Day 32…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Seminar Part 2 was a success!! Thoughtful email from attendees!

We were surprised by the number of attendees at our second presentation.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Zebra’s painting located in the gallery.

Those of our readers who’ve followed along with us over these past years know how humbled and in awe we are in our lives.  We never fail to remind ourselves to be grateful for each and every day of this unusual life and… for life itself.

Awakening each morning to the joy of another day of life is a gift in itself. Good health, being together, living within our means and the love of our family, friends and new people we meet along the way only adds to the exquisite pleasure of traveling the world.

The huge Colony Club was also packed for our second presentation.

We ask ourselves, is it luck? The perception may be that we “landed on something.” As we look back over our lives, we realize that getting to this point wasn’t a stroke of luck. We gave up a lot and, over the long haul, we worked hard to make it possible.

Many find our lifestyle foolhardy and impractical. Others revel in a sense of wonder over our “bravery.” We aren’t foolhardy and we aren’t brave. Is it foolhardy to fulfill a dream one is capable of turning into a reality? Is it brave to jump into the cool water of a pool on a hot day? No bravery required here.

Tom was enjoying himself during our presentation.

Then, what is it, if not luck? Many years ago I taught sales/motivational classes centered around the Dale Carnegie concept of the fact that there are five steps to making a sale;  Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction and Close. 

In essence, subconsciously we maneuvered our way through these five steps as we made the decision to travel the world as follows:

1.  Attention: That day in January, 2012 when I asked Tom what he wanted to do when he’d be retiring on October 31, 2012.  He got my ATTENTION but could we make it work?
2.  Interest: Once we started investigating the possibilities, both financially and logistically, we developed a strong INTEREST in pursuing it further.
3.  Desire: Once we realized it was feasible a powerful sense of DESIRE kicked in and we began to embrace the concept.
4.  Conviction: The more we researched, the more committed we became and during the first 30 days, a powerful feeling of CONVICTION to make it happen captured us both.
5.  Close: Like the finale of an actual sales transaction, we truly CLOSED when we began to pay deposits on future bookings and planned for the sale and disposal of all of our worldly goods.

The ship is beautifully decorated for Christmas.

These thoughts came to mind from so many years ago, as my brain was spinning with the enthusiasm we both are feeling from the second of two seminars we conducted for passengers aboard Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas. 

The positive feedback we’ve received from attendees both in person throughout these past days and by email has truly been overwhelming and appreciated. Who knew? Not us. We expected a handful of attendees when in fact there were in excess of 100 at each presentation. Go figure. 

Even staff at the customer service desk is prepared for Christmas.

If we’d had more lead time to prepare and announce the two part series, surely we’d been able to garner more attendees. We can’t stop smiling. This happy and fulfilling experience will stay with us for a long time. 

Will there be more in the future? In the next two days, we’ll be talking to Kevin and Steve, activities director and cruise directo,r respectively, to see if this can lead to something that appeals to us in the future. 

With bookings well into 2018, we’ll have to see if it is a possibility for us since it’s unlikely we’d want to change our itinerary going forward. We’ll see how and if it rolls out.

The ship is decorated for Christmas.

Last night, before bed, we checked our email to find this message:
On Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 1:51 PM, Mary wrote:

Dear Jess & Tom,
We have attended both of your presentations and have enjoyed them thoroughly.  Jess, you are a better speaker than MANY of the presenters we have had on many cruises.  Good amount of both information, humor, pictures, and you have no repetitive phrases or awkward pauses – brilliant!  I was a high school science teacher for over 20 years and have some familiarity with quality speaking

The other day we introduced ourselves to you in the Windjammer.  We are the 2 gals who have lived full time in an RV for 22 years, while also doing international land trips, and many cruises.  I’m sure we have been in more countries than you have, yet that doesn’t matter – we still learned a few things from you.  Thank you for that

Since we often travel spontaneously, with hardly any plans, and no reservations, and hardly ever stay anywhere longer than 3 weeks, we found it very interesting to learn of your travel style.  You are right;  people have to discover what works for them, no matter what anybody else does.  But you gave some excellent tips which everyone should know, just to be safe.

