Day #191 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The US Presidential Debate???…

 

The flowers that lined the walkway from the main building at Lantana Galu Beach in Diani Beach to the outdoor path were absolutely breathtaking.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

Note: Yesterday, when editing our 2000 word post on my chosen way of eating low carb/keto, I’d made a few errors on the links for the recipes. Last night, a few of our readers/friends brought this to our attention, when we made all the corrections. You may review the edited post here.

My dinner that night: Seasoned grilled red snapper with sautéed non-starchy vegetables

Currently, in the background, we’re listening to the US Presidential Debate. With the time difference between the US and India, it wasn’t available to us until this morning on YouTube. As always, we do not express political views on this site. Subsequently, we’re not expressing any comments or views. We respect each individual’s views and fully believe in a friendly, opinionated, and lively discussion. But, our site is not an arena for such conversations. Thank you for understanding.

I listen to countless podcasts unrelated to politics and often find myself annoyed by the podcasters using their podcasts to espouse their own views. Whether I agree with them or not, I switch to another podcast. If I want to listen to political pundits and often questionable news, I am free to do so, even while here in India.

Notice the lack of veggies on Tom’s plate? He requested they be placed on a separate plate to be handed over to me. I did the same with my potatoes, handing them over to him as shown at the far right of his plate..

Each time I walk the corridors I listen to a variety of podcasts, mainly centered around health and well-being. I can’t learn enough. After yesterday’s 2000 word post on the low carb/keto way of eating, we’ve adopted since 2011, we were thrilled and surprised at the positive response we received.

Times are changing, albeit slowly, over how the low fat, high carbohydrate, low protein way of eating has impacted the lives of people all over the world with more and more Type 2 diabetes and other inflammatory auto-immune diseases. It could be another decade until these changes are universally accepted. I continue to follow scientists, doctors, and other medical professionals who’ve realized the way “we were told to eat” may have been wrong.

After our walk back to the main building, once again, we were mesmerized by these gorgeous fresh flowers.

OK, on to the FedEx package. We received the replacement credit card in the letter envelope, two months later, after filing lots of personal information with FedEx in order to receive it. In the interim, the box of supplies we ordered from our mailing service in July had recently begun the custom fees assessment, after we sent in the same personal documents.

Last night, Tom received an email from FedEx, stating we owed.INR 69406, US $940.56 in custom fees! The value of the contents is only ½ this tax assessment! How can the tax be 200%? We replied by email and await a response, notifying them that there must be an error. I looked online and custom fees generally don’t run more than 28%. Now, this becomes another frustrating hassle we’re hardly in the mood to tackle. Hopefully, today this will be resolved.

The buds for the sweet-smelling flowers were intoxicating, as in a fine perfume.

It’s hard to believe how much we’ve had to handle these past few months. You’d think that being in lockdown would limit one’s responsibilities. Alas, our perceptions were wrong. The reality remains…”You can run but you can’t hide.” Regardless of where we are in the world, we have to deal with filing taxes, paying taxes, handling insurance, website updates, paying bills, and other personal and financial matters.

Wouldn’t this make a lovely bridal bouquet?

Often people presume our lives of world travel consist of simple living in beautiful places all over the world. In some ways, this may be true. Embarking on this lifestyle, we had no delusions that responsibilities would follow us. Lately, in light of COVID-19, and its lengthy lockdown, it’s been a time when we’ve been busier than ever. Perhaps, staying busy has been good for us and when we look back, once we’re back out in the world, wherever that may, we may reflect on this time as productive and worthwhile.

Time to go now. I need to look up our credit card balances to pay them all off on bill pay, on the first of the month, go for another walk, make yet another call to FedEx, get to work on the remaining two-2000 word posts I’ve yet to start and on and on…

Just as we began to exit the main door, this red plant caught Tom’s eye.

We’ll be back…

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Photo from one year ago today, September 30, 2019:

These ducks and chickens are on a mission at the farm in Tiverton, Devon, England. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why did we choose low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world?…Food photos and recipes!…

low carb keto way of eating while traveling the world
Here’s a favorite meal: bacon-wrapped, hard-boiled egg stuffed meatloaf made with grass-fed ground beef; salads with red romaine (cos), celery, carrot, and homemade salad dressing; sliced cucumber sprinkled with Himalayan salt; steamed green beans and broccolini; oven-roasted zucchini; good-for-gut-bacteria probiotic sauerkraut; and, my favorite occasional treat, low carb flaxseed and almond flour muffins topped with grass-fed organic butter. Who says “low carb” dining isn’t healthy? (The red bottle in the center of the table contains homemade ketchup we put in a  used and washed bottle). Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

For many readers, today’s third of five SEO posts may be found to be controversial, again with repetition from past posts, required due to this process as Post #3 of 5 for this purpose.

If you still believe and follow a vegan diet, or the low fat, low or moderate protein, mostly plant-based, high carbohydrate way of eating, this post won’t appeal to your personal beliefs about food. That’s OK. The intent here is not to dismiss or express disdain for any way of eating that may serve you well. Nor do we intend to “convert” any of our readers to our chosen lifestyle of low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world.

Please understand, that today’s post on the low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world has worked for me, for Tom, and for many throughout the world. Over the years we’ve received tremendous positive feedback from readers following a similar path, often requesting tips and recipes which we happily provided and posted. In no manner are we dispensing any medical or health advice. Please seek your own resources for additional information.

How one chooses to eat and to ultimately care for their health is a personal topic, one which we’re sharing here again today based on countless emails we’ve received from readers asking us to reiterate how we are in fact living a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world when so much of the world’s diet consists of high carbohydrates foods including grains, sugars, and starches.

Homemade grain-free pizza crust
Homemade grain-free pizza crust. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

Why did we choose low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world?…

It all started in 2011 when I sought treatment from an integrative medicine doctor, a licensed, accredited physician, one who treats the entire body, rather than a part of the body causing an issue. I had been suffering from hereditary auto-immune conditions, including pre-diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperinsulinemia, and metabolic syndrome. All of these hereditary inflammatory conditions ultimately led to cardiovascular disease.

Also, these conditions, coupled with a hereditary propensity to advanced spinal stenosis (and subsequent diabetes and heart disease) resulted in constant full-body pain commensurate with my three MRIs illustrating that my skeletal frame was rapidly disintegrating.

Based on these three MRIs, the doctor expected I’d be in a wheelchair in a matter of months. At that time, I was 61 years old, living my life as a disabled person, struggling to stay active with excessive painful exercise, requiring me to retire early. Mainly, I didn’t discuss the degree of pain I was suffering, preferring to avoid eliciting sympathy from family and friends.

With pressure on my nerves throughout my body, the “crumbling vertebrae and other joints,” and other above-mentioned conditions, left me with chronic full-body pain.

baked, low carb, almond flour chicken stuffed loaves
One of our favorite recipes: baked, low carb, almond flour chicken stuffed loaves. We tripled the recipe in order to result in four meals, freezing part of it. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

This amazing doctor handed me 20-pages of literature from the renowned Cleveland Clinic as to how a low carb, ketogenic way of eating may reduce my level of pain and symptoms from the above conditions.

