No post tomorrow…Heading to Manta for doctor appointment and shopping…Easy grocery app we recommend…

Gosh, we miss the bush.

Based on the stops we have tomorrow, we won’t have time to do a post, especially when we’re leaving the house at 8:30 am, most likely not returning until the late afternoon, leaving little time to start a new post. Here’s what we plan to do:

  1. 10:00 am: Cardiologist appointment
  2. 11:00 am: Stop at the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions
  3. 12:00 pm: Return the rental car for another, with a different company
  4. 1:00 pm: Grocery shop at MegaMaxi, at the shopping mall on the outskirts of town
  5. 3:00 pm: Begin the return drive to Mirador San Jose
  6. 4:15 pm: Arrive back at Mirador San Jose – unload groceries
  7. 5:00 pm: Head to Kokomo for dinner

As you can see, these tasks take up the entire day. It will be the first time since we arrived almost a month ago that I will have such a full day out and about, and I am hoping I don’t have an Afib event since they tend to almost paralyze me. Right now, the drugs I changed back to and increased the dose seem to be working, but I am tentatively optimistic.

This female is protecting her kill.

It seems as if I move around too much or walk too far, the Afib kicks back in, so I am limiting the amount and how fast I walk right now but making sure I do some each day. I am a little concerned about shopping in the Costco-like MegaMaxi, but I will use the trolley for support as we wander through the vast store.

Sometimes, I feel like an old woman, as much as I try not to be. As I muddle my way through this process of discovering what works and doesn’t work to avoid Afib, it’s challenging. Some people never find out their triggers, but one by one, I am figuring out mine.

Tomorrow, the doctor will tell me if I need surgery or not. If I don’t, I will jump for joy since I am not ready for another open heart surgery. If I was able to have the robotic, minimally invasive surgery, it still required a massive incision in the right chest and cutting through ribs, which takes months to heal.

After the nightmarish recovery from open heart surgery in South Africa in 2019, I am not looking forward to going through that again. We shall see what transpires tomorrow. I am trying hard not to worry and doing well, staying hopeful and optimistic.

It will be so exciting to eventually return to the bush, at this point in seven months, health-providing.

Over the past several days, I’ve put together a comprehensive grocery list on the online app on my phone, which doesn’t require an internet connection. This app has served me well over the years, and a simple one-click knocks items off the list or saves them for later if the item is not found. The app is called “Bring” and can be found here at this link.

Since most of us take our phones with us when shopping, it’s a lot easier to go through an easy list on the phone than using a pen while shopping to check off found items while shopping. Plus, I often think of an item I want to add while shopping that may be in another aisle. It’s so easy to add an item to the list.

I have been using this app before we left Minnesota in 2012. It’s free, fun, and easy to use. During the week, when I notice I am out of something, I pick up my phone and add the item(s) I need.

That’s it for today, folks. For those in the US, we’ll be back on Thanksgiving day, most likely long before you tackle your first piece of pumpkin pie.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 21, 2013:

The two little dogs in Kenya, belonging to property owner Hans, spent most days with us. Jessie was sticking out her tongue, trying to kiss Gucci. I’ll miss them. For more photos, please click here.

Medical care in Ecuador…

Attractive cactus tree in the Galapagos Islands.

Many travelers often mention that Ecuador has good medicalcare, especially when many expats settle in the country for that reason, along with the lower cost of living than many other countries. Today, we’re sharing information about this topic, coupled with a smidgen of information from our recent experience.

From the US Embassy site on medical care in Ecuador:

“Medical Assistance

The Embassy cannot provide health care or medical facilities for private U.S. citizens in Ecuador. We can, however, provide a list of names and addresses of doctors and facilities for you to choose from. Should you be injured or become seriously ill while in Ecuador, the Consular Section can assist you by providing a list of medical practitioners and hospitals and informing family and friends, at your request, of your well-being.

Health Insurance Overseas

We strongly recommend acquiring Overseas health insurance before traveling to Ecuador. If you have Medicare, we advise you that Medicare does not cover health coverage outside the U.S. In addition, we also recommend looking for a Health Insurance plan with Medical Evacuation coverage since evacuations may be expensive, from $ 10,000.00 and up.

Prescription Medications

While you travel, we always recommend that you take enough medication, if required to take any, at least for the length of your trip. If you happen to run out of your medication, unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate can’t help you by receiving any medication.

Also, please note that special laws and regulations might be in force for sending medication to Ecuador. It does not matter if the package was sent with a courier company, cargo company, or regular mail. Some medications may even need a written import permit issued by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health or may be restricted by the Ecuadorian National Council of Control Substances. Packages detained by Ecuadorian Customs can’t be released by having someone from the Embassy or Consulate call in. We recommend you research what local options you can get for your prescription medication in case of emergency before traveling.”

International Living Magazine published an article regarding medical care in Ecuador, inspiring many foreigners to visit the country for care and procedures. Here is the article in part from this site:

“One of the great perks for foreign residents living in Ecuador is high-quality, low-cost healthcare. Bloomberg recently rated Ecuador as having the 20th most efficient healthcare system among advanced economies, while the U.S. ranked near the bottom in 46th place.

An internet comparison of healthcare costs worldwide found that Ecuador’s costs are the lowest—lower than those in China, Malaysia, India, Mexico, and Panama. Generally, you can expect to pay 10% to 25% of what you would in the U.S. For major surgery, we’ve seen several cases in which costs were even less than 10% of comparable procedures in the U.S. You will find similar savings for dental care.

Lots of iguanas on the walkway. (Repost).

Although Ecuador is a developing country, you will find first-rate medical care here, particularly in the major cities. Many doctors are educated in the U.S., Europe, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba and continue to train around the world. In many respects, the medical system is reminiscent of that in the U.S. in the 1950s or 1960s. House calls are still possible; most doctors do not have nurses, and the average office visit is 30 to 45 minutes. Another throwback is that Ecuadorian doctors don’t expect to become instant millionaires, and the average income for doctors, according to a Quito medical association, is about $65,000 a year.

