Making new friends..A couple, like us, traveling the world…

Sue and Scott, our new world travel friends from the US with whom we spent the evening.

We’re not so unique when traveling among passengers on cruise ships.  Many passengers are enthusiastic world travelers with many more years of experience and often having visited more countries than we have to date.

Sure, most have homes and a lifestyle that includes trips to Home Depot type stores on weekends, planting gardens, mowing the lawn and a wide variety of household tasks we forfeited years ago.

The lighting was poor for photos of the tango dancers at the party.

Many have the day to day interaction with friends and family that they may see in person on a regular basis whereby our interactions with family are conducted online through Skype calls and face time.

As we continue to cruise and travel this vast Earth, we find ourselves building many relationships that may prove to last throughout the remainder of our lives with fine people we stumble across along the way, many on cruise ships such as this most recent experience.

There was a show for Crown and Anchor members in the ice skating arena last night.

The speed with which these relationships grow is astounding but when the interactions may almost be daily it’s not difficult to escalate into a deep relationship in a relatively short period of time, such as the day/weeks spent cruising together, spent in idle hours of conversation and activities.

Such was the case last night and over these past three weeks, we’ve spent sailing on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, since April 22nd, soon to end in four days on May 15th.  We’ve made as many new friends as the time allows when we’re not watching a movie or hanging out for short periods in our cabin.

Last night’s dinner table included Sue and Scott’s friends John, Susan and their son Jonathan,

Whether we’re in one of the several bars, the main dining room or preparing a post in the Diamond Club, there’s always an opportunity to make new friends if one so chooses.  And, we so choose, when the situation is right.

Several days ago, while waiting in a lengthy immigration queue in Salon B, the ice arena, we met a lovely couple Susan and Scott who like us, are traveling the world.  We couldn’t wait to have an opportunity to hear their story and share mutual experiences and details of how and why they, too, travel the world and have been doing so for the past 13 months.

Tom in the Tavern bar waiting with me to see Sue and Scott.

Susan and Scott also sold their home and downsized their lives considerably.  Although they have storage with a plan to own another home somewhere down the road, during this period of time, they’re always on the move to explore new lands.

Years ago, Scott survived a horrifying bout with cancer changing their perspective on how they wanted to enjoy retirement down the road.  Now, both having retired, they’re free as birds to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling the world. 

Tom and his two Diamond Club bar buddies.

With a decades-long plan in place, they’ve been able to “step outside the box” of traditional life in the USA and like us, pursue this seeming adventurous life of world travel and exploration.  They’ve done it well over these past 13 months and plan to continue until they’re ready to settle down once again. 

Last night, we met Susan and Scott in the Tavern Pub for happy hour, later attending a Crown and Anchor Welcome Back party at the ice rink and finally meeting three friends they’d made at dinner over these past many nights aboard the ship, another Susan, husband John and adult son Jonathan. 

Last night’s photo of friends Ray, Terry, Ulla and Julie when I walked passed them on the Promenade deck on my way to meet Tom and new friends, Susan and Scott.

The seven of us met for dinner at the Sapphire Dining Room for an 8:30 pm dinner reservation.  Seated at a round table the conversation flowed with an intoxicating level of enthusiasm, myriad questions regarding ours and  Susan and Scott’s lifestyle of “living in the world” and general chit chat.  it couldn’t have been more fun.

The highlight of the evening was hearing about Susan and Scott’s worldwide adventures.  Although unlike us, staying in countries for extended periods of time, they may stay as little as one to three days, seldom staying more than one week.

In the beginning of our planning, we decided against short stays of less than a few weeks, when we felt we’d become tired of constant travel days.  That’s worked for us.  For them, it’s been enriching although they’re now expressing interest in staying for longer periods.

Captain Rick and other staff presentation to top Pinnacle Club member (picutred center), the top tier in the Crown & Anchor Society requiring considerable cruises over many years of sailing to acquire.

We shared various tidbits of information between us including; tours in Africa, international health insurance, VPN benefits and on and on.  The conversation couldn’t have been more enjoyable with this delightful couple with whom we have no doubt, we’ll stay in touch as we continue on after this cruise ends.

