Are birthdays for the birds?…Celebrating life, not age…A year ago birthday gift like none other…

Roses in the garden.

Today, in this part of the world, it’s February 20th, my 69th birthday. Ouch!  Big number. Then again, I have no complaints. I’m grateful to be celebrating a birthday and, of course, living this amazing life with my loving husband and travel companion.

Although we have no big plans for today (my choice), we’ll head out for a short drive to Geeveston to pick up a prescription from the doctor I recently visited for my intestinal issue. 

Flower blooming on a zucchini plant.

We’d canceled the dinner reservation we’d made for the 17th when eating has just not been enjoyable for me recently. So instead, Tom went fishing with our landlords that day, and we enjoyed the flathead for a few meals.

I’m trying a new low-carb recipe, Low Carb Cordon Blue Casserole, that I found at this site for tonight. We’ll report back tomorrow if it’s worthy of mention. Lately, to shake things up a bit, I’ve been trying one new recipe a week, making enough to last for at least two meals. 

Not a perfect view of a sunrise, but some color is peeking through.

If the recipe is great, I’ll save it in the recipe file on my desktop and in the cloud. If not, I give it the “heave-ho.” There is no point in taking up space on my computer for anything less than what we consider to be outrageously delicious.

Last year, when we spent my birthday living on the alpaca farm in New Zealand, I was so excited when Trish and Neil named the baby girl “Miss Jessica” after me. Unfortunately, they were gone for a few days, during which we enthusiastically agreed to observe any births in the event of any problems. 

Huon River from the highway.

All went well, and Miss Jessica was born while they were away. Naming her after me was such a joy. Please see the one year ago photo below and the included link for that post.

Am I disappointed we aren’t doing anything special today? Not at all. We both feel that every day of our lives is a cause for celebration; traveling the world; being together; living in the moment, and reveling in the future.

And being 69? Ah, who cares? Perhaps, living life on the move has made me more accepting of aging. There’s no room in my luggage for anti-aging creams and time-consuming face masks and treatments I may have used had we not traveled the world.

White sand beaches are common in Tasmania.

Who knows? Maybe in my old life, I may have opted for a spot of Botox now and then to plump up my increasing lines and wrinkles. However, back in the US, I’d been invited to a Botox party but didn’t attend.

But now? How and where would a person go for “touch-ups?” In South America? Africa? No, thanks. Besides, I’ve let go of the concerns over aging, except regarding good health, the number one priority in our minds. 

Age gracefully? Well, one can age “gracefully” (whatever that means), or they can age while complaining/whinging over the unavoidable ravages of time or, like some, spend thousands of dollars on cosmetic procedures to stall the inevitable. 

The scene on a hazy morning.

No doubt, I still fuss over a few “girlie” things in an attempt to look presentable, for me, by my standards.  They’re easy, not costly, or time-consuming. I can purchase most products I use at any pharmacy throughout the world. But that’s just me and not necessarily for everyone. 

Today, without any specific plans for the day, we’re celebrating every single moment. My sister Julie sent me an online birthday card in which she wrote, “Who gets to spend their birthday in Tasmania?”

So true. So grateful. So filled with a passion for life!

Happy day to all of YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, February 20, 2016:

There I was, one year ago on my birthday with my namesake, Miss Jessica, when she’s only a week old. For more photos of this birth we monitored while the farm owners were on holiday, please click here.

Geeveston Wheels in the Park..Car show in Tasmania!

This vehicle looked like an old farm truck. See the sign below for the details.
The sign was in front of the above old truck.

When quickly passing a road sign that read: “February 1st, Sunday, Geeveston Car Show,” we ended up going to Geeveston on February 1st. Once we arrived days ago to discover the sign meant the first Sunday in February, we decided to return yesterday on the actual day of the show, Sunday in this part of the world.

Ford from the late ’30s?

The cloudy and overcast skies as seen in our photos didn’t keep us from enjoying the day at Geeveston Wheels in the Park annual car show. The only difficulty we experienced was the fact that many cars didn’t have signage explaining the year they were made which made it a little tricky posting our photos.

Delivery van from the ’30s. Check out those ominous-looking clouds!

After going through the plethora of photos we shot, we decided to post half today and the balance tomorrow, especially for our classic car aficionados. So if classic cars aren’t your thing, bear with us. This will be over soon.

