Thinking about the future…Facing the facts…

Last evening, no less than 25 animals were in the garden, including kudus bushbucks, warthogs, wildebeests, and our precious nyala family.

My eyes dart toward the garden every few minutes in case any wildlife stops by. I sat indoors at the dining room table while Vusi cleaned the veranda. Another hot day prompted me to turn on the quiet portable fan to cool off while I sat and prepared today’s post.

A moment ago, I spotted a mom and four piglets dash by on a mad run. I wondered where they were headed. A few kudus wandered in and out but feeling stuck in the chair, for once, I didn’t bother to get up to offer pellets. Earlier this morning, Tom saw the nyala family on several occasions. Still, again, I slept late after not falling asleep until well after midnight, awakening during the night when the 4½ hour load shedding started and the aircon went off.

Moms and babies.

My Fitbit says I slept 8 hours and 57 minutes. It still feels like I am catching up from lack of sleep, but I feel good, rested, and refreshed over the past few days.;.

Today is Day 3, with no headache or facial pain. Could it possibly be over? I am tentatively hopeful. I feel the best I’ve felt since before I tested positive for Omicron last April. With all the meds I was on for the headache, some of which cause weight gain, I am now reducing my food intake to lose the extra 15 pounds. I will undoubtedly accomplish it in a few months, losing from one to two pounds a week, a realistic goal.

Big Daddy, Hoppy’s mom and two remaining piglets, and more.

But, my mind? It’s spinning in circles. We have so much to do in the next few months. We must renew our passports, apply for an extension for South Africa, and complete all the paperwork soon to receive compensation for our lost luggage, requiring receipts for every item in those two bags.

That process alone will be time-consuming. I’d rather that they find the bags. How will we remember every item in those bags and find receipts? Sure, most of the purchases were made online, which will help. Nonetheless, it’s quite a task. It could take a few weeks to complete.

Big Daddy and Stringy jumped the fence.

You know the saying…”You can run, but you can’t hide.”  It’s so true. Regardless of the lifestyle we choose, we can’t escape the responsibilities of daily life; taxes to file and pay, paperwork to complete for general living, expenses to log, and bills to pay. For some reason, I feel lazy and unmotivated to do all this paperwork. But, somehow, I must get myself on track.

We love the bush so much; getting wrapped up in such responsibilities is not easy. It’s almost like being on a blissful vacation/holiday while here, and I don’t care to get wrapped up in piles of paperwork. Instead, right now, I am thinking toward the future, and with a good plan in place for what we’ll do after a 90-day extension is acquired through the law firm, tackling the paperwork will be easier.

My biggest thoughts for the day are now centered around enjoying the wildlife, cooking meals, and spending time entrenched in the beauty of nature and the bush. In the evenings, our goals are simple; listening to music using our JBL speaker, enjoying a refreshment while seated at the table on the veranda, and later in the evening, hunkering down to an excellent show to stream…all relatively mindless drivel.

Then, typically on the weekends, we love socializing at Jabula and attending or hosting parties and get-togethers. Um…it’s all lovely and indeed distracts us from the inconveniences of load-shedding, heat, humidity, insects, and snakes. Then, of course, there are the daily posts I still enjoy preparing each day, even after these past ten years. The constant search for photo ops also adds an interesting element to our lives.

Bad Ear stopped by for a quick hello.

We’ll figure it all out. Right now, we are talking about our options and what makes the most sense for us to do going forward. In any case, we must leave by June 1, 2023, but in this day and age, with everything that’s changed during the pandemic, we must plan as best as we can.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 14, 2021:

Yellow-billed stork. No text or other photos were posted on this date.

Coldest night so far…Another fun anniversary to celebrate!!!…New photos from nighttime trail cam and more…

Today, we celebrate 31 years since we met in 1991. This is our last selfie, taken at the silent disco on the cruise in April 2022, the night before we both developed symptoms of Omicron. We are grateful to have recovered and, of course, to be together through all the ups and downs of being home-free, storage-free world travelers for almost ten years. That special anniversary is upcoming on October 31!!!