A visit to a general practitioner costs $20 to $35, while a visit to a specialist runs anywhere from $40 to $80. For follow-up visits, there is usually no charge at all. A psychiatrist will charge $40 to $50 for a half-hour session. Simple, ambulatory procedures are equally inexpensive. For example, the removal of a small lump (under local anesthesia) and a biopsy cost about $125. Brand name medicines usually cost less than in the U.S. Generics, which are widely available and are much cheaper.

Health Insurance in Ecuador

In 2017, Ecuador passed new laws making some type of health insurance mandatory for all citizens under 65 years of age and all residents under 65 who had their visas registered after February 6, 2017. However, laws were also passed, making it illegal for private insurance companies to exclude clients based on age, sex, or pre-existing conditions.

Health insurance remains a bargain in Ecuador. A review of comparable insurance policies for a 60-year-old man in the U.S. and Ecuador tells the story. In the U.S., the man would pay a monthly premium of $1,200; in Ecuador, he may pay as little as $70. A woman aged 50 to 60 would pay $72 for the same policy in Ecuador, while coverage for a dependent child between two and 17 years of age costs $15.69 monthly.

Turtles at Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve in San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos

The policy cited is offered by Salud S.A. (website:, Latin America’s largest health insurance company, and pays 80% of doctor’s visits, 60% of medication costs, and 100% of hospitalizations. It also offers extra coverage for walk-in procedures and accidents.

Although international health insurance is available from several local companies, costs can be considerably higher than Ecuadorian policies. Remember that international policies must cover high-priced countries like the U.S.

The Social Security Healthcare Option

Ecuador has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its national social security healthcare system (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social, or IESS) and, as of January 2014, allowed foreign residents of any age a “buy-in” option. Following a change in 2017, expats now must provide proof of income for the rate of their IESS insurance to be set. That figure will be used if your visa is based on your pension. For other types of visas, you will need to provide documentation to verify your income.

The rates for IESS coverage are based on the income claimed. The primary enrollee (or spouse) will pay a monthly fee equal to 17.6% of their income. A spouse and other family members may be added for an additional 3.41% per month. So, if you have a pensioner’s visa for the minimum amount ($800 + $100 for dependents), your monthly fee as a couple would be $168.08. Remember that you don’t need to disclose all of your income, just what you are claiming to participate.

This is still a bargain, as the public healthcare system covers in-hospital care, outpatient care, extended care, home care, prescription drugs, dental care, and eye care. Again, please note that the healthcare regulations are still under debate and could change anytime. Keep up with International Living for up-to-date information as this develops.

Dental Care in Ecuador

Dental care in Ecuador is also a bargain, costing 80% to 90% less than similar care in the United States. As with physicians, you will find that most dentists are well-trained and have access to the latest technology. Many of them also speak English.

Checking prices for dental care, a cleaning costs $30 to $45. Cavity repairs and fillings cost $25 to $35. Partial plates cost $325, and a complete set of dentures costs about $900, including office visits, fittings, lab work, and impressions.”

For the balance of this article, please click here and scroll down.

Baby turtle enjoying the water at the sanctuary.

As for our personal experience with medical care thus far, although very limited, with only one visit to the cardiologist in Manta (returning for a second visit next Wednesday), the office, his staff, and the doctor were all very professional. The doctor spoke no English, but one of his staff members spoke excellent English and was my translator.

The office was impeccably clean and organized and appeared to have the latest equipment and supplies from what I could determine. Nothing in the office or building was in ill repair, as one may expect. A guard greeted patients at reception, and we were asked to wait in the lobby before heading up the elevator to the office facility. Once in the doctor’s reception area, I was taken in to see the doctor immediately.

There are countless articles on healthcare in Ecuador, and if you are interested, please type “medical care Ecuador” in a Google or other search engine to read further.

As for our current location, we would advise staying closer to a big city for medical care rather than staying at a remote location such as Guayaquil, Cuenca, etc. See this list of population statistics for Ecuador here. (Scroll down the page).

We’ll report back after my next cardiology appointment.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 16, 2013:

Flying from country to country in Africa is no simple task. Check out this map illustrating the size of the African continent compared to the US and other countries. For more, please click here.

Day #247 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Crucial COVID-19 treatment information…

Stunning homes along the channel as we sailed out to sea from Fort Lauderdale.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2017 as we were sailing out to sea on Celebrity Infinity from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a partial circumnavigation of South America, ending in Buenos Aires, where we stayed for one month in a hotel, awaiting an upcoming cruise to Antarctica. For the story from that date, please click here.

A while back, we voted as to whether we should include COVID-19 news and treatments that we may discover along the way. The results of that vote were 51% against, 49% for. Subsequently, we have diligently stayed away from controversies and conspiracy theories revolving around the pandemic.

Cargo ship at the port.

Today’s comments do not consist of a controversy or a conspiracy. It is a simple medical fact…sugar is not an essential nutrient and is particularly harmful to seriously ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients. If only one of our readers or a loved one benefited from this information, this post would be well worth any backlash or negative comments we may receive from naysayers.

Unless one has been living under a rock for the past ten years, the dangers of consuming sugar have been reiterated repeatedly. Again, sugar is not an essential nutrient. If we never finished any sugar in our lives, we’d never be missing a single nutrient vital for life.

Bridge in Fort Lauderdale.

As we all know, sugar (and high-carb foods that convert to sugar in our bodies upon consumption) is highly detrimental to diabetes or those with metabolic syndrome. Most recently, as I’ve strictly reduced my carb consumption and watched my blood sugar and blood pressure dramatically reduce to a point where I’ve been able to stop two 20-year medications, it has been evident to me, which I shared in this post a few days ago.