In Australia, this car is called a Ford Falcon. In the US, it’s referred to as a Ranchero.

Ironically, it was one year ago this month that we attended AmeriCarna in New Zealand. Click this link for details with additional photos following for a few days as well. See below photo from that show in New Zealand in February 2106.

Tom was enthused when he spotted this Minnesota State Trooper car at AmeriCarna last February. Click here for more photos.

It may not be so ironic after all these two car shows in two different countries occurred in February. It’s summer in this part of the world, a logical time of the year to plan such events during warmer weather.

We weren’t quite sure. Could this be a ’31 Dodge?

We were surprised by the size of the crowd, and the number of motorcycles, parked next to the displayed cars. The beer booth was busy while the smell of burgers wafted through the air. 

We could hear the motorcycles zooming down the highway after we returned to our vacation home. This is because so many bikers attended the show.
Regardless of the cloudy day, it was truly a festive occasion in Tasmania with classic cars and trucks from all over the state.  Many owners were from distant locations on the opposite side of the island. The enthusiasm was riveting.
Old Volkswagen with sun visor.

We’d wish we’d been able to get the year and make of all the cars for our photos but with many cars were unattended by their owners. We did the best we could. Tom has always enjoyed looking at classic cars but doesn’t necessarily know every make and model.

These tiny European cars looked a lot smaller in person. 

As for today’s Super Bowl Sunday (it’s Monday here), the game is started as I write here now. If the Minnesota Viking team was playing I’d be glued to the TV with Tom. But, instead, mostly I’m intrigued over the prospect of Tom Brady breaking the “win” record.

Chevy Fleetmaster circa ’48.

As for Tom, who’s an avid Minnesota Vikings fan, he has no qualms about getting into today’s game. We’re thrilled it’s live on TV here, beginning at 10:00 am. The Australian news showed fans at Super Bowl parties in bars all over the continent, including Tasmania.

Pontiac Firebird, ’67 or ’68.

At times, we’re surprised at how much influence the US has in other parts of the world as they adopt certain traditions, styles, philosophies and more. In most countries we visit, it really doesn’t feel as if we’re so far away. Even Australian news includes considerable stories we’d hear in the US. (Of course, including “fake news” and bias).

Not sure on this one.  Maybe early 30’s with suicide doors.

In our old lives, we often held parties, making a wide array special foods including my annual football shaped cheeseball and a German Chocolate football-shaped cake with stitches and all. Those days are behind us now. No cake for us. No party for us.

I thought this was cute.

But we’re content.  I’m busy with laundry and making a special dinner. Recently, with the availability of many items we use, I’d decided to try a new recipe once a week. With our restricted diet, it’s easy to get caught up in repeating the same dishes over and over. As a result, we’ve adopted a few new favorites.

We’d have store-bought cooked, roasted chickens twice a week to cut down on the cooking in past locations. Then, adding a salad and cooked vegetables, we’d have a great meal. 

The owner explained this was a ’42 Plymouth, unusual in its era due to World War II.

In Tasmania, although many grocery stores carry free-range organic roasted chickens, they’re all stuffed with bread dressing, which doesn’t work for us. Removing the dressing isn’t enough to avoid contamination of the gluten.

For those of you watching and celebrating the Super Bowl, have an enjoyable day! We have no doubt we’ll enjoy ours as well!

Photo from one year ago today, February 6, 2016:

One year ago we visited this historic home in New Plymouth, New Zealand, Plas Mawr, owned by June, a lovely woman we met at the grocery store. It was built in 1913 by renowned New Zealand architect James Chapman-Taylor. For more photos, please click here.

No event in Geeveston…Perceptions of time passing too quickly…

The clouds quickly rolled in as we stopped for photos of the Geeveston Community Church. 

Yesterday, after uploading the post and taking care of a few online tasks we headed out the door for an outdoor event in the tiny town of Geeveston, a short distance from Castle Forbes Bay.

Last week we’d seen a sign on the highway advertising an annual event transpiring on February 1st. In verifying this online, we noticed the past two years the event actually took place on February 1st preventing us from further research.

Sunny day scene overlooking the Huon River.

Alas, as we approached Geeveston, we realized that the signage was confusing when they all read February 1st when the event was actually occurring on the first Sunday in February.