As it turned out, a lifetime of eating low-fat, high carbohydrate, low protein, high sugar-grain-starch diet, eventually impacted my cardiovascular system which was firmly in place long before I changed my diet in 2011. Inflammation, ultimately, was the cause. As the surgeon explained, after my triple cardiac bypass surgery in 2019, I’d had heart disease for the prior 20, 30, or 40 years and didn’t know it. By the time I changed to a low carb, keto way of eating in 2011, the damage had been done.

In 2019, the cardiologist explained that those changes I made in 2011 may well have saved my life from a fatal heart attack, as well as years of exercising, which I used as a means to avoid further deterioration of my joints and muscles.

Layering the cooked bacon, meat slices, cheese, tomato, and onion slices for our bread-free subway
Layering the cooked bacon, meat slices, cheese, tomato, and onion slices for our bread-free subway, ready to be wrapped in parchment paper. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

What does a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world look like?

As I read through the 20-page report from the Cleveland Clinic, I wondered how I could possibly follow such a strict way of eating. In my usual way, I sought information online from reliable sources on the controversial low carb/keto diet, which was often used for a number of chronic conditions. Much to my surprise, I found a tremendous number of reputable resources to assist me in my journey. For the sake of expediency, I won’t be listing “how to do a keto diet” here today, other than to list the following foods in general which are allowed, as opposed to those “not allowed.”

1. Animal protein (including eggs): Any form without sauces and spices containing starch, grains, and sugars
2. Vegetables: Any non-starchy vegetables primarily that grow above ground, excluding corn, beans, peas, prepared simply with butter, Himalayan salt, and some spices. No fruit of any type, which is high in sugar, other than a few berries from time to time
3. Dairy (if tolerated): In moderation: Hard cheeses, full-fat cream, butter, sour cream, cream cheese. (Yogurt is generally high in sugars and whey protein containing milk sugars).
4. Spices: Mustard, fresh or dried spices without additives; homemade mayonnaise (most mayo includes toxic oils). No store-bought ketchup which is high in sugar
5. Oils: Pure, high-quality olive oil, butter, lard, tallow, bacon fat. (Vegetable oils must be avoided due to high inflammatory effects).

Goal: No more than 20 actual (not “net carbs” often calculated after deducting fiber) grams of carbohydrates per day, easily available for calculation on numerous free online apps.

Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie

One of three pans of Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie. (We couldn’t find the correct sized tin foil pans to use. Instead, we used three baking pans. But the recipe is best baked in individual serving pans since it tends to fall apart when scooping it out from larger pans). Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

How and when did we decide we could maintain a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world?

After three months of eating this way, following the above with relative ease, one morning I awoke and the pain was gone! And I mean GONE! It was only five months later that we decided to forgo life as we knew it to travel the world. Shortly thereafter, Tom embraced this way of eating, losing 40 pounds, 18 kg, while totally recovering from irritable bowel syndrome and restless leg syndrome. In six months he was totally off seven pills a day! But, we wondered, was it conceivable to maintain a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world?

Highly motivated, with the pain still gone for me and weight and illnesses gone for Tom, we were on our way on October 31, 2012, soon to be our eight-year anniversary since we began our journey. Hovering in our minds was the upcoming three months in Italy only 11 months later, the endless restaurant visits, the foods popular in various countries in Europe, the tempting desserts, bread, and flour-laden dishes on cruise ships. How would we do it?

It required a huge commitment from me, more than Tom, who seemed to be able to occasionally vary from our low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world without any major consequences. For me, I was terrified that if I so much as took a bite of a dessert, a flour-thickened sauce, pasta, or bread, I’d immediately revert to my former pain-ridden condition. I avoided anything that didn’t fall within the above parameters.

mozzarella balls, stuffed meatballs with a sugar-free Italian seasoned tomato sauce with mushrooms, topped with grated mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese
For three night’s we had mozzarella balls, stuffed meatballs with a sugar-free Italian seasoned tomato sauce with mushrooms, topped with grated mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. There’s also one ball inside each meatball along with one on each top. On the side, steamed veggies and salad. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

Was it easy to shop for and maintain a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world?

In time, we developed a sensible routine for shopping for our home-cooked meals. Comparable to most home cooks, we created a list in our minds of favorite dishes, shopping for ingredients accordingly. Every country, without exception, sells some form of animal protein such as fish, shellfish, chicken, beef, and pork. (Although, here in India no beef or pork is served, other than bacon).

Every country sells eggs, most often free-range, butter, and non-starchy vegetables. We were always able to purchase quality imported hard cheeses, and other low carb cheeses, although at times, they were expensive. We budgeted accordingly, I suppose the most difficult situation has been in India, where we’re longing for a bun-less burger, a juicy steak, or pork chops, none of which are available due to Hindu religious beliefs. As a result, we continue to eat chicken and on occasion salmon (for me), which is expensive for a tiny portion.

Shopping for groceries was most difficult in Belize where the grocery store offered only frozen, often freezer-burned meats, and again in Fiji, where a wonderful meat market provided many wonderful cuts of meat of all types, but the grocery store with only two aisles had few items we used for preparing our meals including vegetables and spices. Somehow, we always figured it out, never having to sacrifice our chosen low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world.

Low Carb (2 grams) Gluten Free Cheese Taco Bowl
Low Carb (2 grams) Gluten Free Cheese Taco Bowl. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

Recipes for maintaining a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world…

Like many of our readers, we all have a “favorite” recipes list, often a top 10. Years ago, I wrote a post about our favorite top ten LOW CARB recipes which include:

1. Bread-less submarine sandwiches – See the link here for the details and photos.
2. Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf – See the link here for details and photos.
3. Chicken Stuffed Almond Flour Loaves – See the link here for details and photos.
4. Chicken Pot Pies – See the here for details and photos.
5. Meatballs stuffed with Mozzarella with Mushrooms & Sugar-free Marinara – See this link here for details and photos.
6. Pizza – See this link here for the crust to which you add your favorite low carb, sugar-free topping.
7. Taco salad with low carb bowl – See this link here for the bowl to which you add your favorite low carb ingredients
8. Gluten-free hamburgers with low carb buns – See here for our low carb bun recipe to which you add your favorite burgers and vegetables
9. Sunday Roast – See here for our low carb Sunday roast, so popular in the UK, here.
10. Coconut or Almond Flour Battered Fish or Chicken – See here for either option.

8-ounce patty with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion
These homemade hamburger buns are huge enough to hold a 6 to the 8-ounce patty with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion or other items added. They’re delicious! Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

How to maintain a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world, especially while in lockdown in India during the past six months…

It’s been difficult these past many months in lockdown in India with room service providing all of our meals. We’ve always preferred to eat only two meals per day. On occasion, for health reasons, we’ve chosen intermittent fasting, which is easier for us when we’re living in a holiday home and may need the break the fast with the food we have on-hand. Here, we have nothing available if we felt a “need” to eat something appropriate for breaking the fast.

Indian food, although delicious to me, is not a favorite of Tom’s. And, Indian food is packed with starch, sugar, fruit, and grains, none of which are suitable for my way of eating. At one point, early on, I considered throwing caution to the wind and just dine on the delicious Indian foods.