After spending no less than two hours a day researching ways in which I can improve my cardiovascular health, I discovered two things of the major causes of cardiovascular disease: Smoking (I was an occasional smoker in my youth) and sugar (in my case, the consumption of too many carbs/sugar in my diet from a lifetime of eating a low fat, high carb diet). It took 30 to 40 years for my cardiovascular disease to manifest.

People were waving to ships as they made their way out to sea.

So, this morning a podcast popped up on my phone from Dr. Robert Cywes, a highly reputable surgeon who’s become involved in saving lives through diet, which is known as the “Carb Addiction Doctor,” entitled, The Absolute Evidence, The Truth About Cardiovascular Disease, Sugar or Fat by Robert Cywes. The content of this podcast is found here:

Well, what does the above topic have to do with COVID-19? A lot. As Dr. Cywes explains, hospitalized COVID-19 patients who become unable to eat due to being intubated or too sick to eat are given IVs containing GLUCOSE, PURE SUGAR.

View of houses on the channel.

If you or a family member are pre-diabetic, diabetic, or suffering from a metabolic disease (and many other conditions), this massive dose of sugar can send the patient into a state of high blood sugar/diabetes, requiring treatment with insulin which only exacerbates the virus to the point that may contribute to death. Why do we keep hearing about poor outcomes/death for diabetics and patients with other comorbidities? Many are being pumped full of sugar, only increasing their risk of death.

No, I am not a medical professional, nor do I profess to know more than the average person. When I had open-heart surgery in 2019 in South Africa, I made sure it was stated in bold type on my chart that no IV was to contain glucose. But, it’s not rocket science to figure out that massive infusions of sugar are detrimental to many patients, and the sugar is not needed. There are simple, non-glucose alternatives if fluids are required, containing healthy fats and protein, or a short-term treatment; plain saline is generally safe.

So, there it is, folks. Listen to the above podcast. Do your own research. Talk to your doctor. Tell the hospital staff if you or a loved one are hospitalized. Save a life.

That’s all I have to say.

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

When we didn’t have any new photos to share, here is a six-year ago photo we posted in 2019.  This view from the second-floor balcony at Whalers Village in Kaanapali Beach was breathtaking. For more photos from this post, please click here.

Why write a blog about travel?…. Years Long World Travel Writer’s Story

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan
The Treasury in Petra, Jordan! This site made us gasp with our hearts pounding wildly, less from the long walk in excessive heat and more from sheer joy! Please click here for more.

Years Long World Travel Writer:

All of my life, I have loved writing. As a student, I used the written word to bypass a certain degree of studying by writing flowery essays and compositions in place of countless mundane and boring assignments. Writing as a profession was not only my dream, whether to write a book to be published someday, hoping to attain a level of success or, to explore vast experiences throughout the world, providing me with ample fodder to inspire the words that so freely flew off my fingers on an old fashioned typewriter.

As we all know so well, life gets in the way of many of our dreams, and we find ourselves entrenched in the responsibilities of daily life; working, parenting, and financial obligations. My biggest dream was to travel to the African continent, taking endless numbers of photos of wildlife, culture, and nature and seeing the other six continents, the rest of the world. Many years passed before the possibility of writing as a profession would present itself.

The walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia
The walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Please click here for more.

The segue from a dream to reality…

In the 1980s, for the first time in my life, I had an opportunity to travel to several countries, each leaving me longing to sit down and put pen to paper about my experiences. But, here again, the demands of my life as a business owner and parent left me little time to write about my world travel experiences.

Serendipitously, in 1991, while at a business-type social event, I stumbled across a wealthy gentleman who asked me if I knew a writer who may be interested in an unusual project. He’d written two dozen songs and had a burning desire to incorporate them into a play eventually produced at a local playhouse. I couldn’t resist saying, “I am a writer, and I’d be up for the challenge.”

A few days later, I met with him at his office, bringing along the favorite pieces I’d written over the years; essays, poetry, the start of a book, and business-related journals. He hired me on the spot. Within days, he presented me with a years-long contract specifying I could take more than one year to write the play using the accompanying music scores he’d written. I’d receive a bonus if it were completed in one year.

The Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal
The Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal, as we entered. Please click here for more.

Traveling to learn to write a play…

Part of my contract provided me with an extraordinary benefit. He’d pay all costs incurred to travel to New York for private training sessions with a world-renowned playwright and professor at Northwestern University. I had no clue how to write a play, although I felt confident I could learn the art. I was on my way to New York City in no time at all, book into a fabulous historic hotel with every amenity.

An added perk while in New York was to go to as many Broadway plays as I could attend, making notes on verbiage, nuances, and unique writing styles, adding to my repertoire of experience and the use of language in a significant production. I traveled to New York three times to meet with my “teacher” and watched a Broadway show each evening. I wished Tom had been with me to revel in this unique opportunity. Somehow, on my own, I grasped every morsel of knowledge I could glean along the way.

A reality of this writing assignment was that I was a “ghost” writer, and I would never get “credit” for the comprehensive and cohesive story I’d written to work cohesively with the wide array of songs that had nothing to do with one another. Somehow, the magic happened, and the year-long task came to fruition.

traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard
Looking up at the sky, day and night, is a rare treat, from inside the riad we rented in Marrakech, Morocco, defined as a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard. It rained inside the house while we stayed in the rooms surrounding the central square. For more, please click here.

Years Long World Travel Writing:

This was almost 30 years ago. During this period, when I found myself writing each day, on occasion, my mind would wander to the prospect of worldwide travel writing, wondering if that dream would ever materialize. When the play was finally produced in the theatre district in Minneapolis, Tom and I attended opening night to discover delightfully. He had included my name in the program as a “consultant.” I was content.

Where did I go from there?

