’t be remedied, “shut up.”  Complaining provides no benefit to our lives.

Tom spotted them coming and alerted me to grab the camera.  I ran like crazy to catch up with them to take these photos. The cost for a ride, up for negotiation, was Kenya Shillings $2000 each, US $23.56 for two. Darn, I would have negotiated it down by half.

Most of my whining can be accomplished right here!  I don’t need to get Tom wrapped up in it!  Besides, he reads the posts every day so there’s never a doubt about what’s annoying me, which in most cases, is about biting or poisonous creatures.

So, Happy Halloween to those who engage in Halloween activities!

Little did we know that our relaxing mini-vacation would behold such wonders for us. Little did we know that our three-day stay at a the beachside resort of The Sands at Nomad would catapult us back into “safari mode,” constantly on and the search for yet another treasure, giggling with delight over every find.

We’d imagined considerable time reading, lying by the pool, dining, walking the beach, and lounging in air-conditioned comfort at will. We’ve done little of any one of these. 

Instead, we’ve been on “the hunt” for the next sighting of wildlife with the same enthusiasm and passion we shared while on safari, only weeks ago. Our eyes continually scanning the sea for a glimpse of perhaps a dolphin, a jumping fish,  or a huge fisherman’s catch.

Walking on the beach yesterday afternoon, Tom shot this appearing footless photo of me. Actually, I was wearing those ugly water shoes, grateful they were hidden in the surf.

Responding to every sound we hear, we quietly slither into action seeking its source in the hope of being lucky one more time in order to witness another of Mother Nature’s magnificence. But at this point, halfway through our time, if we don’t have one more opportunity to spot a creature, we’d feel fortunate for our sightings thus far, more than we’d ever imagined for three-days at a resort.

I suppose I should have zoomed in as he did when taking mine. Look! You can seemy shadow as I’m taking the photo. Too busy to edit photos right now!

 

The pristine beach, the fine clean sand of the Indian Ocean made for a pleasant walk on the beach after 4:00 pm yesterday, as the day cooled.

Yes, we were this same way in our old lives, running wildly to see a moose swim across the lake, a coyote standing in the yard, the baby wood ducks being thrown by the parents from the wood duck house to the ground, or a blue heron struggling to swallow an over-sized fish. We loved it then. We love it now.

Living in a third world country has its hardships. However, the vast majority of its land and resources are untouched with wildlife living free in a natural habitat, not at the hand of man. In Kenya, it’s the local people who continue to work hard to keep their wildlife free and we, as visitors, have been blessed with the opportunity to relish in all that they’ve worked so hard to achieve. Thank you, Kenya!

And, thank you, The Sands at Nomad Resort for honoring the integrity of the land, it’s creatures, it’s people, and the preservation of its resources in the manner in which this exquisite property is maintained.

 

 

Finally!…Our own photos of the Colobus Monkey…Taken poolside…And, more photos…

 

Finding the Colobus Monkeys beside us at the pool put me on a photo-taking frenzy. No more “borrowed” Colobus Monkey photos for us!  Could this guy have given a more appealing pose?
Note this Colobus’ long white sideburns. 

 

I felt like a kid in a candy store while taking these Colobus Monkey photos.

 

Another Colobus with the long swatches of hair.  Not all of them had this particular marking.

When we first arrived at Diani Beach, Kenya on September 3, 2013, within our first several days we’d posted several baboon photos. There were monkeys in the yard, along the highway, and swinging from trees.

After returning from the pool where the umbrellas provided too much shade, Tom did a quick 20 minutes on one of the chaise lounges in our front yard.

On September 8th, a monkey ran through our yard that, most certainly, was a different breed than a baboon, with its distinct black and white hair. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera handy to capture this fast-moving monkey. Researching online, we found that most likely, it was a less common Colobus Monkey.

The chaise lounges at our ocean cottage where fresh towels are delivered each day.

With no photo when we posted on September 9, 2013, as you’ll see clicking on this link, I copied a few photos to post, noting in the caption that these were “borrowed” photos and not our own. 

Grass in Kenya is an odd variety of grass, tough underfoot, appearing as crabgrass. With most of the soil imbedded with coral with only a shallow layer of dirt, allowing only this type of grass to grow.

Since our original sighting, we hadn’t seen another Colobus. Nor had we seen any while on safari in the Masai Mara where we saw a few baboons with babies but no other breeds. 

In the late afternoon, while on the veranda this Sykes Monkey came to call.

Having seen and photographed so many baboons since arriving in Kenya, we’ve become used to seeing them, as have the locals, hardly giving them any attention. I suppose it’s comparable to of us in other countries paying little mind to dogs unless, of course, they’re dog lovers.

Stopping for a nibble before getting too close to us.

Shortly after checking in at The Sands at Nomad Resort yesterday morning on a three-day anniversary celebration of our traveling for one year, we knew we were in for a treat when not only Sykes monkeys frequently appeared on our veranda, but we ran into several families of Colobus Monkeys while we lounged by the pool in the afternoon.

Outside the cottages, these troughs are kept filled freshwater and flowers, enabling the guests to rinse their feet when coming in from the beach. This trough also provides fresh drinking water for wildlife. This visiting monkey took a hearty drink before making the official appearance.

Apparently, the proximity of many dense trees surrounding the pool provides a natural habitat for the Colobus.  No more than 5 minutes after we were situated in the padded shaded lounge chairs, Tom said his usual, “You better get the camera ready!” as he pointed in the direction of multiple Colobus Monkeys playfully swinging in the trees. I squealed with delight, putting my hand over my mouth to avoid disturbing them.

Finally, she was ready for a photo, not hesitating to make eye contact.

Although used to seeing humans in this busy resort, they are not willing to allow anyone to get too close including familiar staff members. With strict rules to avoid feeding them due to biting risks and to maintain their natural foraging instincts, they remain wild animals, not domesticated playthings intended to entertain tourists.

Early this morning as we left our cottage for breakfast in the main restaurant.

Keeping this in mind as we’ve learned, I kept my distance, gingerly stealing close enough to take these shots.  They didn’t seem to mind at all but refused to be complacent by giving me more than I deserved of their time. 

