Photos!…Pricing!…Exciting new booking…House in Connemara, Ireland for three months…

What a view from our upcoming Connemara, Ireland vacation/holiday rental for 89 nights.

We still have dozens of sightseeing photos we’ve yet to post but today we are so excited to share a new booking we secured yesterday, we decided to put those photos on hold for another day.  We couldn’t be more thrilled with this new booking!

As we peruse our itinerary there were a few occasions on which we felt the time was near to secure a booking for Ireland, from 5/12/19 to 8/9/2019, in a mere 16 months.  

This may seem to be a long time from now but the best of the vacation/holiday homes in Ireland get snapped up quickly especially during the warmer summer months. 

In researching HomeAway on our site without entering dates, we found at least half of the properties were already booked during our dates.  Once we filtered for our dates, with no other criteria, we found few with ocean views in good locations for our planned upcoming research of Tom’s ancestry. 

This kitchen with three sinks, a center island, a dishwasher and that fantastic stove will certainly fit the bill for our home cooking!

We decided that renting a property located close to the middle line of the country, north to south on the west coast which will allow us to drive to any of the cities we’ll research within two or three hours. 

Over the past few days, after we began entering data on our Excel spreadsheets and Cozi calendar for the new itinerary, we spent a few hours each day looking for the perfect property to fulfill our objectives in Ireland.  After location, the next important consideration for us, views. 

We longed for an ocean view which invariably has a profound impact on the price.  We tossed out a few low ball offers on properties more expensive than we’d prefer to pay with no success. 

Property owners in Ireland know the desirability of their properties in the warmer summer months.  The responses we received indicated they felt they will get higher prices in the summer and prefer to book one week at a time.  Long-term, lower-priced renters like us would considerably impact their annual rental income.  We certainly understood. 

Weather permitting we may dine outdoors but won’t mind dining at this table. 

We continued the search fearful we’d run out of options in no time or have to settle for a less desirable property, perhaps without an ocean view and the amenities we so much desire that make long-term stays comfortable and fulfilling for our lifestyle.

Of course, we’d yet to research other companies such as VRBO, TripAdvisor, and others.  In most cases, we prefer HomeAway for many reasons including our familiarity of the site but also their ability to arrange partial payment deposits rather than requiring the entire rental amount being paid in full at time of the booking.

It makes no financial sense to us to pay an entire three month’s rental a year or more in advance, leaving our money tied up for so long. Can you imagine paying your rent or house payment one or two years in advance?  For what?   However, we have no problem paying one-third of the entire rental amount to hold it for an extended period and the balance closer to the onset of the rental period.


Whether it was serendipity or “safari luck” yesterday, after a few hours of painstaking searching I stumbled across today’s shown spectacular home in the Connemara area with views of the Twelve Bens mountain range and magnificent Bertraghboy Bay.  The sunsets will be outstanding!

There are no big trees on the property but the views make up for it.  Plenty of photos will follow once we arrive in Connemara, Ireland.

The house was perfect for us except for the fact it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. The owner has agreed to provide us with unlimited Wi-Fi which wasn’t listed as available for this property.  Without this, it just wouldn’t work for us.  Using a hotspot or dongle is very expensive.

Then, to top it off, the price is so reasonable, we didn’t ask for a discount for our long-term stay.  The total price is US $7,368.49 (ARS 140,325) for the 89 nights which includes taxes, fees and security deposit for which we paid one-third down with the balance closer to the rental period.

This averages at US $82.79 (ARS 1,577) per night over the listed US $77 (ARS 1,466) per night, and also at US $2,518 (ARS 47,953) per month.  Based on the fact that we often book wonderful properties for even less than this amount it works out over the year to remain within our budgetary goals.

The property owner, Eileen, couldn’t have been more thoughtful and delightful to work with us in facilitating the booking process and we have no doubt, she’ll be equally kind and responsive based on all of the five-star reviews on the listing.