After the lucrative year-long assignment, I was at a loss as to what to do with my career from there. Writing as a career wasn’t a field whereby one could easily earn a living. So, I opted to return to the business world, where I languished for the next 20 years, to finally retire in 2010, hoping I’d have sufficient fodder to begin to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing about world travels. But, how would that transpire?

Tom and I married in 1995 and lived an entire life in Minnesota, USA. He couldn’t retire until 2012. Like many Minnesotans, they often retire to warmer climates such as Arizona, Florida, or Texas than spend the bitter winter months in the Upper Midwest. This type of life, owning two homes, didn’t appeal to either of us.

On a Thursday morning in Marloth Park in 2013, as I stepped outside onto the veranda, camera in hand, this was the first thing I saw. Quietly alerting Tom, who was still inside the house, he rushed out to witness this same sight. And then, in minutes, they were everywhere, a dozen total. No words can describe our joy. For more, click here.

One day, on a whim, ten months before Tom’s retirement date of October 31, 2012, I asked him, “Honey, what would you like to do when you retire?”

Flippantly, waving a hand in the air, he replied, “Let’s travel the world!” Finally, I’d have an opportunity to a lifestyle of years-long world travel writing.

I was shocked, never thinking for a moment he’d leave everyone and everything he’d known and loved for all of his life, to begin a life of world travel.

World travel, my dream, my fodder!

My first thought, after shaking my head in incredible wonder was, “At last, I could fulfill my dream of becoming a world travel writer.” The fact I was already 62 years old at the time was irrelevant.” A lifelong dream was coming to fruition. Instead of trying to write a book about the simple life of a 62-year-old grandmother living on a lake in Minnesota, I could ride on a safari vehicle, surrounded by lions and elephants in the savannah of Africa.

Over the next ten months, every waking moment was spent in the planning stages and the painstaking process of selling everything we owned; house, cars, household goods, while leaving treasured items for our children and six grandchildren. No, the decision to leave our family, friends, and everything we owned didn’t come easily.

But, once we decided, we were committed to seeing the world and, along the way, for me to write a very long, seeming never-ending story of our worldwide travels, day after day, month after month, and year after year. The idea of being able to exact a year’s long world travel writing philosophy sent our hearts and minds into a frenzy of incredible joy, which neither of us had ever known before.

magical splendor of Victoria Falls
Alas, we arrived at the magical splendor of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Please click here for more photos.

The detailed process…

The concept of eliminating every item one has accumulated over a lifetime, resulting in no storage facility that would leave us with an eventual “out,” was earth-shattering. We didn’t want to be in a position whereby we wouldn’t “tough it out” if things became difficult. If we stored our belongings, it would be too easy to return to our old lives, taking our “stuff” out of storage, buying a new house, and setting up housekeeping again. No, we wanted this to be a serious commitment. The world is a huge place and, it was conceivable we could continue to travel for years to come.

Somehow, we managed to unload all of our personal belongings and physical possessions. We discovered a newly found sense of freedom in the process, one we’d need to carry with us in our worldwide travels and remains with us today.

Fulfillment of a dream… The writing began…

Less than two months after we’d decided to travel the world, I uploaded our first post on March 15, 2012, while naming our site, We found the word “waftage” in an old English dictionary, which means to “travel gently by air, sea or land.” That was our plan, to travel the world gently, leaving a small footprint behind us, one of kindness, consideration, acceptance, respect, with profound reverence for the world surrounding us, it is wildlife and its people. That philosophy has served us well eight years later as we’ve enjoyed years-long world travel writing.

Highclare Castle, home of the famed BBC TV series, Downton Abbey
As we approached Highclare Castle, home of the famed BBC TV series Downton Abbey, we held our breath.  No interior photos were allowed. Please click here for more photos.

That first post, found here, was finally my chance to write while stepping outside the box of my otherwise uncomplicated life into a world I never dreamed possible. Sure, it was a little late in coming. Still, we were committed to writing about our experiences in traveling the world, with no home to return to, no physical possessions other than that we carried with us, and no easy means of “calling it quits.”

Once that first post was uploaded when miraculously, readers from all over the world found us, I was hooked, as was Tom. Although he doesn’t write the words in the posts, he is my right hand, constantly researching to ensure we provide concise and accurate information at every turn. Our diligence in sharing “the truth” and not embellishing our experiences have been vital in our writings and images. We tell it “like it is,” rather than some fluffed up the notion of what traveling the world is really like. How exciting it was for a years-long world travel writing adventure.

In the process over these eight years, we’ve had no haters. Instead, we’ve been blessed with readers who appreciate the opportunity to share in our now daily stories. To date, we’ve written almost 3,000 posts, rarely missing a day since we began posting daily over seven years ago.

shepherd in Witheridge, Cornwall
While Tom had an opportunity to be a shepherd in Witheridge, Cornwall, the sheep turned and made a wrong turn (herd mentality), and again, Tom guided them back in the right direction.  Please click here for more photos.

What about writer’s block?

“Writer’s block” doesn’t exist in our world, even after the past over six months we’ve spent living in an average-sized hotel room in Mumbai, India, whereby we had to cut short a prepaid 55-day private tour of India when COVID-19 hit, and the lockdown began. At the onset of the lockdown, I was worried we’d run out of topics and stories to tell. But, with a commitment to years-long world travel writing, we knew we’d carry on.

Fortunately, our previous almost 3,000 posts provided us with exciting photos from the past eight years of world travel. Each day, we’ve shared some of our new thoughts and experiences while in lockdown while adding photos from past posts to fulfill our reader’s objectives of staying in touch with us as they, too, remain in lockdown all over the world.

As for the writing of the past posts, I can honestly say there was never a day in our ongoing eight long years of world travel where we couldn’t come up with a story to tell, a series of photos to share, or a message from our hearts. We’ve weathered unbelievably stressful and worrisome events to some of the greatest joys of our lives, never failing for a moment to appreciate these gifts we’ve been given of traveling the world for years, not weeks, not months.