Our time here at The Sands at Nomad Resort is heavenly; the service, impeccable; the food, divine; the scenery, breathtaking; and the ocean, constantly changing colors, tides, waves, and winds, our eyes affixed to its mysterious wonder.

A sunny view from our veranda to the sea.

Three days will go quickly, but leaving here will not be filled with “end of vacation dread.” Our mail is handled, our bills are paid, our house is clean. After a 10 minute trip to the produce stand, we’ll be stocked with food for another week, having planned well in advance. 

A morning view of our tucked away ocean cottage.

Our two little temporary dogs, Jessie and Gucci, will be waiting for us and once again in no time, we’ll be settled in,  finding contentment wherever we may be for our last month in Kenya.

Thank you, Colobus Monkey! Now I can go back to my search for the Dung Beetle!

This cat came to visit today as we sat on the veranda of our beach cottage.

 

We’re on vacation!…Come see…More wildlife photos tomorrow…Lucky on our first day on “vacation” for excellent close ups…

Within the first half-hour in our cottage, unpacked, dressed in our swimsuits, this guy stopped by for a visit outside the window of our indoor living room.
Most likely she/he, a possible Sykes Monkey knows there is a welcome fruit plate given to new guests.  Giving food to the monkeys is a bad idea, reducing their interest in foraging for their own food, which is plentiful here. We had no trouble resisting the temptation.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve visited many of the resorts in Diani Beach hoping to find the perfect spot for our three-day one year anniversary of leaving our old life behind to embark on a new life traveling the world. 

Tom spotted this monkey outside the window.  I couldn’t grab the camera fast enough. Surprisingly, he didn’t move when he saw me.  Apparently, they have become used to humans at the resorts.

 

Look at her/him looking for our fruit plate!

Carrying the love and support of those we left behind with us, we’ve found this experience to be a bounty of learning experiences, life-changing lessons, all enriched with endless surprises.

When we arrived at The Sands at Nomad Resort, we were welcomed with flower leis and orange mango juice. (I politely declined, but Tom enjoyed his).

This morning, after moving into a private beach cottage on the beach of the Indian Ocean at The Sands at Nomad, we knew we’d selected the resort that most fulfills our desires for this special celebration.

This pool bar is open 24-hours a day for the middle of the night drinkers.

 

The sun so close to the equator is scorching. We spent 2 hours by the pool with only 20 minutes in the sun. The remainder of the time it was comfortable in the padded lounge chairs under the shade of a giant umbrella.

 

We were heartily welcomed to out beach hut.

The window to our view of the ocean.  We’ll take a better shot soon with less of a glare.
The bathroom is well-equipped with plenty of towels, toiletries, robes, and a bidet, of course.
Our new living area with comfortable furniture and a TV!
Side view window of the living area.

Our plans for our three-night stay is simple; relax, walk the beach, lounge at the pool where there are many shaded areas, take scenery, food, and wildlife photos, stay cool in AC from time to time, dine in the fabulous outdoor restaurants, meet new people, and celebrate the first year of our “stepping outside the box” to explore countries we’d never dreamed possible.

This is the beach in front of our cottage.
The varying shades of blue of the ocean and the sky make a colorful contrast. This photo was taken as the tide was going out.
Tom, catching a few rays in the scorching sun. Not too much though. We’ve seldom lounged in the sun these past 5 months for our former “usual one hour” since arriving in Italy on June 16th due to the bees and flies. In Kenya, the only sunny areas are directly on the grass where the likelihood of a bee sting is greater. (Both of us are seriously allergic to hornets, certain bees and, wasps. A bite can be life-threatening which surely attributes to my skittishness of being around biting insects. More than once I’ve been rushed to an emergency room as a result of a sting. Tom’s only been stung once, but also had to go to a hospital for treatment. Thus, our excessive caution).
Every so often, we look at one another and say, “Can you believe we are in Kenya?’ We shake our heads and smile, never taking our current location for granted.
Lounge, with WiFi and a reading area. The WiFi is actually high-speed at no charge which we found to be the best connection we’ve had in Kenya thus far. Thank you, The Sands at Nomad.

 

Last nights dinner photos and recipe…One more day to mini anniversary vacation…

 

Surely, I could have more neatly arranged my plate (Tom had the same minus avocado and tomato) but the enticing smell of the cooking chicken made me anxious to have dinner, I just threw it on the plate. Isn’t that what we all do?
Coconut Crusted Parmesan Chicken with sliced tomato, avocado, and green beans. Our usual cole slaw. is on the side plate. All the vegetables were purchased fresh yesterday from the vegetable stand down the road from us; the cabbage, carrots, tomato, avocado, and green beans were delivered as we arrived, by a guy on a motorcycle with colorful bins stacked high on the back seat.