Hoping to cruise with you again some time.

Warmest regards,  Mary & Elaine

We are so appreciative of this message from these lovely people. It means the world to us to hear from those we meet in our travels, especially when they take a few minutes to say hello or share their story. Thanks to Mary and Elaine for sharing your thoughts with us!

In the interim, we’re down to our last few days aboard the ship, cherishing every single moment of this extraordinary adventure, made all the more exciting by the serendipity of our lectures and making so many new friends aboard the ship.

Luck? Maybe a touch. Happiness? In abundance.

Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2015:

In Fiji, one year ago, we drove under canopy of trees in a nearby neighborhood. For more details, please click here.

Day 31…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Seminar #2 this morning at 10:15…Devices we use…Logistics of world travel…

The ship has been decorated for Christmas and looks beautiful.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Another piece of art from the ship’s gallery.

Today, as we prepared the final details of our upcoming seminar, we thought it made sense to post the photos of the digital equipment we’ll be discussing during the presentation.

RFID (Radio Frequency ID) wallets which can’t be scanned with illegal devices in an attempt to steal identity.
RFID passport holder.

As a result, today’s post will include little verbiage and more photos. By doing so, it will be convenient and expedient for Tom to bring up the photos as we describe each item.

Universal adapters.  Without these, we’ve had serious electrical issues.

Tomorrow, we’ll share details about the agenda covering the logistics of world travel with less emphasis on where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. Also, we’ll include the response from our audience as to these topics which some may find less interesting than the details of our travels.

Portable hot spot devices for various countries.  In many countries we haven’t needed to use these.  In others, they were our only means of Wi-Fi.  The two black devices top center, may be used in many countries, but often don’t work as well as each country’s own device.

However, it’s all a part of the experience for those who choose to experience traveling over the long haul. It’s not always as romantic and exciting as it may to be.

Flash drive, a must for the savvy traveler.
Our unlocked SIM card (mini or full size SIMs work) smart phones.

Our cruise is quickly winding down with only three days until we disembark the ship to make our way to the airport for our upcoming three month visit to Tasmania.

Collapsible camera tripod.
Portable canner.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more. Please check back then!

Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2015:

This is a popular snorkeling area in Savusavu, Fiji with considerable coral reefs. For more photos, please click here.

Day 29…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Finally at a port of call in NZ…Did we forget something?

Boats at the port of Tauranga, New Zealand. We have so many fond memories of our three months in this beautiful country.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Glass sculpture in hallway.

The second leg of this 33 night cruise is our 16th cruise in four years, averaging at one cruise every three months.  That’s not to say we’ve booked cruises for such an arbitrary schedule as four per year. It’s just an average.

During our first year of world travel, we embarked on eight cruises in a little over five months. Then, we had a 14 month gap with no cruises at all.  From there, we slowed down a bit to the current total of 16 cruises. 

While taking this photo I thought, “Hmm…this looks familiar.” We’ve only taken about 10,000 photos since taking this shot. It would be easy to forget.

We book cruises when we find good deals with lots of perks in locations convenient to where we are at any given time. Different from many cruise enthusiasts, we don’t necessarily focus on new ports of call we’ll visit, although this is of interest to us.

Instead, we focus on our joy of cruising and using a ship as our temporary home for a few weeks and in this case, for over a month. Sure, the cost for cruising generally exceeds our preferred average daily cost of around US $200, AU 268, including vacation rental fees, transportation, visas, food, insurance, entertainment, Internet and miscellaneous.

Forest along the seaside in Tauranga.

In five days, we’ll be sharing our total expenses for this 33-night cruise, including average daily costs, our final cruise bill for both legs and any incidentals we may have purchased along the way. Please check back for these totals.

After our change in course, due to inclement weather, the last week’s cruise itinerary has changed dramatically. Today, we’re in Tauranga, New Zealand during which a funny thing happened to us. Well, it was funny to us anyway.

The town of Tauranga, New Zealand.