This house so well fits our perception of our goal of a “home in Ireland in the countryside with an ocean view” we couldn’t be happier to have found this home.  Once we’re situated in Africa,  we’ll go back to researching other vacation/holiday homes/hotels we’ll need to wrap up for our newly posted itinerary.  In case you missed it, the itinerary may be found here.

For today, we’re staying busy updating the budget with all of these changes and later head out for a walk and our nightly search for a good restaurant, which isn’t hard to accomplish in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires.

Happy day to all!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 9, 2017:

Regardless of the roads we took to explore the area, we were never disappointed in Penguin, Tasmania.  This scene reminded us of what one may find in a painting.  For more Penguin photos as we began to countdown to move on, please click here.

A day centered around Ancestry.com…A trip to the mailing service….Whoa!

Drive down a quiet street in Henderson.

Yesterday when Tom planned to visit my sister Susan with me, he knew it was important to bring along his laptop.  Over these past years of world travel, he’s pieced together many interesting facts about my family’s ancestry and of course, including ongoing information on his own family.

As a long time member of Ancestry.com, paying the annual fees of approximately $300 per year since March 2006, he’s considered a heavy user.  During idle times, while living in various countries throughout the world, he’s continued to research records of his ancestors, my ancestors and the ancestors of other family members including in-laws and others who may not be directly related via bloodline.

Many records seem to have begun once the ancestor(s) immigrated to the US in the 19th and 20th century.  Many countries, due to wars and strife, don’t have public records available online that an enthusiastic amateur geneologist would be able to add to their repetoire of facts. 

Its hard to believe that pine trees can grow in the desert.

A few years ago, Tom and I both had our DNA profiles done via Ancestry.com resulting in a few surprises for each of us.  This added further to Tom’s interest in continuing his research for both of us.  Seeing one’s actual history via a DNA report further verifies that which one may have assumed about their heritage including many new morsels of information that may be surprising.

In many cases, traveling to the country of origin may be the only recourse to extending the quality of the information going back many generations.  Tom and I continue to discuss the prospect of spending time in Ireland furthering the search for his ancestors. My family history is more scattered and would present greater difficulty in finding information.

For myself, I have less interest in the topic.  After all, its Tom’s hobby, not mine.  Besides, once I’ve completed the post each day, I prefer not to spend much time on my computer other than to research future travel related topics and others.

Scene along the highway on our way to the Centennial area of North Las Vegas.

As we’ve discovered in many conversations with people we’ve met over the years, some have little interest in pursing information about their ancestors, while others are fascinated and curious.

My sister Susan has been intrigued by the prospect of learning more about hers and my ancestry.  As a result, Tom joined me yesterday in visiting her, bringing along his laptop and HDMI cord so she could watch the data on her TV monitor rather than on the small laptop monitor.

Susan couldn’t have been more thrilled to see what Tom had discovered over these past years about our family history .  It was delightful to see her enthusiasm and interest in the data he’d collected including copies of documents, photos and endless public records. 

Dust storm gathering in the desert.

When we headed out later in the day, in hopes of beating rush hour traffic, we drove directly to our mailing service located halfway between Susan’s home and Henderson. 

With two tasks to be accomplished at the mailing service; one, pick up all of our mail including supplies we’d recently ordered and: two, mail the bins of Christmas memorabilia to son Greg, Camille and three grandchildren in Minnesota, we were able to get out the door and back on the highway within 30 minutes.

The cost to ship the five large totes of decorations to Minnesota totaled $178, less than I’d expected. We collected about 20 packages, along with some long standing paper mail of no major significance that we’d left in our mail slot until our arrival this month.

New styles of homes, condos and apartments have cropped up in the Las Vegas area.

After we left the mailing service, we ran into inclement weather while on Highway 215 heading toward Henderson.  Winds in excess of 60 MPH, with wafting sand and debris, covered the freeway.  For a short period, it rained in buckets, resulting in flash flooding in certain areas, which we later watched on the evening news. 

Today, we’re working on unpacking our mail, taking care of more business related and financial tasks and continue to gear up, once again, for leaving the USA for an extended period.