Making delicious dinners every night is and always has been an important part of life’s enjoyable experience. I’ll admit that in this heat and humidity, I often wish there was something in the freezer that I could pop in the microwave (No room in the freezer for leftover meals. No microwave).
We prepare most of our meals with the intention of having the same meal two nights in a row in order to cut down on the prep time. Thus, we prep one-day leaving ample ingredients in order to cook separately each of two nights. 
Last night, I made a fresh batch of Coconut Crusted Parmesan Chicken, and tonight, I’ll prepare the second freshly cooked batch. The green beans, cabbage, and carrots are already cleaned and cut, ready for tonight. I know this may seem to require the same amount of work, but it actually saves time and effort. 
The prep time for this meal was 20 minutes, mostly spent cutting the cabbage and carrots for the cole slaw. In many countries, you can purchase bagged shredded cabbage and carrots. Not the case in Kenya.  The cooking time is 21 to 25 minutes.
Plus the time it takes to snip the ends off of the green beans, uses 10 of the 20 minutes.The boneless chicken prep was minimal: remove visible fat, rinse in purified water (or your safe local drinking water), place, covered, on paper towels in the refrigerator. The remainder will be explained in the recipe below.
I’d concocted this recipe some time ago is now one of our favorites, totally within the realm of my restrictive diet:  gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, starch-free and low carb. 
Here’s the recipe:
Jessica’s GF Low Carb, Coconut Crusted Parmesan Chicken (for two, easily doubles)
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut or coconut flour
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt (we always use Himalayan Salt)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 beaten eggs
Olive oil, cold pressed, organic
Coconut oil, cold pressed, unrefined (no processing), organic
  • Place two eggs in a flat bottomed bowl, beating with a fork for 30 seconds. 
  • Place coconut flour, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a separate bowl.
  • Dip one chicken breast at a time into the coconut flour mixture first, then the beaten eggs, then back into the coconut flour mix, coating thoroughly.  Place prepared coated breasts on waxed paper or parchment.
  • Prepare a skillet with equal portions of olive and coconut oil, to approximately 3/4 inch deep in the pan.  Heat skillet with oils on medium high heat until hot, watching carefully.
  • Once oils are hot, place all the coated breasts evenly arranged to cook.  Turn down the heat to medium.  In about 7 minutes, the bottom side will be brown.  Carefully flip ensuring not to knock off coating in process.  Cook another 7 minutes, checking the bottom from time to time. 
  • Once both sides are brown, place a tight fitting lid over pan, lower the heat one more notch and cook, turning once more another 7 minutes.
  • During this 21 minute cooking time, toss salad, cook green beans, etc.
  • After the final 7 minutes, take a sharp knife, cut into the thickest breast of the 3 checking if done…no pink.  If not done, cook with lid on, in two minute increments.  It will cook quickly at this point.  Don’t overcook.
  • Once done drain on paper towels as plates are prepared with vegetables and serve.  Enjoy.
 Although this may look like a long complicated recipes, for the experience cook, I’d say:
Triple dip the chicken in coconut mixture and egg, fry in skillet, turning to avoid burning. Drain on paper towels.
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Today, we’re packing for our vacation starting tomorrow: all of our digital equipment, casual dressy for dinner with shoes and accessories, shorts and tee shirts for breakfast, bathing suits and cover-up for pool, water shoes for walking the beach, undies, lounge wear, toiletries and pills. That should do it.
I must admit that I’m chompin’ at the bit to get into some air conditioned comfort and to feel pampered for a few days.  That hasn’t been the case since we were aboard ship, disembarking  in Venice, Italy on June 16th.  Overall, we’ve gotten used to being sweaty and sticky, especially with me covered in repellent 18 hours a day. 
We’ll be back tomorrow by late afternoon, our time, with photos of our accommodations, surroundings and hopefully wildlife as we spend 3 nights celebrating a full year since we left our old lives to begin anew on October 31, 2012.

 

Tom’s retirement party was a year ago…Photos…Problematic ATMs in Kenya…Suggested reading for the medically curious…

 

This photo was taken the night of Tom’s retirement party on October 27, 2012. At this point, we only used our smartphones to take photos. Little did we know at that time, how much would change, how much we would change, how important clear photos would mean to us, and how much we had ahead of us.   How does one unload their entire lives and travel the world for years to come?  Now we know.

Tom’s retirement party was a year agoIts hard to believe. We so appreciated all the wonderful friends and family that joined us for a highly memorable event. 

A special thanks to daughter-in-law Camille for all of her hard work at the party while I was busy trying to communicate with guests after losing my voice and still feeling poorly.

Here’s the link from the post for the night of the retirement party if you’ve never read it or would like to see it again.

This was the cake I had made for the party by an amazing cake decorator, surprisingly edible, depicting Tom’s 42 years on the railroad and our plan to travel together to see the world. Little did we know what adventures were yet to come. Little did we know how happy we would be.


When traveling for the usual vacation periods of one or two weeks, most tourists have little need to go to an ATM during their stay other than to use it to exchange a small amount of the local currency required for locally-owned standalone restaurants, tips, and taxi fare (always paid in cash in Kenya). 

With the universal acceptance of credit cards worldwide and preparedness with some cash from their home location, there is little need for additional cash during their stay other than those listed above.

Many resorts and hotels, especially the larger chains, may accept certain forms of currency. From our experience, overall, they prefer the use of credit cards. On occasion, as in the case of dinner a few nights ago, the restaurant didn’t accept any form of cash. We’ll see more and more of this in the future with the growing amounts of counterfeit money and also, the risk of theft from cash drawers.

However, in Kenya, we’ve found we frequently need to use cash, Kenya Shillings (Ksh or KES), to pay for many services. Most assuredly, this is a result of our long three-month stay. For security reasons, we’ve chosen to visit an ATM more frequently rather than carry large sums of cash with us.

At a cost of US $5 per transaction charged by our bank, we felt the security aspect has well been worth the added expense, totally approximately US $50 over the three-month period, a small price to pay for the security of carrying lesser amounts of cash at any given time. It’s important to determine the fees one’s bank charges in foreign countries (as well as in one’s home country!).

The issue we’ve experienced, not uncommon worldwide, is finding an ATM that:

a.  Works
b.  Is located in a generally safe, well lighted public area
c.  That doesn’t have “hidden” charges

In Kenya, we’ve been able to easily determine “b” and “c.”  But, “a” has been tricky, as in the case last night on our way to dinner.

With our upcoming mini-vacation beginning on Tuesday, we knew we’d need more cash for the many tips for service personnel which may not be added to credit card charge slips in Kenya. Whether it’s a waiter for dinner, a bartender, a hotel valet or maid, or a guide, cash is the only method of payment.

On our way out to dinner last night, we asked Alfred to drive us to an ATM we’d never visited in the past, less of a drive from the resort we were visiting for dinner hoping to save a little on cab fare and driving time.

Knowing full well that there was absolutely no reason our cash request would be denied, we still approached the machine with a degree of hesitation; the location wasn’t ideal and, would the machine work?

Entering Tom’s card, we hesitated. When it promptly kicked out the card but still proceeded with a request for the PIN and desired amount of cash, we became worried. It began the processing including the rifling sound of money dropping down, but none was in the slot. With our hearts pounding, we waited.

Moments later, a receipt popped out, saying “transaction incomplete.”  We left, asking Alfred to take us to our usual ATM near the Nakumatt Grocery at the local Barclay’s Bank, a known reliable ATM. Once there, we received our desired amount of cash without incident, and moments later, we were heading in the direction toward our reservation.

