Day #222 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Today is our 8 year world travel anniversary…Happy Halloween!!!

This affectionate camel leaned on his owner’s shoulder when I approached.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 while living in Diani Beach, Kenya when we embarked on a mini-vacation to celebrate our then, one-year anniversary of world travel. See the link here.

Here we are, eight years from the date we first left Minnesota to begin our years-long journey to see the world. Most years, we’ve celebrated this anniversary with more enthusiasm than we ever celebrated our wedding anniversary or the day we met in 1991.

Camels walking along the beach along the Indian Ocean.

For us, this anniversary lumps the other anniversaries into one special day on Halloween, October 31, wherever we may be in the world at the time. That’s not to say we ignore our other anniversaries, but this one signifies our “freedom” in retirement, to see the world on our terms, visiting those places that most appeal to our senses, rather than some preconceived notion of where one “should” go while touring the world.

And we’ve continued to experience life on our terms with the exception of the past 7½ months when we’ve been in lockdown in Mumbai, India, waiting for international flights to resume. Hopefully, soon that will change and we’ll be able to be on our way once again. As for any potential celebration of today’s anniversary, life will continue as it has over the past months. There isn’t a lot more we can do.

Tom spotted them coming and alerted me to grab the camera. I ran like crazy to catch up with them to take these photos. The cost for a ride, up for negotiation, was Kenya Shillings $2000 each, US $23.56 for two. 

Sure, we could have dinner in the dining room, but the menu is still the same and we wouldn’t order anything different from what we’ve been eating. Tom, like me, is trying to lose the weight he’s gained and neither of us sees a reason to change for a day.

Nor are we interested in drinking alcohol when we haven’t had a drink in over seven months, which would most likely result in not feeling so well. When we move to our next location and have a chance to socialize, we can ease our way back into a happy hour event, here again on our own terms.

The pristine beach, the fine, clean sand of the Indian Ocean made for a pleasant walk on the beach after 4:00 pm yesterday, as the day cooled.

We are allowed to leave the hotel now, but with the streets packed with people not wearing masks and social distancing, and with India in the #2 spot in the world with the most COVID-19, behind the USA, we feel it’s too risky. Mumbai has the highest number of cases anywhere in the entire country. Also, the smog and the traffic are unbearable, typical for big cities in India.

I suppose I should have zoomed in as he did when taking mine. You can see my shadow as I’m taking the photo.

I must admit I experienced some angst going out to the two ATMs, two weeks ago today, to get cash to pay for the package we finally received after a three-month delay. Tom has a hard time understanding the Indian accent with his hearing loss from years on the railroad. I always handle all communications with the people of India who do possess a strong accent, some of whom speak little English.

So, today? Nothing special other than our commitment to each other, to waiting out the time international flights resume, to our dedication to improving our health through regular exercise, healthy eating, good sleep, and positive thoughts, and our unstoppable passion for continuing on in our travels, for hopefully, years to come.

Walking on the beach on the day of our one year travel anniversary in 2013. Tom shot this appearing footless photo of me. Actually, I was wearing those ugly water shoes, grateful they were hidden in the surf. Gosh, it would be nice to be tan now, getting regular doses of Vitamin D. Instead, we take supplements.

Happy Halloween to those who celebrate and good day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2019:

 With no photos of us on our travel anniversary in the past few years, we posted this photo from October 31, 2017, which was our five year anniversary of traveling the world, taken on the veranda at the villa in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more photos from that date, please click here.

 

 

 

An evening to remember…Our seventh world travel anniversary…Dinner and dancing…

View of the Intrepid Museum from the ship.

We’re thrilled to finally be able to upload photos.  As it turns out we’re still at the Port of New York when high winds prevented us from sailing away last night as planned.

As a result of the high winds, while we’ve been stuck at the port overnight, one of the pier gangway ramps severely jammed inside the ship and is being repaired/removed. We definitely won’t be able to sail away for several more hours.

Clouds over the skyline.