We stopped at the local IGA market for a few nonperishables and the pharmacy for a much needed nail polish for the upcoming cruise on March 1st for my usual at-home pedicure.

Rolled bales of hay on the hillside overlooking the Huon River.

Back on the road we began the drive out of town, only moments later to encounter a deluge of rain with more dark clouds on the horizon.  With neither of us particularly enjoying sightseeing in the rain (when we don’t have to) we turned around to head back “home.”

The remainder of the day flew by.  Before we knew it, dinner was over and we continued watching yet another episode of “Game of Thrones.” We’re still on season one, making our way to season two by tomorrow evening at two episodes a night.

Yesterday, on our way to Geeveston we spotted these two ferries at Huon Bay.  Apparently, these ferries don’t offer services to locals.

We only watch movies or TV shows in the evenings, preferring to stay more in tuned with our surroundings during the day.  Neither of us ever wants to be those people who sit in front of the TV all day out of touch with the world around them.  Of course, we watch local news for updates daily. 

Time would seem to slip by mindlessly if we made our lives center around watching TV.  Its bad enough how much time we spend online but then again, its a necessary aspect of our lives of world travel. 

For instance, recently we’ve been purchasing supplies online for a shipment we’ll be requesting from our mailing service in Nevada in the next few days.  Both  of our renewed driver’s licenses will be included in that package. 

We’d hoped for a drive to the countryside but turned around to return home when it began raining.  We don’t enjoy road trips in rain especially when taking photos is less desirable.

Tom’s license had expired on his birthday on December 23rd, mine not until my birthday this month.  His  new license arrived at our mailing service prior to its expiration date. 

The guy at the rental car facility seemed unconcerned with the fact that Tom’s license would expire during the car rental period from December 3, 2016 to March 1, 2017. He mentioned it, dismissing any concern when we explained that we’d both already applied online for the renewals which we previously processed online in Bali months earlier.

A type of succulent growing on the grounds of our holiday home.

Its astonishing that its February already when a year ago we were living on the alpaca farm in New Zealand.  Where did the time go?  In 79 days, we’ll be boarding the ship in Sydney, Australia to leave the South Pacific after spending almost two years in this part of the world. 

On April 22nd, we’ll be on our way to the US on a 24 night cruise from Sydney to Seattle.  Once there, where we’ll make our way to Vancouver where we’ll board yet another cruise (two days later) for nine nights in Alaska.  From there, we’ll fly to Minnesota on May 26th for a six week visit with family.

A few days ago while the sun was shining, the blue sky reflected on the sea creating this bright blue image.

There’s still so much world awaiting us as time flies at an unrecognizable pace.  It reminds us that each day is a gift to be treasured whether we’re sightseeing, meeting people, or simply lounging at our temporary home.  Today, its still raining.  We’ll stay put while cherishing the day.

Hope your day is filled with sunshine even if clouds are on the horizon.


Photo from one year ago today, February 2, 2016:

A historic church in New Plymouth, New Zealand came to an end due to lack of earthquake proof construction.  For more on this story, please click here.

What do cherries and helicopters have in common?…Photos close to home…

While we were preparing dinner, we heard a noise from a helicopter. 

A few nights ago, as we were preparing dinner, we heard the roar of a helicopter in the vicinity. Immediately outside, we were shocked by how close we were. 

We watched in wonder as the helicopter turned, making several swipes of the massive net.

At first, we assumed it had been dispatched to a nearby medical emergency when getting to a hospital in Hobart in a 45 minute drive from this area. 

Anne explains that the helicopter’s roaring blades, dry out the net to prevent cherries from spoiling after the rain. Who knew?

Were we surprised when we observed its intent, to dry the cherry trees located beneath a massive series of nets protecting a grove of cherry trees across the street from our vacation home.

Finally, with its task finished, the helicopter was on its way, possibly to other similar cherry trees or other fruit farms.

From this news story, it was evident this is a costly solution for farmers hoping to dry their cherry crop after heavy rains, before they’re destroyed from too much moisture as described below this photo, in part from a story published a few years ago.

A black duck on the dock.

“Helicopters are busy today in the Huon Valley helping orchardists save the remaining cherry crops after a severe rain event.

Farmers in southern Tasmania assess damage to fruit crops as a result of heavy rains and estimate that up to 70 per cent of the remaining cherry crops could be affected. Parts of the Huon Valley received more than 70 ml in the deluge on Tuesday night, which hit cherry growing areas at the wrong time. (Continued below).