The aircon units used in bedrooms here can cool in the hottest weather and warm when it’s cold. We’ve never used the heating feature since we feel we don’t need to waste the electricity required to power the heating aspect of these units. Instead, we bundle up in warm clothes and, at night, sleep with layers of blankets we can strip off if necessary.

It’s incredible how much our body heat warms the bedroom at night. We noticed it when we left the bedroom at night to get something from the kitchen. We have never turned on the heat while in South Africa.

Last night at dinner, while seated at the dining room table (it was too cold to eat outdoors), my fingers were as cold as they would have been outdoors in the middle of winter in Minnesota. Holding them under warm water for a few minutes solved the problem.

Later, fully dressed, we got under the two top layers on the bed to watch a movie, one Tom hadn’t seen years ago, and now I know why. It was Armageddon, a movie I’d seen once and recalled, like the adventure of a disaster movie. The past few years are reminiscent of movies I watched about pandemics. Isn’t it ironic that those movies have come to us in the form of real life? I sure hope no massive asteroid start hurdling toward earth!

According to many news reports we read from time to time, we face disasters, right and left. Sometimes, I find it best not to read those articles. One can become anxious and depressed over such news. We both choose to embrace the positive aspects of life. Negative thinking can quickly impact one’s quality of life and health.

That doesn’t mean we are oblivious to what’s happening globally and even locally. We stay aware enough to tweak our lives as needed to consider the challenges such as using less fuel, not being wasteful, recycling, and being mindful of using products and services we don’t need. This also means tightening our budget as needed in tough economic times.

Last night, after two hours on hold with Costco Travel about finally receiving our over the US $5000, ZAR 79,318 credit from Azamara from us canceling the Black Sea cruise when the itinerary was changed due to the war in Ukraine. We intended to offset the final payment due at midnight for the first leg of the upcoming cruise in November for the triple back-to-back from Athens to Cape Town.

Why should we pay in advance when they owe us so much money? Luckily, after being on hold for two hours, the Costco rep finally got through to Azamara and resolved the issue. They credited us over US $5000. We’ll pay for the second leg in a few weeks and the third, weeks later.

Big Daddy gracefully stepped over the fence with his long legs.

This particular triple back-to-back is very expensive, much more than we’re usually willing to spend. But. It’s an almost entirely new itinerary for us, seeing countries we may never be able to see again, and we decided to bite the bullet and book them. Of course, we are concerned about getting Covid-19 again, based on our recent bad experience. But, we’ve chosen not to live our lives in fear, preventing us from new experiences.

We hear so much about people getting Covid-19 on cruise ships. But, if we were to research other venues and circumstances, people are still getting sick from different scenarios. That doesn’t mean we are careless and unconcerned. It simply means we’ve decided to move on and resume our world travels more expansively.

This evening, the two of us will celebrate the anniversary of the day we met 31 years ago, on June 28, 1991. We are grateful to be together after all these years, still in love and blissfully interested in one another.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 28, 2021:

Thick Neck stopped by frequently at our last house, but we’ve yet to see him here. Maybe one day, soon. For more photos, please click here.

Final post from Marloth Park…Surprising news on our itinerary…Some of our favorite photos…

We always had a reason to celebrate. Here is Don (Kathy and Don) and Rita (Rita and Gerhard) at Jabula celebrating our friendships.

Note: Due to the high volume of tourists in Marloth Park right now, during school holidays, the WiFi is sketchy and inconsistent. Subsequently, I am unable to make formatting corrections including spacing and adding some links. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. After all, TIA (This is Africa)!

It’s Wednesday morning, and we’re almost totally packed and ready to go. All that’s left is to pack the everyday toiletries when Tom showers soon, and we’ll close our bags. We aren’t worried about overweight baggage this time since we’re allowed two 23 kg (50 pounds) bags each, and we only have three.

We packed one of the duffle bags into another suitcase since we’ll need extra room when we go on the cruises for the dressy clothes we’ll be packing for the Queen Mary 2. Once we get to Minnesota on May 1, we can send the formal attire to our mailing service to hold for us until we need them again.