Pairs, at night on a dinner cruise on the River Seine
The Assemblee Nationale, the French National Assembly. Pairs, at night on a dinner cruise on the River Seine. Please click here for more photos.

What does the future hold? Will we have more world travel stories to write?

These challenging times of a worldwide pandemic, impacting every man, woman, and child wherever they may be on this vast planet, will eventually waft away. We can only hope and pray that we’ll have enough desire and commitment to manage our way through the upcoming obstacles presented from this disaster by continuing in our worldwide travels, writing new stories every day, sharing tender, earth-shattering, profound, and jaw-dropping experiences as we continue to strive to fulfill the final stages of our journey.

In conclusion…

We’ve traveled to seven continents. We’ve walked the rough terrain in the islands of Antarctica, witnessed millions of penguins. We walked the long and arduous journey to the unearthed city of Petra in Jordan in 110F, 43C, temperatures. We’ve sailed on 27 cruises throughout the world.

Antarctica, both of us holding the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign
In Antarctica, both of us held the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign. Please click here for more photos.

We’ve transited the Panama Canal twice. We’ve walked in the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. We’ve dined on a luxury watercraft on the River Seine in Paris. We’ve lived on working farms in the countryside in Cornwall, England. We’ve lived in the bush in South Africa with wild animals wandering about our holiday house, day and night. We’ve felt the spray from Victoria Falls in our faces in both Zimbabwe and Zambia in Africa. We lived in a riad in the Souks of The Big Square in Marrakesh, Morocco. We visit the famous castle from Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle, in England. Our years-long world travel writing was inspired by these outstanding opportunities.

Taj Mahal
We never imagined we would see the Taj Mahal. And yet, in February 2020, on a hazy morning, it lay before our eyes in its entire splendor. Please click here for more photos.

And, most recently, we’ve traveled India on the world-renowned Maharajas Express luxury train, eventually ending up in Mumbai in a six-month-long lockdown in a hotel near the airport, hoping someday to be able to carry on.

Through it all, we’ve continued to write our thoughts, feelings, dreams, and sorrows as we’ve embarked upon a years-long world travel writing journey to see the world and its treasures, many of which are yet to behold.

Photo from one year ago today, September 20, 2019:

Bodmin Moors in Cornwall, England
From this site: “The pillory is a device made of a wooden or metal framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used for punishment by public humiliation and often further physical abuse.” Tom wasn’t comfortable in this position for long during a visit to the Bodmin Moors in Cornwall, England. Please click here for more photos.

The golden years…Decision making…

A chicken and its young.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

The river that meanders towards the sea on a sunny day.

It may seem that our daily life is all about lazy admiration for our exquisite environment and idle contemplation of the future. However, it is much more complicated than it sounds. 

The wheels are always turning while the fingers fly across the keyboards, not only in preparing each post which usually takes the first half of each day, but also in considering what is yet to come.

A dirty, pink pig we found walking around.

Its not only the consideration of our future bookings; arranging flights, visas, overnight hotel stays between flights, baggage restrictions, transportation, cruises, cruise fares and itineraries, it’s in ensuring we have a good idea of what we’d like the future to hold beyond our furthest planned booking.

In reality, it’s a lot of work, in which long stretches of idle play may leave us with a need to “get crackin.” Oh, don’t get me wrong, we don’t mind the work commensurate with planning for the future. 

We came a very long way.

Actually, we benefit the most from it. At the end of any stretch of “work” lies the prize, a stay in a new location, the onset of a new adventure and the extension of our desire to experience as much of the world as we choose.

Undoubtedly, this first and only second trip to Bali was the exception. We had two months to fill between the recent cruise on the Mekong River and the next 33-night cruise circumnavigating Australia, sailing in a meagre 25 days. Why not return to this beautiful place when it was relatively easy to fly to Bali and the price was right during the off season? 

Of course, there are the 8 to 10 hours on the harrowing round trip from Denpasar to the villa and back. However, we could have easily spent as much time between and on flights to other locations had we chosen to do so.

Locals use motorcycles to carry whatever they can attach.

Nor does it mean that we will never travel back to a preferred location. Maybe sometime in the future. It’s not like we’re doing a reality show that requires so many countries to visit within a few weeks, months, or years. 

We are blessed by the sublime joy of doing just what we want to do. That’s a twist. So much of our old lives were predicated by a preconceived expectation of what we “should be doing” as opposed to the current “want to be doing.” How refreshing is that, albeit ultimately rather self serving?

Who can say that we cannot commit ourselves to a way of life that corresponds to our personal goals and dreams to reach the ultimate meaning of freedom and exploration. Over the years we’ve often heard comments about how a senior shouldn’t watch so much TV, sit quietly alone in their home, spend time online, or go to the casino three times a week. 

The scary path to the buffaloes Tom encountered.

After spending a lifetime raising a family, working for a living, taking care of others, us old timers can do whatever it takes to make us happy, as long as it’s legal and doesn’t impose upon others. 

Doesn’t warning healthy seniors about poor diet, a few too many cocktails (of course, not driving afterward) and a few too many doughnuts, fall on deaf ears. Didn’t we earn the right to make our own choices? Besides at 70, 80 or 90 years old, is a dietary change really going to impact the quality of their lives when taking away certain foods they desire only causes emotional distress? Doesn’t that stress in itself have a negative impact on life?

Sure, I’ve chosen a dietary path that aids greatly in my health. But no one made me do it.  Alone, I made the decision and its served me well. On the other hand, Tom has recently come to accept that food is better-than-medicine and continually eating starches, sugars and carbs have a deleterious effect on his health. It’s a personal choice.

Homes in the area are often built with more durable cement blocks.

Certainly there are those of ill health and less mental clarity that may require the guidance from family and professionals. But, the majority of us are capable of making our own decisions on how we’d like to spend our “golden years.”

