Twenty days…Leaving Boveglio…Future travel plans…

The archway in our yard that ventures out to the winding, hilly roads, kept locked for privacy.   these small villages in Tuscany it is difficult to determine where a house and yard begins and ends with most houses “stuck together.”

It’s hard to believe in less than three weeks we’ll be leaving Boveglio to drive to Venice to fly to Kenya the next day, the 3rd. 

We’re reminded that fall is near, by the pumpkins and gourds in our yard.

It will be the beginning of almost a year of living in Africa, ending with two and a half months in Madeira, Portugal, an island located off the northwestern coast of Africa.

A pepper plant growing in the lower garden. These are most likely too hot for our taste buds.
With an open space in time from August 1, 2014, until November 30, 2014, Tom has been busy searching as to how we’ll fill this gap in our travels. At this point, the biggest challenge we have in booking this gap period is the result of a few crucial factors:

1.  What are the most enjoyable and sensible means of us traveling back across the Atlantic Ocean toward Hawaii when we’ll be getting together with our adult kids and grandchildren at our upcoming rental house in Kona, Hawaii at Christmas time in 2014?
2.  With the added expense of airfare for 13 family members, how can we spend this period most economically to perhaps offset a portion of the cost?
3.  Do we want to stay in Europe until December 1st when our rental begins in Hawaii, as we end the upcoming one year stint from Portugal?
4.  Are there cruises available to use as a means of travel, which we prefer?

The doorway and patio of a house below us where we heard cheerful Italian chatter last night.

Tom has been spending considerable time at Vacations to Go and Cruise Critic in an effort to determine our best options. Once we pin down possible cruises, we’ll contact our representative, Joaquin at Vacations to Go to book our chosen cruises. 

How dry and brown the yard is becoming with a lack of regular rain.

The further we continue into our world travels, we’ve determined that we love cruising for several reasons:
1.  Cost-effective in many cases with housing and meals included.
2.  No enforced luggage restrictions.
3.  Ease of living:  no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry (although it does pile up)
4.  Meeting new people almost every day while meandering on the ship and during meals.
5.  Date night every night with the option of ordering included room service. (After eight cruises, we’ve yet to order room service).
6.  Opportunity to visit many countries in a short period of time with the numerous scheduled ports of call.
7.  Movies on board. 
8.  Exercise facilities on board.
9.  Often interesting classes on board.
10. Chefs on cruise ships make every effort to accommodate my restrictive diet. Although boring and bland at times, it’s much easier than trying to communicate my restrictions in a new restaurant with possible language barriers.

The herb garden in the yard, separate from our patio garden.

After extensive research these past days, we’ve finally come to the conclusion that we’ll wait until the 90-day ticker begins (until sail date) with discounted cruise fares for 2014. In reviewing the ticker for cruises in the next 90 days we’ve seen how beneficial it is to wait with discounts as high as 82%. 

Impatiens growing in an old wooden barrel in the yard.

Yes, by waiting we run the risk of a particular cruise being sold out. Willing to take this risk, we accept the reality that if our means of transportation by cruise is sold out, we can always fly to our next preferred location.  In a rare position for this flexibility, it makes sense for us to proceed in this manner.

A cozy corner of one of the covered garden areas.

With most of our first two and a half years traveling well planned in advance, we now feel experienced and confident enough, after almost a year to attempt last-minute planning. Doing so opens the opportunity for us to experience cruises normally priced beyond our budget, at suddenly lower pricing.

The morning sun filtered through the covered garden.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, Vacations to Go has a policy whereby they will honor price reductions on cruises up to 90 days before sailing. If one watches the pricing on their pre-booked cruises, one can request the reduction which becomes effective immediately which will be guaranteed through sailing. However, neither the cruise lines nor Vacations to Go will watch this for a customer.  One must do this on their own.

Few roses remain as summer winds down.  Often, I wanted to make a bouquet for the kitchen table, deciding against it, knowing it would attract bees indoors.

Learning the nuances of enhancing the quality of our travels is an ongoing process. Many have asked us why we booked so much in advance for the first two and a half years. The answer is simple. 

Last year, we left Minnesota to begin our travels on Halloween.  It seems so long ago.

As neophytes, if we weren’t able to find and book the next desired leg in our travels, we may have become frustrated questioning why we ever took this enormous life-changing challenge.  With bookings planned and deposits paid, we were committed which proved to bring us comfort, excitement, and peace of mind as we learned the ropes.

These variegated green and white leaves are vinca vine, always a favorite of mine when planted to hang over a rock wall.


This planted shoe could easily have been in this yard for over 100 years.

Now, it is becoming clear to us that we can patiently wait.  Unless, of course, some amazing opportunity presents itself that we cannot turn down. 

After all, the world is a big place.

A sad event impacts our future travels…Changing plans…Changing lives…

We’re surprisingly getting a ton of visitors during the busy rainy holiday weekend.It’s Sunday morning at 11:00. We’re going out to dinner on Tuesday with Alan and Fiona for her birthday. I just spent two hours in the kitchen making Tom’s favorite low-carb, grain-free pizza, which we’ll bake at dinnertime, and a three-night portion of sauteed chicken breast tenders with mushrooms, onions, and garlic for me. We’ll enjoy these main dishes Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday. I won’t have to cook for days. I don’t eat the pizza when it’s too fattening for me, significantly since I drop a few more kilos.

But, of course, you don’t care to read about my morning in the kitchen, do you? Moreso, what the heck is going on with no post yesterday and some arbitrary change in plans?

On Friday afternoon, Minnesota-time, our dear brother-in-law, Gene, husband of Tom’s sister Colleen, sadly passed away after a long and challenging illness exacerbated by a brain injury that occurred years ago when he fell on ice and snow in Minnesota. We often hear of injuries seniors suffer from falling in the long winter months in Minnesota, certainly one reason we don’t want to visit Minnesota in the winter, especially with my unstable legs.

Everyone’s head is down eating pellets.

When Colleen wrote to tell Tom the sad news, it was 11:30 pm here, and I was sound asleep. He didn’t want to awaken me, knowing this information could keep me awake all night, wondering what we’d do when we leave here on October 21st, less than three weeks away.

As it turned out, I awoke at 4:00 am, unable to go back to sleep, almost anticipating something had happened. At 5:30, Tom asked me if I was awake and proceeded to tell me the news. We were sad to hear about this, but also it had a significant impact on our upcoming plans.

Colleen is Tom’s sister, whose home we planned to stay in for three months in Apache Junction, Arizona. With Gene’s passing surely, Colleen would surely want to get out of Minnesota for the winter and spend time with her sisters in warm, sunny Arizona.

I ran out onto the road to take this giraffe photo.

She hadn’t been able to go to her home in Apache Junction due to Covid-19 and Gene’s poor health since 2019, when we were last there with them before we took off for India in January 2020. There was no way we would prevent her from going to her property by staying in it for three months during the winter.