However, after seeing how I had difficulty walking after eating only their rich red sauces (all without gluten), for several months, I now realize I wouldn’t have been able to do all the walking I’ve done so far, never missing a day, solely with the intent in benefitting my heart health. If the pain made it impossible to walk, I’d only have been damaging my health further. I’ve literally forced myself to walk the past few months.

organic grass-fed pork roast, Kransky (cheese-filled) gluten-free sausages, Portabello mushrooms, onions, and organic carrots
Our Sunday roast: organic grass-fed pork roast, Kransky (cheese-filled) gluten-free sausages, Portabello mushrooms, onions, and organic carrots. I cut the roast open during the last 30 minutes to ensure it was cooked properly. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

Now, back to my strict keto diet, forgoing all those carb-laden sauces, eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, I’m finding the walking easier each day. The philosophy of deducting the fiber grams from the total number of grams of carbohydrates has been proven to be a fallacy. I count only the full carb content of carbohydrates and now, I’m gradually improving, more each day.

Hopefully, by the time we leave India, I will be back to fitness and health, in every way.

How you can achieve a low carb, keto way of eating while traveling the world or when living life anywhere in the world…

At first, when I decided to write on this topic, I considered adding links to the doctors, researchers, and scientists who’ve done extensive research on this way of eating. After thinking about it, I decided with the vast information available online, each of us needs to do our own research to bring us to a point of realization that the low fat, high carb, low protein, highly-processed grains, sugars, and starches may not be for us. One need only looks at the poor health of the citizens of the world and in the US, from following this modality for the past four decades.

dinner of lightly battered and seasoned fish with egg and almond flour, sautéed in coconut and olive oil Barramundi, fresh organic green beans, homemade LC muffin, and salad
A favorite dinner of lightly battered and seasoned fish with egg and almond flour, sautéed in coconut and olive oil Barramundi, fresh organic green beans, homemade LC muffin, and salad on the side was a perfect meal we both enjoyed. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe.

There are countless highly reputable resources online you may choose to investigate. It took me years of research to find my way in this life-changing way of eating. If you have difficulty researching, feel free to contact me at the end of any post, in the comments section and I will add some links for all of our readers to see.

Thank you for letting me share this story, once again as we each decide which path works best in extending our lives, the quality of our lives, and the ultimate guilt-free enjoyment of many outstanding foods and meals at home and throughout the world.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2019:

tomatoes
Renata, our host,  suggested we pick all the tomatoes and other vegetables we wanted, remaining in the greenhouse For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #189 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Food photos from a Celebrity cruise, Vancouver to Honolulu in 2014…

There was no charge for a piece (or two) of this lovely strawberry cake offered on the cruise. But, none for me with my way of eating. Even Tom passed on this cake.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2014, while we were on a cruise from Vancouver to Honolulu. For more on this date, please click here.

My mouth was watering when I reviewed today’s photos from a cruise to Hawaii, where we ended up staying for a total of eight months on four of the most popular islands: Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai.

All of these desserts in the Al Bacio Bar are included in the fare., no purchase necessary.  However, there is a charge for specialty coffees also available in this area. Oddly, Tom wasn’t interested in anything in this case.

In many ways, it seems like yesterday, especially when we spent the Christmas holidays with the kids and grandkids on the Big Island and, the last four months in Kauai, making many new friends and exploring the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross, which during those months, became a daily source of tremendous joy and wonder.

By the time we boarded this cruise in 2014, we’d been on eight prior cruises since beginning our journey and had considerable experience when ordering meals befitting Tom’s picky taste buds and my low carb/keto way of eating. It was hard for me to resist all the beautiful desserts, one of which is shown in today’s main photo. But, never once did I order or select any forbidden desserts, ice cream (or meals) when meandering the various food stations throughout the ship.

Oh, delicious! I ended up ordering a second serving of this fabulous Pistachio Duck Terrine.

With a former sweet tooth, such desserts were difficult to resist, but by this ninth cruise, I had my attraction to such items strictly under control and rarely ever gave it a thought. When others, at a shared table, ordered gooey desserts, either I ordered a fresh cup of tea or if still hungry after a meal of tiny portions, I could order the cheese plate.

In every case when ordering the cheese plate, asking for it to arrive without fruit or crackers, almost invariably it would be placed in front of me with fruit and crackers. After a while, we laughed. I’d remove the items and proceed to enjoy the various imported cheeses.

Tom’s escargot was green due to the use of spinach in the buttery sauce. If I told him the green was spinach, he probably wouldn’t eat it. He did!

Eventually, I stopped ordering it, since the cheese serving was way more than I should eat and it was hard to resist when it was in front of me. I’ve always been a member of the “clean plate club.” Many can surely relate to that, perhaps a by-product of our upbringing when we were required to clean the plate due to the starving children all over the world. Gosh, if leaving untouched food on my plate would feed starving children I would have never cleaned my plate.

For many travelers, cruising is all about the food. Honestly, right now if we boarded a cruise ship, I’d run, not walk, to the buffet to partake in the many items I can eat; eggs Benedict (minus the English muffin), smoked salmon with capers, platters of chilled prawns, burgers (minus the bun), grilled fish, unlimited steamed veggies and one of the items I miss the most…a big green salad.

My dinner consisted of salmon and steamed vegetables, which with the addition of a side dish of Hollandaise sauce was fine. I prefer not to eat carrots since they are grown underground and high in sugar content.

We don’t order salads or raw vegetables here in India for fear the produce is washed in tap water which is unsafe to drink in India. Sure, the hotel probably washes it in purified water but it most likely had been sprayed with tap water in processing for distribution to hotels and restaurants. It would only take a few spores of bacteria to throw us into a bacterial infection which is all we’d need now.

We don’t worry about COVID-19 infecting our food that is served to our room twice a day. The cooks live in the hotel as do the servers who deliver it to our room. Also, there’s no definitive research indicating the virus is contracted from food, although under certain circumstances, I’d imagine this is a possibility.

Tom’s dinner of beef cheeks over parsnip puree, carrots, broccoli with demi-glace sauce which he found to be excellent.

That’s why we don’t order takeaway meals from the many restaurants in the area that will deliver to the hotel which is left at the guard gate for patrons to collect. It’s not worth the risk or the bother. Also, for my purposes, we’d have no idea as to ingredients used to prepare our meals, including toxic vegetable oils that we resist. All of our meals are prepared with “real” butter as opposed to margarine and trans-fats used by many dining establishments throughout the world, not just in India.

Even looking at today’s photos of food I can eat, makes my mouth water. Oh, well. Hopefully, this is just temporary. Every day, I think about a plate of home-made food in front of me, sitting at a table with a linen placemat and napkin, and a glass of red wine in a fine wine glass, instead of on a chair in a hotel room with the same meal night after night meal on my lap,

One of our dear readers wrote that lockdown feels like “house arrest” and I agree, but in our case, it feels more like being a teenager and confined to our room for bad behavior. Except, that teenager could go to the kitchen, open the refrigerator filled with tasty options, and select what they found most appealing. Not the case now!

May your day be filled with taste-tempting, hearty, healthy, and delicious meals.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2019:

This lamb, covered in dirt after it rained, on the farm in Devon, England, is half the size of the others. Renate and John, our property owners, explained she never grew to full size due to a genetic anomaly. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

Day #188 in lockdown in Mumbai, India…Handling stress…

 

This appealing view enticed us to make Madafoo’s in Diani Beach, Kenya, a regular spot to visit.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

The idea that within a few weeks I will be done with the work associated with the development of our new site, gives me goosebumps with excitement. To be able to do a new post each day along with an hour of edits on past posts, will leave me with some much-needed free time.