Doesn’t that expression imply what it says, “golden years,” not dark and dreary decision-less decades of feeling pushed into doing what others perceive we should be doing in our old age?

How easy it was to tell our aging parents what they should have been doing. Looking back now with the knowledge we’ve gleaned from these past years of traveling the world with an ultimate sense of freedom, we may have felt differently about how we tried to manage the lives of our own aging parents. 

A partially built, never finished, the cement block structure.

No doubt our intentions were based on love and concern. Perhaps we could have offered greater opportunities for them to become more involved in the decision making process instead of, at times, pushing a little bit too hard.

We don’t get a do-over. Ours are gone now.

Perhaps, for baby boomers caring for senior parents, there’s some possible insight and, also for our own (yours and ours) adult children as they watch us age, at times worrying about that which we choose to do: Is it dangerous? Are we putting ourselves at risk? Should we see doctors more often? Take more or less medications? Have more or less surgeries? Travel less? Take less risks?

It’s an imperfect world, especially during this period as we observe so much crumbling around us, often fearful of what the future holds. All we can control and manage is the sphere surrounding our lives. 

A tiny business office of some sort in the neighborhood.

Every chance we have to grasp a bit of happiness, to garner a smidgen of joy, to engage in a hearty belly laugh or to revel in a moment of peace and contemplation is entirely up to us.

May your day bring you all of the above!

Photo from one year ago today, October 6, 2015:

Viewing spot for guests at Namale Resort in Fiji, owned by motivational speaker Tony Robbins, at the edge of this unusual rock formation.  For more photos, please click here.

Dentist disappointment…Didn’t get our teeth cleaned…

There were three doors.  The dentist was behind Door 2 as shown.  Tom had no interest in playing “Let’s Make a Deal!” Notice the disgruntled look on his face.  He wasn’t happy.

We’re waiting for two packages; one of supplies we ordered which our mailing service sent and two, Tom’s new laptop.  Based on the fact that we’re in a condo building, we’ve decided we’d better stay here to collect both boxes, one today, another tomorrow.

In our old lives, the UPS guy would set the packages inside the kitchen door or in nice weather, outside the door with never a concern.  However, while living in OPH (other people’s homes) we feel we’d better stay close at hand for the deliveries. 

This is the room we waited in at the Senior Center across the courtyard, until we decided to leave.

Most likely, they won’t leave the packages and we’d have to figure that out, not so easy in this relatively remote location.  Remember?  We’re into stress reduction.

Speaking of stress reduction – the dentist appointments yesterday?  A total bust!  We left in plenty of time for to find the somewhat obscure location in the town of Kihei, the only nearby town with a majority of businesses one might expect in a larger town.  It has a little of everything; banks, post office, stores, and a variety of medical offices.

In our research we sought a dentist office that appeared to be the closest to the town but find only a few reviews online, all good.  Our two cleaning appointments were to occur back to back with one of us waiting while the other had the cleaning as we’d done two years ago in Nevada, the last time we had our teeth cleaned.

Once we found the tiny office building that turned out to be quite a way from the other business areas in Kihei, we followed the kindly receptionist’s instructions as to how to find their suite.

This photo illustrates what we found.  Tom cringed.  I thought nothing of it and went inside prepared for the teeth cleaning.  Once we entered the tiny waiting room shared with the receptionist, with not so good AC, she told us she’d been trying to reach us to tell us the doctor was running an hour late.

Access to these hills is blocked by a fence.

Tom’s hesitancy about the environment was set on a tailspin when we were informed our appointments would begin at 12 instead of 11.  Sensing his dismay, the receptionist took off to some obscure other location to ask the dentist if she’d see us earlier.

The receptionist came back saying she’d be ready for us at 11:15.  Tom still wasn’t feeling right.  He rarely hedges like this.  I paid attention without criticism other than saying that perhaps we should wait the 15 minutes and proceed.

In order to be cooler, the receptionist sent us across the courtyard to wait in the “Senior Center” which had better AC.  This didn’t feel right to Tom either.   These circumstances weren’t any worse than having a haircut under a tree in Belize.  Click here for that story with photos.  Tom thought so.

This sign indicated Hawaiians frustration over GMOs.

As we sat on benches in the senior building, I sensed his discomfort, not only from the disgruntled look on his face but his general demeanor, unlike him.
After waiting five minutes, I jumped up and said, “I’ll meet you at the car. I’ll go tell her we’re leaving.”

He couldn’t have stood up more quickly.  It wasn’t easy explaining Tom’s disdain for the surroundings, so unfamiliar after year’s of highly professional dental office buildings and surroundings.  For me, I’d get my teeth cleaned under a palm tree.  I didn’t care.

But, the magic of our relationship is our ability to empathize and respect one another’s concerns, needs and wants.  If one isn’t happy, then the other isn’t happy.  Moments later we were on our way to grocery stop which we hadn’t done in two full weeks, when I drove for the first time in two years.

Since we were close to the supermarket, it made sense for me to shop while Tom read his Kindle book in the car. I’d forgotten to bring my wallet so we set a time, 40 minutes later, when he’d come inside and pay.  Well, he did more than pay.  He loaded the groceries onto the belt, not letting me do a thing.  Typical.

View from the car on the return drive.  Cloudy day.

Why didn’t he like the dentist’s office?  For a few reasons;
1.  The small office didn’t look or feel professional
2.  It was too hot in the office to lay there for an hour having one’s teeth cleaned.
3.  At $300 for both of us, it seemed high based on the sparse surroundings.  Had it been a more professional venue, the price wouldn’t have phased him.
4.  The fact that we had to wait somewhere else to stay cool while we waited.
5.  The late starting time exacerbated his above frustration.

We have no idea as to the quality of the dentists.  For all we know they may have been the finest in the land.  But, if they are, why don’t they have a more professional environment? 