Had a new tourist had such an incident, they may have assumed that none of the ATMs would work (or that something was wrong with their card), although it clearly stated that our type of card was accepted. If this resulted in an inside visit to a bank, the fees would have been considerably higher, both in exchange rates and service fees.

Thus, it certainly is worthwhile for tourists to have a “backup plan,” in this case another cash machine location. Also, it would be wise to try an ATM directly at a bank that is open, should anything go wrong.  In our case, it was Saturday evening at 6:00 pm. The bank had been closed since noon.

We’d found this link for local ATMs but didn’t choose to take the time or expense of taxi fare to try more of them.

With our ready cash in hand, tomorrow we’ll pack the same duffel bag for me and the same carry on bag for Tom that we used to go on safari, although this time, our mini-vacation won’t require safari boots and BugsAway clothing. Tuesday morning by 10:00 am we’ll be off, sharing photos and stories each day.

It’s with no disappointment that we’re not embarking on another safari at this time, keeping in mind that life will be comparable to one long safari when we move to Marloth Park/Kruger Park, South Africa where we’ll live for another three months while many animals will visit us at our new home at the rather remote location and we can take daily game drives at will.

We’ve made a point to continue to enjoy every remaining moment of our remaining 34 days in Kenya, as we lounge in our outdoor living room on another sunny, hot, humid day with the precious little dogs, Jessie and Gucci at our feet, the birds singing, the monkeys occasionally swinging through the trees and bugs nipping at our bare feet. Life is good.
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P.S. A few of our readers have asked that we share photos and recipes of meals befitting my diet. For dinner this evening, we’re making one of our favorite dinners, Coconut Crusted Parmesan Chicken. Tomorrow, we’ll post the recipe and photos of our meal.

Also, I downloaded yet another excellent book detailing the medical research that has been discovered over a period of many years as to why my diet is so highly instrumental in vastly improving health (and coincidentally, weight issues) in many ways including preventing and possibility being instrumental in healing brain deterioration (dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease).

The book is entitled:  “Grain Brain, The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers” by Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist, and researcher. As I read this book,  I’m beginning to understand why my memory has also improved 100% in the past few years since adopting this way of eating. Interesting.

 

First time posted safari photos… Dinner on the town…Plus we’re going on “vacation” in three days… Details coming…

This mom had a baby on her opposite side.  We waited, hoping the baby would appear. The mom, seemed aware of us, never allowed the baby to make an appearance.

 

Although this croc looks small in this photo, Anderson our guide, speculated he was no less than 15 feet long. Although less than 20 feet from us, we cautiously stood on a steep embankment, impossible for him to climb with his size and girth.

 

Another hippo is swimming in the river while this one was sniffing for breakfast.
Anderson chuckled when we zoomed in to get this shot of an impala during our first few minutes in the Land Cruiser after he’d picked us up at the airport.  He said we’d see so many of these and other animals in the antelope family, we’d soon lose interest in taking their photos.  How right he was, although these graceful animals are enchanting to watch.
Young lions lounging under a tree on a beautiful morning.


Mom keeping out a watchful eye while her brood lounges. From time to time, she nodded off, quickly startling herself awake.

 

Grunt.  Life is hard for a “Retired General.” This one may have been newly banished as he’d yet to meet up with other such males. He looked forlorn and miserable. 

 

We took at least 10 shots of this exquisite male lion looking satisfied and sleepy with the remains of his zebra meal behind him. Anderson said that most likely a female killed it and he took it from her. The male’s MO is to watch females hunt in order to steal their catch, although when desperate, they’ll hunt for their own meals.

When shooting multiple shots of one scene, many shots may look similar or at times almost identical. Luckily, I have access to a link where I can review all of the photos I’ve already posted to ensure I don’t post lots of duplicates since each photo has its own unique number. Although on occasion, as mentioned in the past, I may make an error or simply want to repost a shot.

While on safari, we kept took over 600 photos, keeping approximately 500. We posted many of those 500 over a 13 day period at about 20 per day, leaving us almost half of them that our reader hasn’t seen, mainly due to the appearance of many being duplicates. From time to time, we’ll post a few of these as we’ve done today.
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Dinner on the town…

The elegant lobby at the Diani Reef Resort and Spa.

 

The elegant offerings at Diani Reef Resort and Spa were breathtaking.
A coy pond and glass floor in the reception area were only a few of the highlights at the
Diani Reef Resort and Spa.

 

Our intent had been to arrive in daylight for the benefit of better photos.  Perhaps, we’ll return during the day to partake in the several additional restaurants, the offered pool lounging, and the free WiFi.
Dining out three times a week has made a world of difference to us. Yes, it’s a pain to getting ready to go out each time;  the heat, the repellent, plus trying to figure out what to wear. But, we’ve found that once we’re on our way in the taxi, we’re always happy to be on our way. 
Tom standing in front of the popular local Baobab trees located in the lobby area of the resort. That’s my purse, not his, although on occasion he does carry it for me.

In our old lives, we seldom dined out. Many of our friends lived in our neighborhood making staying in dining with them easy and fulfilling. Plus, we’d had our fill of nearby restaurants, preferring to dine at home.

Although this appears to be an exterior photo, it was actually taken from inside the massive courtyard in the lobby area.

Now, with a multitude of amazing resorts with phenomenal restaurants within a 20 minutes drive costing no more than KES $1500, US $17.69 for the round trip drive including tips, dining out certainly has its appeal.

As we approached the bar area where we had drinks and excellent service. 

With many highly rated standalone restaurants nearby, we’ve been tempted to try them. The problem has been my restrictive diet. The standalone restaurants mainly have “cooks” managing the preparation of the meals. But the fancier resorts have trained “chefs” who totally “get it” when I say: no starch, no gluten, no grain, no sugar. 

A view down the hall as we sat on the bar stools. There is one fabulous seating area after another offering privacy or socialization with easy access to MiFi.  Although appearing empty,  the huge property had many guests enjoying the facility’s wide array of areas.

Still, with most of the professional “chefs,” I must explain the fact of “no rice, no corn, no corn thickeners, no potatoes, no potato thickeners” which is often difficult for them to understand when most gluten-free diets do include corn, potatoes, beans, rice, and gluten-free grains, none of which I am able to consume due to the high carb content.