This lily couldn’t be more exquisite.

Howard Hansen of Hansen Orchards was supposed to start picking fruit this week, but said the rain damaged most of his crop. This morning a helicopter was used to get water off the cherries, and down the road at Lucaston Park it was a similar story.

Matthew Griggs called in a helicopter at first light to hover above the cherry trees and keep them dry.

Park bench on the grounds for lounging while enjoying views of the Huon River.

“We still have around 80 tonnes to pick and many of the cherries left on the trees have split because of the rain,” Mr. Griggs said.

Mr Hansen said the rain was good for the upcoming apple harvest, but would not make up for the damage to the cherries.” (The remainder of the story is here).   (Continued below).

Beautiful Huon River views.

We contacted Anne to confirm our suspicions and indeed we were right, the helicopter had been hired by the cherry farm owner to make many passes over the grove after heavy rains. This must be a pricey solution, but it certainly makes sense.

Seagull on a post at the end of the dock at the property.

How little we know about farming! And yet, we’re both fascinated by farms for both their crops and livestock as we’ve shown in many of our posts. Most recently, we were in awe of a pig farm in Penguin, Tasmania. Please see this link for details on the Mount Gnomon Farm.

Tom checks out the dock.

As we travel through country after country during our worldwide journey, in this case the state of Tasmania, Australia, we feel fortunate to have an opportunity to learn about farming. How did we spend nearly a lifetime consuming produce and animal products with so little knowledge of many of the major aspects of farming?

Huge daisies growing on the grounds.

Today, with Anne’s assistance and Telstra, the provider, we’re addressing some of the Wi-Fi issues we’re experiencing. Hopefully soon, we’ll have a resolution.

Have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 22, 2016:

This modern kitchen had everything we needed in New Plymouth, New Zealand when we lived on the alpaca farm. For more interior photos, please click here.

A world of wonder in the backyard…Who knew?…Fabulous meals in Tasmania…

My dinner last night, a chicken stir fry made with vegetables (not including the carrots and raw nuts) from our landlord’s garden right outside our door, ours for the picking. (Tom’s meal is shown below).

Yesterday morning, once the rain had stopped and the sun had risen, we took a walk through the substantial grounds of this beautiful estate. As was the case when we rented the vacation home in Trinity Beach (near Cairns), Queensland, Australia beginning in June 2015, this rental is a large house with a full sized apartment.

Ornamental object in the garden of Anne and Tom.  Anne and Rob spend considerable time each day caring for their extensive garden.

As in Trinity Beach, the single apartment is comparable to a house. It’s not a “basement” unit, but has full sized windows throughout. In addition, this “apartment” in the valley of Huon has a lower level with a second room. The owners live in another “wing.”

With high prices for many rentals in Australia, this type of accommodation, works for us when it’s more within our budget than an individual house.

We were impressed with the immense garden.

In Penguin, we had a private house to ourselves, but this lovely property provides ample privacy and comfort befitting our needs and wants. The only issue is the “shared” WiFi, which presents a problem for our needs, which was the case of Trinity Beach and most recently in Bali when two villas, next door to one another also shared a WiFi connection.

An antique apple press in their garden used for making apple cider.  Apples are commonly grown in Tasmania and a popular fruit for locals and visitors alike.

There are other benefits to this type of housing situation and yesterday morning as we wandered through the enormous grounds, we discovered a most exciting perk we had no idea existed. Anne and Rob’s huge garden which they both laboriously tend to each and every day.

Our basket of veg began with these zucchini known as courgette in this part of the world. As we wandered about the garden Rob added a variety of greens, cabbage, and broccolini, all of which I used in making my dinner.

Rob encouraged us to stop by anytime and pick whatever we’d like. In the next few weeks, the harvest will become even more abundant during these summer months. Of course, we won’t take advantage of this kind offer. 

Celery, one of our favorite crunchy vegetables for salads.

After all, Tom only cares for a few vegetables beside salad ingredients, mainly green beans  and carrots. Occasionally, we’ll visit the garden to stock up on a few items for me. The remainder, we’ll purchase from  farm stands or organic grocers. 

Soon, we’ll purchase avocados and use a bunch of this cilantro from the garden to make guacamole.