Lying there in bed at 5:30 am, discussing this, we considered a few options. We could rent a holiday home somewhere in the US. But, recently, before deciding on Arizona, we’d done extensive searches for holiday homes in the US states with warm winters. Since the onset of Covid-19 and losses incurred by holiday homeowners, prices for long-term rentals have gone through the roof.

In suitable locations, even without being overly picky, any properties we may have considered were three times the cost of our rent here in South Africa. Of course, after India, we’re not willing to stay long-term in a hotel. The handwriting was on the wall. We needed to stay in Marloth Park and fly to a non-bordering country in Africa to get our visas stamped.

At a decent hour, I contacted Louise, who we know is an early bird, to see when we could stop by to discuss our possible living arrangements if we did decide to stay another three months. We met up with her at 10:00 am.

When I walked back up the driveway toward the house, Tom distracted Broken Horn with pellets to ensure my safety. This huge animal could be startled and gore an unsuspecting human.

An important fact remained in our minds. Recently, we booked several cruises, a few of which are expensive compared to our average day-to-day expenses. We figured if we could live inexpensively for several months, we could stay within our budget for the year with the costs of these cruises.

But, if we had to pay enormous sums for rent over the following months, we may have to reconsider what we’ve booked. Let’s face it. We’re not getting any younger. I am fast approaching 74, and Tom will be 69 sooner than later. When we return to South Africa by a cruise in December  2022, we will celebrate Tom’s 70th and, two months later, my 75th birthday during those first three months we are here.

We’ve decided to budget to the best of our ability to ensure we can visit new places we’ve longed to see throughout the world for whatever time we have left that we can do so. Traveling like this isn’t easy. It requires a lot of careful planning and physical energy on travel days and a lot of work necessary to pack and move all the time. Many seniors would find this simply too exhausting and too much work, which we understand. But for now, we still have the stamina to do it. For us, it’s not a chore. It’s an adventure every single time.

Lots of kudus this morning, including Bad Eye, whose torn eyelid is looking much better.

It appears we can move our original flight to Arizona without penalty from Delta Airlines due to Covid-19 changes, and thus, we won’t incur any losses by changing our flights. Louise can let us stay in this same house until January 23, 2022, when we’ll leave for Florida, where we’ll stay with friends Karen and Rich before and after their February wedding.

We booked round-trip direct flights to Zambia on October 21st and returned on October 26th for our visa stamps. Louise is helping us book some events in Zambia, which we won’t wrap up for a few days when the tourist offices reopen on Monday.

We called Colleen, offering her our heartfelt sympathies, and told her she could now go to Arizona for the winter since we’ve made other plans and won’t tie up her one-bedroom property. She was so sweet and more than willing to let us stay. But we knew her going there would be suitable for her during this time of grief and sorrow.

We’ll report back with definitive plans for Zambia to stay in the next few days, one of the few countries we can fly to on a direct flight from Nelspruit. There was no way we were interested in booking an expensive trip with long flights going through Johannesburg. Nelspruit is a 75-minute drive from here, and the flight is less than two hours to Livingstone.

We’re good. We were not worried. Not stressed. It was the right thing to do.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 3, 2020:

One year ago, this photo was posted in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #194. In Bali, a dragonfly was fluttering around the two koi ponds by either side of the front entryway. Much to my delight, it returned almost every day to the exact location. For more, please click here.

Changes of our future plans…Covid-19 rules the travel industry…

A helmeted guinea-fowl and her chick, looking for pellets at the edge of the veranda.

This morning we received email notifications from Celebrity Cruise Lines that two booked cruises in and around Japan in 2022 have been canceled. The first sailing and the third of these three cruises we’d booked in this area will be canceled shortly. Now, we are down to five booked cruises instead of eight, all due to Covid-19.

We had planned to fly from Florida to Singapore a few weeks after our friends Karen and Rich’s wedding on February 11th. With all three of these cruises canceled, we’ll need to find where we’ll go when we leave Florida. Tom is currently researching our options., considering other potential cruises to fill the gap.

A giraffe was taking a rest.

Here again, Covid-19 is the determining factor on where we’ll go and what we’ll do. With the Schengen visa, we can only stay in most European countries for 90 out of 180 days. Also, we’ve already spent a lot of time in Europe in our past travels. Our current interests don’t necessarily lead us in that direction.

For now, our inclination is to travel by sea as much as possible, so that is the path we are researching at this point. But, due to Covid-19, many countries have instituted many restrictions impacting ports of call during cruises. There’s no doubt in our mind that the Japan cruises were canceled due to fears of infection in and around a country of such a vast population.

A male duiker, photo taken during the summer when the vegetation was lush and green.

Are we worried if continuing our world travels makes sense at this time? Not, However, we must consider the risks each country presents whenever and wherever we travel, including our upcoming trip to the US, which has the worst Covid-19 statistics of any country in the world.

As of yesterday, here are the stats for the US from this site:

Total Cases: 42,479,780

New cases: 164,509

Total Deaths: 685,023

New Deaths: 2282

A dung beetle pushing his ball of dung on his search for a mate to join him.

Statistics show that 54.7% of Americans are fully vaccinated, the highest globally. Yet, they have the newest cases and deaths of any country globally, based on information from this site.

You may ask, why are we going back to the US right now? For several reasons. But our biggest motivator is attending our friend’s small wedding in February. Since we were going back for that, we decided to spend more time with Tom’s siblings in Arizona and meet up with my sister Julie who lives in Los Angeles, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

A few months ago, a mom and baby bushbuck was still some green vegetation in the bush.

During this US visit, we won’t be visiting Minnesota. It will be winter there, and neither of us cares to tackle the cold, the ice, and the snow. Once we know more about upcoming cruises, we’ll plan another time to be in Minnesota and Nevada to visit mine and Tom’s family, which surely will be during fall, spring or summer.

For now, we continue to consider where in the world we long to visit and how and when it will be possible based on current travel restrictions due to the pandemic. We’ll have plenty of time while in Arizona to work on this further.

Enjoy the day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 16, 2020:

This photo is from the year-ago post while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day # 177. Sunset view from the third floor of Hans’ house (owner of the house we rented next door) in Diani Beach, Kenya, in 2013. We were thrilled to take photos of the progression of the sun’s setting on the horizon. For more photos, please click here.

Making plans for England…Yesterday…a fun and varied day!…Photos of Komatipoort…

Rita and I each had this fantastic smoked trout salad at Stoep Cafe. I can’t wait to return to order it once again.

Yesterday, the plan was for Rita and me to go to lunch while Tom and Gerhard drove to Nelspruit to return the last rental car before we depart Marloth Park in 27 days. Yesterday, knowing that Rita was picking me up to go to lunch at 11:30, I was determined to get in as much walking before we headed out. I managed to do 6000 steps before Rita and Gerhard pulled into the driveway.