At 7:30, the hostess arrived at the bar to alert us that our dinner reservation was ready, carrying our drinks on a tray as she escorted to Sake, the Japanese restaurant

Some may say, “Gee, take a break. Enjoy a few bites here and there.” I appreciate this mentality. But, 26 months ago, I was a near invalid in constant debilitating pain. At that time, I would never have considered traveling the world, let alone going on a day’s outing.

This was Tom’s dinner, tempura pork loin with a Japanese seasoned side salad.

Now pain-free after over two years of eating this way, I can sit in a bumpy safari vehicle for eight hours a day with nary a moment’s thought of pain, or walk many miles for hours on the uneven pavement to see Petra in Jordan, walking up and down steep cobblestone walkways in Mikonos, Greece and on and on. 

The rice, miso soup, and sauce was included in Tom’s meal. We shared a delicious appetizer before dinner but were so hungry we forgot to take a photo before devouring it!

Need I say more?  No type of food is worth the pain returning and never will be. Thus, the fancier restaurants, although more costly, are worth it to us. 

Most likely, the restaurant/resort we visited on Thursday night was the most expensive thus far. The total for dinner, drinks, and tips at Diani Reef Resort and Spa at Sake Restaurant, was KES $7566.70, US $89.23 which included some cocktails for Tom at KES $763.20, US $9.00 each. As is the case in most of the resorts, the cost of cocktails is high with soda and beer less so. 

My dinner.  Yea, I know that my ongoing calamari meals look repetitious but there’s nowhere in the world we’ve visited thus far that offer this un-battered tender calamari.  I can’t seem to get enough!  It’s caught locally served fresh the same day.  How can I resist?  I’d rather have it than lobster although, the fresh locally caught lobster is firm and flavorful from the Indian Ocean.

Tom worked for 42 years to earn this retirement. He can have all the cocktails he wants, although overall, he’s a lightweight drinker. I don’t drink any alcohol. Instead, I order bubbly water with lemon or lime.

The moment we entered the gorgeous resort, we anticipated an enjoyable evening and we were never disappointed for a moment. From the welcome reception we received upon entering, to being greeted and chatting with Susan, the assistant GM, and Mohammad, the GM when departing, we were enthralled with the quality of service.
 Our table after our entrees were served created an eye-catching presentation. I requested a sauce made without gluten or sugar and this sugary sauce was removed.

The ambiance was over the top, one of the most beautiful resorts we’ve yet to see.  The design and the décor were developed and embellished to the utmost of creativity, with a theme of a warm elegance unsurpassed in the resort industry. 

After an exquisite dinner in the Japanese restaurant Sake, Susan and Mohammad invited us to return for a full day’s enjoyment at their pool where they’ll reserve a padded lounge chair for us. We’ll be able to use their free WiFi and dine in another of their several restaurants at our leisure. We look forward to taking them up on their offer soon. 

Yes, folks, we’re going on another three-night “vacation” starting on Tuesday, October 29th, returning on Friday, November 1st. Some might call it a “vacation within a vacation” but for us, it is the perfect way to celebrate on October 31st, the anniversary of our first full year of travel after leaving Minnesota on Halloween, October 31, 2012.

Tomorrow, we’ll share our plans and of course, next week amid our “vacation” we’ll we writing and posting stories as they occur. 

 

No water yesterday…No electricity for 17 hours today…What?? Boredom? Nope, not us.

 

Who can be bored when the playful antics of our temporary dogs, Jessie and Gucci never fail to entertain us?

Yesterday, late afternoon the power went out.  After 15 hours with no water yesterday, the power going out after the water came back on was an odd coincidence, none the less frustrating.

We were showering and dressing in preparation for dinner at a resort we’d yet to try, Diani Reef Resort and Spa (photos coming tomorrow).  Luckily, it was light enough to finish getting ready.  Our taxi driver, Alfred, was due to arrive at 6:30.  Darkness falls at 6:45 pm.

Gucci loving demeanor make us laugh when he’s so pushy about us paying attention to him.  He reminded us of our beloved Worldwide Willie (read Willie’s blog of the last days of his life, if you love dogs) who’d elicit a low bark if we made eye contact with him and then looked away. We love dogs.

As we drove away from the house, we both sat silently, not looking forward to returning to a dark house after dinner.  Since arriving on September 2, 2013, the longest power outage in Diani Beach had been an annoying 6 1/2 hours a few weeks ago. 

After a divine experience at the Diani Reef Resort and Spa last night (we’ll share details tomorrow), we’d hardly given the power situation a thought until at 10:00 pm we were back in the taxi with Alfred for the long drive back. 


Candles and lanterns to get us through power outages which frequently occur.

The moment we approached the main security gate  to our small neighborhood, which the guards opened upon recognizing Alfred’s taxi and waving “jambo” at us, we knew the power was still off.  Jeremiah, our security guard greeting us at our gate with a flashlight walking us to the dark house.

Within moments Jeremiah (our security guard) and Jeri (Hans’ wife) appeared with a above handheld candle lantern, two tabletop lanterns and extra candles.  With our plan to use an hour of the remaining battery power on my laptop, we settled in bed to watch a show.

With no overhead fan working, I was restless all night, overheated and uncomfortable.  Yesterday, it had rained off and on, torrential with wind that required that Tom moved the sofa in our outdoor living room to avoid us getting wet.  The sticky humidity remained into the night.

Just before falling asleep, Tom reminded me of the KES $28492, US $335 for two weeks of groceries we’d purchased the previous day, most of which was in the refrigerator and freezer.  Thinking about the possibility of throwing out all of the food, had a tendency to flutter through my mind during the night also keeping me awake.

For the first time, I put my little LED flashlight under my pillow in the event I had to get up during the night.  One must never walk around in the dark without checking the floors and walls for creatures.  Also, getting into bed, I used the light to check under the sheet, pillows and around the bed.  The rain drives the poisonous centipedes inside.

Another morning with no shower, the second in a row. (Thank goodness we showered late yesterday after the water came back on). Today, there was no power to heat the water.  A cold shower didn’t hold much appeal.  I got up at 6:30 am, exhausted but hopeful that in daylight the power outage would soon be resolved.

