We were so wrong!!!…

    Last night, the porcupine returned to the garden.

Sometimes, we write about a decision we’ve made and post it here, only to find out one or two days later that the decision was made hastily. I admit that in my enthusiasm for a new topic, I may prematurely post a decision we’ve made but have yet to investigate seriously enough for it to become a certainty.

This was the case for the post I wrote yesterday, found here with a heading that read: “Enough procrastination for now…Finally, we’re making decisions…Fun new photos…”

Sometimes, Bossy visits without her baby.

I jumped the gun stating this before we conducted ample research to determine if staying in the UK for 68 days made sense or even taking the ferry to Jersey to see our friends there, staying for a week in a hotel. When we started adding the expenses relative to both of these experiences, the cost went far beyond what was practical for our budget.

We don’t mind exceeding our chosen monthly budget when we’re cruising or on a special expedition of one sort or another. But, living in a location for a few months is time we prefer to maintain a tight reign on expenses in order to be able to embark on cruises and such special outings from time to time.

These are pits from marula fruit which the kudu eat and spit out the pits when done chewing. Eight kudus stayed in our garden all day eating the fruit since we have a prolific marula tree hanging over the house. There’s controversy over whether animals get “drunk” from the fermented fruit. But, based on the numbers of kudus we had sleeping in the garden yesterday, we considered this may be true.

Long ago, we made a decision to avoid tapping into our investments to support our world travel. If we started doing this, it could easily get away from us. Plus, if we take money out, we are taxed on it, thus increasing the cost of any particular event.

In the post, on October 22, 2019, found here, we listed our final expenses for our stay for 62 nights in the UK as indicated below:

Expense     US Dollar       GBP
Holiday Rentals  $ 8,381.40  $ 6,426.17
Southampton Hotel (2)  $    276.94  $    213.35
Car Rental + Fuel  $ 1,985.64  $  1,529.73
Dining Out  $    675.07  $     520.07
Groceries  $ 1,502.48  $  1,157.50
Pharmacy  $    478.20  $     368.40
Tours  $      42.00  $       32.36
Total  $13,341.73  $10,247.58
Avg Daily- 62 ngts  $     215.19  $     165.28

Here is an estimate of expenses, if we spend 68 nights in the UK, (rounded off to the nearest dollar for illustrative purposes):

Expense     US Dollar           ZAR
Holiday Rentals  $ 10500.00  $ 160538.00
Hotels  $  2500.00  $   38223.00
Car Rental + Fuel + Ferry  $ 5800.00  $   88751.00
Dining Out  $ 2300.00  $   35194.00
Groceries  $ 1800.00  $   27544.00
Pharmacy & Shopping  $    650.00  $     9946.00
Tours  $    400.00  $     6121.00
Total  $23, 950.00  $ 366482.00
Avg Daily- 68 ngts  $     352.21  $  5389.00   

The above totals clearly indicate the approximate 30% increase in expenses we’d mentioned in a prior post, that we’re seeing three years after our visit in 2019, after carefully researching expenses in each of these categories.

It’s unusual to find kudus laying down in our garden. But, after eating dozens of marula fruit, they may be sleepy.

We fully realize inflation would impact the costs wherever we may go in the world. We are prepared to adapt to those increases. But 30% in an already high-cost country makes us realize we need to shop elsewhere.

As a result of yesterday’s extensive research, we reviewed the list of non-Schengen countries and have gone back to investigate which may be excellent options for the 68 nights we need to fill. Keeping in mind, the purpose of researching the expenses for a potential 68 nights in the UK is while we await news from Azamara as to the new itinerary for the cruise at the end of June, sailing out of Istanbul.

If we find the ports of call on the new Azamara itinerary are those we’ve visited in the past and don’t care to see again, we’ll have the option of canceling and receiving a full refund. If that proves to be the case, the 68 days in the UK becomes a moot point and we must find where we’d like to go until the next cruise on November 8, 2022. In that case, we’d be left with 202 days to fill. We have some ideas in mind and will share that information when we know more.

The kudus stood at the edge of the veranda eating the marula and dropping the pits onto the veranda floor. Tom swept them off a few times.

It’s not that we’re running out of countries to visit. It is just that after the pandemic with many travel changes throughout the world, and now the war in Ukraine, we look at where we’d like to travel with a new and different perspective.

To wrap this up, next time we post statements about what we plan to do, we’ll make sure it’s affordable and logical, considering the above situations and also the cost of living in any specific area. Now, our only option is to wait and hear what happens with the Azamara cruise to Russia via the Black Sea, and then, from that point, we’ll conduct the appropriate research, sharing details when we pin things down.

Thanks for your patience. Humm…19 days and counting until we depart South Africa for a short stay in the US, then off to Fort Lauderdale for our transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Silhouette. We love this cruise line and this class of ships and look forward to cruising once again.

Be well.

 Photo from one year ago today, March 4, 2021:

There were several fast-growing ostrich chicks close to a house in the bush. For more photos, please click here.