A female kudu, in a daze from oxpeckers cleaning bugs off her ears and head. For this post, please click here.

I suppose you are curious about our itinerary news, and I should get on with it. After days of research and discussion, we’ve decided to return to Marloth Park on May 24, only 62 days from today. A few factors contributed to this decision, including the difficulty we encountered in traveling to many countries at this time. We considered increased costs, fuel shortages, and overall excessive cost of living due to the ravages of each economy as a result of the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine.

I.B. (Itchy Butt) laying in the wet, muddy cement pond, attempting to ease the itching. For this post, please click here.

There is so much unrest in many countries with poor economic conditions, political unrest, poor medical care, prohibitive medical costs, and the list goes on and on. We’ve decided, for now, making Marloth Park a base from which we’ll continue to travel and embark on cruises makes all the financial sense in the world.

We never figured out what this peculiar apparition that appeared on the night cam could possibly be. For that post, please click here.

Yes, we’ll have visa issues, but we know how to deal with these issues. We can travel to other countries in Africa for short stay safaris and expeditions and then return with a new 90-day visa stamp. Once back here in May, we won’t have to leave until August for a visa stamp. We can either fly to a non-bordering country or start a new visa extension. The new stamp will be good until November when we’re planning to leave anyway.

Our friend Frank, of Frank and The Misses francolins, had a self-tour of our house, including the kitchen. For that post, please click here.

In November, we’ll make our way to  Athens, Greece, for three back-to-back Azamara cruises for a total of 42 days, which brings us to Cape Town, South Africa, when we’ll make our way back to Marloth Park and begin the cruising booking process all over again, as new cruises are posted. These new cruises will take us to many new countries we’ve never visited in the past.

This was the third photo I got of the leopard, hoping for a  better shot, the best of which is the main photo. For that post, please click here.

We realize that spending one or two days on a ship excursion is not the same as living in a country for a few months as we’ve done in the past. But, our travels are an ever-changing adventure, and we have to do what feels right to us. In between adventures, we’ll enjoy our lives to the utmost in our favorite secluded place in the world. Undoubtedly, South Africa has its issues but is tucked away in the bush; we feel far removed from many issues. For now, this plan is precisely befitting our needs.

When thick-tailed bushbabies are around, the usual small bushbabies run for cover. The larger species will kill the little ones. For this post, please click here.

We have lots of wonderful friends here. We have a constant stream of entertainment as wildlife visits our garden. It’s only a 20-minute drive to enter Kruger National Park. We have access to excellent medical and dental care at affordable prices and insurance covering emergencies. Although smaller than Amazon, we can shop at markets that have all the food products we like to purchase and the excellent online shopping service, Takealot, although smaller than Amazon, carries most items we need to buy from time to time.

This adorable zebra was lounging in our garden. He must have spotted something interesting on the ground. For this post, please click here.

On top of it all, we will be moving into a different house when we return, as shown in photos in this post and in this post. We are excited about moving into this property when we return in May. It has everything we could want or need.

Mom, with the perfect curled tusks, whom we now call Tail-Less Mom, who lost her tail, also lost one of these babies, since then only returning with the fast-growing two piglets. For this post, please click here.

We realize and accept the reality that we may lose some of our readers from making this temporary decision. But, we hope those of you who decide to opt-out make a note of days we’ll be visiting other countries and will stop back to see our stories and photos.

The beautiful Christmas dinner table at Sindee and Bruce’s lovely home in the bush. Dawn was taking a photo of Sindee and the serving table, a short time later filled with great food. For this post, please click here.

For now, the next two months will be exciting for us:

  • 15 nights in Apollo Beach, Florida
  • 13 nights on a transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Silhouette to Southampton, UK
  • 3 nights in Southampton, sightseeing
  • 7 nights on transatlantic return cruise on Queen Mary 2 to New York
  • 14 nights in Minnesota visiting family and friends
  • 7 nights in Henderson, Nevada, visiting family and friends
  • Return to Marloth Park
It was Rita’s birthday and she and Gerhard took all of us on a bush dinner and night game drive. For this post including great wildlife photos, please click here.
Louise and Danie hosted the best possible birthday gift for me, a visit to an in-the-wild elephant interaction. For this post, please click here.