This is where we’ll lounge in the chaises at Madafoo’s in a guarded area, overlooking the Indian Ocean each Wednesday going forward. If it rains, we’ll either wait until it stops or go the next day.

With the loss of my dear sister Susan, in August, the health of our dear daughter-in-law, three family members with COVID-19 (now on the mend), all of which were foremost in our minds, our site went live. Add the requirements of me writing those five 2000 word posts for search engine optimization (SEO), and the editing of the 3000 past posts over my head, it’s been a challenge.

In a lesser vein, the fact of the daily handling of our two month’s overdue arrival of the two items from FedEx, requiring tons of paperwork, still yet to arrive, along with the daily research on when borders will open in India, let alone anywhere else in the world, it’s been a busy and trying time.

The swing that visitors are welcome to use. Guards hovered in this area patrolling both the resort and the beach.

How do we handle stress? Both of us may have a few angst-ridden moments here and there. But, overall, we strive to maintain an even keel as much as possible. Knowing how dangerous stress is for health, we continue to steer ourselves into a place of quiet and mindfulness.

Fortunately, we both are good at soothing one another when situations beyond our control seem to spiral. We’re firm with each other to say, “Get a grip,” “Settle down” or simply, “Let’s figure it out.” This has been our saving grace. Neither of us needs to be coddled. Instead, we both prefer a distinct action plan. Whether we get the plan from one another or create it on our own, we have the strength and support of each other to find our way to the other side.

Stepping onto the beach, we were ready to tackle the soft sand for the long trek back to our holiday home.

We have no doubt as to how much easier this is for us as a happy couple when tackling difficult scenarios. If one is alone in life, the magnitude of such challenges is only exacerbated by not having a loved one at their side to help work through the issues. Many of our readers who have written to us over the years are single, divorced, or have lost their beloved partner and now live alone. Children have grown and left home or in many cases, moved away.

In many other cases, the parents have moved to a warmer climate or elsewhere (like us), leaving siblings, children, and grandchildren in their wake. In these times of COVID-19, they find themselves alone in their house, condo, or apartment, trying to work their way through the challenges of the pandemic.

The local fisherman, working in the sea to earn a living, catching fish they sell to the restaurants.

Many of our readers are divorced, single, or widowed with children to care for and have lost their source of income due to the worldwide lockdowns. The financial burdens on these single-parent households have left them reeling with fear and uncertainty. Many have lost their insurance benefits in accordance with losing their jobs.

Another common scenario is the couple, alone or with children, who have lost their income and are dealing with the financial and emotional stresses as a result of COVID-19. And yet, another stressful and sad situation is the millions of seniors in retirement homes, assisted living, and nursing care facilities that haven’t been allowed to see their families all these months.

Once again we were walking on the long pathway from the sea.

Then, of course, are the almost 1,000,000 people worldwide who’ve lost their lives to COVID-19 and the horrific loss for their loved ones. Over 33,000,000 have been tested positive worldwide. I have no doubt, every one of those people experienced a degree of stress in wondering if they’d become one of the death statistics.

All the naysayers can say what they want about “conspiracy theories” about COVID-19 being a scam or a hoax. But the reality remains that almost 1,000,000 people have died from this pandemic. Ask those family members, if they think the virus was a hoax.

This pod baffled us.

So when we look at our stress of being “stuck in a safe and clean environment” with food, although boring and repetitive, with our income intact and a roof over our heads, we have little to complain about. The loss of my sister and the concerns for our daughter-in-law has been at the forefront of stress-inducing during this time, along with the worry over family members’ health and well-being, especially those who’ve had COVID-19.

None of us are exempt from stress and worry during these challenging times. For us, we remind ourselves of what we do have as opposed to what we don’t. In the realm of things, when we get out of here and where we’ll go in order to continue on our world journey is infinitesimal compared to the situation of others.

Back at our entrance, we were grateful for our time away. But we were also glad to return to strip down to our bathing suits, drink more water, and relax after the long strenuous walk in the heat. I couldn’t wait to download the photos to see how they came out!

We hope and pray for the health, safety, and well-being for you and your loved ones, as we all work our way through this outrageous time in our history. Once this has ended, may we all remember this time and appreciate our lives in times to come.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 27, 2019:

Visitor! This chicken on the farm in Devon, England was waiting at our door for the possibility of some morsel. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Day #187 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Lockdown weight gain?…

At long last, we reached the end of the path. We were thrilled to have the sea in front of us once again. We didn’t take the time to take photos of each other. Pouring sweat in the outrageous humidity and heat, neither of us was “photo-ready.”

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

It’s Saturday morning, We didn’t wake up until 9:00 am which is unusual for us. With breakfast out of the way and 2 of 5 miles already tackled from walking the corridors, we’re both ready to take on another day. What the day holds remains to be seen.

As we approached the exit gate from our neighborhood, Nancy, the daytime guard greeted us both with a warm hug. At night security is beefed up when more security risks were prevalent.

Today, I’ll spend more time working on the third 2000 word post which I promised our web developer I’d have done by Monday. After that, there’s only two more to go. This next post is revolving around how we’ve traveled the world living a low carb/ketogenic diet, a request from many readers who’ve written over the past year.

For our long term readers, you will have read this information over and over again. But, over the years, we’ve acquired countless new readers many of whom are curious about this way of eating in regard to their own health and well-being and if this may work for them. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifetime commitment.

On the walk to the beach access, these two women were carrying what appeared to be heavy loads atop their heads, a common site in Kenya.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I’d been eating too many carbs with the red sauces I was ordering on my chicken. With boredom at the forefront, the supposed sauces were gluten-free, starch-free, grain-free, and sugar-free. But I was deluding myself. The excess carbs were causing the very inflammation and high blood sugar that not only caused the pain to return but also caused me to gain weight, a sure-fire way to determine my blood sugar was high. I could barely walk.

Now, three weeks later by avoiding the thick red sauces, the pain is diminished by 65% but I still have a way to go. I feel confident that in time, maybe a month or more, I’ll continue to notice an improvement. In the interim, I’ve lost the extra pounds I’d gained from eating the curry and makhani sauces over a period of five months, both of which must have had ingredients I cannot eat.

Reaching the beginning of the beach access, it was impossible to see how far we’d have to walk to reach the sea. This lonely stretch would be dangerous to travel at night, which of course, we won’t do, always took a cab to dine at any of the restaurants along the coast.

With the language barrier, it’s been difficult to explain my way of eating to the cooks. The only solution has been to change my food orders, the past few weeks to the following:

  • Breakfast: two hard-boiled eggs, two pieces crispy bacon
  • Dinner: two pieces of grilled, boneless, skinless chicken, basted with butter and sauteed mushrooms and broccoli (I change the vegetables I select every few days)
  • In places, the path to the beach was filled with flowers.