It was great for Tom to have company for the over three-hour trip, and of course, Rita and I enjoyed the quiet time together, when in a few weeks, they will be leaving Marloth Park for a while. They aren’t sure when they’ll return, but hopefully, we’ll see them sometime after we return in December.

Tom stopped at Mohammed Moussa shop to get his Cole Haan shoes repaired. The total cost was ZAR 80, US $5.26.

Initially, we’d planned to go to lunch in Malalane, but Rita changed her appointment, so we decided to head to Komati, which is half the distance. It’s an excellent little restaurant where we’ve had many breakfasts, but I’d never been there for lunch. We decided on lunch at Stoep Cafe, a favorite haunt of ours and other locals.

Kathy got us all excited about Stoep when she often stopped there for coffee and a light breakfast a few times a week. In 2013/2014 and again in 2018, Tom and I often had breakfast there before grocery shopping. But, this time around, he and I hadn’t been there at all.

The shoe repair guys sit outside the general store waiting for customers who may need repairs.

However, before Rita and Gerhard returned to Marloth Park on New Year’s Eve, Kathy and I often got together at Stoep for breakfast and lively chatter. Once Rita arrived, the three of us would go, and she and I continued the ritual once Kathy and Don returned to the US a few months ago. We all miss them terribly. We are fortunate to have such good friends all around.

The lunch continued longer than we’d expected, and finally, by 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs, we were back at the house. A short time later, Gerhard and Tom arrived in the same car we had rented earlier. Budget Car Rental was low on vehicles and based on our excellent pricing. Tom didn’t hesitate to re-rent the exact vehicle.

Another strip of shops with vegetable stands in the parking lot.

With much for Rita and Gerhard to do back at their house, as they prepared for friends from the US visiting in a few days, they took off. It was too hot to be standing in the kitchen prepping for a meal. With nothing chopped and diced for dinner and the awful heat, I suggested we go out to dinner at Giraffe Cafe, a short distance down the road, and Tom agreed.

Before we headed out the door, friends Linda and Ken called, and we wrapped up plans as to when we’ll be seeing them in England around the first of May when they return from visiting the tulips in Holland. Gee, we should do that someday! That sounds like something we’d love to do as well. Most of our friends are world travelers in one way or another. They may not be homeless like us, but they do get around the world!

There are countless vegetable stands on the side of the road.

By 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs, we reached Giraffe, running into a few locals we know and making our way to the bar where we chatted endlessly, sharing the details of our partial day apart and discussing plans for the future. Based on the information we’ve read online, it appears all of our cruises should sail as planned.

I ordered a small salad with grilled chicken, and Tom had the chicken schnitzel, which he’d ordered there in the past. The food isn’t as good as Jabula, nor is the atmosphere quite as lively. But, we had a pleasant evening and returned home to get into comfortable clothes and watch an episode of Billions on Showtime and “1883” (my new latest favorite show) on Paramount Plus on Amazon Prime,

Huge bags of onions are sold at cheap prices.

After a reasonably good night’s sleep, we were both ready to tackle another day. Time is flying so quickly right now; it’s astounding.

Yeah, the power just came back on! That certainly changes my attitude about walking today. At least I can turn on the air-con from time to time to cool off.

Many locals’ only source of income is from selling vegetables and fruit from local farms.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 24, 2021:

There were no photos on the post from one year ago today, but there was a video from Garage Logic, a podcast Tom has listened to for years on which he is mentioned every day! To listen to the video, we posted one year ago, please click this link. Now, one year later, Tom continues to be mentioned each day. They usually mention him toward the end of the podcast. If you’d like to hear more mentions of Tom, please click here.

Tom made an exciting discovery!!!…Can we start feeling enthused about traveling again?…

Has Hal taken over for Broken Horn whom we haven’t seen in a few weeks?

It’s been easy to get out of the state of mind about traveling during the pandemic. Almost every day, news hits the wires that make us wonder when and if we’ll be able to return to our years-long journey to see more and more of this magnificent world we live in.

The clock is ticking faster now, more than ever, as we age, regardless of how hard we try to reduce the impact of aging. Neither of us feels any less agile or capable of continuing to travel than we did when we began in 2012. Yes, we’ve experienced some bumps in the road, literally and figuratively, mainly for me with some health issues.

But, our desire and determination to continue had only waned during the past two years of the pandemic when none of us knew what the future holds. Even now, there’s a degree of uncertainty hanging over all of our heads regarding travel. Many have changed their lives, excluding vacations/holidays to relax and unwind, instead looking at other avenues to accomplish these objectives.

Hal likes to rub his muddy face on the trees to get cleaned off.

Each day, we hear about cruise disasters, at times making us tentative, but we aren’t hearing about the successful cruises sailing all over the world. Many are incident-free, with many safety protocols in place to protect the passengers and crew. No, cruising won’t be as fun as it was for us in the past, when we socialized day and night, mask-free, enjoying lively conversation and dinners with six or eight other guests at big round tables. Those days may be gone, for now, and into the future. Only time will tell.

Knowing our first cruise, a transatlantic cruise with Celebrity Cruise line is sailing in only 66 days from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has left us wondering if it will cancel. At this point, we’re beginning to believe it will sail after all as planned. It’s a repositioning cruise at an excellent price to get the ship back to the UK and Europe, so it will sail as planned, most likely from what we can determine thus far.

Our goal is to stay in the UK with easy visa requirements until our next cruise sails in June from Istanbul, Turkey. It’s an easy flight in less than four hours. We plan to move around the UK during those two months, as we did in 2019, to experience more quaint and charming holiday rentals and hotels.

Bossy looks more and more pregnant each day.

Of course, we plan to see friends Linda and Ken who live in Buckinghamshire, another attractive English countryside location, which we love more than the big cities. At this point, we can’t book anything until we are on our way across the Atlantic Ocean to ensure nothing impacts the cruise.

We have no concern whatsoever making plans at this late date, only days before our arrival in Southampton, England, on April 21. We don’t want to risk losing deposits and full payments if something happens beyond our control. It’s one of those scenarios where we’re comfortable “playing it by ear.” If we can’t wrap up a holiday rental, we find a historic hotel, of which there are many.

All of this “cruise talk” brings us to the exciting news about Tom’s discovery in the past few days. In researching pricing for our currently booked cruises to 2023, he found three cruises with substantial price drops. To enjoy the benefits of a price drop, it’s up to the passengers to check pricing regularly, not the travel agency or cruise line. Such price drop benefits can only be gleaned before the final payment date, not after.

Hal does a nice job of trimming the grass in the garden.