The above number of nights doesn’t account for the 62 days we’ll be gone, but the long travel days to and from Africa make up the difference. There are many time zone changes in this period that, hopefully, we’ll adapt to with ease.

Today may be the last time we see Little since we’re moving to another house a few km from here. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll find us once again. Little was thrilled we’d returned from Zambia in October 2021 when he stopped by at his usual 4:00 pm. Immediately, he positioned himself on the right side of the veranda, near where I sit, waiting for his treats and words of affection (from me only). For this post, please click here.

So there it is folks, Next time we write to you, most likely it will be from Apollo Beach, Florida, unless we have time on one of our layovers for a quick update.

Be well. Be happy. Live life to the fullest.

Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2021:

A male bushbuck with a plant growing from his muddy hoof after a big storm. It made us laugh out loud. For more, please click here.

Best countries in the world to visit, according to popular travel magazine…How many have we visited?…Funny video!…

Mongooses came up to the door to ask for some eggs.
Please click this link to see a fun video we made:
It was a pleasant Saturday evening. Our friend and author, Alan Holmes, again spent the evening with us on a hot and “buggie” night on the veranda. After all the rain these past few weeks, the vegetation pond in the garden with puddles of water everywhere, the “mozzies” were on a rampage. I couldn’t load up on enough repellent. Amid the swarms of bugs, we enjoyed yet another evening on the veranda with our new friend.
On top of that, the stink bugs have infested the area, soon to disappear, and they, too, were underfoot, on our clothing, and in our faces from time to time. We were thrilled to spot a few dung beetles on the table on the veranda, but without their massive ball of dung, we didn’t attempt any photos in the dark.
As hot and humid as it was, few animals came to call. From what we’ve seen, most of the wildlife is terrified of thunder and lightning. With the prospect of rainstorms on the horizon, they tend to hunker down undercover in the parkland and other more sheltered areas. Only us crazy humans stay outdoors until wind-driven rain impairs our comfort on the veranda until we wander indoors.
Lots of mongooses stopped by for eggs.
Yesterday, according to their readers, Tom forwarded an article to me from Conde Nast Traveler magazine about the best countries to visit in 2020. We carefully perused this article to discover how many of these countries we’ve seen on the list as shown listed below, in order of preference by their readers. We’ve placed a checkmark next to those we have been to over the past eight-plus years of world travel.
1. Italy √
2. Sri Lanka
3. Portugal √
4. Japan
5. Greece √
6. Indonesia √
7. Thailand √
8.  South Africa √
9.  Vietnam √
10  Mexico √
11. Ireland √
12. Bhutan
13. Jamaica
14. Peru √
15. Malaysia √
16. Columbia √
17. Israel
18. Turkey √
19. New Zealand √
20. India √
In carefully reviewing this list, we found we have been to 15 of the 20 countries, except for Sri Lanka, Japan, Bhutan, Jamaica, and Israel. We hope to visit sometime in the future, depending on the degree to which Covid-19 impedes future travel. We’re scheduled to sail on a few cruises around Japan in 2022, but who knows if they’ll sail by that time?
Tom was bringing out the scrambled eggs in the flat pan while they were all waiting patiently.
We have no idea what the future holds. Besides the obvious restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, our age and ongoing ability to travel will be a primary factor. Based on how we feel now, it’s entirely possible we can continue for years to come. However, as we have learned, regardless of how hard we work at achieving optimum health, health issues may arise over which we have little control.
Recently, a kind reader wrote and asked if we had a complete itinerary of our travels since the onset. I felt terrible explaining that based on variables at any given time, our itineraries are piecemeal at this point, often grouped into one or two-year itineraries.
I’d like to have put that together for him, but based on all the time I have spent working on my laptop over the past year, I don’t have it in me to begin such a lofty goal at this point. If we are fortunate to make it to the 10-year mark, I plan to tackle such a project at that time.
After eating the scrambled raw eggs in the pan, a few get into the pan for scraps. Note the tiny one.
In the interim, our travel map on the right side of our home page, under the heading “Map Our Travels,” only requires a single click to see when and where we’ve traveled since 2012. Tom has been diligent in keeping this map updated regularly, which will be highly instrumental when the time comes to map out the entire ten years.
In October 2022, the 10th anniversary of our world travels, we’ll tackle that project a mere 20 months from now how the time has flown. We would never have imagined traveling. We’d travel for such an extended period. But, now, after wasting, albeit safely, almost 10% of our travel time in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, we have an entirely different perspective of how precious every day was, is, and will be in the future.
We’re grateful for each day of life, each day spent together, each day of exploring the world, its people, its cultures, and its wildlife and nature. Without a doubt, it’s been a gift, one we will joyfully treasure for as long as we can continue.
Stay safe, wear a mask, social distance, and wash and sanitize your hands. May your life and the lives of your loved ones be long and fruitful in this fantastic world.
Photo from one year ago today, February 7, 2020:
The photos posted on this date, one year ago, are a compilation of those we’d taken on day 2 in the following palaces: City Palace, the largest in the state of Rajasthan; Chimi Mahal; Mori Mahal and the spectacular Zenana Mahal; The Crystal Gallery at Darbar Hall and more. For more, please click here.