That’s all I eat each day. Not much food. I should be losing weight like crazy but after the heart surgery, I gained 20 pounds and have struggled to lose it. Now, I have hope that I’ll lose it. Walking 5 miles, 8 km, a day hasn’t attributed to any weight loss whatsoever. This doesn’t surprise me. I never lost weight from working out alone.

My goal is to be able to fit into the few items of clothing I have left and to feel more fit and healthy. Now with only 15 pounds to go, I feel more confident I can accomplish this while continuing to reduce the degree of pain while walking, over the next few months, while still in lockdown.

The sea, the clouds, and the mystery of ominous clouds rolling in left us in awe with our mouths agape.

Of course, when we are able to get out of India and cook for ourselves, I’ll have more options and control over what I’m eating. Here, it’s been difficult with so few appropriate options. Tom has been eating a relatively unhealthy dinner each evening and he too looks forward to some home-cooked meals sometime in the future.

I’ve read over and over again, many people have struggled to maintain, or improve, their health while in lockdown. Thank goodness, we have had no access to snacks or treats during these six months in lockdown. It sure is easy to overeat while bored.

Miles of sandy beach stretched in front of us on the Indian Ocean. The white sand was the softest sand we’d ever walked, our feet sinking in several inches with each step. As a result, walking was laborious, especially in the heat and humidity. This didn’t deter us. We forged ahead.

Now, as I wrap this up, I’ll head to walk my next mile, and then when back in the room get back to continue working on that tricky 2000 word post.

Have a pleasant Saturday and weekend!

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Photos from one year ago today, September 26, 2019:

In the rain, Tom was using the wheelbarrow to bring the wood to Pond Cottage in Devon, England. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Day #186 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Recap of our situation…

Mom appeared to be showing her offspring how to drink from the river.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2018, while we were living in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more on this date, please click here.

We spent 15 months in Marloth Park from February 2018 to May 2019, the last three months of which I was recovering from open-heart surgery and was unable to fly. We’d overstayed our visa by those last three necessary months, leaving us described as “undesirables” based on South Africa’s immigration department with a five-year ban on returning.

Mom was standing by the river’s edge waiting for her baby to join her who was a short distance away.

We hired a South African attorney at quite an expense, to allow us to return anytime, removing the five-year ban, and then, COVID-19 happened. On March 20, 2020, we arrived at the Mumbai Airport at 3:00 am, with tickets to fly to South Africa and were turned away when checking in. South Africa had yet to close their borders, but they didn’t want anyone entering with a US passport. The next day they closed their borders.

From the airport, we returned to our former hotel in Mumbai, the SunNSand. A few days later, they closed the hotel, literally kicking us out on the street. We spent several stressful hours trying to find a place to stay and finally, we were directed to this hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport on March 24, 2020. We’ve been here since in utter lockdown for the past 186 days and nights.

The word was out! Little birds stopped by our vacation home for seeds.

As our long term readers know, we were determined to return to South Africa. A year ago, we’d booked a cruise for April 3, 2020, sailing from Mumbai, India to Greenwich, England, spending several months in Europe, then sail out of Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa on November 10, 2020. Our plan was to spend a few days in Cape Town and then fly to Marloth Park. All of these plans have been canceled months ago.

Well, the best-laid plans…were totally changed by COVID-19 and here we sit over six months later with nary a plan on the horizon. It looks as if South Africa may be opening its borders very soon, but excluding US passport holders and recent visitors to India. And, India certainly doesn’t have flights from Mumbai to South Africa, even if they would let us in. So, here we sit. Six months later.

Down they went, in an awkward pose, to drink from the river.

Daily, we’re checking updates on when India’s borders will open, going anywhere that may appeal to us. But right now, the only flights available are these listed at this link. None of these work for us. We’re not interested in returning to Dubai, having been there for two weeks, in 2013. It was interesting for that period but not appealing for us to return. There would be no benefit for us to sit in a hotel room in Dubai, as opposed to doing so here in India.

Also, it makes no sense for us to fly to another big city in India. We’d be risking unnecessary time at the airport and would still be stuck in a hotel room. So, much to our chagrin, we stay put.

The baby tried it on her own while mom watched. Giraffes are vulnerable to predators in this position.

We continued to work on receiving our two FedEx items. A few days ago, we were “kicked out” of their system when attempting to upload the necessary documents including; passport bio page and back page; letter from the hotel authorizing them to deliver the items; along with our e-visa document. We weren’t allowed to try again for another 24 hours.

Yesterday afternoon, I was able to get the documents uploaded and this morning received an email that we’ll hear from them as to “custom fees” we may owe. After that process, we’ll receive the items. Good grief. I’ve never heard of so much hoopla to receive FedEx packages.

A few zebras meandered down the hill to the water, but mom didn’t seem concerned. Giraffes and zebras seem to commingle well in the wild.

Most likely, in the future, we won’t be ordering anything from the US, as more and more countries are adding products to their online websites. We’ve had awful problems receiving international packages all over the world.

Today? Status quo. We’re hanging in there, both of us with a good attitude, coupled with hope for the future for all of us, all over the world.

Stay safe.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 25, 2019:

Sheep grazing near Pond Cottage, our farm rental in Devon, England. This paddock is where the older rams reside to live out their lives. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #185 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Six months in confinement…Package hell…

Sunset reddened clouds reflecting in the pool at our Bali villa.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2016, while we were living in Sumbersari, Bali, Indonesia. For more on this date, please click here.

When there was no post on this date in 2013 in Kenya, I scoured each year on this date and landed on our time spent in Bali in 2016. Seeing the above photo of the exquisite infinity pool in the villa overlooking the sea sent my mind into a tailspin. Oh, would we appreciate that now!

Many passersby carry needed supplies along the beach.

The total four months we spent at this villa were divided into two separate stays;  after the first two months we left and headed to Singapore to visit three embassies to acquire much-needed visas;  then from Singapore to Vietnam and Cambodia on a Mekong River cruise and land tour. From there, we spent 42 days in Phuket, Thailand, returning to Bali for the second two months.

We loved the villa in Bali, especially the veranda, pool, and cabana where we spent the majority of our days, lounging, talking, laughing, swimming, and watching a wide array of activities transpiring on the beach. Each new day presented unique and interesting scenes, unlike anything we’d seen on any beach in the world.

Gede explained that these plastic coverings are to protect watermelon from the hot sun.

Whether it was buffalo walking along the shore guided by a child with rope, no more than 10 years old; white horses on a walk; locals dressed in local garb walking along the shore; people bathing in the sand and rinsing in the sea; and children playing naked in a river that meets the sea only a short distance from us;  We were amused, entertained and motivated to take photos.

Today is the six-month anniversary of the date we checked into this hotel on March 24, 2020. During the first month, we were able to have our meals in the hotel’s dining room. But, in no time at all, India’s government banned dining in restaurants and room service was our only option for our two daily meals which has continued through today.

A typical small business building found in a village.

Purchasing and serving alcohol was banned for several months. Now, alcohol may be purchased and delivered, but with taxes at 38% plus delivery fees, the cost is outrageous. The hotel cannot serve alcohol and, with their upcharges on drinks plus taxes and tips, it makes no sense for us to imbibe at all. Also, neither of us has ever enjoyed having drinks in a hotel room. We’ll wait until we get to our next location, wherever that may be.

