Today’s our 5 year anniversary of traveling the world…Anniversary photos and memories….

Today, October 31, 2017, on our fifth anniversary of traveling the world, taken on the veranda at the villa in Atenas, Costa Rica.

It felt great to be back in Atenas to the lovely villa, especially today as we celebrate our fifth anniversary of traveling the world. With a blissfully sunny day upon us and most assuredly pool time after we’re done posting, it will be yet another day to celebrate life.

When we arrived at The Sands at Nomad Resort in October 2013 to celebrate our first anniversary of traveling the world, here’s the link. We didn’t take a photo of ourselves on our second anniversary. We’ll do better going forward. But here’s the link for the day of our second anniversary.
A special homemade dinner is planned for this evening with plenty of chatter over memories we’ve made during these past five years. Since we weren’t planning on going out today, we’ve added the above photo taken this morning from the veranda overlooking the Alajuela Valley. It took a few tries using the tripod and timer to get the photo right, but we finally got it done.
As for our weekend to Managua, Nicaragua, we were reminded that there’s so much commotion associated with short trips. Whether it’s taxi rides to and from airports,  waiting in long lines to check-in (no curbside in most countries), waiting to check in with immigration, filling out entry and exit forms, or standing in the slow queue on the plane to get to our seats to store our carry on,  it all is time-consuming.
We celebrated our third anniversary in Fiji at Namale Resort & Spa with a tour and lunch at the world-renowned resort. See this link for details.

For these reasons and more, long ago, we decided to enhance our experiences by staying for more extended periods in most countries when our schedule allows it.  Had we been the types of travelers to be on the move constantly, we’d never have lasted five years.

So,  today on our fifth anniversary of traveling the world, we celebrate our early decisions along with the criteria we established (Please click here for our criteria, Part 1 and Part 2 here) well before we had the experience to know what we were doing.
This photo was taken on October 31, 2016, when it was October 30th in the US when we were about to board Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Sea for the back-to-back 33-night cruise. See this link for details.
We celebrate the places we’ve been, the people we’ve met, and the commitment and passion we’ve easily maintained for wildlife and nature.  We’ve appreciated the sights and sounds of the big cities we’ve visited along the way.  But, our hearts remain entrenched in the country, in the valley, in the mountains, on the rugged savannahs, and of course, by the sea.

These choices have kept us closer to that which we love…the gifts bestowed upon us humans by our creator, not as much as those created by humans. No doubt, we applaud the skill and expertise of our forebearers in creating magnificent structures, art, and historical treasures.

In 28 days, we’ll do a full transit of the Panama Canal, an impressive feat of human labor and ingenuity. How can we not appreciate this, even though it was our second transit in these past five years on our first cruise in January 2013?  We’re sure we’ll be as in awe this second time as we were the first, now that the new larger canal has been completed.
We made our way through the long walk to Petra to finally see the Treasury, which was a life-changing experience.

Throughout the world, we’ve reveled in historic buildings, churches, and museums.  But, for those of you who have followed along with us all these years, nothing in our hearts and minds can compare to nature and wildlife.

The heart-pounding thrill of witnessing a rhino in the wild with oxpeckers on his head pecking at insects or, as of late, a single bird in flight alighting in a nearby tree to sing a song like none other we’ve heard in the past is magical to us.

Oxpeckers on the head of a rhino in the Masai Mara Kenya.  This shot made us squeal with delight.
And yes, I cried big tears of pure joy when we arrived at the Treasury in Petra Jordan but even bigger tears when we spotted our first lion drinking water in the Masai Mara (as shown in the photo below) or our first visit when we arrived in Marloth Park.

We’ve had our ups and downs; illness, injury, visa issues, booking errors, power outages, and dangerous drives on scary roads. We’ve lived close to terroristic attacks, experienced earthquakes, hurricanes, and storms like none other in our past lives.Through it all, we continued to strive to maintain an upbeat attitude while growing our abilities to adapt and conform to life on the move, living in countries with beliefs and morays so different from our own, making every effort to blend in and never appear to be the “ugly American.”
How did we get so close, so lucky to get this shot? We both felt as if we were dreaming! We ended up calling it “safari luck” when we saw the Big Five in the first 10 hours on safari.
It hasn’t always been easy. It hasn’t always been exciting and adventuresome. But, each day in its way has been special when we stopped what we’re doing at the moment, look into each other’s eyes and say, “Is this really our lives?  How did we get so lucky?

We continue to be grateful and humbled by the world around us, by the opportunity presented to us due to years of hard work to make this possible, for experiencing this adventure together, and ultimately, sharing it with all of YOU.
Happy day to all!
Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2016:
View of the Sydney Opera House as the ship sailed away. For more details, please click here.