Hahaha, it’s so busy in the garden, I can’t get anything done!!!…It was almost two years ago…Can’t stop thinking about it…

Broken Horn is persistent about pellets, scaring off any intruders with his horns.

I am sitting at the big table on the veranda and can’t stop laughing. There are so many animals stopping by I can hardly type a word for today’s post. Between Little, Broken Horn, ThickNeck/BadLeg, Spikey, and his mom, 25 helmeted guinea fowls, Frank, Go-Away birds, and other warthogs and bushbucks, I can’t sit still long enough to type a word.  I keep getting up for more pellets and seeds.

The sights and sounds of the bush grab my attention, especially knowing that in 59 days, we will be leaving South Africa, unsure as to when we’ll return. It could be one year. It could be two. It’s all subject to what transpires with Covid-19. We do know that beyond the end of February, after friends Karen and Rich’s wedding in Florida, whether or not our cruises to Japan sail or not, we will be leaving the US to continue on our journey.

A few Go-Away birds have been hanging around for days. We love their funny sounds.

Of course, if Covid continues to rage throughout the world, and if there is nowhere safe or without restrictions for us to visit, we may have to rethink the possibility of plans outside the US. The alternative has been our long-range plan to travel to the US, and in the worst case, the time to do that may be coming sooner rather than later. At this point, we don’t have a clue.

As for most of us, Covid-19 determines our future fate, especially regarding travel. We’ve often thought about renting an RV to eventually travel the US when we were getting too old for long-distance travel, hauling heavy bags, and flying on countless red-eye flights. Is the handwriting on the wall and that time maybe sooner than we’d hoped?

This tiny bushbuck couldn’t have been more than a month old but already knew about pellets. Her mom is in the background.

Now, as the days tick away for us to leave Africa, where we’ll be soon, looms heavily on my mind. It will be less than two years ago that we stayed in Apache Junction with Tom’s sisters. We particularly loved the days and evenings we spent with them, socializing and having fun.

But, the days in-between those delightfully fun social interactions were hard for me. It reminded me too much of what our lives would be like if we gave up our journey and settled somewhere in the US. After all we’ve seen and done, such a thought is far removed from our reality. The trips to the supermarket, Walgreens, Target, the bank, and more remind me of a life I struggle to embrace at this point.

Bossy and Broken Horn, together in the garden.

We never imagined our life of world travel would end due to a pandemic. Who imagined they’d lose their jobs, work from home, home school their kids, and wear face masks every time they stepped out the door? Who imagined their social lives would be small and fraught with worry and concern over “catching” the virus?

Even those of us who are vaccinated are still proceeding with caution in everything we do, everywhere we go, when the media and even science continue to throw us curve balls on what we can and can’t do, what is safe for ourselves, and our family. Will a booster jab be necessary? No one seems to know for sure. When will the numbers come down? Are the numbers real or exaggerated? None of us knows for sure. We live in a constant state of limbo.

Lots of pigs in the garden!

Many of our friends who usually spend time in Marloth Park never came here, frightened of their fate, their safety. Are we no different in deciding to leave when we don’t even know if it’s safer in the US or not? Based on the stats from Worldometer, the US is still in the #1 spot on the list of countries. Why would we assume it’s safer there?

Arizona, where we’re going in 59 days, is listed in the 12th position out of 56 states and US territories. There’s a large senior population in Arizona.  From the web:

“The number of elderly (persons over the age of sixty years) in Arizona will grow from a current level of around 900,000 in 2000, representing some 18 percent of the population to 1.8 million and 24 percent in 2020 and almost three million and 26 percent of the population in 2050.”

If 24% of the current population in Arizona is senior citizens, what percentage of those are recent cases of Covid-19?

From this article:

Arizona’s older population could mean more COVID-19 deaths.

That’s a higher share of the elderly than some states that have so far seen larger outbreaks than Arizona. About 18.6% of people in California are over age 60, 19.1% in Colorado, 20.6% in Washington, and 21.2% in New York.