“Tauranga total population

  • 114,789 people usually live in Tauranga City. This is an increase of 10,905 people, or 10.5 percent, since the 2006 Census.
  • Its population ranks 6th in size out of the 67 districts in New Zealand.
  • Tauranga City has 2.7 percent of New Zealand’s population.”

After four days at sea, passengers were chomping at the bit to get on land. We never mind sea days.  The ship has been our home for this month and we’re happy whatever we’re doing, wherever we dock.  It’s not unlike our daily lives. 

Not only are we grateful and enjoying the exciting days, we’ve found the quiet and mundane days to be enjoyable in their own way, as is the case for many of you. Not every day has to be emblazoned in our minds as highly memorable.

Shipping yard in Tauranga.

With today’s port of call of Tauranga, we decided to get off the ship. I took a few photos from our balcony early this morning. Neither of us were hungry, so we decided to skip breakfast and eat later if we’re hungry.

As always, we set up our laptops in our usual Latte tudes Café on the fifth deck where we are often able to find comfortable seating with enough activity in the background to further entertain us while we work on the day’s post.

As we walked toward the port exit, everything started looking familiar.

This morning, we met with Kevin, the ship’s activity director, to discuss a possible Part 2 of yesterday’s successful seminar. He’d received lots of positive feedback from passengers wanting to hear more of our story.

Of course, we’re flattered to hear this including all the positive feedback we received all day yesterday and again this morning after yesterday’s “event.” We couldn’t be more pleased that our seminar was a success. 

A seagull hoping for a morsel from tourists.

Now, we’re scheduled to conduct Part 2 in two days, another sea day, and we hope for yet another good turnout. What a great opportunity for us! This morning instead of preparing the post, we created the new agenda and we’re comfortable with the content.

Since this information is so readily available in our minds no rehearsal is required, only the agenda to refer to on my laptop during the presentation. No stress.  No worries. We’re totally at ease with the entire process.

Once we completed the agenda, we decided to postpone preparing the post and head out to see Tauranga. It’s cool here today, so we bundled up in jeans and parkas planning to spend a few hours visiting the town, a not too distant walk from the port.

Here’s another of New Zealand’s beautiful skies.

Once we entered the port exit gate, we looked at one another and laughed aloud. We walked this entire town in January when our then ship visited this same port of call. Somehow we’d both forgotten we’d already toured this charming town. 

Cold and windy, we turned around and returned to the ship, but not before we took today’s several photos.  There was no point in spending too much time in a port of call we’d already explored at length.  Here’s the link to our original visit in January, 2016.

Once back on board, we busied ourselves working on today’s post and photos and so on, when done, we may just make a stop at the Windjammer Café on deck 11 for a light bite to eat.

We hope all of our family, friends/readers in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and warmest regards to all of your throughout the world. Thanks for hanging with us through this lengthy cruise

 Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2015:

The beach along this area in Fiji was mostly rocky. For more details, please click here.

Day 28…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…A fabulous seminar experience…

It had been a long time since I’d done a seminar.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Artistic rendition of square frames located in a stairwell.

I don’t know where to start to describe our experiences by doing a seminar about our travels around the world at the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas. With little time to prepare, we did our best to put together an agenda, hoping to attract the 20 or so participants we expected.

Note our talk scheduled at 11:15 am on today’s ship Compass program.

When the huge Colony Club began to fill with over 100 passengers minutes before we were to begin our talk, I found myself blissfully at ease in anticipation of presenting our story. Tom also felt comfortable and relaxed.

After all, it wasn’t as though we needed to learn something. We’ve lived it. And to have the opportunity to share it in this group setting was an experience beyond our wildest dreams.

Tom chimed in on several occasions and did a fabulous job.

Not only were our new friends in attendance, but also dozens of other passengers, we’d met at various meals and activities. Then, there were the dozens of others we’d never met who thought they might enjoy hearing our story. 

How humbled we were at the end when the applause was robust and enthusiastic. Go figure. Who knew this amazing experience would be added to our repertoire of extraordinary events in the lives of these two nomads content to live this obscure life on the move?

The seminar went better than we’d expected. 

