52 days and counting…Two years upcoming in the South Pacific…Has our stay in Kauai been too long?…Mindless dribble…

Finding bananas and any fruit growing while on a walk is always delightful.

It’s hard to believe that in only 52 days we’ll be leaving Hawaii. As of today, we’ve been in the Hawaiian Islands for exactly 180 days when our ship, the Celebrity Solstice, arrived for a tour of the islands.

The pods from which bananas grow. We saw these in Madeira but they were a different variety.

It was on October 5th, that we disembarked the ship when it docked in Honolulu, Oahu, where we spent 11 days in a condo in Waikiki Beach. Next, we spent six weeks in Maui, six weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii, and now, the time is passing quickly as we make our way into the final days of over four months in Kauai.

Queen Emma Giant Spider Lily.

We’re confident that we visited the islands in the correct order. Kauai has been the perfect island on which to spend the longest period as mentioned in a zillion previous posts. 

When we originally discussed spending four-plus months in Kauai, we cringed over the concept of such a long stay which proved to be the longest period in any one location since we began our travels almost 30 months ago. Looking to the future, we have no intentions of staying in any one location for longer than 90 days with the exception of Bali, where we’ll stay twice for 59 days with a two-month gap in between.

The condos on the right have a fabulous view of the sea and sunset, but the walk down to the beach can be difficult for some. We’ve done it once and may not tackle it again.

The fact that we could take a cruise to Australia, rather than fly, making the journey itself an extraordinary experience, greatly contributed to our desire to stay in Kauai for this extended period. 

Another influential factor was our desire to stay put for a while after the expense of the family holiday on the Big Island over Christmas. Staying in one location provides us with an opportunity to financially recover when moving about always ups the expenses.

Overlooking the ocean on a sunny day.

Having paid, in part, as stipulated in various upcoming rental agreements and for upcoming cruises, we have less than $20,000 outstanding for rentals for the remainder of 2015, greatly putting our minds at ease. These sums are spread over a series of months as we near arriving at the various locations, making it not such a hard pill to swallow, all at once.

As the days quickly pass, in another month, we’ll begin thinking about packing, including the products we’re accumulating at our mailing service in Nevada that we have yet to be shipped. We continue to contemplate and research the availability of items in the South Pacific.

There’s always “vog” in the mountains, although, the stunning coloration of the hills can be easily be seen. 

Tom’s three pairs of jeans, cargo shorts, a staple in his limited wardrobe, are threadbare. We tossed one pair a few days ago and once the three new pairs arrive, we’ll probably toss the rest. Jeans are heavy, adding greatly to our baggage weight. 

Several of my tee shirts are being beckoned by the garbage can as well as some of my old shorts. When recently, I’d purchased and had shipped, four new pairs of shorts from Old Navy I ruined one in the laundry when I’d left two gel cap magnesium pills in the pocket which I take with dinner each night.

On a walk by myself, I was enthralled by the view as I approached our condo (not shown in this photo).

We’d gone out to dinner and I’d stuck the two pills in the pocket, hoping to remember to take them at the restaurant. We were having such fun that I forgot to take the pills. When checking the pockets before washing, I didn’t reach deep enough into the pocket to take them out.

Alas, the pills ruined the shorts in a bleach-like manner. Thank goodness, they didn’t ruin the remainder of the dark-colored laundry. Gee, and I swallow these? 

Pink Ginger plant with colorful leaves.

I’m stuck wearing these ruined shorts around the house almost daily in hopes of wearing them out enough to give them the “heave-ho” before we leave. I’m not about to pack a pair of ruined shorts in my luggage when space is limited.

With more supplies yet to arrive in the next package from our mailing service, we continue to search online and consider the availability of certain products we frequently use in our travels that may not be available in the South Pacific; our special toothpaste, a few cosmetic items, a few adapters suitable for the upcoming locations (lessons learned from burning out the old adapters).

This was the first time we’d taken photos from this side of the Pali Ka Kua condos in our area.

Tom is still wearing his original batch of tee shirts. He, unlike me, will wear the same tee-shirt over and over again (while I wash it every other day), until it finally bites the dust.  You’ve probably noticed this in the photos I’ve taken of him. 

In our old lives, we’d only wear a tee shirt one time and wash it.  Now, we wear them twice, extending the life of the shirt by 100%. It’s the washing and drying that wears out clothing. In the South Pacific, our clothing will be hanging outside to dry, again extending their life by about 25%. Clothes dryers are seldom used outside the US.