We aren’t sure as to how this will impact the few remaining ports of call on this cruise’s itinerary. The captain will let us know once we’re on our way again sometime this afternoon.


As long as we arrive in Fort Lauderdale in time for our flight to Minnesota on November 8th, we don’t have a worry in the world. We’re continuing to spend time engaging in lively conversations with other cruise passengers and of course, with one another.

The New York skyline on a cloudy day.

Last night, the celebration of our seventh world travel anniversary was very special. First, we had happy hour in the Sky Lounge on deck 14 with the same group of about 10 people with whom we’ve mingled each evening.  


At about 7:00 pm, we wandered down to the Emsemble Bar, chatting with another lovely couple.  At 8:00 pm we made our way to Murano, the specialty restaurant where we had a fantastic meal with impeccable service. We have several photos yet to share from the meal including finally, one of each of us.

An old Concord supersonic plane on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum as seen from our ships in port.

After dinner, we returned to the Sky Lounge for the 10:00 pm “silent disco.” I can’t dance as long or as enthusiastically as I had in days past but I have no doubt that in time my stamina will improve.  


We had a fabulous evening reminiscing over the past seven years, particularly regarding cruises since our first in January 2013 when we experienced our first foray through the Panama Canal.  At this point, we’ve been through the canal twice but who knows what the future holds?

Other aircraft on display at the Intrepid Museum includes a Blackbird spy plane.

This particular cruise is our third transatlantic and the crossing has been seamless with only a few short spurts of rough seas during the first six days at sea. 


The itinerary from here in New York to Boston, to Bermuda to Fort Lauderdale, should be relatively easy providing we don’t encounter any unanticipated storms along the way.

A peek of the Empire State Building.

Tomorrow, we’ll report as to what has transpired with the ship’s repairs and our ability to continue on the planned itinerary and hopefully be able to upload more photos.



Thanks to Louise and Pamela for filling us in on this architecturally unique building in New York:  VIA 57 West (marketed as VIΛ 57WEST) is the name of a residential building designed by the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The pyramid shaped tower block or “tetrahedron” rises 467 ft (142 m) and 35 stories tall and is located on West 57th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City. According to The New York Times, the name was chosen “because the southbound West Side Highway slopes down as drivers enter the city, right at the spot where the building is situated”, serving as an entrance to Manhattan “via 57th”.


Enjoy your Friday and weekend to come! 

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Photo from one year ago today, November 1, 2018:
Lilies growing in the Crocodile River as seen in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.

Our 7 year travel anniversary is today!…It seems s long ago…

Due to WiFi issues while in port today, we are unable to upload any photos.  We will be back out to sea tomorrow and should have a better signal at that time.  Thanks for your patience.

Seven years.  It went quickly, more quickly than we ever imagined. When we started in 2012, we had no idea we’d still be traveling all these years later.  After selling everything we owned, which was a huge commitment to stay on this path for the long haul, this in itself presented a huge degree of dedication.


It would have been ridiculous to only stay gone a year or two and then try to rebuild an entirely new life living in a condo somewhere in or outside of the US.  The thought of having to buy furniture and household goods made us cringe then and still does today. 


Is it inevitable that we’ll eventually have to stop traveling? Sure. At some point, we’ll no longer have the health or stamina to continue on. At this point, we prefer not to have to think about that.


We realize now, that in the worst of circumstances, short of one of us eventually losing our “leasehold” on life, we won’t be able to haul one more heavy piece of luggage, sail on one more cruise ship, or fly on one more plane in a cramped seat. Those days will come.


But, now, after our big scare in February, we’re all the more determined than ever to continue on.  There is so much more, we’ve yet to explore.  In reality, we haven’t even put a dent in it with so much more ahead of us.


Today, we revel in this special day, our seventh anniversary of total freedom to live life on our terms, where, when and how we’d like based on the hopefulness of maintaining good health, a sense of well being and ongoing financial security.


Each of these conditions requires a degree of mindfulness and effort but we do so with the utmost enthusiasm and zest for life. We each easily possess these qualities as we make our way through each and every day.