Upon discovering recent price drops on three of our seven booked cruises for which we’d yet to pay the final balances, two of which are payable this month, Tom got to work. Last night, he managed to get in touch with Costco Travel after being on hold for over an hour and requested the following prices to be dropped on those three cruises as follows:

  • Sail Date: July 10, savings amount:           US $2600,  ZAR 39761*
  • Sail Date: November 8, savings amount:   US $1680,  ZAR 25697
  • Sail Date: November 19, savings amount: US 1280,    ZAR 19578

Total savings for 2022:  US $5560, ZAR 85036

No doubt, it was worth staying on hold for such a long time. We were in bed and put down the phone while Tom worked on his laptop, and I played with my phone until a rep came on the line.

Saving this amount of money furthered our enthusiasm going forward. If these three cruises have further price drops, we’ll be able to start the process all over again. Of course, Tom will continue to watch the prices, as he always does before final payments are due on the remainder of the cruise. or any of the remaining cruises and go even lower.

So, that’s our news of the day.

Have a rewarding day, too!

Photo from one year ago today, February 1, 2021:

This was an excellent profile of one of our favorite animals, a giraffe. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…We’re back to booking future travels!!!…Building a new itinerary…

Yesterday, we not only booked the cruise on the Black Sea but also booked the “back-to-back” (the next cruise, on the day of arrival), which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post. Tomorrow is a travel day for us as we make our way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to see Tom’s sister, Sister Beth, where we’ll spend two days in a hotel.

I will undoubtedly use the workout facility.

As for the itinerary for this ship, see below:

Azamara

11 Nights – Azamara (Istanbul – Round Trip)

Cruise Line: Azamara

Ship Name: Azamara Onward Not Yet Rated

Cruise Length: 11 Nights

Departure Date: 06/29/2022

Embarkation Port: Istanbul, Turkey

Return Date: 07/10/2022

Disembarkation Port: Istanbul, Turkey

Sailing Itinerary

Date Port of Call Arrival Departure

06/29/2022 Istanbul 06:00 PM

06/30/2022 Varna/Bulgaria 08:00 AM 08:00 PM

07/01/2022 Burgas 08:00 AM 08:00 PM

07/02/2022 Constanta 07:00 AM 08:00 PM

07/03/2022 Odesa/Ukraine 09:30 AM

07/04/2022 Odesa/Ukraine 08:00 PM

07/05/2022 Cruising

07/06/2022 Sochi 08:00 AM 09:00 PM

07/07/2022 Batumi 08:00 AM 05:00 PM

07/08/2022 Cruising

07/09/2022 Istanbul 08:00 AM

07/10/2022 Istanbul

Once we arrive back in Istanbul, Turkey, we’ll move to another cabin on the same deck but on the opposite side of the ship for better viewing for the upcoming itinerary on this ship’s next leg for another ten days, July 10 to July 20, 2022, ending in Athens, Greece. We’ll include our costs for the balcony cabins for both cruises and the second leg’s itinerary in tomorrow’s post.

The theatre for nightly shows.

As for today, our last family day in Minnesota, Tom will be joining his family for the Thursday barbecue at his sister Mary’s home, while tonight, I’m going to a movie with Greg’s family. At 11:00 am this morning, we’re heading to visit our dear friend Sue, former neighbor and widow of our beloved, since deceased friend Chip, who passed away five months before we left in 2012. We hadn’t seen Sue since we were here in 2017 since she spent the winters in Florida. It will be wonderful to see her again.

This morning, Tom took our vaccination certificates to Office Max and had them make copies to be laminated and kept the originals to be amended for boosters in the future if required. Oddly, Office Max didn’t charge to do this. Go figure.

That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with more tomorrow, perhaps later in the day, completed after arriving at our hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 15, 2020:

Some flowers continue to bloom through the summer season, as is the case in this Alstroemeria. For more photos, please click here.

Planning for the future…Uncertainty in times of Covid-19…

It’s surprising how well they get along when sharing the raw scrambled eggs.

Ah, it’s a new day, and it’s more perfect than it’s been in a while. The sun is shining. The temperature is moderate with low humidity. Late yesterday, our site was down for a few hours, but now it is working again. Why this happens is beyond me. All I know is our web people quickly respond to resolve it.

My question? Is WordPress unstable? Is our web hosting company Hostinger, a substantial worldwide provider, dangerous? I can’t seem to get a definitive answer to these questions. But, this continues to happen from time to time. If you see we’re down, please check back later, knowing our web people are working to find a permanent solution. We always know when this happens since WordPress sends me a message. Immediately, regardless of where we are and what we’re doing, we report it.

Our site is huge, with well over 3000 posts and 40,000 photos. This may be a contributing factor. One may say, well, Amazon is a thousand times larger than us, and they don’t go down. Well, they are spending millions of dollars a year to maintain their site. We are not. Since we make so little revenue from our site, recently, we added more advertising to offset some of our web-related expenses.

This mongoose must have stared at us for an hour, watching our every move.

Also, we are in the process of monetizing our YouTube page. We’d hoped we’d never have to do this, but with all these added web expenses, we had no choice. Of course, none of this impacts our readers, other than an occasional click to rid yourself of the necessity of viewing an ad. You aren’t obligated to use our advertisers (but we appreciate it if you do), nor do you have to pay to access our site. This won’t change.

You can access our YouTube videos at this link. It’s easy to sign up if you’d like to become a subscriber. You may enjoy going back and seeing our old videos from all over the world. In the future, we’ll be making a concerted effort to upload more and more videos.

Right now, as I prepare today’s post, Tom is researching flights for our exit on April 9th for the much-needed visa stamps when our current visas expire on April 12th. We have to leave a few days earlier than our visa ends since the car rental facilities at the local airport, Nelspruit/Kruger/Mpumalanga, are closed on the weekends. Thus, we’ll leave before and after a weekend.

Tom brought out the pan with the raw scrambled eggs, and of course, they gobbled them up in a matter of seconds.

As for what we’ve chosen to do when required to leave South Africa, we should have a plan in place by tomorrow, and we’ll share all the details here.

The sun has become hidden behind white fluffy clouds as we’ve sat here over the past hour. We’ve been watching the weather and the condition of dirt roads to embark on a drive through Marloth Park and eventually to Kruger National Park. It may rain after all.

There are no public restrooms in the park other than resorts, camps, and restaurants. The outdoor restaurant at Lower Sabie, the Mugg & Bean, has been closed for the past few months. When traveling to Kruger, it’s a suitable spot to stop for a bathroom break and brunch. Spending several hours in the garden without a bathroom break can be a challenging premise.

They are so cute, playful, and funny. We always enjoy their visits. Besides, they are a deterrent to snakes since they may attack them and are resistant to the venom.

Plus, it’s enjoyable to be on a self-drive in this massive national park and be able to stop at a restaurant overlooking the Sabie River, often rife with wildlife, a view to be savored while dining. Photo ops are abundant in this area. Soon, we’ll go on a day’s outing as the dirt roads dry up more and more, not only here in Marloth Park but also in Kruger.

