|The piece of driftwood decorates the beach by our villa. The sidewalk to the center-left is the sidewalk directly in front of our villa.|
Yesterday afternoon while lounging on the veranda, swimsuits still damp from playing in the pool, we contemplated our upcoming itinerary. Having canceled the one month stay at the stone house in France for April 18, 2014, to May 17, 2014, left an almost three-month gap in our schedule to open up.
We had intended to use this gap to take a long term cruise out of South Africa on March 1, 2014, getting us back to Europe. A number of such cruises had been posted for 2013 and we’d hoped they’d reappear in 2014. So far, not the case. Cruises appear to be posted approximately 18 months in advance.
The only cruises available from Cape Town, South Africa during the time frame would cost $25,000+ for the two of us for a balcony cabin, not an expense we are interested in bearing for a mere 15 days. There were a few less expensive options, but on lower-rated cruise lines which we’ve chosen to avoid in light of multiple negative reviews.
So, here we are, with a gap from March 1, 2014 to May 15, 2014, without a decision made. With less than a year remaining, we knew we’d better get our butts in gear!”
|The shaded grounds of Laru Beya, all-natural vegetation planted in sand.|
On May 15, 2014, we’re scheduled to arrive on the island of Madeira, Portugal to stay until July 31, 2014, with another open spot until October 26, 2014 when we board a cruise onto our eventual destination of Hawaii for the holidays when our kids and grandkids will visit for Christmas, staying until May 15, 2015. Beyond that, we haven’t decided where we’ll go, but we will continue on. It’s just too early to secure vacation homes.
Many laughed about our advance planning beginning in January 2012. We didn’t. As we’ve experienced life on the move, we realized it was none too early. When most travelers plan a two-week vacation, it is not unlikely to plan a year in advance to ensure preferred reservations in preferred locations. (Airlines, won’t allow booking reservations prior to 330 days before travel, not an issue that’s been a concern to us).
We learn as we go. We’ve accepted the reality that we will not be able to cruise to all of our locations for a few reasons 1). Cruises aren’t necessarily available when and where we’d like to travel; 2). The cost may be prohibitive if they do. With 9 cruises booked ahead of us over the next 20 months, we’re satisfied with our choices.
Based on future plans, we’ll be required to fly no less than 7 times over the next few years. We’ve accepted this reality, determined to gain a more cavalier attitude about airports, baggage fees, and the actual flying.
Ditching the three large suitcases to be shipped to my dear sister Julie in California on April 13th while we’re in Miami for one day, we’ll be left with two regulation-sized large suitcases and the usual carry on bags. We’ll then meet the airline baggage restrictions in both weight and size. The most we’ll pay is the standard fees for two checked bags, where applicable.
On May 21st, we’ll fly back to Barcelona, Spain from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Emirates Airlines, which allows two checked bags per person in coach at no additional charge. Many other airlines we’ll use, charge $50 per bag or, only $50 for the 2nd checked bag. Prior to flying, we’ll check the weight of our bags as we’re packing on our trusty mini travel scale to ensure we won’t incur outrageous overweight fees.
I know, reading this may be confusing. But, it’s no more confusing to us than anyone planning a busy schedule whether working, retired, have children at home, grown children, grandchildren, or are caring for senior parents and relatives. Somehow, we manage to keep it all straight.
|It’s surprising how heartily vegetation grows in sand.|
Back to the veranda…we researched, we talked, we laughed, we consulted our budget, we calculated foreign exchange rates, and much to our surprise, we discovered not only a viable option for March 1, 2014, to May 15, 2014, but a particular option causing me to do my usual “jumping up and down.” Tom, of course, has the usual non-assuming smirk on his face.
Contacting the owner with a proposal, we anxiously awaited a response. With a six-hour time difference between Belize and the owner’s location, we anticipated it could be a few days until we received a response.
This morning, hearing back from the owner, we negotiated an acceptable arrangement for us all, much to our delight. Today, we’ll receive the contract via email subsequently paying the reasonable 15% deposit by PayPal. Once this is completed, hopefully by tomorrow, we’ll tell you all about it with photos and all the delicious details.
Of course, we don’t want to “jump the gun” until it’s a “done deal!”
Please check back tomorrow!