When we returned there was a message from the dentist with an apology asking us to schedule another appointment.  We declined.  We’ll wait until we get to Kauai in January where we’ll have plenty of time to do more research and find a dentist with a more professional setting making Tom feel more at ease.

Its odd to see a refinery in Maui, Hawaii.

We’ll be back tomorrow with some surprising prices and photos from yesterday’s shopping trip. 

Have a happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, November 4, 2013:

We believe a power outage prevented us from posting in Kenya one year ago today.  Tomorrow, we’ll have a one year ago post.  Thanks!

Updates…Lava…Laptop…First trip to the dentist in two years!…

Yesterday’s view when we’re lying in the chaise lounges by the pool. Not too bad, We prefer to stay inside on the cement as opposed to outside on the grass. Fewer flies.

The news about the lava flow is encouraging. The lava flow has stalled over the weekend. Although the experts say that it continues to flow underneath the crust. So we shall see. Please click the link below for updates:

In four short weeks we’ll be on our way to the Big Island to move into the first of the two houses we rented on the ocean for our upcoming family reunion over the holidays. With the lava flow stalled, we’re hopeful that this won’t be an issue. We wait cautiously knowing that at any moment it could begin flowing again and the risks could return.

Yesterday afternoon.

Over the weekend there had been some talk about trying to divert the flow. We didn’t know this is possible until we read the following news story about the potential of doing so:

Although we can’t directly see the sunset, we can see the cloud impacted by the waning sun.

We doubt this will transpire due to the objections of the locals about upsetting Pele, the Goddess of Volcanos.  The above link explains the story in detail.

Are we worried? No. We leave it in the hands of Mother Nature, God, and Pele, whomever each of us chooses to hold responsible for this very reason that the Hawaiian Islands exist today…volcanic eruption.

There is Bird of Paradise in South Africa and Madeira. It not surprising to see them in tropical Hawaii.

Yesterday afternoon, we ordered Tom a new laptop from Costco online. It will arrive by Tuesday or Wednesday right to our condo. I transferred all of his files to a 32 gig flash drive and we’re ready to do the transfer once it arrives. We’ll keep the old laptop on hand for a week or two ensuring he has everything he needs and then we’ll return it to Costco for a full refund. 

Gosh, we’ve had our share of laptop problems in the past year; both of us dropping them and breaking the screens. Hopefully, this will be behind us soon. It’s an annoying waste of time. 

Each direction we look, there’s the ocean.  Heavenly.

However, in the realm of things, the laptops, the lava, the inconvenience is just that, inconvenient. It’s the safety, health and well being of people that matter. That’s all.

At 6:30 this morning from our veranda.

This morning we’re off to the dentist in Kihei, not far from the grocery store, where we’ll shop when we’re done having our teeth cleaned. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we haven’t had our teeth cleaned or any dental appointments in two years. I’ve always dreaded the dentist and feel no differently now. It’s a necessary evil.

Another Gold Dust Day Gecko. 

Of course, we’ll take photos of our outing today sharing them here tomorrow. With the time we spent this weekend trying to get Tom’s laptop working we have few photos to share today. 

We still have four more weeks in Maui and surely will be back with more local stories and photos.

Have a great Monday!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, November 3, 2013:

It was a year ago today, that we booked the hotels for both Paris and London. We were excited about the opportunity to visit these two major tourist cities.  After doing so this past August, we were disappointed in many ways as we shared in our posts. The bottom line is simply that we just aren’t big city people.  For details from that date, please click here.

Turning off the brain long enough to sleep…

As a poor sleeper most of my life, a few years ago I went on a rampage researching methods to improve my ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Discovering nothing new or life changing, the frustration over the scientific research extolling the virtues of a variety of solutions for improving sleeping found me with little relief.

Some of these suggestions included:
1.  Using light as a means of resetting one’s biological clock (circadian rhythmby increasing waking light and reducing evening light.  This method, although described in brief here, increasing the production on nighttime melatonin, the miracle sleep adjusting hormone.  This means, no TV or computer before attempting to sleep.
2.  Reduce nighttime noises or wear earplugs.  
3.  Don’t exercise at night before bed. 
4.  Don’t go to bed on a full stomach, allowing two hours for food to digest before lying down.
5.  No caffeine late in the day, preferably after 2:00 PM.  Mostly done but usually have ice tea up until dinner, water after.
6.  No stimulating activities before bed. 
7.  Drinking less fluids at night, reducing necessity of getting up during the night. 
8.  Comfortable bed, blankets, pillows and bedtime attire. 
9.  No biting, noise making, annoying flying things buzzing one’s head at night.
10. No negative conversations or thoughts that instill anger, excitement or frustration before retiring for the evening. 
10.  No worrying about not sleeping which in itself can be a deterrent to a good night’s sleep. 
11.  Turning off the brain at night!

Most certainly, there are hundreds of other suggested solutions to poor sleep but these appeared to be most applicable in my world.  Trying them collectively or one by one, I found some relief but frequently awaken between 2:00 am and 4:00 am each night, struggling to fall back to sleep.  This is a common phenomenon many have described, particularly as one ages. 

For years while a working person, I awoke at 5:30 am every morning, never needing an alarm clock to get up to ready for work.  Now, as a retired person, my self imposed waking time is blissfully, hopefully at 7:00 am.

Tom, on the other hand, has less trouble sleeping, seeming to fall asleep as soon as he puts down his ebook, possibly waking a time or two during the night, usually falling back to sleep easily.  I’m less fortunate, needing a few “crutches” to make it happen:

1.  Falling asleep:  If I don’t try to fall asleep at the first indication of sleepiness, I find it difficult to do so a few hours later.  Now, when the sensation overtakes me, I succumb, putting down my smart phone ebook.