Not only did we take the photos we’ve included here today, but many more from their exquisite flower garden which we’ll soon post. Anne put together a small bunch of gorgeous roses which I placed in a vase on the dining room table as shown in this photo below.

Roses Anne picked for our dining table. 

Back indoors after it had again begun to rain, I considered what we were planning for dinner and how I could use these freshest of vegetables for last night’s dinner.


Tom prefers beef more frequently than I. As a result, when he’s having beef or pork, I’ll have chicken or seafood. I never mind making two different meals since I usually plan to incorporate many of the same ingredients in each. 

Also, since Tom can eat more carbohydrates than I, adjustments are easily made to accommodate each of our tastes and needs. In all, I don’t usually spend more than 30 minutes a day preparing our varying meals.

Tonight’s dinner will include this cabbage for salad.

Also, we still only eat one meal a day. Tom may have cheese, olives and sliced ham as a snack if he’s hungry. However, with my low carb intake I’m rarely hungry. If I feel like something to eat, I’ll have a small snack.

Sure, I know many of our readers prefer not to read about cooking and food. We get this. When we’ve mentioned this, we receive many email messages from readers who do enjoy food photos and discussion. 

Figs, not quite ripe for picking.

For those of you uninterested in the nuances of our dietary adventures, please bear with us. Tomorrow, we’ll be on to other topics. 

As for the plate of food shown as my meal, the recipe simply consisted of chicken breast meat cooked in coconut oil, butter and fresh garlic and then removed from the pan while I cooked the vegetables. 

A perfect apple.

In the same pan, I stir fried the fresh greens and other vegetables (any type) with a little more coconut oil, butter and fresh garlic, seasoning them with organic wheat free soy sauce, sesame oil, Himalayan salt, fresh ground pepper, and whatever spices we had on hand. 

A lemon yet to ripen.

I’d precooked the carrots (frozen carrots may be used, if preferred) adding them to the final toss when adding the chicken back into the pot. When done, I topped the dish with organic raw nuts.

  Both of our meals were delicious and satisfying.

Tom’s dinner consisted of a taco salad (grass fed mince in at the bottom).  He’ll eat all of these salad vegetables, but few others.

Soon, we’re off for a visit to Hobart. Although we breezed through the beautiful ocean city upon our arrival a few days ago (and on a cruise one year ago), we decided to return for a better look especially since it’s a sunny day, albeit a bit cool. Tomorrow, we’ll share our new photos.

May your day be fulfilling and meaningful.

Photo from one year ago today, January 19, 2016:
Last year we were walking in the rain in Sydney when I took this photo of Tom which is now my favorite. On this date, we disembarked that cruise which ended in Auckland, New Zealand, making our way by rental car to New Plymouth where we blissfully lived for three months.  Included in the post is the final expenses for that particular cruise. For more details, please click here.

Photos of our new home in the Huon Valley, Tasmania…Delightful!

View of the Huon River from the veranda of our new vacation home. Nice!
It was so cool last night we huddled under two blankets, comfy with the screened windows opened, content to be settled. This time we didn’t bother to bring our luggage upstairs to the main floor, instead of leaving the bags open on the bed in the lower level of the second bedroom, allowing us to run up and down the stairs, for the few items we’ll use over these next 41 days.
Cozy dining area.

As always, it takes a few days to feel settled as we discover where everything is located, how to use locks, appliances, the TV “source” or “input” buttons for  use of the HDMI cord and for the best signal from the Wi-Fi. 

After chatting online with Australia’s primary internet service provider yesterday we’ve figured out the best data plan for our SIM card and hotspot which we’ll use as an adjunct to the house’s slow Wi-Fi connection. I’ll use the hotspot while Tom uses and house signal. Unfortunately, neither works well if we share one of the signals simultaneously.

The living room/lounge area suits our needs. Plus, the sofa is comfortable!

After we uploaded yesterday’s post, we headed to the town of Huonville (see map below), a15 minute drive, to  arrive at the local grocery store, Woolie’s (as Woolworth’s is called in Australia) complete our food shopping. 

The galley kitchen works well for us.  The range is toward the far left, as shown in the next photo below.  Tom’s happy there’s a dishwasher!

Tom usually stays in the car reading a book on his phone while I shop. He gauges how long I’ll be and comes into the market to help to load the items on the conveyor belt. 