Having expected a bit of nervousness when we started, I was pleasantly surprised at how the unscripted presentation flowed for both of us. For us, it was not a lot different from our usual banter at the dinner table with eight or ten of us in the dining room.

I love the look on Tom’s face in this shot.

Tom ran the video portion of the presentation with ease, flipping through some of our posts that we thought might be more exciting to share. With almost 1600 posts to date, it wasn’t easy to pick the choose the eight or so we choose to put on the screen. 

Tom managed the video presentation while I talked.  We were a good team.

After the question and answer period, dozens of people stayed behind to chat with us which continued well into the afternoon, resulting in today’s very late posting. We apologize for the inconvenience in being so late today.

As soon as we were done, Kevin, the activities director who stayed during the presentation, asked if we’d be interested in doing a Part 2, before the end of the cruise which occurs in six days. Tomorrow, after giving it some thought, we’ll make a decision and post it here.

There were over 100 people in attendance at our seminar.

The ship is still rocking and rolling, but we’re blissfully content, feeling very grateful and blessed for this new adventure. Who knows what the future holds?

For now, we know we have the almost next two years of world travel planned as we look for more in the future. Pinch me! Life is good.

Photo from one year ago, November 28, 2015:

Ocean views never disappointed in Fiji. For more details, please click here.

Day 27…Circumventing the Australian continent…Exciting opportunity for us aboard the ship…

Last night, we’d decided to call it a night early heading to our cabin around 8:30 pm.  We were in awe of the sky view awaiting us from our balcony.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

An interesting piece of art from the ship’s gallery.

More days at sea as we make our way through the rough seas which lessens a little each day.  One week from today, the cruise ends in Sydney where we’ll fly to Tasmania to begin our five hour drive to our new home for six weeks in the town of Penguin.

Much to our pleasure, we don’t dread the cruise ending as many have expressed, that returning to the “real world” is trying for some passengers, many returning to work and responsibilities, others retired returning to less excitement and adventure.

The first Christmas tree we spotted in Adelaide.

With the utmost of enthusiasm we anticipate this next leg of our journey, expectations in check, tinged by a degree of confidence that we’ll enjoy both of the two locations in Tasmania in which we’ll live over these next three months.

From there, another 12 day cruise, a 40 night stint in Sydney and then…we’re on our way back to the US for a nine night Alaskan cruise.  From there, we’re off to Minnesota and Nevada to see family for nine weeks.

The clouds changed rapidly as we shot photo after photo.

One of our readers inquired as to whether we’d continue with our posts while in the US.  Of course, we will!  We’ll be busy with family but visiting many venues in the process. 

Minnesota is a beautiful state. We won’t have any trouble finding plenty of photo opportunities during our six week visit. The final three weeks in Nevada will provide more photos and stories. 

Soon the cloud formation began to waft away.

As for the moment we’re preparing for an unexpected situation we’d hardly anticipated.  The ship’s activities staff has asked us to do a seminar on our world travels tomorrow morning at 11:15 am in the huge Colony Club. We couldn’t be more thrilled. 

Although we’ll only have 45 minutes, it should be ample time to share our story. Tomorrow, our seminar will be listed in the daily Compass newsletter as a planned activity for passengers.

We sure got a kick out of this sign outside Sean’s Kitchen in Adelaide since “streaky” bacon is one of the favorite staples in our way of eating.

Tonight at 7:30 pm, we’ll be interviewed on camera by the both the cruise and activities directors, Steve and Kevin respectively, which will be shown on TV tomorrow morning during the ship’s usual morning show explaining the day’s activities.

We’ll be busy preparing our agenda in the morning and have decided to postpone the usual daily post until later in the day.  At that point, we’ll have an opportunity to share how it went with all of YOU.  Please look for tomorrow’s post approximately five hours later than expected.  Wow!  Go figure!

Bernardo, our cabin steward, made this adorable “lobster” towel arrangement which we found on our bed upon returning to the cabin at the end of the evening.

One never know what to expect in this life of ours.  More often than not, the surprises are exciting and often life changing.  We continue to be in awe and humbled by the opportunities that come our way.

For our friends and family in the US we hope your Thanksgiving was memorable and for those of you who partake that Black Friday sales not too overwhelming!