A year ago post…”Knowing and the not knowing.”…Our views then and our views now…

What a pose! What was she thinking? Female feathers are brown, while males are black.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 2, 2018, in Marloth Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. See the link here for more details.
It was a treat to see multiple wildebeests visiting the garden at night.
Ironically, one year ago, we wrote the following, taken directly from the post here on July 2, 2019:

“After all the excitement over the past week by finalizing several bookings for the upcoming year, we’ve now settled back into our day-to-day lives. The itinerary is almost filled in with only a few gaps for hotel stays.  

Not only has it been exciting for us, but it’s also been an enormous relief. Not knowing where we’ll be in six months is daunting, especially as I continue to recover from open-heart surgery.

After all these years, that is one of the essential aspects of world travel, knowing where we’ll be a year from now and perhaps the following year. This fact has been instrumental in our booking so far out over the past almost seven years.

Without a home, apartment, condo, or place we can go to repack and regroup, this process must be completed amid our travels. This could be unsettling for many.

Now, with experience, we’ve found if we know where we’ll be in a year is all we need to feel comfortable. However, we both acknowledge that most likely we’ll never be in a position to land in a new country without reservations. If we’d did, we’d figure it out and not panic.”

Elephant viewing from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

Funny, isn’t it? And now, not knowing where we’ll be in a week, a month, let alone a year. Next time, down the road, when we broach this topic we’ll undoubtedly look at it in a different light.

While on cruises or socializing in any country, we’re often asked, “How far out do you book your travel?”

We always answered, “As far out as it takes for us to feel comfortable, usually about two years.” 

There may be one elephant or 40. However many there may be, we’re always thrilled to see them.

At the beginning of our world travels, we only felt at ease with bookings out as far as those two years. But, as each year passed, we became less stringent about this, generally dropping it to about a year as time moved on while always having some cruises booked into the distant future.

Here we are now, with nary an idea of where we’ll be at any point in the future and oddly, we’re still ok. We aren’t afraid. We aren’t stressed. We aren’t uncomfortable. 

This flock of ostriches is often found in a particular area near the river we often visit when on daily drives. Note the chick on the far left.
Our goal is to stay free of the virus and to be able to stay in a country where we can resume somewhat of everyday life, in a house with a view, with a kitchen, cooking our meals, doing laundry, going out sightseeing, and sitting outdoors on a veranda. 
We may not be able to visit crowded venues, but we’d always avoided typically crowded tourist hotspots. However, we’ve loved the opportunity to take a drive to find fascinating scenery, wildlife, and nature, all the while taking photos to share with all of you here. 
Tom was feeding kudu girls and boys from the veranda. 