2.  Awakening during the night:  Five out of seven nights, I awaken during the night, either from a sound or a dream.  If I don’t fall back to sleep in 10 minutes, I pull my smart phone off the nightstand and read until sleepy again. 

If after 10 more minutes, I’m still not sleepy, I take a dose (two for me or three for a person over 200 pounds) of a safe homeopathic, non-addictive over the counter remedy, called Formula 303 containing Valerian and magnesium, suggested by the doctor that was instrumental in my changing my diet to low carb, sugar, starch and grain free. Within 20 minutes, I fall back to sleep. This safe product doesn’t result in drowsiness upon awakening, as do often dangerous and addictive prescription medications.

3.  Awakening too early in the morning:  Following the above in point #2, if it is before 6:00 am, usually reading for a short while will lull me back to sleep, immediately putting the book down the minute sleepiness becomes evident.

Overall, following these methods, I am able to sleep a total of seven hours each night, certainly enough for a well-rested day.  In many of the studies I’ve read, there was emphasis on the fact that seniors usually require less sleep.  Why?  Most believe it is merely due to the reduced amount of physical and mental energy utilized during waking hours.

Here is a listing of thousands of sleep research performed at various universities, such as Harvard.  It is from these resources that I spent many hours looking for answers to a lifelong problem, now seemingly under control.

Overall, the biggest issue I’ve found, is turning off my brain at night.  That’s the most challenging.  At night, we seem more vulnerable to negative thinking as our strength and determination to be positive dissipates as we become tired. 

Right now, I could be engaged in a load of negative thinking. Is it safe to fly to Africa? To live in Kenya?  Will we be able to arrange our seat assignment on the upcoming three flights to Kenya on order to sit together? How will we feel with no sleep when we fly with layovers for over 15 hours, arriving in Kenya the middle of the night?  It goes on and on. 

Turning off these thoughts at night is a commitment I’ve made to myself to ensure a good night’s sleep. So far, its working, especially when there’s no flying things buzzing my head at night!

Sitting too much as we age?…

Having spent a lifetime in a constant flurry of activity, it’s been refreshing doing nothing. It’s a skill I’ve had to learn. Tom, on the other hand, has been a role model, quite the expert. I’m not criticizing, just observing.

In our old lives, I seldom sat down during the day, until I’d finally fall on my face after dinner. This changed when I began researching and booking our worldwide travels while sitting in my comfy chair all day with my fingers madly flying across the keyboard. In March 2012, I began writing this blog that ultimately added to my daily “sitting time.”

Since arriving in Tuscany, Italy on June 16, 2013, I’d found myself sitting more than I had during those last seven months in Minnesota.

Sitting was not good for me at that time and it’s not good for me now. Sure, I do my hilly walks which prove to be 30-minutes of strenuous activity. But the remainder of my day has been spent performing low activity household tasks such as cooking and laundry. A considerable amount of time is spent reading, writing, and searching online. Not good for one’s health, all of which are activities performed while sitting.

With no health club within an hour’s drive, I’ve had to accept the limitations of my opportunities to work out and, my motivation has diminished to be as active as I had been in the US, as a retired person prior to March 2012. 

It’s mighty pleasant sitting on the veranda overlooking the mountains, watching the butterflies fluttering about, listening to the birds singing, only occasionally batting off the flies and the bees. The hours can easily tick away.

Don’t we seniors notice a stiffening in our legs and back when sitting too long? Aren’t we all aware that over time, excess sitting will cripple us as we age, causing the tentative steps so familiar to old age? Doesn’t it nag at us that moving around spending less time sitting will keep our step youthful and determined? Yes, to all of these.

Ironically, as I’d thought more and more about this reality during this past year and a half, realizing that even an hour of strenuous working out each day won’t defray the ravages of sitting for the remainder of the day, I stumbled across a book, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos, PHD. I couldn’t download and read it fast enough.

I must admit that guilt was a huge motivator for me to read this book. It’s scientific studies, many of them dry and boring, tempted me to put it down at times, but the guilt forced me to forge ahead. 

It changed everything for me. The mere act of purchasing the ebook made me start moving more frequently.  After all, I’d made the $8.69 purchase (which you can find at any online bookseller). 

Reading the book brought me to the next level, realizing that the mere act of slowly arising from my chair without the use of my arms for support (or working toward this in time) once every 20 or 30 minutes, to a short time later slowly sitting back down, once again without the use of my arms, could greatly improve my level of fitness.

The research Dr. Vernikos extensively manifested as a result of her year’s long studies of NASA astronauts losing muscle mass while in space, even for short periods of time. These studies are astounding, shared in this book. 

Rather than spending hours here retelling the author’s profound years of research, I recommend to all our of senior readers, to please consider this small investment in buying and reading this book that will change the quality of life as we age. (I should mention that we are in no way involved in the sale, the marketing, the profits, or distribution of this book or any other books we’ve mentioned here).

The first few days I started this process, I set the timer on my phone, leaving it in the other room. I had to get up to turn it off. Easy. Now a month later, I no longer need a timer, automatically knowing it’s time to slowly stand and a short time later to slowly sit back down, hands-free. This simple act affects the body in the same manner as if we actually stood for 30 minutes (see location 1231 in the ebook).  It’s all about gravity.

As written in the book, based on scientific research, this simple act is life-changing, definitely worth a read, definitely worth trying, with nothing to lose.

Now, a month after implementing this process, my legs don’t fall asleep, the stiffness has greatly improved and I feel more steady on my feet than ever. Of course, this process may not be possible for some, with serious limitations, but for the rest of us, it’s a small commitment for a huge gain, especially if a daily workout routine is unappealing.

Life is short.  Health and well being not only extend our lives but the all-important “quality of our lives,” allowing us to live life to the fullest treasuring every moment whatever we may choose to do, wherever we may choose to be.

For me, for now, the veranda is all the more enjoyable, no longer feeling guilty about sitting which added a rich quality to the experience.