Today, we’ll spend the bulk of the day booking plans for April 9th, firming up all the details. A vital aspect of booking any travel plan at this point is to become well aware of Covid-19 requirements and restrictions. Upon arriving in another country, no traveler would want to discover that a 14-day quarantine was required. This would be a fiasco.

They tend to rest piled atop one another with an occasional little head peeking out from under the pile.

Otherwise, all is well. We’re cheerful, although zeroed in on booking the upcoming travels, and will feel a great sense of relief once we’ve completed booking every aspect of this upcoming trip.

Enjoy your day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 2, 2020:

The bulky gaur, a rare type of buffalo, is found in India. For more photos, please click here.

Medical Issues for World Travelers…A Comprehensive Synopsis…

This exquisite bloom which was the size of a soccer ball.
This exquisite bloom was the size of a soccer ball.

Traveling for extended periods always raises concerns over medical issues for world travelers. Notably, seniors and those with existing health conditions, regardless of age, have asked themselves if traveling for months or years makes sense when at any time, especially in remote locations, a flare-up of any underlying condition or injury can elicit worry, concern over a life-altering illness, or even death, let alone panic in some situations.

Today’s 2000 word post entitled “Medical Issues for World Travelers” will include suggestions on how we’ve managed such circumstances as world travelers for the past eight years. Below are the most commonly asked questions when discussing medical issues for world travelers for those considering long-term world travel:

  1. How will I receive my prescription refills and also, for some, “store insulin and other medications that require refrigeration?”
  2. What do I do if I run out of medication while traveling?
  3. How will I be able to receive my necessary prescriptions?
  4. What immunizations/vaccines will I need to travel the world?
  5. How do I handle everyday aches, pains, injuries, and illnesses that may have prompted me to visit my doctor in my old life?
  6. What do I do about dental care, colonoscopies, mammograms, and other recurring medical tests?
  7. What shall I do for medical travel insurance?
  8. How often should I seek a physical exam if my health is good and I’m feeling well?
  9. What do I do if a severe illness or injury occurs while I’m traveling? Do I return to my home country for surgery or treatment?
  10. How will I handle my protection in avoiding contracting COVID-19 and other such viruses that may be or become prevalent while I’m traveling?

During our past years of world travel, each of the above questions has been at the forefront of our minds at one point or another. As time passes, some of our suggestions and solutions for our situations may change as more and more travelers consider long-term travel once COVID-19 is under control. Today, following in the above questions as highlighted headings below, we will address each of these questions.

Regardless of our past experiences and observations, it’s imperative to discuss your health conditions or potential age-related conditions with your physician and medical professionals before embarking on any trip, if for a week, a month, a year, or longer.

We also suggest you assign a family member or close friend as your medical advocate if you as an individual or a couple are in an accident that may leave you unable to manage your care during severe medical treatment and recovery. It makes sense for couples to go quickly accessible notes on a smartphone with any medical particulars that may be crucial in their partner’s care (such as allergies, medications, conditions, etc.).

It’s surprising how often a spouse, companion, or partner may be oblivious to the health issues of their traveling companion. This may be one of the most critical medical issues of world travelers. So, let’s start working our way through the above ten questions. If, at any time, you have questions on topics we haven’t covered, please feel free to comment at the end of any post. You may do so anonymously if you’d prefer. Here we go:

How will I receive my prescription refills and also, for some, “store insulin and other medications that require refrigeration?”

One of the most frequent medical issues for world travelers is carrying sufficient supplies of necessary prescription medications and getting prescriptions refilled in other countries. Of course, the ideal scenario is to determine how long you’ll be gone and carry all of those prescriptions with you in a secure carry-on bag with copies of the prescriptions from your doctor.

Unfortunately, many travelers’ health plans do not allow a prescription for longer than three months. When we first left the US, the workaround that we chose was to pay for the drugs ourselves without claiming our insurance. We’d asked our doctor to write the three non-narcotic prescriptions for one year each. We’d even be able to negotiate the costs of my three prescriptions from a few pharmacies, who were happy to give us a year’s supply at negotiated rates.

As it turned out, our cost of the prescriptions was compared to the co-pays we’d have paid for the medications using our health plan. However, even if it had required more money out of pocket, we’d been willing to pay considering the convenience. If you plan to return to your home country to visit once a year, you can repeat the same process. Since we didn’t return to the US more frequently than once every two years, we developed another plan.

At the beginning of our travels, while in Belize, we met a couple, and the wife suggested we contact ProgressiveRX, a company we’ve worked with these past eight years, except for those times, we could purchase my medication at a pharmacy without a prescription, which is possible in many countries. For example, in India, where many US medications are manufactured, we don’t need a prescription for any non-narcotic drugs, none of which we use. One needs to write down their medication, dose, and quantity they’d like to receive for most prescription medications. This information is available online.

As for storing medications that require refrigeration, carry a stable cooler block and a small cooler bag to keep the medicine cold during long flights. Since most hotels and holiday homes include a refrigerator, it shouldn’t be a problem. We have what we call a carry-on “pill bag,” which contains copies of original or recent prescriptions and pills in their original packaging, which we don’t let out of our sight. It’s imperative, regardless of the medication, not to leave them in your checked baggage.

What do I do if I run out of medication while traveling?

First off, if you plan, you can avoid this situation while on longer trips by ensuring you have an adequate supply of medications you’ll need, including a few weeks of extra doses in the event of unforeseen delays. If you’re traveling for years instead of weeks or months, you must decide how to renew your prescriptions when most countries requiring medications do not allow you to use your home country physician’s prescriptions. It’s important to check this information in advance of traveling.

In the worst-case scenario, which we’ve accepted as a part of our travel responsibilities, is to make an appointment with a local doctor, bring along your existing prescriptions and containers, and ask the doctor to write new prescriptions for you for at least six months, a year if possible. Doing so is not as inconvenient as you may think.

Ask your landlord or hotel staff for the name and number of a local clinic to arrange your appointment and subsequent filling of your new prescription. Keep in mind, in many countries; prescription drugs are named differently than in your home country. Sure, this becomes a part of medical Issues for world travelers but doesn’t usually require more than a few hours of your time.

If you are on a cruise ship (hopefully possible again in the future), the ship’s doctor generally has the most common medications on hand. However, the cost to see them can be expensive. Being prepared before embarking on a cruise is imperative.

How will I be able to receive my necessary prescriptions?

Using such prescription services as ProgressiveRX may end up taking months to receive in regular mail. If you are staying in one location for many months, this may be possible. Also, depending on mail services available in some countries, you can request expedited service for an additional fee. This may be the case for most online pharmacies willing to use an old prescription as proof. In no case will narcotic drugs be mailed in any country?

For those with chronic pain issues, traveling long term may be a part of substantial medical Issues for world travelers. The only way you’d be able to receive such medications would be from a visit to a hospital, urgent care facility, or a doctor with you providing accompanying paperwork from your home physician describing your condition in detail and your need for narcotic medication. Since we don’t use pain medications other than those over-the-counter, that’s our best suggestion.