Photo from one year ago today,  November 26, 2015:

Our short term vacation condo in Scottsdale, Arizona in November, 2012 where we lived for a few months as we finished the final preparations for leaving the US.  We had the table set for company when two of Tom’s sisters and one brother-in-law (who live in AZ in the winter months) were coming for dinner.  For more details, please click here.

Day 26…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Rough days at sea continue…Major course changes…

Our ship, Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, taken while we walked to the train station.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

The art is exhibited in the galley of the ship.

These past few days have been interesting aboard the ship as we’ve continued along unable to disembark to tour any ports.  With our itinerary changed from visiting the South Island of New Zealand to the North Island, the number of days at sea has been increased to accommodate the changes due to inclement weather.

As described by the captain, the bad weather in the Tasman Sea has required many cruise ships to be diverted to less turbulent areas. Apparently, changing course is not the easiest task for the captain, navigational crew and support staff.

Golf course on the way to Adelaide.

New ports of call have to be determined, tours and transportation arranged, new materials designed and printed and entertainment and other activities rescheduled.

Many entertainers board the ship at specific ports along the way, only staying aboard until their established performance dates are completed.Now, with these changes, several will have to fly to alternate ports of call to board the ship. 

There is an array of manufacturing plants and facilities in the outskirts of Adelaide. 

In some cases, this isn’t possible and the cruise director and support staff will be required to arrange new shows from the ship’s own performers, in itself not necessarily an easy task when many passengers may have already seen several performances. 

In any case, the reason for all of the above, outrageously rough seas, has been instrumental in these and more required changes. More importantly for many passengers has been falling prey to seasickness, which is prevalent among some travelers who are determined to head out to sea with patches behind their ears, wrist bands and medication to avert the horrible feeling of associated with this dreadful condition.

Apartment buildings as we neared Adelaide.

Not only have many passenger fallen ill with the “cruise cough” but now are also suffering with seasickness. Although the cough hit both of us for which we’re now on the mend, we are gratefully free of any feelings of nausea, cold sweats, pale skin and vomiting. For some odd reason, neither of us ever suffers with sea sickness. 

Building near the university.

I wished that last night at dinner, I’d had the camera with me.  The seas were so rough, that plates of food were flying across the dining room. Later, as we walked past the shops, we noticed hundreds of bottles of alcohol in the duty free shop had tumbled to the floor, many breaking.  

War memorial on the corner of King William Road.

It was still light during our Thanksgiving dinner in the Cascades dining room and we were able to watch the approximate 30 foot swells by looking out the many windows. We were on deck 4 and water was splashing on the windows. We discouraged our friend Lois, who suffers from seasickness, from looking out the windows, which furthers exacerbates the symptoms.

Displays in the other areas had also fallen to the floor.  Once we returned to our cabin, we noticed the one suitcase we’d left out in a corner had rolled across the floor. During the night, I had to get out of bed when numerous items we’d left on the desk were rolling back and forth as the rolling continued. 

More older buildings line the boulevard than the more modern.

Walking from the bed to the bathroom in the tiny cabins was challenging it itself, let alone taking a shower, which required hanging onto the grab bar to avoid falling in the even tinier space.

Once we left the cabin this morning, as the ship made its way toward New Zealand’s North Island (where we lived on the alpaca farm for three months ending on April 15, 2016), we noticed a slight decrease in the rocking and rolling.  Hopefully, especially for those suffering, we hope this soon ends.

Another statue near the library.

Today, as always, we’re content and enjoying the final days of this lengthy cruise. Tonight’s formal night. We’ll do our best to dress appropriately.

We celebrated Thanksgiving (US holiday) yesterday, but wish all of our family and friends in the US a very meaningful and enjoyable day. Gratefulness prevails on this day and always.

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2015:

A ferry passing in the morning in Fiji. For more photos, please click here.

Day 25…Circumnavigating the Australian continent..Deaths aboard ship…Change in course…Bad weather…Rough seas…

The Art Gallery of South Australia has many things to offer art lovers.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Classic car display on stairways.