In Australia, shoppers must bring their grocery bags or will be charged varying amounts for recyclable bags.  We’ve kept the yellow insulated Costco bag, the Africa cloth bag we purchased in Kenya over three years ago and a smaller insulated bag the owners in Maui left for us as a gift. These same bags have served our shopping needs throughout our travels.

Tom, the perfect French press guy, makes ideal coffee every time. Guess we won’t be using the toaster.

Since arriving two days ago, we’ve spent AU $515, US $389 for groceries but it appears we’ll have enough food to last for more than a week. This may seem to be a substantial amount but included in these items were paper products, bottled water, enough grass-fed meat for over a week, spices, organic produce, and more.

Typically, when we arrive at a new location, our first grocery bill is in this range. However, in the subsequent weeks, the expenditure is considerably less, usually well under AU $265, US $200. 

This spacious master bedroom is located on the main level with a roomy en suite bathroom.

The drive from the house to Huonville was pleasant with the gorgeous scenery along the way, photos of which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post. We can’t wait to go to Hobart tomorrow to take more pictures of this fantastic part of the world.

The laundry room has a washer located next to the master bathroom. There’s a dryer in the garage. We haven’t had a dryer since Trinity Beach, Australia, in June 2015. So, of course, for almost ten months during this period, our laundry was done for us. 

As its turns out, we are located in the town of Geeveston. Here’s a bit of info about this small town with a population of about 1500, from this site:

Geeveston is a small Australian town south of Tasmania on the Huon River, 62 km southwest of Hobart, making it Australia’s most southerly administrative center.

The town takes its name from William Geeves, an English settler who Lady Jane Franklin gave a land grant in the area then known as Lightwood Bottom (after a type of timber prevalent in the area).

The settlement Geeves set up was renamed Geeves Town in 1861, and the name eventually became Geeveston. Geeveston is for local government purposes included in the area of the Huon Valley Council and is part of the division of Franklin for both Australian House of Representatives and Tasmanian House of Assembly electoral purposes. (Continued below).

The master bath fulfills our needs with plenty of fluffy towels, robes, and amenities.

Geeveston is on the Huon Highway and is the gateway to the Hartz Mountains National Park. It is the center of Tasmania’s apple and fruit-growing industry and has also been highly reliant on the timber industry since the late 19th century.

A pulp mill was opened in the town in 1962, and was Geeveston’s largest employer until the plant closed in 1982, devastating the area economically. The Forest & Heritage Centre, a tourist center that details the timber industry’s history in the area, is located in Geeveston.

Although Geeveston is quite a small town, we’re very close to several other small towns:

Image result for map of huon valley tasmania
Zoom in to see Geeveston, located south of Port Huon, shown on this map.
We don’t feel isolated by any means with all of the surrounding riverfront towns, as shown on this map. For example, we can be in the center of Hobart, located in the north of us, on this map in less than 45 minutes.
We’re rather content here. No doubt this is a different experience than Penguin but, isn’t that why we travel anyway?  The opportunity to experience the experiences the vast differences in areas throughout the world proves to be the driving force in our nomadic lifestyle.
The pool is covered, which is easily removed by a cranking device. If it warms up, we’ll use it. More photos of the backyard will follow once it stops raining.
We’ll be back with lots more as we continue to explore this scenic area. Have a lovely day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 18, 2016:

Our ship, the Celebrity Solstice, which we’ll board again in Sydney on March 1, looked huge while docked at the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand. For more details, please click here.

We made it to the Huon Valley…What a place of beauty…What do we look for upon arrival at a new location?

The scenery in Hobart is breathtaking. We’ll be returning to Hobart in a few days and will share more photos.

Each time we arrive at a new location, we do so with the utmost excitement coupled with a twinge of apprehension. With many factors important to us to attain a reasonable degree of comfort and livability, we often scamper about checking out the most important aspects.

As we drove on Highway 1 in Tasmania to Hobart (then on A6 to the Huon Valley), we were intrigued by the change in the scenery, which was more desert-like than lush greenery.

Some of our expectations may seem petty or even ridiculous, but we’ve easily determined what matters to us after all this time of traveling the world. So, of course, we’ve investigated the likelihood of those expectations before booking the property.

Windmill in another small town.