What immunizations/vaccines will I need to travel the world?

One of the many concerns over medical issues for world travelers is the necessity of immunizations before embarking on a journey that will include countries where certain diseases are rampant. Most medical clinics or groups have a travel clinic you can visit. It’s imperative to bring a list of the countries you’ll be visiting, illnesses, medications, allergies, and previous vaccinations to your first appointment.

From there, a nurse practitioner along with a doctor will determine what immunizations are recommended for your upcoming travel. We arranged for this appointment a few months before we left to ensure ample time for any necessary spacing of the vaccinations. In all, we each had about 15 immunizations in total. I won’t mention them here because your locations and personal health may be entirely different from ours. Also, we planned to be gone for years, not months, so we needed additional inoculations.

The travel clinic will know exactly what you need, but it’s your final decision as to which, if any, you are willing to accept. We accepted all recommendations. While in South Africa in 2018, we presented our immunization record to our local Dr. Theo, and we had boosters as needed. Our only reactions were from the yellow fever vaccine, leaving me feeling flu-ish for a few hours and Tom, lightly, over a weekend.

It is during this appointment. You may choose to get prescriptions for malaria pills. There are two types of these. The more expensive have fewer side effects. See your doctor for recommendations.

How do I handle everyday aches, pains, injuries, and illnesses that may have prompted me to visit my doctor in my old life?

Another primary concern over medical issues for world travelers is those who may have visited their family practitioner regularly, often monthly, for blood tests, exams, medications, and treatment protocols. If this process has been prevalent in your care, long-term travel may not be ideal for you. Perhaps, shorter trips would be more appropriate.

We’ve had flu, bad coughs, and viruses throughout this period, but we managed on our own in most cases. Otherwise, we have learned to self-treat minor injuries, aches, and pains with ice and hot packs and over-the-counter medication. This may not be appropriate for many travelers, requiring visits to local doctors. I’ve had a few injuries become infected. In those cases, we sought medical care.

What do I do about dental care, colonoscopies, mammograms, and other recurring medical tests?

Before we left the US, we had many medical tests to ensure we were good to go. Once we started traveling, it was almost 2½ years before either of us made an appointment for a check-up and blood test. Contrary to most medical advice, we decided to forgo colonoscopies instead, conducting the home fecal monitoring tests checked by a lab. I haven’t had a mammogram since we left, but I do self-exams regularly.

As for dental appointments, we each had our teeth cleaned every six months in our old lives. Now, we’re lucky to have this done every two years. Not every country is suitable for dental appointments. Of course, generally, dental care would be necessary in case of an infection or abscess.

Based on having had emergency major open-heart surgery in South Africa in February 2019, dental care was ill-advised 12 months after the surgery. Once we return to South Africa, we will visit our favorite dentist in Komatipoort for cleaning and other dental care as needed.

While we were in Minnesota in November 2019, I visited a highly regarded cardiac facility to be checked after heart surgery. It was recommended I return next time we visit the US, which I’ll surely do. Of course, if any heart-related issues presented, I’d immediately seek appropriate medical care.

What shall I do for medical travel insurance?

Overall, the most frequent question regarding medical issues for world travelers is travel insurance. We have written dozens of posts on this topic which can easily be accessed by typing “travel insurance” in our search field on our home page. For purposes here today, I’ll briefly review our experiences.

When we began our world travels, we signed up with a worldwide travel insurance company, Healthcare International, based in London.  As typically the case, worldwide travel insurance doesn’t cover travelers in their home country unless they are willing to pay a much higher rate.

We had opted out of Medicare Part B since it nor its supplemental policies at the time covered medical issues for world travelers like us. There was no point in paying for Medicare Part B or a supplement, as much as several hundred dollars more each month, to cover us outside the US or even while in the US, when we were visiting for such short periods if we needed medical care. At the same time, in the US, which we have paid out of pocket on a few occasions.

We paid US $4000, INR 291,844, per year for the policy and never claimed until in February 2019 while in South Africa, I had to have emergency triple coronary bypass surgery. To make a long story short, the insurance company refused to pay, and we had no choice but to pay out-of-pocket for the expensive four surgeries, including three weeks in the hospital, that was ultimately necessary.

They claimed I had a preexisting condition. I had no idea I had heart disease. But to force them to pay would have required years of legal expenses and time, with the possibility of losing the case. We had no desire to make our lives all about a lawsuit, especially if we could lose the case.

From there, we researched online for a US company. We found UnitedHealthcareGlobal with no pre-existing conditions policy other than no effective medical treatment in the past six months. We qualified by the time we purchased the policy. There are more nuances of the policy, but I won’t get into that here. Click this link for more details. (Due to COVID-19, one must call for a quote, but recently, from here in India, we were able to renew our policy without a problem.

Since we travel full time, our needs are different from short-term travel policies. Also, now as time has passed, there are supplemental travel policies available to US citizens, but not applicable to us since we don’t have Medicare other than Part A.

Often, your travel agency, cruise company, or other travel-related businesses offer short-term travel policies. In light of COVID-19, we encourage you to do your research for such policies for short-term travel. Plus, many of the travel business policies are more expensive than you may find on your own.

How often should I seek a physical exam if my health is good and I’m feeling well?

It is essential to discuss your medical issues for world travelers with your physician before embarking on a year’s long journey. Based on your current conditions, or lack thereof, they will recommend how often you should arrange a check-up from a qualified medical professional in the countries you will be visiting. Also, they may suggest tests that are important for your state of health.

For us, every few years has prompted us to have a basic exam. It was only in South Africa that I had jaw pain precipitating an additional visit to Dr. Theo, whom we had already seen for exams and vaccination boosters, which under normal circumstances would never have predicted my cardiovascular issues when I had a normal EKG and heart sounds during the actual exam.

It was months later that I visited Dr. Theo, who suggested I had an exercise stress test when I was experiencing weird jaw pain. If he hadn’t done that test on me, I might not be here today to tell the story. His determination sent me to a cardiologist and thoracic surgeon only days later for immediate open-heart surgery. We are so grateful to him for “catching this.”

What do I do if a severe illness or injury occurs while I’m traveling? Do I return to my home country for surgery or treatment?

This is a common concern and medical issue for world travelers. I suppose my case was a perfect example. There was no time for me to return to the US for emergency surgery, nor would it have been safe to fly back to the US in my dire condition.

Also, if we returned to the US, the cost of the four procedures would have been around US $1,000,000, INR 72,961,200. Medicare would only have paid a portion, and we’d have been left with much more out-of-pocket expense than the entire bill we’ve had to pay in South Africa. In the end, it all worked out for the best.