As we wandered along the main boulevard in Adelaide we were excited to spot the Art Gallery of South Australia.    We were surprised that admission is free because in many cities around the world there are entrance fees. That is not to say we would not have agreed to pay fees. 

Australia’s history is rich, adored by its citizens.

Australia is proud of its rich history and we’ve found that many historic venues are free to enter as we’ve traveled from city to city. Welcomed by an enthusiastic staff as we entered, we were encouraged to explore at our discretion.

Interesting sculpture.

From this site:
“The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), located on the cultural boulevard of North Terrace in Adelaide, is one of three significant visual arts museum in the Australian state of South Australia. It has a collection of over 35,000 works of art, making it, after the National Gallery of Victoria, the second largest state art collection in Australia. It was known as the National Gallery of South Australia until 1967 when the current name was adopted.

The art is appealing as well as the thoughtful displays.

The Art Gallery is located adjacent to State Library of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide, AGSA is part of Adelaide‘s North Terrace cultural precinct and had 712,994 visitors in the year ending 30 June 2011. As well as its permanent collection, the AGSA displays a number of visiting exhibitions every year, and also contributes travelling exhibitions in regional galleries.

Collection of portraits.

The gallery was established in 1881 and opened in two rooms of the public library by Prince Albert Victor and Prince George, later George V of Great Britain. The present building dates from 1900 and was extended in 1936 and 1962. Subsequent renovations and a significant extension of the building which opened in 1996 added contemporary display space without compromising the interior of the original Victorian building.”

Modern art.

After the gallery we continued on the main road finding more points of interest in the beautiful city of Adelaide. More photos will be presented in future posts.

Wall of Australian leaders and dignitaries.

Now, an update on the ship’s situation. A few scenarios have occurred during this cruise we’d yet mention. Sadly, two elderly passengers have passed away on this 33 night cruise from health issues. One of them, we’d discussed in  a prior post as shown here in early November. 

Antique chair.

The second death occurred a few days ago when we all heard the emergency call, “alpha, alpha” followed by a cabin number on the 8th deck. We were saddened to hear this second person also passed away.

A short time ago, the captain made an announcement that it’s necessary to make a change in course.He stated that bad weather in the Tasman Sea is the reason for the change. But we’re speculating that the recent damage from several earthquakes may have compromised a few upcoming ports of call, particularly Wellington on the South Island of New Zealand.  We may never know.

Variety of artistic glassware.

In the interim, a change in course will result in the ship visiting the North Island of New Zealand, where we recently spent three months living on the alpaca farm.

Statue of two oxen merged together.

We’ll keep our readers updated as we continue on over these next several days.

May all of our readers in the US have a very happy Thanksgiving, enjoying time with your family and friends.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2015:

In Fiji, last year, it appeared that bread fruit trees continue to produce fruit all year long.  For more photos, please click here.

Day 24…Circumnaviagting the Australian continent…What is the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US?…More Adelaide photos…

Tom, sitting on the train. He hasn’t gained weight on this cruising forgoing cereals, bread, rolls, donuts, and buns.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Art work in the ship’s gallery.

The Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated in the US is in two days. For those outside the US who may not know the significance of Thanksgiving, it is a very special day of celebration for the following reasons as described on this site:

Meaning of Thanksgiving – The Real Celebration
For many of us, the meaning of Thanksgiving usually includes feasting, four-day weekends, football games, floats, family reunions, or a forerunner to Christmas festivities. The “first Thanksgiving,” however, was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering. Following the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered the lost of 46 of their original 102 colonists. With the help of 91 Indians, the remaining Pilgrims survived the bitter winter and yielded a bountiful harvest in 1621. In celebration, a traditional English harvest festival, lasting three days brought the Pilgrims and natives to unite in a “thanksgiving” observance. 
(Continued below).

Pretty purple flowers blooming in spring.