Yesterday, at breakfast, we met two women who’d sadly lost their husbands, now traveling together.  As it turned out they’ll be sailing with us on May 17th on the Celebrity Solstice nine-night cruise to Alaska.  We look forward to seeing Diann and Helen (another Helen) on this upcoming cruise.

Tonight, most likely we’ll share the evening with friends Ulla, Ray, Julie and Terry with whom we’ve spent many evenings, always having a fabulous time. Tomorrow night, we’ll spend the evening with new friends Alice and Nate, another world-travel-experienced couple, much younger than us.  Here again, we love sharing mutual stories of our adventures.

This towel monkey made by our cabin steward Mira, (the best cabin steward we’ve had to date), was on display when we returned to our cabin last night.

Whew!  It’s been fun. With only four days remaining until we disembark the ship to head to Vancouver, British Columbia where we’ll stay for two nights, we’re soaking up every moment relishing in the companionship of interesting and entertaining people.

May your day bring you face to face with interesting and entertaining people…just like YOU.

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Photo from one year ago today, May 11, 2016:

Me in the pool waving at Tom when he insisted on a photo.  We spent lots of time in the pool in Bali especially on days like that, hot, humid and with many flies after the previous night’s heavy rain.  For a similar photo of Tom, please click here.

Part 1…Visiting Darwin…A beautiful city…Busy downtown area…



The two little ones played with the hanging braches of a Banyan tree in the middle of town.

The shuttle ride to Darwin from the port wasn’t more than 10 minutes from start to finish. Waiting in line to board the shuttle took about 35 minutes. In essence we could have walked into town but, we enjoyed the ride seeing a little more than we would have on foot.


We actually had to purchase a few items which made the outing all the more fun for us.  We’d been told by other travelers to purchase insect repellent in Australia since we’d be unable to find many options in Bali.

The sports store where we purchased a new Fitbit for me.

Secondly, after noticing several passengers wearing FitBit fitness tracking devices, I was determined to purchase a new one since my years old tracker had bit the dusk awhile back.

The Intersport store has typical sportswear and equipment.

I’ve found using such a device forces me on my feet more, taking stairs instead of elevators and generally be more active.  After returning to the ship and setting up the FitBit, I’d done over 1500 steps in the first two hours.  At this rate, it may be possible to do the desired 10,000 steps a days.

We walked up and down several blocks looking for the store.  It was a beautiful day, warm but tolerable in the shade.

It wasn’t that I detected any of the wearers necessarily appearing more fit than non wearers but for me, its had always been a good motivator, digital person that I am. 

Plus, my last wristwatch died a few days ago and for the low price I’d paid for them, it didn’t make sense to replace the batteries.  The new wrist-worn FitBit also doubles as a watch. Perfect.

A pleasant park in near the shopping district.

We wandered about Darwin feeling totally comfortable and safe in the lovely city.  The high temperature was offset by a cooling ocean breeze.  The city was clean and low key with an abundance of shops and restaurants.  Of course, whenever the cruise ships came to town, the businesses thrives.

The Darwin State Square.  Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory in Australia.

When we entered a local chemist shop, it was jammed with dozens of cruise passengers. Cruise ships carry few toiletry items onboard and an opportunity for a stop at a pharmacy is always a popular tourist attraction.

As we wandered about the town, we were amazed by how similar is it to New Plymouth, NZ which we left only a little over a week.  In many ways it feels as if its been much longer ago since we left when we’ve so easily immersed ourselves into life aboard ship.

The Darwin State Square Building.

We apologize for the last posting once again.  Not only did we have a very busy morning, we just left La Scala Theatre after watching yet another movie, a perk included in the cruise fare.  Now after 4 pm, its time to dress for the evening and to attend a special party for Crown and Anchor members at 4:45. 

After the party, we’ll head to the bar for a pre dinner beverage and by 7:30 make our way to the main dining room for what most likely will prove to be yet another enjoyable evening at a shared table of eight or ten.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2015:
Due to the poor wifi signal on the ship, we’re unable to post the year-ago photo today.  We’ll get caught up as soon as we get a better signal.  If you don’t see a post, know that we’re struggling to get online and will be back as soon as possible.  Thanks for your patience.