However, many less severe conditions can make a traveler worried and stressed as to appropriate action for a travel-related illness or injury, not requiring urgent medical care that may be available by quality professionals in some, not all countries. One must assess the situation carefully and determine the safety of treatment in their current condition.

If anyone had asked me if I could have recovered from open-heart surgery and three other procedures, for three months in a holiday home in the bush in South Africa with no air-con in the living areas with temperatures in the 104F, 40C range, day after day, I would have said absolutely “NO!!!” But, with Tom’s attentive and loving care, we made it through. One never knows their strength and resiliency until faced with situations beyond their control. I wasn’t allowed to travel for three months and could not have returned to the US to recover.

How will I handle my protection in avoiding contracting COVID-19 and other such viruses that may be or become prevalent while I’m traveling?

There are substantial medical issues for world travelers in today’s world is COVID-19. What do I do if I become infected while traveling? Based on the infectious nature of COVID-19, returning to one’s home country would be impossible and risky for others if somehow you managed to get through the priority checking procedures at most airports.

If one becomes infected, it is imperative to immediately arrange for a test to confirm infection and to contact the local health authorities for contact tracing if you are indeed positive. If you are only a carrier without very mild symptoms, you will be required to quarantine for a definite period, most often for two weeks. At that point, you’ll be advised as to treatment based on the severity of your symptoms.

Some countries may require quarantine at a specific location. However, most will allow quarantine to transpire at a holiday home or hotel, never leaving the facility during the critical period. If symptoms are escalating, a hospital or urgent care visit may be necessary. The local health authorities will advise you in either case.

It’s essential to notify the property manager so the holiday home can be properly sanitized after you leave if leaving immediately after the quarantine ends. Stay for an additional, extended period. It may be possible for you to sanitize the location upon full recovery since the virus only lives so long after the infection has ended.

Here again, investigate this with the health authorities and the property owner. Hotels do this cleaning after quarantined parties can vacate. We see the special cleaners in the corridors every day, although we aren’t aware of any cases in this hotel.  But, it would be best if you let them know once you discover you are infected so they can commence proper protection for their staff and other guests.

Taking a test after recovery is equally important to ensure you are no longer infectious. In some cases, a positive test may be present more extended than the two weeks. Also, wearing an appropriate face mask, social distancing, and washing hands frequently always remain reasonable safety measures.

In conclusion, regarding medical issues for world travelers…

It would be possible to write an entire book on this topic. I have well surpassed the 2000 word requirement at well over 3500 words. In each case, we suggest you contact your doctor(s), your pharmacist, and a family member as an advocate before embarking on a years-long world journey.

Even those in the seemingly best health may fall prey to a severe and often life-threatening condition while traveling, especially those in later years. No one is exempt from such issues, regardless of excellent health at the beginning of their travels.

Of course, I am living a healthful life while traveling. Although no guarantee of avoidance of medical issues for world travelers, it certainly is an essential adjunct in predictive outcome in many cases.

Avoiding worry and concern is undoubtedly an essential aspect of enjoying world travel. Being educated on all of these topics, carrying appropriate medical information for health and prescriptions, and researching medical care in each country before visiting can play a vital role in ensuring a safe outcome in the event of an unforeseen injury or illness while traveling.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 13, 2019:

Shirenewton, Chepstow, Wales, the holiday property
In Shirenewton, Chepstow, Wales, the holiday property we rented is The Studio, but it is more significant than a studio apartment. The main floor consists of a living room, kitchen, dining area, and bathroom. The master bedroom is upstairs on a mezzanine level, a small loft room with a futon bed. For more photos, please click here.

The engrossing work in planning for the future…Do we use a travel agent?…

Oughterard Shrubbery is a lovely spot to stop and enjoy nature.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“A law was enacted in 2009 that makes it illegal to be drunk in public in Ireland.”
                
As we research visiting our following country, we’re amazed over how much more work it is now compared to almost seven years ago when we first began traveling.

This is a stream in Oughterard Shrubbery.

Why is this the case? It appears there is 10 times the number of websites advertising the same information for the same venue. Sorting through them to ensure we’re in the correct place with the best pricing requires diligent efforts by both of us.

Once we get on a specific site simultaneously from each of our laptops and carefully peruse it, we’re more able to determine if we should seek out another site.  

Steps to the stone footbridge over the stream.

It’s a time-consuming process, often taking several hours a day for a week or more, to decide on what we’d like to do, which site we’ll use, reviews from other users, and the details of the booking, it’s only then, we’ll go ahead and book the venue.

It’s not as if we have a travel agent. With the complication of the nature of our lives, it wouldn’t be prudent to leave the many facets of our travel in the hands of a stranger.  

As in most areas of Ireland, there is a tremendous number of stones.

Yes, we use Vacations-to-Go for most of our cruise bookings after working with them since mid-2012 when we booked our first cruise. We’ve been shifted from one rep to another over the years, as they’ve come and gone or been promoted in the company.

In a few cases, we felt the rep assigned to us couldn’t handle our needs leaving us to contact a manager to suggest another more experienced representative diplomatically. Right now, we’re very happy with Heather at Vacations-to-Go, our knowledgeable rep with years of experience.
Pretty flowers in the park.

As we research plans for early 2020, we’re finding the best route to use a travel agency when we know so little about the country and the places within that country that appeal to our tastes. Even so, this still is a complicated process.

At times, particularly on cruises, other passengers have described how much work they put into booking a single cruise, considering transportation to and from the airport or pier, public or private transportation while in the country, tipping policies, hotel bookings, and the many nuances of the cruise itself.

It’s interesting how most of us are drawn to water scenes.

When booking a cruise, the cabin number and its location within the ship can require hours of research and contemplation, let alone the choice for dining times; excursions either through the ship or privately; WiFi availability and costs; drink packages and the different pricing;  pre-booked spa services, if desired; and specialty restaurant packages often offered before sailing.

For an inexperienced traveler, this task can be daunting, if not overwhelming. For us, it was a trial and error process since we were traveling non-stop. For many travelers, this is a once-in-a-lifetime or once-a-year trip, for which they expect relative perfection.

An onlooker on the bridge over the stream.

Nothing is more frustrating than discovering a cabin above or below the disco (this happened to us once, and they moved us after three days of requesting a change). I could hear and feel the vibration of the music in my pillow at 1:00 am. (The disco often stays open until 3:00 am). Early on, we certainly learned a lesson after this experience.

But, these particulars are often unknown to the average traveler, and we often see long lines at the ship’s customer service desk with disgruntled passengers who wanted to change to a different cabin. Additionally, more experienced cruisers will wait in this queue for hours to request a free upgrade.

Sheep were running away when we stopped for photos.

There’s no way we’re interested in standing in line for two hours to upgrade our cabin. We strive to book the best possible cabin for our budget, thus far always with a balcony (this could change down the road), and if everything is working, clean and safe, we’re happy to stay put.