On another note, we ordered a package of supplies from our mailing service in Nevada, which includes our new passports, contact lenses, snail-mail, and odds and ends we can’t get in India. The package, along with a second item, a replacement credit card (due to fraud) was shipped at the end of July 2020 and we’ve yet to receive either item.

Rice is a huge staple in the Balinese people’s diet and is exported to many parts of the world.

I desperately tried to reach a human at FedEx India’s multiple phone numbers, but either the line was busy or no one answered. We each sent no less than a dozen email messages asking for assistance, always including the two tracking numbers and the urgency of receiving these two items. The replies always stated the same thing, “We’re working on it” or some variation thereof.

Finally, a few days ago, Tom received a reply from an upper management person with instructions as to how to receive the packages. It required that we send in copies of our passports, both bio pages and back pages, and our e-visas.

Not so quick. The trick was to get their website to work in order to be able to upload the documents. Once I did everything as they suggested, the photos in small-sized jpegs wouldn’t upload. Only a few would. I kept having to take the photos over and over again, to finally get them to upload.

Crossing a bridge over a river.

A few hours later, we received two emails stating we hadn’t sent incomplete files. They needed two letters, signed and sealed by the hotel manager, one for each item, stating we are staying here and can receive the items. That became quite a challenge when by human error, the tracking numbers and “case” numbers somehow got mixed up. The letters had to be redone.

After spending the entire afternoon on this, the system wouldn’t let me in when entering the “captcha.” Actually, the captcha was easy, only four clear jiggly letters but their system wouldn’t accept the login after I entered it. After five tries I was kicked out for 24 hours. Today, at 4:00 pm, I will have to start over once again. Ah, frustrating. We’ll report back on how this goes.

A Muslim holiday celebrated on the beach.

Based on the above circumstances, yesterday I never finished my walking, only accomplishing 5000 steps instead of 10000. I hope to do better today. Also, I hope to get back to work on the 2000 word post #3 sometime today. Our entire routine has been turned topsy-turvy by this package business.

OK. That’s all there is today, folks! Have a good day!

Minutes before the sun descended from view. Before dark, the security guy visits our villa turning on outdoor lights, returning at sunrise to turn them off.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2019:

This was our holiday rental, Pond Cottage in Devon, England at night. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

Why did we decide to include home-free retirees world travel tips?

 

The Golden Temple Amritsar, India
The Golden Temple Amritsar, India as seen through a decorative archway on the religious grounds of the historic Sikh location. Please click here to see more photos from Amritsar.

Note: This post is the second of the 2000 word posts required for SEO. Some of the verbiage may sound repetitive. We’ll be back to our usual post tomorrow. Only three more of these to go. Thanks for your patience. Feel free to read.

As Tom’s retirement was fast approaching and we’d made the outrageous decision to travel full-time, we searched online for travel tips that possibly could point us in the right direction, especially those applying to retirees. When many young people travel the world, even with children, they often stay in hostels, camp, rent or buy campers or caravans and may live very different lifestyles than we were seeking.

At that time in 2012, considerably fewer retirees had “given it all up” to do what we’d chosen to do, travel the world for years to come with minimal possessions with us, no storage facility anywhere in our home state or country, and find a way to make it work being totally home-free. We considered no condo, apartment, or studio-type living quarters as a base to return to should we so desire. We chose to make the “BIG commitment” and for us, that only came when we sold everything we owned, leaving us little opportunity to change our minds if something went wrong, especially in the early days. Always a part of our mission was to include home-free retirees world travel tips.

Our friends and relatives bombarded us with suggestions and travel tips, amid a plethora of travel warnings on all the potentially horrible situations we could encounter along the way, some even life-threatening. We chose not to take heed of their warnings when instead, we chose to do research on our own.

Searching online was little help. We found countless travel tips from travelers who’d been “out there” on their own, as a couple of a family of three or more. But, few were retirees, and most had a place to call home to return to for a break or respite. Of course, today, eight years later, we’ve encountered other retirees, home-free, and traveling the world. But after a fashion, most acquiesced and returned to their home country, recovered their belongings from storage, and began again. Not us. We wanted to do it differently, to truly experience the challenges and benefits of living life on the move, as retirees, with no safety net.

What are the potential challenges facing home-free retirees world travel tips?…

The most frequent travel tip/question most travelers tossed our way revolved around these two topics:

1. What will you do if one of you becomes very ill, when, retirees, due to an advanced age are more likely to encounter health problems?
2. What will you do if something goes wrong or you tire of traveling?

In the first over six years of our home-free world travel lifestyle, neither of these potential issues had any impact on our lives. As retirees, we were healthy, fit, and relatively active. We’d had extensive medical tests before we embarked on our journey, all required dental work completed. As we traveled the world, every few years, we each had basic health checks, blood tests, and dental appointments. All was well until…

The “worse case” scenarios transpired…

While living in a holiday home in the bush in South Africa, in February 2019, I had to have emergency triple cardiac bypass surgery, which resulted in four total surgeries (due to complications) and over the US $150,000 in medical expenses which our then international health the insurance company refused to pay, claiming I had a preexisting condition (I had no idea).

The question many other retirees had asked, “Should such an event occur, what would you possibly do?” Would being home-free prevent us from quality medical care and a place to recover after such a frightening event? It did not. We simply extended our rental period for the holiday home or would have moved to another while I recovered.

At the time, many home-free retirees world travel tips came our way with suggestions for us to return to the US but that tip was preposterous. I couldn’t travel on an airplane for at least three months. We stayed in the wonderful bush house while I recovered sufficiently to again begin our world travel journey. Nothing was holding us back. We continued on for three months in an oceanfront house in Connemara, Ireland as my convalescence continued.

The second question above asks, “What will we do if something goes wrong or you tire of traveling?

Tom and I made a pact when we began traveling the world, as home-free retirees. If either of us ever became tired or bored with traveling the world, we would stop. Even amid the challenges facing us these past few years, neither of us has suggested ending our journey to the other.

Another huge challenge that tested our durability and commitment as home-free retirees, was the pandemic that hit the world in January and February 2020. At the time, we’d just completed a weeklong tour on the renowned Maharajas Express Train from Mumbai to Delhi. After the train, we embarked on a 55-night tour of India, which we had to cut short when COVID-19 presented us with a huge risk of continuing on. Most temples and tourist sites were packed with people, often crowding in small spaces. More, we considered home-free retirees world travel tips from other readers with similar experiences.

We decided the risk of being at crowded venues was too high and started self-isolation on or about March 12, 2020, when we were notified that our upcoming cruise on April 3, 2020 had been canceled due to the COVID-19. As of this writing, we have officially been in India’s government-mandated lockdown which began on March 24, 2020, for a full six months. More and more of our readers write to us each day with tips and suggestions as to what we should do at this point. But, it is our special circumstances and home-free lifestyle that has guided us as to what works well for us.

Considering home-free retirees world travel tips weren’t a factor in preventing us from heading back to the US to hunker down in lockdown. Where would we stay? Ultimately, we decided to stay put in a lovely Marriott hotel until such time as we can continue on our travels. At this point, the pandemic has reached such proportions in the US, we have no desire or plan to return. Also, without a home, it would be difficult to decide where to stay while we waited it out. We’ve been safe in this hotel, although India has been hard hit as well. Only time will tell when we can continue on.