This “thanksgiving” meal would not be celebrated again until June of 1676. On June 29 the community of Charlestown, Massachusetts proclaimed a day of thanksgiving for their good fortune. Ironically, this celebration excluded the Indians, as the colonists’ recognized their recent victory over the “heathen natives.” One hundred years later, in October of 1777, all 13 colonies participated in a one-time “thanksgiving” celebration which commemorated the patriotic victory over the British at Saratoga. It would take a span of over 150 more years to establish Thanksgiving as we celebrate it — George Washington proclaimed it a National holiday in 1789, Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November in 1863, and Congress sanctioned it as a legal holiday in 1941.”

Me, sitting on the train.

For those of us growing up in the US, most often we associated Thanksgiving with the beginning of the holiday season, a big hearty meal of turkey and dressing (a seasoned bread mixture used to stuff the bird), mashed potatoes, with gravy, sweet potatoes (yams) covered in white marshmallow topping, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and of course, the popular pumpkin pie.

No word can describe how important it was for us, to be able to do this beautiful celebratory meal to enjoy with family and friends. I especially enjoyed making multiple pumpkin pies, all from scratch, to line them up on the kitchen counter so everyone could take home a pie to enjoy along with their bags of leftovers.

This yellow box is used for registration into the train using the purchased transport card.

After the festivities ended, the next day was the beginning of decorating our home for Christmas which required the three remaining days of the four day weekend to set all the treasured decorations in place on the tree and throughout the house. 

This is Adelaide Station.

It was a daunting, time consuming task, but when completed and the lights on the tree were twinkling, all was good with the world. Do we miss this?    We miss our family celebrations. We are not missing all the work necessary to achieve all of this.

Honestly, at this point in our lives, I can’t envision every going through all that work; not the preparation of the meal nor the decorating of the tree(s) (we had two trees), the month long baking frenzy, the endless piles of gifts to wrap and the often 200 to 300 Christmas cards we sent every year, each with it’s own handwritten message inside.

Memorial statue.

This era has passed for us.  Are we sad?  Not at all. This year marks the 5th Thanksgiving since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012.    Most countries don’t grow turkeys and with my special way of eating the other dishes require major modifications to be suitable. 

When Thanksgiving was upon us while living in other countries, most often, we’ve dined out or made a chicken dinner with familiar and delicious sides we’ve known and love.

Statue outside the library building.

This year on the ship around Australia, we were told they were going to create a special menu for the 400 Americans on the ship.    Very likely, Tom will be taking part in the offerings while I pass.  Plain turkey doesn’t appeal to me and none of the side dishes will be suitable. That doesn’t bother me one bit. Whatever the chefs prepare for me as they do every night will be all right.

As for the upcoming Christmas season and Tom’s birthday on December 23rd, we’ll continue with the new traditions we’ve established over these past years of world travel; a homemade dinner for Tom’s birthday and on Christmas Eve and dining out on Christmas day, if there’s a local restaurant offering Christmas dinner. That works for us.

Statue commemorating Sir Henry Bragg.

As a matter of fact, I’ve already started accumulating some new recipes for the above occasions and look forward to enjoying them together. We no longer give gifts to one another (our lives are all the gifts we need) and do not set up a Christmas tree and decorations. 

Commemorative statue of Mary Lee.

We send US purchased gifts for the six grandchildren. We send gifts to the U.S. for the six grandchildren. 

Memorial structure in the center of town.

With the date differential here on this side of the International Dateline, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on the ship tomorrow, which is Thursday. In the US, it will be celebrated on Thursday, two days from today.

We have no regrets. For us, every day of our lives, of world travel deserves thanksgiving, however unusual and varied it may be.

Cactus-like plant blooming in spring.

May all of you revel in the joy of thanksgiving for life itself and in the holiday for those who celebrate.

Photo from one year ago today, November 23, 2015:

In Fiji, one year ago, a nursing pig with her piglets. For more photos, please click here.

Day 23…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Adelaide is quite the city!…Is this cruise too long?

Once outside the train station we spotted a casino. We weren’t aware that gambling was legal in Adelaide.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Model steam locomotive on display on the ship.

It’s been a while since we’ve been traveling by train.  In terms of our global travel, most often we will have a rental car or driver that we have arranged for our trips and tours.

View of the river from the train bound for Adelaide.