The Makai Golf Course runs through many areas of Princeville, creating beautiful scenery.

Whoever thinks of this stuff but us? None of this ever entered our minds in our old lives; the long-term preservation of clothing. If a sock had a hole, we tossed it and the entire pair if it didn’t match any others. 

All of our socks are of the same brand and style. If one sock is tossed, we save the mate which goes into the flow with the others, eventually finding a mate.

Considerable amounts of lava rock exist in Kauai, although most beaches are sandy.

This may all appear to fall into the mindless drivel category. For us, what may appear to be trivial and unimportant falls into a category of mundane conscientiousness that somehow, we both manage to address in our daily lives.

Today? Soon we’ll be off to the pool and fitness center and later, the market. Saturday night is yet another outdoor Full Moon Party, hosted by dear friend Richard. We plan to show early to help Richard set up the tables and chairs in the vacant lot used for this event, the second month in a row.

We’ve seldom seen such bright colors as there are in Hawaii. These appear to be a type of Plumeria, flowers used in making leis.

We’re deciding on which pu pu we’ll prepare to bring to the party. Many of these events stipulate that guests bring a pu pu to share, I’m running out of ideas. I love it that my big challenge of this week is which pu pu to make! Any suggestions?

                                              Photo from one year ago today, April 2, 2014:

Taking a cab in Marrakech, we wandered through a neighborhood with many shops and restaurants. For details from that date, please click here.

Jackets..too hot…too cool?

Our mission to find the appropriate jackets for our adventure is yet another challenge.  Here in Minnesota, a heavy winter coat is appropriate from November to May.

Tired of wearing coats all winter, I have preferred to bundle up with sweaters the remainder of the year, currently not owning any lightweight jackets suitable for travel.  Tom, on the other hand, has a few older lightweight jackets and, although still in reasonable condition are not ideal for our upcoming long term travel.

Buying clothing while still here in Minnesota has been a vital aspect of our preparations for our three plus years on the road.  Minnesota has no tax on clothing and shoes, saving us as much as 8%.  Also, buying online with deep discounts and/or free shipping has also saved us a bundle.

A perfect example of these savings came as a result of my getting “points” from the company Earndit, only yesterday when I redeemed 1000 points I accrued from wearing the BodyMedia exercise armband for the past 18 months, now to be replaced by my new “wear on body” exercise device, FitBit which also accumulates Earndit points.

Both of these devices have kept track of my activity levels, steps, calories, burned, and quality of sleep.  (I discussed this device in a prior post).  Recently, I replaced the BodyMedia with the FitBit with the goal of eliminating the $6.95 monthly membership fee required by BodyMedia.

Sure, I spent $75 on eBay to buy the FitBit but, in less than 11 months, it will pay for itself.  Also, I must admit that convenience played a role in this decision. The BodyMedia is worn on the upper arm often eliciting annoying inquiries as to its purpose. FitBit is worn inside one’s clothing attached to undergarments, making it entirely invisible.

Yesterday, while we were sitting in our comfy chairs, taking a short respite from the heat outside, I redeemed 1000 of my 2500 points at Earndit for a $100 gift card to RailRiders to be redeemed with a $175 or more purchase.

I purchased the Men’s Insect Shield Pants for $98 and the Women’s Insect Shield Pants for $89 for a total of $187 plus $7.95 shipping for a grand total of  $194.95.  Using the $100 coupon, I paid $94.95 for an average price per pair of $47.48.

Women’s Insect Shield PantsPrice: $89.00

Men’s Insect Shield Pants, Price: $98.00  
Thrilled that my daily exercise monitors afforded us each an additional pair of pants, I am now ready to commence my search for jackets now we otherwise  have enough clothing for the upcoming eight months in Africa. 

Since we plan to bring only one jacket each they must serve us well throughout the world. The requirements for jackets include:

    • Lightweight, comfortable
    • Attractive
    • Waterproof
    • Lots of pockets
    • Hood
    • Removable sleeves, if possible
Sound easy.  However, I’ve spent no less than four hours researching online to find only one manufacturer, Scottevest that may fit the bill, except for this fact: the lightweight jackets are not so attractive. Tom wants a jacket that has a safari look and I agree. We love all the pockets in their jackets but, the look, not so much.  

Most would say, “who cares about looks when function is the key?”  If one is going to be wearing the same clothes, day after day, month after month, year after year, it’s not a bad idea to like it!  (Not too dissimilar from our “liking” one another).