I can’t wait to be taking photos again, even imagining that first trip to a grocery store to stock up, with a camera in hand. Most likely, our first photos will be of a new holiday home, its view and immediate surroundings, and a trip to the market to revel over the food options…hmm…even some beef will be a treat.

At this point, we haven’t been inside a grocery store in six months! We haven’t cooked a meal in six months! We haven’t had a chunk of quality cheddar cheese or a handful of nuts when we’ve been hankering for a midday or evening snack! 

Wildebeest Willie ate a few pellets, looked at us, and was on his way, the other following close behind.

And, at this point, we haven’t had a glass of wine or a cocktail in 100 days! Wow! I’ll certainly take a photo of that first glass of wine, that first homemade meal, and that little plate of imported cheese to savor as a treat. 
We’d love a side salad, an olive, a pickle, natural cream in French press coffee. Yesterday, while we watched an Irish cop series, Red Rock, Tom had to wipe the drool off his chin when he saw a plate of donuts.

A group of kudus is a “forkl” with females and males are together in a family unit, also referred to as a “harem.”

It’s all different now, one year later, the knowing and the not knowing, and most of all, the profound uncertainty of the future. May we all stay safe.

Photo from one year ago today, July 2, 2019:

Whenever the sky is mostly clear, we look forward to the sunsets. For more details, please click here.

Itinerary one year ago…Itinerary today…

We stumbled upon the Preston Fresh Seafood Wholesaler on our drive to Yorkeys Knob, a quick five-minute drive from our then-home in Trinity Beach. We returned many times during our months in Queensland.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 1, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.

While searching for the “Photo from one year ago today,” it was interesting to see the upcoming itinerary we’d posted on July 1, 2019. Doing so prompted me to post this prior itinerary revealing how much has changed at the tail end to the present, in light of COVID-19. (See below).

Their colorful signs in the somewhat remote location made it easier to spot from the highway.

This is the first time in our almost eight years of world travel that we don’t have a specific itinerary, nor do we have holiday/vacation home bookings anywhere in the world, at any time in the future.

We have some cruises booked going forward but, based on how COVID-19 is progressing. We expect they’ll be canceled or changed at some point, leaving little reason to post an itinerary including such cruises.

When we arrived at the wholesale fish market, we were intrigued by what could be “cooked bugs.”  Could this possibly be some sea “insect?” Check out the photo below of “cooked bugs.”

After all these years of world travel, it’s a weird perception to be in “limbo” with virtually no definitive plan for the future, other than to leave India when it becomes possible, which could be months from now.

Our itinerary has been a vital aspect of the joys of traveling the world. Having the opportunity to review and revise it as needed has been an essential part of our planning. Now, everything has changed.

Gee…we’ve never seen scallops in the shell. We can imagine a plate of six of these covered in almond flour and Parmesan-crusted buttery topping. Tom likes scallops, so this will be a no-brainer.

There are several couples with whom we’ve stayed in touch, mainly from North America, who have been traveling the world as well, mainly from one to three years. 

We stay in touch with those couples on Facebook or via email and text messages and are up to date on their travels during the lengthy lockdown. Some have been able to travel within their own country, US or Canada, and have been able to fly in and out of several locations to maintain a degree of continuing their world travels.
These are “large cooked bugs” similar to crab, but according to the salesperson, they taste identical to prawns. The next time we visited, we tried a few and loved them.

Had we been able to fly to islands in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, no doubt, we would have chosen another path during this long haul rather than staying stuck in Mumbai. 

As more time passes, more and more countries refuse to allow travelers with the US or Indian passports/visas to enter their borders. It seems this fact is escalating by the day when this morning on the news, a growing list of countries now forbidding entry into their walls where COVID-19 is on the rise, as is the case in the US and India.

If and when India’s international flights resume, we may have to stay in Mumbai when few countries welcome us with this double whammy (US and India) in our passports.

