Tom correcting me when I’m wrong…

Pigs were cuddling while snoozing in pen.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom took another excellent distant shot of a bird we couldn’t identify online. Costa Rica neighbor and bird enthusiast Charlie identified this bird as a Clay-colored Thrush or Yigüirro in Spanish.  Thanks, Charlie!

After reading yesterday’s post, Tom corrected me on a few items, which is often the case when I make an incorrect or inconsistent statement. After 1,935 posts in five years, I’m bound to be inconsistent from time to time. 

In this post dated June 17, 2013, I referred to our “bucket list” upon visiting Venice, Italy. In yesterday’s post, as shown here, I stated we don’t use the phrase “bucket list” so much anymore.

I can justify my inaccuracy by saying that we’ve changed our views on specific topics or phrases over these years, one being “bucket list.” It had become too repetitive and overused in travel circles, and I became tired of using the phrase. 

In searching our site for how many times I referenced this phrase, it appears it may have been dozens of times dwindling as time passed, as it became apparent to me that it may not necessarily apply to us.

Squirrel Monkeys in pen.

If our travel lives consisted of a “bucket list,” we may have felt restricted to fulfilling each item on the arbitrary list.  Instead, our curiosity and desires have been fluid, changing from time to time. As a result, I dispensed with using the expression overtime during the past five years.

When meeting ambitious travelers throughout the world, I often chuckle to myself when I hear the phrase repeated repeatedly. In essence, for most travelers, it clearly defines an objective…see these places while we can.

Secondly, Tom reminded me of yesterday’s post when I went on and on about what Tom had envisioned for his retirement years, failing to mention what I’d imagined for myself.

“Oh, good grief,” I spewed. “Haven’t our readers heard enough of what I think and what I imagined?  Surely, after 1,935 posts, don’t our regular readers see me like an open book and easily recite my opinions and perceptions with an uncomplicated sense of fluidity?

Two parrots who refused to turn around for a photo op.

Tom reminded me that at any given moment, don’t we have hundreds of new readers stopping by to grab a snippet of that which we espouse in our endless ramblings? They may not as yet have grasped the flow of opinions and ideas that fly off these pages day after day.

To satisfy Tom over my supposed incomplete post yesterday, I agreed, albeit tentatively, to share what I had imagined my retirement years long before we decided to travel the world. After all, we decided in January 2012 and left Minnesota on October 31, 2102, less than 10 months later.

I began contemplating my retirement years after I turned 50, which was long before I changed my way of eating to achieve pain-free living, which transpired in August 2011 from a hereditary spinal condition.

By the end of November, I awoke one morning, and for the first time in decades, I could stand, walk and maneuver without pain in my back and legs. It was indeed a miracle. Only a few months later, Tom asked me if I’d like to travel the world now that I was pain-free, and we, unsure as to how long that would last, began planning the adventure.

Easy walking path in Zoo Ave.

At that time, little did we imagine we’d last this long. We thought, two or three years tops and we’ll lose interest after tiring of moving around. It hasn’t happened. 

However, before that recovery in 2011, always in chronic pain, preferring not to complain to family and friends, I imagined my “elder years” would be wrought with the painful condition while continuing to attempt to live as normal a life as possible.

My life would have consisted of spending time with family and friends, cooking and entertaining, keeping a tidy and organized household, and attending an endless array of activities, functions, parties, and events. 

Cute sign, Zoovenirs as opposed to souvenirs.

It would have been a relatively simple life comparable to that of many retirees, which was highly enjoyable when I could mentally put the pain aside.

That’s it. But now, my imaginings are very different…in 82 days from today (February 2, 2018), we’ll be standing on Astrolabe Island, Antarctica, with 100,000 Chinstrap penguins.

In approximately 90 days, we’ll be living in the bush in South Africa, surrounded by wildlife with a camera in hand, reveling in the wonders of nature and wildlife far beyond any dreams we may have had in the past. Pinch me. Is this really our lives?

Am I going to awaken one day to be pushing the grocery cart at the Cub Foods store in Minnesota or…awakening in Buenos Aires beginning in 41 days staying in a lovely hotel in the hub of the fascinating city for an entire month? 

Variegated Squirrel at the rescue facility, Zoo Ave in Costa Rica, comparable to those we’ve seen at the villa.

We made a choice. It wasn’t an easy or flippant decision. We have no regrets. Life is good. We’re grateful, we’re humbled, and we’re at peace.

Thanks to all of our readers for sharing this life with us.

Photo from one year ago today, November 12, 2016:

We dined almost every night during the 33-night cruise circumventing Australia, with new friends from the top, left to right, John and Kat from Australia, Cheryl and Stan and Lois and Tom from the US and us. (Not our photo). For more details, please click here.