By 8:00 am, I found Hesborn (he lives on the property) to see if he knew anything about the power situation.  He’d heard from a neighbor that a transformer blew with the power outage effecting a huge area.  Again, we wait.

By 10:00 am, Hesborn informed us the power was back on, 17 hours after it had gone out. Surprisingly, the food in the freezer was still frozen solid and after tasting my ice tea from the pitcher in the refrigerator, it was still cold indicating that the refrigerator food also survived.  I’ll guess I’ll stop whining about the refrigerator’s minuscule size now that I see how well it stayed cold in a power outage.

As much as we’d love to have “safari quality” stories to share every day, reality dictates that at times, that our lives likes yours, may at times be mundane and relatively uneventful and, perhaps at times seemingly boring. 

We’ve asked ourselves why we seldom if ever, feel bored.  With two little adorable dogs hanging out with us most of each day, with a baboon running through our yard cautiously looking our way, with birds involved in a mating rituals before our eyes, with goats in the yard making hilarious sounds as if they’re being torturing (they’re not), we find pleasure and humor that easily entertains us.

When we know that tonight, a dining-in night, that we’ll have another delicious homemade meal, to later watch a few favorite shows while munching on locally grown nuts, we have no reason to be bored.  When we know that tomorrow night, once again we’ll dine out for what will most likely prove to be yet another excellent evening, again boredom is not within our realm.

In any case, last night we had a memorable evening at the Diani Reef Resort and Spa with the utmost of sophisticated atmosphere, the finest of gourmet food and the epitome of outstanding service which we’ll share tomorrow with several photos of both location and food.

No water, 15 hours and counting…List of lessons we’ve learned..More new photos…A daylight visit to Sails…

 

We posted this poisonous centipede photo, a creature in the crustacean family, that we took shortly after we’d arrived.  A few nights ago, I encountered another of these on the bathroom wall during the night. In the flurry of activity, I didn’t stop to take another photo.  I didn’t scream, but I did awaken Tom, who promptly got the dustpan and brush, flushing it down the toilet. For days, I worried it would come back up the toilet causing me to check out the toilet bowl frequently. This is the one creature I fear.

Last night after dinner, Tom prepared to do the dishes as always, only to discover we had no running water. Not a dribble. No way to flush to the toilet. No way to shower in the morning. Oh.

The long walk from the security area at Sails Restaurant on which vehicles aren’t allowed. At night, when returning in the dark, a security guard escorts us on the walk.

Jeri, Hans’ wife, has contacted a plumber. We wait. Is it another broken pipe? A pump no longer pumping? What could it be? With no city water in Kenya, property owners are dependent upon well water with small water towers dotting the landscape.

This tented area is the location of the Sails Restaurant at the Almanara Resort, one of our favorites thus far.

Who are we to complain when the highway we frequent is littered with shacks where there’s no water, no electricity, and only fires for cooking? I continue to remind myself of this when these situations occur, finding little comfort in the discomfort of others.

The beach we hadn’t been able to see in the dark the last time we dined at Sails Restaurant at the Almanara Resort, almost walking distance from our home in Diani Beach.  (We always take a cab each way due to dangers on the highway).

Last Sunday we ran out of cooking fuel for a day finding ourselves eating tuna out of the can with coleslaw, sliced tomatoes, and carrot sticks on the side for dinner, the likes of which we’ve never had before.

The previous week we had no power during almost an entire day and a few days later, during an entire night.  After all, we’re living in a third world country. What did we expect? Utilities working? A microwave? A stove that turns on when you turn the dial? A TV? High-speed Internet? Air conditioning? A bug-free zone?   

Arriving a little after 6:00 pm, we were finally able to see the property at Sails Restaurant, part of the Almanara Resort. Locals are proud that their Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta,  had stayed at this resort some months ago.

Our expectations are subject to the environment from whence we came, what’s familiar. If one never had a computer, one may dismiss it as an unnecessary frivolity. It’s all a matter of what we’ve become used to, isn’t it? There’s no right or wrong in this fact. It is what it is.

After dinner, as we awaited our cab, we lounged in this seating area in the dark.

We decided to live in these conditions. No one forced us. Will naivety suffice as an excuse for not knowing these things could happen? Perhaps, in part. Perhaps, in part, our desire for adventure led us down this road to a lack of basic familiarities which simply “goes with the territory.”

The moon and the ocean, never disappoint.

Me, who showers every morning without exception, poured a bit of bottled water into the bathroom sink doing the best I could do, dressing in the same clothes I wore yesterday (clean underwear, of course). Wearing the same clothes twice, was out of my realm in my old life. Now, there’s no chance of such frivolity, of such wastefulness.

So, what do we do? We wait. We don’t complain to one another. Hopefully, by 5:00 PM we’ll have water again, hot water after we push the button to get the water to heat in 20 minutes, so we can shower before going out to dinner.

The moon never disappoints.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to wash the dishes before we leave, the 3 pots I used to make dinner last night, now crustily sitting in the kitchen along with the dirty plates and flatware. 

I resign myself in the knowledge that somehow I needed to learn these lessons; to not take conveniences for granted, to appreciate the most basic of amenities, to diligently and discriminatingly use whatever is readily available. 

Last week when dining at Sails Restaurant, the moon was in its full glory.