During this period, we’ve received hundreds of tips geared toward our home-free status, as to what we should do. We’ve appreciated all the tips, suggestions, and updates sent by readers, family, and friends. Most of the retiree’s circumstances are very different from ours and what they would choose to do in these circumstances may be very different from our choices.

What do we do as home-free retirees if the lockdown/pandemic continues for more months to come?…

We are safe. This hotel has exercised diligent efforts to avoid a single case of COVID-19 since we arrived. All staff is required to wear face masks and gloves. All staff members live within the walls of the hotel. No one is allowed to clean our room or serve our meals, via room service, unless they’ve been living here for a minimum of three weeks. We are confined to the fourth floor except for those few times we’ll head downstairs to the reception desk to pay our bill. We haven’t been outdoors in six months.

But, when we think of retirees living in a retirement community, most likely they haven’t been outdoors much either. Perhaps, our situation isn’t so unique after all. We’re safe. We have everything we need. We’re relatively comfortable. We do miss socializing and often think of how enjoyable it would be to get-together with other retirees and commiserate over this challenging situation.

But, it appears, as retirees, we’re the oldest people in the entire hotel. The staff and any other guests appear to be mostly in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, at most. Every few days, we receive tips in our email with movies and TV series, we should binge-watch and games we should play to allay the boredom we’re experiencing now. We take many of these tips to heart and find ourselves streaming many fun new series suggested by our readers. This means a lot to us.

How are we emotionally impacted by home-free living?…

Often, we’re asked, don’t you feel lost without “roots?” Our answer is simple from an old adage, “Home is where the heart is.” And, although our hearts are filled with love for family and friends back in the US, as a couple, we have made anywhere we may be living, at any given time, our “home.” That premise prevents us from ever feeling lost and lonely in a home-free lifestyle.

Most home-free retirees world travel tips include comments from those who spent their lives and careers in Minnesota, often leaving to spend their retirement in warmer climates. In most cases, they’ll purchase or rent a condo, house, or apartment in such states as Arizona, Florida, Texas, or Hawaii. Often, they’ll keep their original home and deal with the maintenance of having two homes. This didn’t appeal to us at all.

Instead, as retirees, we chose to be totally home-free; no apartment somewhere; no bedroom in one of our adult kids’ homes with a closet full of clothes; no lease on a storage facility as a safety-net to enable us to “set up housekeeping” once again. This was it, just the two of us and our luggage, the size of which has diminished greatly over the years.

In the beginning, Christmas was a time we had to make adjustments. We’d no longer have a Christmas tree, nor did we have decorations, or a need to bake endless cookies and baked goods. We no longer sent Christmas cards and gifts, instead of sending gift cards to our grandchildren. This commitment required a lot of emotional changes experienced by many retirees who become ex-pats and world travelers.

The hardest time we’ve experienced has been during my recovery from open-heart surgery and now, six months in lockdown in a single hotel room. But, somehow, these two home-free retirees have managed to maintain emotional strength and resilience in the knowledge that in time, we’ll be on the move again.

Will we ever settle down?…

This question has been asked of us over and over again. And, the reality is, we’ll have to at some point. With advancing age and potential health conditions, it may be necessary for us to return to the US and find a place to live. Does this worry us? Not at this point. We’ve survived so much, we both feel confident that when the time comes, as has been the case in every other situation, we’ll figure it out.

Home-free retirees world travel tips often include ways to figure out major life changes at some point or another. We are no exception. The fact we’ll have lived a home-free existence for so many years, makes those decisions only a little harder, mainly revolving around: Where will we choose to live?

We’ve considered the possibility of continuing to live in holiday homes in several parts of the US for three to six months, giving us a further opportunity to see more of our own country in our waning years. There’s also the possibility that in the next few years we may find a country besides the USA where we’d like to live as retirees, again with the principle of renting various, fully-equipped holiday/vacation homes.

In conclusion…

A home-free lifestyle is not for everyone, whether they are a young person starting their lives, a young family, couple, or retirees. We each have our own unique desires and emotional needs when it comes to our chosen lifestyle. If and when we have a need and a desire to be “rooted” to one location, we’ll do so.

World travel is not on everyone’s radar or in their dreams of what will ultimately be fulfilled and purpose-driven. We never knew we had a dream to travel the world as retirees, living a home-free lifestyle. It came upon us in a happenstance manner which is described in our first few posts and many more to come over the years.

As we’re fast approaching our eight-year anniversary since we became home-free on October 31, 2012, we have no regrets from the most exciting adventures to this most recent mundane period, spending over six-months in lockdown in Mumbai, India.

We’re hopeful for the future that in time we’ll be able to continue on our home-free journey to see the world. In the interim, we’ll continue to offer home-free retirees world travel tips as well as hearing from other world travelers. The world is a big place. We all have much more to see and to say.. Stay with us, dear reader. There’s definitely more to come.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2019:

Pond Cottage, in Witheridge, Devon, UK
The pond next to our house, Pond Cottage, in Witheridge, Devon, UK,  with a few ducks and geese. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #183 lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…It’s a whining day!…

Prior to sunset these flowers in their yard caught my eye. The combination of the pink and peach coloration is truly a gift from Mother Nature, whom we dearly appreciate.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

I am struggling to make myself sit down and write those 2000 word posts using keyword phrases as required by our web developers. Not a procrastinator, generally I attend to tasks in a timely fashion. But, I’m not sure what’s keeping me immobilized in regard to these three remaining posts.

Only moments before we left for Hans’ and Jeri’s home, we were finally able to snap a photo of the female to the little yellow birds that are so shy and quick that we’ve had trouble getting a shot. Apparently, their reticence is due to the frequent attacks by viscous blackbirds. Only a few days ago, Hans showed us where a blackbird had snatched baby birds out of a nest.

Could it be that doing so requires me to break away from our usual afternoon respite where we escape by binge-watching some favorite shows? When preparing these long posts, on top of the usual daily posts, my motivation is literally non-existent. Also, I’m still trying to work on the corrections on the past 3000 posts. I started in 2012, working my way forward beginning on page #148, and today, I’ll start with page #124. I have a long way to go when the most I can do in a day is one full page of 20 posts.

Gosh, I tell my usually-motivated self, I did get our tax stuff done and sent to the accountant in plenty of time. Gosh, I worked with the developers on resolving seemingly endless changes over the past 60 days. Gosh, I’ve spent endless hours researching possibilities for us to get out of here, all to no avail, as did Tom. Gosh, I don’t feel like spending an entire afternoon writing a contrived post of 2000 words infiltrating the necessary keyword sequence as frequently as possible.

We arrived at our landlord’s home before sunset to find Hans preparing the fire on which to cook our dinner.

Sorry if I sound like I am whining, whinging, or complaining (whatever such words are used in your locale). But, I am. Each day, after working on and uploading the daily post, which, by the way, I enjoy doing, I am done, done, done. This wasn’t the case in our lives of world travel, in the days before lockdown.

If this project was presented to me then, I would have made my way through it in five days…five 2000 word posts. But, now everything is different. I can’t take a break and escape by jumping up and get the laundry out of the washer to hang outside on the clothesline. I can’t head to the kitchen to chop and dice vegetables for dinner (or for wildlife).