“Those that are over the age of 60 or those that have other significant medical issues are the ones most likely to suffer that mortality rate from COVID-19,” Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer for Banner Health, said. “The age of a country or a state or even a town will determine the death rate.”

One Wart, a regular visitor to the garden.

No, we don’t dwell on this every day. Of course, we will continue to avoid a sense of doomsday and be optimistic for the future. But now, as the time to return to the US nears, it’s unavoidable to free ourselves of such thoughts when we are out in public and at gatherings, just as we’ve done here in Marloth Park.

And, as I sit here today, surrounded by our wildlife friends, I already feel the sense of loss I’ll feel leaving here. If it weren’t for the necessity of leaving every 90 days for a visa stamp, undoubtedly, we’d have stayed longer.  But, without a doubt, we’ll have a good time in Apache Junction, Arizona, with Tom’s siblings and then on to Florida for the wedding.

Life goes on. Thank God for that!!!

Photo from one year ago today, August 23, 2020:

One year ago, this photo was posted in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #153. This is St. Mary’s church in Bampton, known as Church of St. Michael of All Angels, as shown in the series Downton Abbey, where Mary married Matthew, Edith was jilted at the altar, and eventually, Matthew was buried. For more photos, please click here.

Comments and responses Hahaha, it’s so busy in the garden, I can’t get anything done!!!…It was almost two years ago…Can’t stop thinking about it…

  1. Jan Kirkman Reply

    We know the feeling about future travels. My husband just got diagnosed with Leukemia and we aren’t sure of what our future holds. So happy we have our wonderful memories of the many places we got to see and things we did over a 12 year span. It’s hard to give it up, but like the two of you, being with each other is all that matters.

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Jan, our heartfelt prayers and wishes for your dear husband’s recovery as he makes his way through this awful disease. We have no doubt you will be a loving and helpful caregiver as he goes through this tough time. I’m so happy you both had many years of wonderful travel with memories that will surely be with you each step of the way.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

  2. Ron and Donna Reply

    Our once busy post retirement traveling has come to crawl also. We would surely enjoy your RV travel posts with just as much interest!

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Ron & Donna, thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. Let’s hope we can all get back to building a robust travel itinerary in the near future. Thanks for reading our posts and for writing. So thoughtful of you.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Donna and Ron, thanks for your encouragement. One never knows what the future holds in times of Covid-19. Hope you both are doing well and are healthy in these peculiar and frustrating times.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

  3. Bev Cavera Reply

    I feel such sadness it overwhelms me reading this post. What a dilemma to be faced with. This place has really become your home. I can read it all between your words and sentences in every post you write. Believe Arizona will be temporary. Don’t let anyone persuade you to move into a Sun City type of complex. It will change you! You need to continue to travel. You have a thirst for adventure and exploring the world. We are in our mid 70’s an very healthy I cannot imagine retiring to our condo in Cape Coral, Florida. There are too many old people for us down there. Other than swimming, going to lunch and early bird dinner what would we do? I am sure we would all of a sudden become old. This is Not our cup of tea!
    Just keep the desire to return to Africa in your mind and heart. It will happen. Please do not get caught up in growing old and going to Early Bird Dinners every evening.
    You once wrote, ” the experiences of our daily lives as world travelers often leaves our mouths agape with the sheer wonder of it all. ” You also stated, ” we draw upon our emotional reserves, our dedication to one another, and our passion to continue on to see us through yet another challenging time in our journey. We can do this. And yes, we’ll carry on…
    You can do this!
    Safe travels

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Bev, I promise you, no one will be able to persuade us to stop traveling and move into a Sun City-type lifestyle. We are bound and determined to continue on our journey as Covid allows going forward. Your message means so much to us both. I can’t believe how you quoted me from our past posts. How thoughtful of you! We’ll make a point of avoiding early bird dinners and continue to live our lives like we did years ago.

      Thank you so much for writing and your kind and thoughtful words.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

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