From time to time, when we don’t have a rental car or driver readily available, we’ll use public transportation when it’s convenient and safe to return to our vacation home at night in the dark which in many locations, isn’t always the best option.

Yesterday, when our ship docked in the Port of Adelaide, we had no other option than to travel by train to the city of Adelaide when it was a long distance from the port.

There are American stores all over the globe.

The train trip began at the port and ended in the city, to continue on the same route back and forth all day into the evening with the engineer walking to the end of the line at the terminal to begin again, driving the train from the opposite end each way.

We giggled over how many times a recording stated, “Mind the gap,” referring to the gap between the train and the platform.

We waited to leave the ship until after we’d uploaded yesterday’s post and thus were able to avoid the crowds.  There was no more than a dozen passengers in our coach.  Not only did the train serve the needs of cruise passengers but also many locals who lived and worked along the route.

  Not only did the train meet the needs of cruise passengers, it also met the needs of many residents who lived and worked along the highway.Homes along the railway tracks.

The cost for one round trip ticket (a plastic bar coded credit card-like pass)included a full day’s pass which may be used for all forms of public transportation in Adelaide was AU 10, US $7.37 each, a reasonable amount considering the distance and the potential of using street cars and buses while in the city.

Passengers are departing the station.

After arriving at Adelaide station, we were surprised by its size and volume of activity. This was a bustling city.    For whatever reason, there was an expectation that Adelaide would be a picturesque historic city.  It definitely qualified as historic but this was no small town. See details below, we gleaned from this site

The city of Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-most crowded city of the country. During June 2014, the city had an expected inhabitant population of 1.30 million. Adelaidean is utilized as a part of a reference to the city and its residents. The city is situated in the north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which encompass the city. The city also boasts one of the biggest cricket stadium in the world.

People that were born abroad, make 29.8% out of the aggregate population. Suburbs areas including Newton and Campbelltown in the east and Torrensville, West Lakes and Fulham toward the west have vast Greek and Italian population. The Italian consulate is situated in the eastern suburb of Payneham. Extensive Vietnamese populations are settled in the northwestern of Woodville, Pennington and Athol Park. People from India and Sri Lanka have settled into inward regions of Adelaide including the internal northern suburbs of Blair Athol and Enfield.”

Skyscraper in downtown Adelaide.

We left the station to follow the map we received when disembarking the ship. This map highlighted the major points of interest many of which appealed to us as we took photo after photo as we walked along the main downtown road.

The main road wasn’t too busy while we walked.

The weather was perfect, only warm under direct sunlight. The city, with busy with traffic moving at a good clip, provided an excellent glimpse of what Adelaide is all about; many free venues for tourists; historical buildings, upscale shops, plenty of dining establishments and of course, its own variety of friendly Australian citizens.

Madame Hanoi restaurant on the boulevard.

Although many passersby had their heads down to peruse their phones (typical in most cities these days) we never felt rushed, overcrowded or unsafe in any manner.

Historical old Parliament building on a corner.    The new building is adjacent (see picture below).

Since we’d had a late start and the round trip train ride required about two and a half hours including waiting time, we wandered the downtown area for the perfect amount of time allowing us to get the full flavor of the attractive, spotless city. 

Protests in front of the Parliament building.

By 3:45 we were back on the ship with ample time to dress for the evening to meet our friends for Happy Hour in the Diamond Club Lounge by 4:30 to begin the evening’s activities.

Once again, we had a lovely evening as we wind down the remaining 11 nights on this cruise.

Was this cruise too long for our liking?

    We heard from some of the under 500 passengers who had booked the round trip that it was a bit too long for them. 

Protest signs at the Parliament building in Adelaide,
For us, this cruise will have been our “home” for 33-nights, and none of it has ever been boring or tiring when everywhere we travel we find “home is where the heart is.” How can we ever question that premise?

May your day be happy and fulfilling!

Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2015:

One year ago, we wrote about the culling of animals in Marloth Park due to lack of rain. It was heartbreaking to hear of this and we pray for, good weather and abundant vegetation for the wildlife as we make plans for the future to return to Marloth Park, South Africa. For more details, please click here.