Hans built a roaring fire to which he later added a grate in order to cook a full beef tenderloin without the use of charcoal or lighter fluid. Check out that moon smiling down on us!

In our travels, we never binge-watched shows during the day. That was an after-dinner or bedtime pastime, winding us down after another pleasant and often exciting day. In Marloth Park and most other holiday homes, we rarely turned on the TV or streamed a show during our entire stay, while now, it’s on all day (with the sound off and captioning turned on) to allay the boredom, except for those times Tom is listening to his favorite podcast from Minnesota, Garage Logic. (The sound of the podcast in the background doesn’t bother me at all while I’m busy writing).

Their yard was aglow not only from candles scattered about the lawn, but also by landscape lighting focusing on the exquisite vegetation.

Perhaps, I need these diversions and distractions to help keep me centered when tackling challenging projects. We all have our own way of handling difficult tasks and I’m certainly no exception. Possibly I require more detours than most. Now, as I’m sitting here writing these words for this daily post, the podcast is on, I’ve already walked in the past 30 minutes  (the timer is set for the next 30 minutes) and I’m contemplating making a cup of tea.

Now, with a cup of herbal tea at my side, I’m ready to begin again. (Gee, I’d love some real cream, to add to a cup of coffee-not available here, or a big salad, or a juicy steak on the grill or knowing a glass of red wine is awaiting me at 5:00 pm or, or, or…). It’s a whining day! Please humor me!

The table was set on the well-manicured lawn. With the balmy breeze and the fire roaring, the mosquitoes stayed away, although we were well-armed wearing our BugsAway clothing.

Whew! It’s good to have that off my chest. Many of our readers praise us for being so tough and strong under these dire circumstances. But, we’re no tougher or stronger than any of you who have had to live with the constraints established by your state, your county, or your country during times of COVID-19. It’s been a challenge for all of us in one way or another.

The dinner table for 4 was set on the grass, well lit with candles, beyond their inviting veranda.

The 30-minute timer is about to go off any minute when I’ll head out the door once again to walk the corridors while listening to educational podcasts of my own, mostly centered around health and fitness instead of past episodes of Dr. Phil, 20/20, or Entertainment Tonight which, at one time could entertain me while walking.

That’s all I have to say today. I have to start thinking of what I’ll write for the next keyword phrase with 2000 words for post #3, starting in an hour or so.

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2019:

The acreage on the farm in Devon, England is diverse and beautiful. We were grateful to be able to spend time enjoying the many facets of the farm without doing any work. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #182 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Making decisions…

Yes, I know. Photos of us in 2013 often show us wearing the same clothes over and over. After ditching most of our clothing to lighten our load, we have no choice but to do so. We try to wear the same items frequently in order to wear them out for disposal, saving the newer items for the future. So far, nothing has worn out. With no clothes dryers available, the thinnest tee shirts seem to “live” forever.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

We laughed over the night depicted in today’s historic photos of the night on this date seven years ago that we went out to dinner in Kenya and were the only diners in the entire restaurant.

Ah, moonlight!

It was a beautiful moonlit night and we recall it as if it was only yesterday. We made a reservation at the Blue Marlin Restaurant located on the beach on the Indian Ocean. It was a long walk from the security entrance to the actual restaurant on uneven pavers and we were grateful for our LED flashlights to guide us along the way.

This spot was ideal for relaxing after a guest drank too many Margaritas!

We arrived at 7:30 pm at TripAdvisor’s highly rated restaurant, surprised to find we were the only guests on the premises. The staff was plentiful and the service and food was excellent. At the time we couldn’t recall ever being the only guests in a restaurant during dinner hours, but we shrugged it off, assuming sooner or later, other guests would appear. It never happened, much to our surprise after experiencing the delicious meals, drinks and service.

The chalkboard at the Blue Marlin listed the daily specials.

As a result, we had an opportunity to take some photos with the staff who were thrilled to oblige. We handed out several of our business cards knowing full-well they’d be searching for their photos on the next day’s post, perhaps making them feel a little like celebrities. It was endearing.

We had a chance to interact with their two “house dogs” who couldn’t have been more friendly. Of course, when we returned back to our holiday home, Han’s two dogs, Gucci and Jessie, were waiting for our return. It’s always been a treat to be able to adopt a dog or two that resided near our vacation homes at the time.

The Blue Marlin offered a relaxed, comfortable outdoor environment for diners.Notice an actual blue marlin on the wall.

It was hot, humid and windy, when we returned to the house. By the time we reached our outdoor living room, the veranda, we both decided to change into as minimal clothes as possible, covering ourselves with repellent and staying outdoors until bedtime. It was another good night.

Zaa Zaa, our friendly companion for the evening, lying at our feet as we dined.

On another note, yesterday’s post was the first of the five 2000 word posts I wrote, to which our web developers will be editing in the background for purposes of website optimization. Yesterday, I wrote the second of five posts and that should be ready to post tomorrow. I apologize for any redundancy in these long posts since its imperative they contain the content represented in the keywords.

Tom drank two bottles of this local Tusker beer.

There’s only five such posts and we should be done with them within a few weeks. Otherwise, on all other days, our regular less-wordy posts will appear as usual. No worries. No impact on your regular reading. Thanks for your patience.

Over the past few days, there’s been a lot of skuttlebutt online about the possibility of South Africa’s borders opening soon. At this point, it appears US citizens and anyone entering from India will not be allowed to enter. Another reality is that the Kruger Mpumalanga Nelspruit Airport we usually fly to, won’t be open for some time.

The chef insisted we take a photo together!

When we can travel to South Africa, we’ll fly into Johannesburg, rent a car and drive for five hours to make our way to Marloth Park. None of this concerns us. What concerns us is when the borders of both South Africa and India open enabling us to leave.

Tom’s appetizer of bacon wrapped jumbo prawns. I pointed out the bulging eyes. He asked, “Why’d you tell me that?”

Yesterday, we had a much needed discussion, considering these facts and both have agreed we are willing to “wait it out’ here at this hotel in Mumbai, India. There’s no point in adding more COVID-19 exposure in flying to the US to wait it out, nor is hovering around various airports, as they are just beginning to open, many soon.

My appetizer was a delicious creamy crab salad.

By the time we’re allowed to leave, protocols for COVID-19 will be firmly in place, after more experience, and we’ll have a better chance of avoiding infection. Of course, if India opens to other countries we’d be willing to travel to, and South Africa isn’t open for us, we may opt to head somewhere else to wait, as long as its to a location we’d find worthwhile and interesting. Otherwise, we’ll stay put.

Tom’s dinner consisted of a sizable portion of Swahili Fish, most likely a type of snapper. Bone free and lightly seasoned with a rich buttery coconut sauce, he had no trouble devouring every morsel.

Nothing much has changed around here. The corridors are a little less crowded now. The staff is working on reducing the noise at night from our next door neighbors (ugh!). And, we’re fine. As I write here now, Tom is watching the Minnesota Vikings football game on the TV using the HDMI and his laptop. As usual, they aren’t doing well. So it goes.

Look at the size of these calamari rings! I, too, savored every morsel on my plate.

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2019:

An otter lounging in the sun in Tiverton, Cornwall, UK. For more photos, please click here.