Regardless of how much research and inquiry we may exercise, there are always surprises, both good and not so good. So what are the items that enhance the depths of our experiences while living on someone else’s property? 

  • View: For us, the most influential aspect of any vacation home is its location and view. On the few occasions where we didn’t have a good view, we were sorely disappointed. 
  • Wi-Fi: This is tricky.  Most vacation home listings state there is Wi-Fi. However, in about 35% of the cases, the signal is inadequate for our purposes. In these cases, we have no choice but to purchase a hotspot device with a SIM card with lots of data, often at high costs.
  • Refrigerator size:  This may not be important for those who’ll stay a short period.  Often staying for as long as three months and cooking most of our meals, this becomes of the utmost importance.
  • The comfort of the bed and bedding.
  • Shower: Showers in vacation properties may be tiny and without shelves for shampoo, soaps, and a razor. 
  • Kitchen gadgets, pots, pans, sharp knives, decent dinnerware, large mixing bowl, and baking pans (if none, we purchase disposable tinfoil pans). Space in cupboards for grocery items (rarely adequate).
  • TV: Is there a TV, and is it new enough to accommodate our HDMI cord? We can manage without a TV, and if the property is nice enough, we’ll forgo it. 
  • Comfortable seating in lounge/living room for posting and leisure periods.
  • Coffee maker or French press and electric teapot.
  • Adequate and easily accessible electrical outlets: We have lots of equipment that requires charging.
  • Screens on at least a few windows: Seldom a reality in many parts of the world.
The scenery changed dramatically as we drove toward the middle of Tasmania, further from the sea.

Although this seems to be a lengthy list, it became inherent in determining the degree of comfort and ease of living that we’d prefer available to us as we travel the world.

Tom stood in front of this giant tree trunk in Campbell Town.

Any one of us could easily make such a list of desired criteria when staying in a hotel for a few nights, let alone a home for weeks or months. Most properties we’ve rented have met most of our expectations. Some have had only a few of our preferred criteria, but somehow, we’ve adapted and still had an excellent experience.

River bridge in Campbell Town.

As for this new location in the Huon Valley in Tasmania, the only concern is the lack of a good Wi-Fi signal. We’re figuring this out with our Australian (Telstra) hotspot and SIM card that we already had in our possession. 

White ducks in the river in Campbell Town.

As soon as we attempted to get online, we discovered it is a necessary adjunct to our connectivity since we can’t access a strong enough signal on the house’s WiFi. Unfortunately, we’ll have to add more data to the SIM card, which can be costly, but at this point, there’s no alternative.

There’s local/state significance in each of the chainsaw carvings.  See the photo with the information.

Otherwise, for our needs, this property is ideal. Yes, as preferred, we’re in a very remote area although it’s only 35 minutes to Hobart, which we’ll visit often. Also, after checking out the nearby towns yesterday, we discovered a fabulous butcher in nearby Geeveston that carries grass-fed beef and lamb and free-range organic chickens.

This document explains the history and the carvings.

The views and local scenery are outstanding. In time, we’ll be sharing many photos of our immediate views and views of the surrounding areas, including some distant locations. 

Each sculpture displayed a sign with information.

Last night, I quickly put together a dinner of pork chops for Tom, lamb chops for me, veg, and salad, and we were content. Tom watched a playoff football game while I prepared the easy dinner. 

Tom suggested a photo displaying all three of these chainsaw sculptures.

Our lovely property owner, Anne, stopped by to ensure we had everything we needed and supplied us with a giant mixing bowl, the only item we were missing.

The Foxhunters Return building in Campbell Town.

The drive from Penguin to Huonville was delightful with perfect weather, gorgeous scenery, low traffic, and decent roads. Unfortunately, we ran into some road construction that slowed us down by 45 minutes, but we weren’t in a hurry. We even had time to stop at a few interesting spots for photos.

The unusual building we encountered on the drive.

We arrived at the house by 3:30 pm and had decided to wait to drive to Woolie’s in Huonville until today for the remainder of the groceries. So as soon as we’ve uploaded today’s post, we’ll head out to shop and check out more of this outstanding area in the Huon Valley.

We’ll be back tomorrow with many more photos and, of course, stories to tell.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 17, 2016:

Although we don’t have dress-up clothes for formals nights aboard the ship, we do our best with what we have.  This proved to be an extraordinary night for us.  Please click here for details.