Clothes, clothes and more clothes…mostly mine…

As a “girlie girl” all of my life, with an affinity for the feminine flair, as far removed from “Tom Boyishness” as a female can be, I unabashedly admit to being the female stereotype when it comes to clothes.  

Although, annoyed by the process of purchasing clothing and its varying accouterments, there is a certain sense of glee when finding a bargain on an item I am particularly interested in acquiring. Not an impulse shopper, I rarely purchase items I don’t need or want.  There isn’t a single unworn, still price- tagged item in my closet (less the items we are purchasing for our journey).  
It’s all about “the hunt” and in some cases, “the negotiation” that get my shopping juices flowing and then, the subsequent acquisition of a high-quality, well-priced, properly fitting item to add to my repertoire of varying taste and style.  

Not a fashion maven, I  possess an uncertainty of my “personal style” as encouraged by an endless pouring of style and fashion shows on TV which I seldom watch. 
Moderately comfortable Easy Spirit fashion flats
Shall I say good-bye to these?

From time to time, I peruse a current fashion magazine in a genuine effort to become familiar with current hemlines, popular colors and shoe styles, always hoping they are befitting my body type, relevant to my age and commensurate with my comfort needs. 

As a result, my current wardrobe consists of a mishmash of layering pieces which I tend to wear without layering, with either a comfy pair of jeans or more often, not so comfy pair of jeans, the comfort factor based on what I had to eat in the past two days.  Sound familiar?

Shoes?  Not so much.  Yes, I have some high heels (seldom worn), fashion flats, (most often hurt my feet), sandals (no flip flops when I can’t stand to wear anything in between my toes), boots and those staples you’ll see me wearing in the grocery store; workout shoes, Keds slip-ons,  Easy Spirit anything and Aerosoles. (In the 70’s, I could wear Candie’s high heeled shoes for 18 hours straight. Not now.)
Comfy old Keds slip-on shoes.  Are these worthy of taking along?

Assessing mine and Tom’s current wardrobes some months ago, realizing how long we’ll be traveling, we both made the decision to sell all of our old clothing at our upcoming estate sale on the weekend of October 27, 2012 and to bring only new appropriate clothing with us.  

There’s no sense in bringing lots of jeans and sweaters to Belize, Africa, Italy (in summer), Madeira and Hawaii and other warm climates.

Old, worn, favorite comfy Dexter’s flats.  Shall I make room for these?  Here again, probably not, based on worn condition.

Here’s my list.  I posted Tom’s clothing list on Thursday’s post, May 31, 2012. Hold onto your shorts!  I said that I’m not a “clothes horse” but, I do like having choices:

  • 15 casual dresses, for everyday wear, easy to dress up or down, roll in a ball in a suitcase
  • 4 dressy dresses, for formal nights on cruises
  • 5 pairs jeans
  • 5 pairs Capri pants
  • 9 pairs shorts, mostly Bermuda length (acceptable to wear in public on hot days)
  • 1 black maxi skirt
  • 16 tee shirts
  • 12 various tops 
  • 4 cardigan sweaters, 4 shrug cover ups (for breezy nights aboard ship, matching dressy dresses)
  • 2 light weight jackets (1 blazer, 1 rain coat)
  • 1 hoodie sweater
  • 3 sets of workout clothing
  • Exofficio BugsAway: 2 pair convertible pants, 2 long sleeve tee shirts, 2 hats, 4 socks
  • 2 belts for dresses
  • 2 scarfs to dress up outfits
  • 4 bathing suits, 2 bathing suit cover up dresses, 1 black pareo
  • 6 sets sleepwear, mostly tanks and shorts, 1 lightweight robe
  • 1 pair workout shoes, 2 dress shoes, 2 pair walking shoes, 3 pair sandals, 2 casual shoes
  • 5 bras, 12 panties, 2 shape wear items for those formfitting dressy dresses
  • Various costume jewelry to match outfits – We will be selling all of our “real” jewelry prior to leaving due to the high risk of exposing oneself to theft while traveling
  • 3 handbags; 1 large, 2 small
Undoubtedly, I am unknowingly leaving out some items at this point.  As the packing begins, I’ll post photos of our packed goods and post a list of all the non-clothing items we will find necessary to pack.  

Most certainly, frequent travelers will laugh when they see our extensive lists.
I would only ask them this one question, “When have you traveled when you are never going home to repack, carrying everything you own for a period of no less than 3 years?”  Now, tell me we’re taking too much!