Now, a year out, we’ve learned the following:
1.  Wash and reuse plastic bags if possible.
2.  Cover food in the refrigerator with a single paper towel (no Tupperware or plastic containers with lids).
3.  Use small leftover pieces of bar soap for frequent hand washing.
4.  Use a small flashlight when getting up in the dark to ensure no creatures are wandering about.
5.  Wear the same pants, shirts, socks until they are obviously dirty or smell.
6.  Always wear and carry insect repellent.
7.  Don’t scream (me, only) when spotting a poisonous creature in the bathroom.
8.  Use plenty of olive oil on the bottom of the metal skillet to avoid sticking (non-stick doesn’t exist here).
9.  Don’t flush the toilet every time (especially now with no water).
10. Carefully monitor data usage. Don’t watch videos other than shows we’ve downloaded during the night using the “free” metered nighttime data we receive after loading more data via scratch-off cards.
11. Wash the bird poop off of the glass table every morning using ammonia, washing hands immediately thereafter.
12. Be careful when plugging anything into an outlet (220 gives quite the jolt. I know from experience).
13. Have cash on hand for tips. Credit card tips not allowed.
14. Don’t complain about the food or service aloud. 
15. When walking on the road to the beach, produce stand or anywhere in public say “jambo” to every passerby. 
16. Don’t feed the wildlife.
17. Clean up bits of food promptly after eating or within minutes it will be covered in ants.  Don’t eat in bed.  Food attracts bugs.
18. Inspect shoes, socks, clothing, and bath towels before using them.
19. Keep computers and MiFi’s plugged in while in use in the event of a power outage.  We’ll have 3 hours of use on the batteries.
20. Step carefully when walking.  With no codes, few handrails, or lights in public facilities, tripping hazards are many.  Recently we purchased 2 tiny LED flashlights we use when going out at night.
21.  Every night, upon getting into bed, check under the sheet, the pillows, around the pillows, and around the mosquito netting for whatever may be lurking there.  Most victims of centipede stings have received them while sleeping in a mosquito netted bed.

Tom sure enjoys the liter bottles of locally made Tusker beer, at KES $250, US $2.94. 

So, if the “universe” intended for us to appreciate more, to learn more, to experience more, the “universe” has succeeded. And, as any education we are fortunate enough to receive when the “hard work” is done, we feel fulfilled and grateful for the knowledge and for the opportunity to incorporate this knowledge into the remainder of our lives.

Complimentary appetizer Tom had eaten the last time we visited Sails during our first week in Diani Beach, consisting of batter-fried seaweed and chicken stuffed puff pastries.

 

Tom enjoyed this dinner of Crab Au Gratin and fries. He gave me his plate of veggies as usual.

Look at this pile of grilled red snapper and veggies. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the freshness and flavor. The server explained that the snapper was caught in front of the property earlier that day.

I promise. I’ll never look at a Ziploc bag the same way.

Although Tom doesn’t eat sweets when drinking beer, we got a kick out of this menu of homemade ice cream offered at Sails Restaurant.

Note: As I write this, the plumber is here repairing the water issue. Hesborn explained that we’ll soon have water. Apparently, it was a switch in the private water tower. Guess we’ll soon flip the hot water switch in order to do the dishes in 20 minutes or so, promptly turning it off.

At last…The elusive Bush Baby within feet of us…Cigars and seafood platters…

A Bush Baby eating a banana next to us last night as we dined outdoors at the Leopard Beach Resort. A small platform was set up for the Bush Babies loaded with bananas to encourage them to visit the guests while dining.
Although extremely shy, Bush Babies aren’t tame and are very cautious around scary-looking humans. Their bulgy eyes cause the flash to reflect off their eyeballs presenting this eerie look. Little did we know, when we selected our table close to the trees that we’d be as close as we could get to their natural habitat.

 

They use their “little hands” to firmly grasp their food.  They leap from tree to tree so quickly that we were unable to get a shot in flight or on a tree.  Once they hit the tree trunk, they hide, blending in with their surroundings. Unbelievably, we saw one of them leap backward from this stance to a tree, never once looking behind them. Oh, Mother Nature, thank you!

Mother Nature has been kind to us. We saw The Big Five in the first 10 hours on safari. We’ve seen monkeys and baboons in our yard.  We’ve heard the chorus of a thousand frogs singing in the night. We’ve been an eyewitness to many of the scary and not so scary insects in Kenya. 

We didn’t move. Holding the camera in my hand, with my elbows on the table, using no zoom, we got this shot. For a moment, I wondered if she/he would jump on the table and steal my lobster tail.

We’ve watched and heard the mating calls of dozens of birds we’d never seen or heard before each day as we live in our outdoor living room now that spring is in full bloom in this part of the world.

I could have reached out and touched this Bush Baby but we both sat motionless, allowing her/him to check out the food on our plates. With no bananas in sight, it quickly moved on.  We felt fortunate to take the shots we’ve shown here. They are fast!

But, two creatures have eluded us; the curious dung beetle that we missed while on safari, the search motivated by our safari mate David, and in our own area, the elusive Bush Baby, a shy, nocturnal animal that expertly leaps from tree to tree during the night, eliciting sounds unfamiliar to most human ears.

Ordering the seafood platter for two resulted in a fabulous meal we both enjoyed, each receiving our own huge platter.

Last night, as our “safari luck” will have it, while leisurely dining at the Leopard Beach Resort in Diana Beach, one of our wishes was fulfilled, the Bush Baby made an enthusiastic appearance; snap, snap, snap. Thank goodness I always take my camera wherever we may go!

Tom’s platter included white rice.  He ate everything on his plate, except he moved the calamari, cauliflower, and broccoli to my plate. 

Long ago, Tom and I decided we would not write negative reviews of local restaurants and resorts if they didn’t meet our expectations. There are other sites and other reviewers who may choose to do so. We both agreed that a facility can have an “off” day or night and it would be unkind to tarnish their reputation over one of those days.

The staff at the Leopard Beach Resort and Spa must have had one of those “off” evenings last night as we toured the facility, arriving at 6:00 pm, finally leaving at 10:00 pm,, after dinner and a few unintended mishaps.  We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.  Of course, the appearance of the Bush Babies made the dinner memorable in itself along with the excellent seafood dinner.

While at the bar, we noticed this cigar menu. Tom had hoped to order a Cuban cigar to enjoy in our outdoor living room, but for whatever reason, they were out. Not a cigar aficionado, he had no clue as to an alternative, so he passed.  (KES $1000 = US $11.76).

Their restaurant, The Chui Grill was excellent, the service impeccable, as our devoted waiter who ran circles around us to ensure a positive experience, which in fact, we had while dining, although the meal was expensive compared to the other resorts, KES $6389.30, US $75.13. 

With our new plan to dine out 3 times a week and, after careful calculations, this morning, of what we’ve spent on dining out thus far, as compared to our dining out budget, at this amount per time, we’ll remain within our projections. In reviewing the calendar, we’ll dine out 17 more times until it’s time to move on.