Last night, we cooked dinner on the grill for the second evening in a row, finished watching the Netflix series, El Chapo, and enjoyed a quiet evening.  Tonight, we’re dining out with Richard and no doubt will once again have a pleasant evening.

May you have a pleasant day and evening today and always.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2016:
There was no post one year ago today due to a poor signal aboard the Mekong River ship.

Changes to this site tonight…

Dear Readers,
Perfectionist that I attempt to be, I’ve not been happy with the look of this site.  It has been cumbersome for us and for our readers to find particular topics.

As a result we have sought the services of a blog design company, Smitten Blog Designs who will upload our new site tonight during the night. 

You will see changes over the next several days as I drive these qualified web designers absolutely crazy getting it to our liking.  The only way this can be done is to upload it to the Internet allowing me to make changes.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have virtually (no pun intended) skills in web design.  As a matter of fact, I have avoided learning since it is not something I am interested in knowing how to do. 

Remember, the entire purpose of our blog is to share with you that which we love to do including its invariable complications and obstacles that surely occur in the process.  Thus, this next few days, may fall into the “complications” category.  Please be aware I am working fast and furiously in the background correcting any issues.

In the end, you’ll not only see the current day’s post on the homepage, as you’ve done all along, but you will also see tabs for topics in past posts, more photos when we soon purchase a new camera and more frequent updates.

Thank you for your patience and thanks for sharing this adventure with us.

Warmest regards,

Jess & Tom

Who are we kidding?… We’re not unique!…

Had it not been for my dear husband Tom’s 42 years of hard work, this dream would have been but a dream, along with all the “would have,” “could have,” and “should have” that we all carry in the emotional baggage we haul around throughout our lives. We think we are unique, but we’re not.

In my 40’s, I gave up the dream that I’d ever find the perfect mate after two failed marriages, and then Tom miraculously appeared. At 50, I let go of the dream of a hugely successful business that would provide a lifetime of financial security, a fancy lifestyle and accepted the reality of being middle class.    

At 62, I threw in the towel and retired, after 45 years of hard work, grateful for the experiences, grateful for a fabulous marriage, grateful for family and friends, and grateful for endless stories we will tell our grandchildren of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. That’s quite typical!

We were anticipating the “usual” retirement; living in a condo in a warm climate, visiting family for holidays, summers, and special occasions, playing bridge with new friends, preparing for a neighborhood dinner party, and acquiring a newly found affinity for “The Price is Right.” This works for most retirees. This would have worked for us. Hardly unusual!

We are a cheerful, animated, and upbeat couple that over these past 21 years together have managed life’s challenges, myriad health issues, and the loss of loved ones, unfailingly supporting one another with love, compassion, dignity, and grace. This is what most people do. Nothing special here!

We have accepted the physical changes most of us experience as we age; sagging skin, hairy ears (Tom, not me), bushy brows (Tom, not me!) wrinkles, creaking joints, aching backs (mostly me), and middle of the night potty breaks (me, not Tom) resulting in poor sleep. That happens to many of us!

Over the years we’ve adopted a healthy lifestyle, enjoying homemade, organic low carb meals, grass-fed meats, fistfuls of supplements, exercising (mostly me), low alcohol consumption, and Tom’s continuing effort to quit smoking.  

But old age keeps coming’ at us no matter how hard we try to avoid it. We aren’t exempt. We each have our few prescriptions that once a month I put into our own little pill cases, another sign of advancing age.

Last night, as we sat in our respective comfy fat-stuffed chairs, computers on our laps; Tom, working on his ancestry stuff, me, working on travel information, I looked at him and smiled, thinking, “I can’t believe he’s willing to do this.” He turned his head toward me asking, “What are you looking at?” his voice, playful and obviously fishing for a compliment. That’s to be expected!

“Oh, I’m just thinking about how much I love you and that we have so much to look forward to,” I said, as a warm wave rolled over me. 

“Same here, Sweetie and yes, we do,” he said while his bright blue eyes wandered back to his laptop. In seconds, he was entrenched in the census’s recently posted on ancestry.com totally tuning me out. I smiled to myself and turned back to my laptop. How typical is that?