And today, we’ll celebrate this seventh anniversary in style…spending a leisurely day on the ship, preferring not to get off the ship in New York when its pouring rain, cold and cloudy.


Had we made plans they may have been dashed due to the unexpected hours-long US immigration process. With happy-hour and tonight’s specialty dining reservation to celebrate our anniversary, we’d have had little time in the traffic-congested city to do much of anything.


Easily we avoid disembarking when we know full well, that eventually, we’ll travel the US when most certainly New York will be included in that itinerary.  Also, I’ve visited New York many times over the years and am not chomping at the bit to get out on this cloudy rainy day nor am I enthusiastic to tackle a tremendous amount of walking at this point.


Tomorrow, we’ll share photos from tonight’s activities and special dinner. 


Happy day!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2018:

An orange-breasted roller.  For more photos, please click here.

Less than 24 hours until we’re on US soil as we celebrate life after 7 years of world travel….

Bartenders performing tricks at the Ice Bar.

It’s hard for us to fathom the idea that tomorrow on Halloween, October 31st, we’ll be stepping foot on US soil for the first time in 2 years, 3 months, which coincidentally, will be the seven-year anniversary of the day we left Minnesota to begin our world travels.
For us, it’s a momentous day for many reasons including the harsh reality of the struggles we experienced in the past year with the necessity of my having the triple coronary bypass surgery in February and the subsequent slow recovery.


Many often asked us, “What will you do if something bad happens?”  

Passengers learning dance steps in the Centrum.

We have no home, no place to land, no belongings to settle into should such a situation arise. At the times of such questions, we’ve always replied, “We’ll figure it out.”


And…we did.  We figured it out and, here we are 8½ months later with me feeling well, albeit a little terrified at times when thinking about what transpired after being in the operating room four times in six weeks.


But, we must continue to face another harsh reality…that there’s no guaranty that I will be OK in the long run. Then again, no one has such a guaranty. Life doesn’t come with warranties and return policies.  


We “get what we get” and none of us are exempt from those unpredictable situations whereby our lives are turned upside down by a single event. For now, we survived and for this, we are more grateful than words can express here in a post written with the utmost of candor and vulnerability.

Dancer training passengers to perform dance steps.

We often surprise ourselves by how well we survived this trauma, how well we, as a couple, came out on the other side. Here we are on a cruise ship on its way back to the USA to see family and friends and to be reminded so close to this anniversary of how delicate life can be.


Playfully, we’re enjoying every moment of this cruise, often finding ourselves laughing, dancing, and reminiscing over how much we’ve gained, how much we’ve learned and how we’ve survived these fascinating, exciting and dangerous past seven years.


The future? Who knows? None of us knows. None of us can state emphatically that we’ll continue on any path we’ve chosen for the past years, months or even days. Life will always be uncertain.


Tomorrow, our ship arrives in New York City. At this point, we may or may not get off the ship. Halloween festivities will create more traffic, more tourists, more hustle and bustle that at this point neither of us are much interesting in exploring.

The participants are having a great time learning dance steps.

The calm and peacefulness we’re experiencing during this highly pleasurable cruise could turn on its head if we threw ourselves into that tumultuous environment right now.  


Plus, I’ve only been able to walk well for that past six weeks. I don’t know if I’m ready to tackle as long a walk as will be required if we get off the ship.  Our other option is a taxi to be potentially stuck in Manhattan traffic, a situation totally unappealing to either of us at this point.


We’ll see how it goes and what we feel like tomorrow. We have no one to please but ourselves and as we’ve discovered during the past seven years, we aren’t “required” to do anything that doesn’t appeal to us at any given time.


Please check back tomorrow for our anniversary celebrations as we share highlights of this exquisite journey that we hope we’ll be blessed to carry on.


Have a safe and festive Halloween!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 30, 2018:

Our friend Lois feeding a large number of kudus who stopped by.  She puts the pellets on the veranda’s edge to keep the helmeted guineafowl from taking them all.  For more photos, please click here.