So now, as we work to book the next country we’ll visit, we do so with the utmost care and consideration. Soon, we have some details to share.

May your day be filled with wonders.

Photo from one year ago today, June 26, 2018:

Yesterday, we spotted this ostrich family near this vehicle. It was over four years ago we saw our first ostrich in the wild in Marloth Park. It was on December 7, 2013, that we’d spotted an ostrich standing next to this exact vehicle at this same property, looking at himself in the window of the vehicle. Click here for that post. Please click here for the one year ago post.

Filling in the gaps…It was about time to start booking for the future…

Louise and her adventurous son Jandre (who recently returned from an exciting two months in Thailand) stopped by for a visit and sundowners last night.  There was a bowl of nuts for the humans and a bigger bowl of carrots and apples for the wildlife.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

After Louise had seen our photos of Little coming up the steps to the veranda, we all laughed out loud when he did it again while they were here.  

In years past, six to be exact, we always stayed on top of filling in gaps in our itinerary. As a matter of fact, during the first few years, we were always completely booked for two years in advance.

As time has marched on we’ve found it isn’t necessary to have every gap, every hotel, every vacation rental, every car rental, and every flight booked so far in advance. 

However, we’ve found it necessary to know where we’d prefer to be in the upcoming two years, enabling us to research. Also, we never show up in a country without reservations for a hotel or holiday home. We have no interest in “winging it.”
We’re always thrilled to see giraffes in Marloth Park.

Traveling the world has been a learning process. When we started in 2012, there wasn’t a training manual on how to do this. Over the years many travelers have asked us for advice and we’ve been delighted to share our best tips for those considering embarking on this lifestyle.

Recently, we read that over 1,000,000 Americans are traveling full-time. There were so few when we started six years ago. At this point, we often wonder how many have been traveling, without a home or apartment or, motorhome without storage, or without a car, who’ve been traveling for six years or more.

If you’ve been “out there” for longer than five or six years, we’d love to hear from you and compare notes.  We’ve met many who’ve traveled in a motorhome for decades. To us, that’s a home of sorts and generally, those who’ve made this choice, generally stay on one continent, most often their home country to avoid immigration issues.

They often stop eating to check us out.  Once realizing we’re aren’t a threat, they return to eating the leaves on the tree tops.

Many years ago, long before we ever decided to travel the world, we discussed the idea of owning a motorhome and traveling the US, but dismissed it entirely when the discussion came up in January 2012, of traveling the world.  

We didn’t want the responsibility of owning “stuff” packed into a “moving home” nor did we care for the idea of the upkeep, maintenance, and daily management a motorhome requires. For many, they do this with ease and enthusiasm.  t just wasn’t right for us.

Oddly, as world travelers, we aren’t that big on long road trips.  We never have been. This fact has inspired us to find countries, towns, villages we’d like to visit and stay put for a month or more as we make every effort to learn the culture, adapt and blend in.

At quite a distance, a hippo we spotted yesterday on our usual drive.

From this perspective, we’ve gleaned the best experiences we could ever expect and we look forward to the future as much now as we did in the beginning. Plus, in the process, we’ve learned to “live in the moment” wherever that may be.

This one year stint in Marloth Park will be our last long-term stay (beyond three months). It was only this magical place that inspired us to stay for such an extended period. When we return in December 2020, we’ll only stay in South Africa for 90 days, avoiding any potential immigration hassles.

It wasn’t that we haven’t loved every moment in Marloth Park. We’ve had a fantastic experience that ends in a mere 61 days.  It will be hard to leave our human and animal friends.  

But, it will be time to move on and resume our continuing travels throughout the world, not staying too long in any one location. There’s still so much world left to experience. Health provided, we’ll continue for as long as we can.

Recently, we’d considered going to Rwanda to see the gorillas. But after careful review of our budget and upcoming expenses (many flights, two cruises and the balance on the amazing Kenya tour in February), we decided we needed to hold off on that adventure until we return to Africa in 2020.

A pair of cape buffalos grazing at the river’s edge.

These decisions aren’t always easy but practicality must prevail in our lifestyle if we intend to be able to continue on indefinitely at this point. We are not wealthy people, as some world travelers, we’ve encountered along the way.  We must remain frugal and sensible at all times.

But, in the process, we’ve learned how to find great holiday rentals, at prices affordable for our budget. Of course, pricing is often subject to how long one stays and of course, the good exposure the landlords acquire from our online promotion of their rental properties. These two facts alone have played a big role in making this work for us without sacrificing living in nice properties.

With the Kenya tour beginning on February 22, 2019, and the South Africa visa requirement that we depart on February 15, 2019, suddenly we were looking at a week we had to fill between these two dates.

The question became, how expensive could we make this week and still stay within the budget. Hotels and resorts in Kenya are expensive considering the quality we prefer.  

A four elephant family spending time together at the river.

Since we’ll be embarking on the extensive and expensive Greg Harvey safari photographic tour (click here for details) for 15 nights beginning on February 22nd and after all the safari and wildlife experiences we’ve had in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana over the past year, we decided to keep costs down and spend a quiet week in Nairobi, Kenya.

We won’t be sitting around the hotel day and night. There are several sightseeing venues we’ll explore while there which we’ll share with photos along the way.

Last night, we booked the hotel, close to the airport where we’ll leave the bulk of our luggage when we take off on the 22nd and return on the last day, according to the itinerary of the tour. This way, we won’t have to move all of our stuff leaving us more time to do what we’d like during the one-week stay.

We booked the Four Points by Sheraton near the airport at a cost for seven nights of ZAR 22764 (US $1582) which includes breakfast, wi-fi, and a king deluxe room. Our additional expenses will be tours, transportation, tips, and the evening meal. (Neither of us eats lunch or snacks during the day based on our way of eating that totally eliminates daytime hunger).

A mom and youngster at the Crocodile River.

We also booked a hotel in Nelspruit, fairly close to the airport, for one night on February 14th since our flight to Kenya departs early in the morning. With the over an hour drive from Marloth Park to the airport with potential road delays we’ve experienced in the past, we decided to take no risks and stay overnight in Nelspruit.  

Next, we’ll be getting to work on booking our flight from Nairobi, Kenya to Santiago, Chile on March 7th or 8th.  The Kenya tour ends on March 7th, (which is the date of our wedding anniversary) and we haven’t decided if we’ll stay one more night in Kenya or head directly to South America the same day. We’ll know once we check out flights in the next few days.

So there it is folks. The beginnings of filling in the gaps in our itinerary over the two years, all of which we’ll continue to post here as we go along.

Tonight, we’re dining at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant with Rita and Gerhard and Kathy and Don, who are returning to Marloth Park for the holidays. We have lots of exciting plans with our friends over the holiday season and for Tom’s birthday as well on December 23rd.

Have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2017:

Note the snow-covered pointed peaks in the Chilean Fiords. For more photos, please click here.