The grounds at Leopard Beach Resort were expansive, meticulously maintained, and well-staffed.

I seriously doubt we’ll spend this much since most of our dinners have averaged KES $4618.20, US $54.30, including beverages, taxes, and tips.  Taxi fare goes into the taxi budget of KES $85050, US $1000 which, at this point, we’ve spent under KES $25515, US $300. 

Based on the projected number of times we’ll use a taxi to grocery shop and dine out, we’ll be well under the budget, using the balance for the monthly tips for Hesborn, our houseman, and Jeremiah, our night guard. (There are day guards at the gate as well, day and night).

Once we add the tally of our final costs for the 3 months in Kenya we will share these with you, down to the penny.  From how it’s looking now, over halfway through, we’re rather pleased.

Today, after literally wiping out every morsel of food in our tiny fridge and cupboards, we’re heading out to grocery shop at 11:00 am with our usual driver, Alfred. 

With our new plan to eat out 3 times a week, we’ll grocery shop every 2 weeks as opposed to once a week purchasing only enough food to last for 8 days and water and snacks (mostly cheese and nuts) to last the full 2 weeks.

Gee…its fun calculating this stuff! I’m like a “pig in the mud” with an Excel spreadsheet!  Thank goodness.  Tom is not.

Note:  As for the dung beetle, we won’t see one in Kenya.  Hopefully, we’ll find one in South Africa while on safari in Kruger Park.  I assure you, within hours of our discovery, we’ll be posting our photos here.

Hawaii here we come!!!…New Big Island, Hawaii house photos to share…

Aerial view of home (middle house).

Aerial view of both houses we’ve rented in Big Island Hawaii. The larger gray roof is the second house we booked the day we left for safari, putting our minds at ease.

Here is the link to this listing on the Homeaway website for pricing, more photos, and additional details. Once we are in the house, we’ll post additional photos.

Leaving Minnesota, after a lifetime for Tom and 42 years for me, was hard for only one reason, leaving family and friends behind.

We don’t miss the snow, the cold, the erratic weather in summers, the power outages from storms, the mosquitoes, or the traffic. We don’t miss house maintenance; snow blowing, house cleaning, window washing, or leaky basements.

Tom doesn’t miss pulling out all of the heavy lawn furniture from the garage in the spring or putting it back in the fall or hauling the dock into the lake in the spring and taking it out in the fall or, constantly making repairs (he was diligent and an expert at all of this).

We don’t miss cable TV problems, huge heating and electric bills (we pay no utilities in vacation homes), enormous property taxes, or paying over $500 a month for a car, house and umbrella insurance. We don’t miss car payments, maintenance, and gasoline expenses.  Nope.  None of that.

The first of the two houses that we booked over a year ago.

Panoramic view from the living room.

 We’ll stay in this house by ourselves until we move over to the other house on December 20, 2014, returning back here from January 3, until January 15, 2015

Here’s the link to this listing on the Homeaway website for pricing, more photos, and additional details on this house that we booked over a year ago. Once we are situated in the houses, we’ll post additional photos

Surprisingly, I don’t miss the endless cooking for entertaining guests; the hours of shopping, the hours standing in the kitchen, a menu in hand while cooking often printed on pretty paper to be placed at each guest’s elaborate place setting, for a multi-course gourmet meal, at the time lovingly prepared, now so far from my reality that it’s all but a distant memory. Nope. None of that either. 

We miss the people.  Period.  The people.  Our family.  Our friends.  We chose missing them to be free of angst or sorrow, instead, a simple fact, a warm memory of their faces, their laughs, their smiles.

In December 2014, a mere one year, one month, and 28 days from today we’ll see our grown kids, their spouses, and our grandchildren once again. Comparing it to the period we’ve been gone from Minnesota (it will be 1 year, in 9 days from today), it will be here in no time at all. 

But, when we think of all we’ve done in the past year, the countries we’ve visited, the places we’ve lived, the sites we’ve seen, the 8 cruises we’ve taken, and the people we’ve met, it seems much longer.

With the size of our group, 13 of them, we decided that we needed to rent 2 houses, not one. Coincidentally, (similar to our safari good luck) we found 2 houses next door to one another, one we’d booked over a year ago and the other on the day we left for safari on October 5, 2013, paying the deposit, wrapping up the details. The luck of finding this scenario of 2 separately owned houses, directly next door to one another, is uncanny.

Over a year ago, we shared the photos of the first house we’ve booked.  As time moved on and more and more of our family members were able to arrange time off work during Christmas 2014, we came to the conclusion that one house wouldn’t be big enough. 

A month ago, after they all discovered they could in fact come to Hawaii, the search began.  Go figure.  We stumbled on the house next door, available during that same two week period. Tom and I and a few of the adults will be in one house, the remainder in the other house.  It will all work. 

Covering the expense of airfare, one car, and groceries on one house had been an expense we’d entered into our budget long ago.  Now, the budget has been revised for the 2nd house, the 2nd car, and the added groceries. The kids will cover their own baggage fees, activities, excursions, sightseeing, and dining out costs.  It will work out well for all of us.

Today, for comparison purposes, we’re including photos of both houses, including an aerial view of both.

As it turns out, our cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii arrives in Honolulu on October 5, 2014, less than a year from now, where we plan to stay for no less than one week in order to visit the local sites including Pearl Harbor.  

On December 1, 2014, we’ll be moving into the 1st of the 2 houses. We have yet to book the week in Honolulu or the remaining 50 days between finishing up the week in Honolulu and moving into the Big Island house on our own.

With each of our own WiFi devices up and running with no less than 25 gigs of remaining data until we need to purchase more, we have the necessary data to begin searching for that time period. “Searching” uses tons of data due to the tremendous number of photos popping up on the various vacation rental websites.

Also, having completed the time-intensive process of logging and posting all of our safari photos and stories we now have more available time to begin the search. We’re almost ready to begin.

Sure, we don’t have maintenance, snow blowing, yard work, or window washing. But all of that has been replaced by a litany of responsibilities for constantly logging our expenses, budgeting for the future, booking for the future, searching, searching and more searching. 

The difference? We like searching for more than blowing snow and washing windows and, more than anything, we love living in other people’s houses all over the world.