We selected a barramundi filet from this batch, caught that morning. Keep in mind, for those of you reading from countries not using the metric system…AUD $32.50 per kilo translates to 2.2 pounds which would be USD $14.77 per pound, not too bad for fresh (never frozen) wild-caught fish. We purchased about one pound, of which Tom had 9 ounces, and I had approximately 7 ounces.

The few countries, such as Tanzania, which we previously considered, accept anyone from anywhere, which may indicate their lack of interest and caution in providing safe entry into their country. But, according to this news story (and others), it may be foolhardy to travel to Tanzania based on their lack of statistics and precautions.

The reality isn’t as simple as, “When and where international airports will open to US citizens having spent many months in equally high-risk India.” It’s much more complex.

Again, some of our US readers write, “Come back home!” But, as we continue to reiterate, ad nauseam, there’s no point in us doing that when cases of the virus continue to escalate, we have no insurance in the US (only outside the US), and we have no home, no stuff to fill it.

At AUD 64, USD $49.26, all of these items, which includes a vast Barramundi filet, two pieces of made-without-sugar smoked fish, and two containers of crab meat which we’ll use to make low carb crab cakes this weekend (lasting for two meals) will result in four meals for the two of us.  As a result, the cost per entre results in a cost per day of AUD 16, USD $12.31, not bad for such delicious fish and seafood. We struggle to be motivated to go out to dine when we do so well at home and have just as good a time.

This fact doesn’t make us despondent. Still, we consider ourselves world travelers. We have no intention of changing that scenario one day sooner than is necessary, which most likely would be due to health considerations.

Sure, on numerous occasions, we’ve discussed the reality that travel will be different going forward to include; vaccination requirements; long queues at airports and cruise terminals; required quarantine in some countries; face masks being worn in public areas; social distancing, and more restrictions we’ve yet to discover.

We had to get about 18 vaccinations when we began traveling in 2012, which we updated in 2018 while in South Africa. Although we’d both prefer not to be vaccinated if a proven-to-be-safe COVID-19 vaccination becomes available, we will accept this requirement, when most likely, having such a certification may be required to enter most countries. 

There were a few types of fish that had been frozen, but it was marked. We prefer not to purchase defrosted fish, choosing to buy only fresh when available.

We didn’t flinch when we had to be inoculated for Yellow Fever and other diseases to visit certain parts of Africa and other countries. And, we won’t flinch again when this becomes a requirement to travel. We have no doubt this will become necessary in the future. Want to travel? Be vaccinated or stay home, which will be the standard travel motto in the future.

We appreciate and accept the risks of vaccination that have created a movement of sorts, opposed to vaccinations. We understand and accept there are certain risks. 

But, traveling the world may require a degree of putting aside some of our personal beliefs, preferences, customs, and normal modes of living to accept that of the country we’re about to visit.

There were a few types of fish that had been frozen, but it was marked. We don’t purchase defrosted fish, preferring to buy only fresh when available.

Here is our link from which we’ve taken this year-ago itinerary, as shown below.

Itinerary 2019 – 2020
Ireland – Connemara – house rented 89 5/12/2019 – 8/8/2019 
Hotel Dublin, Ireland 1 8/8/2019 – 8/9/2019
Hotel Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2  8/9/2019 – 8/11/2019 
Cruise – Baltic – Amsterdam to Amsterdam  12  8/11/2019 – 8/23/2019 
England – Falmouth, Cornwall, UK 14  8/23/2019 -9/6/2019 
England – St. Teath, Bodwin, Cornwall, UK 14 9/6/2019 – 9/20/2019
England – Witheridge, Devon, UK 21 9/20/2019 – 10/11/2019
Wales – Chepstow, Monmouthshire, UK 11 10/11/2019 – 10/22/2019
Hotel – Southampton, England 2 10/22/2019 – 10/24/2019
Cruise – Southampton to Fort Lauderdale  15  10/24/2019-11/8/2019 
Hotel – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 14 11/8/2019 – 11/22/2019 
Henderson, Nevada, USA 9 11/22/2019 – 12/1/2019
Holiday Rental – Apache Junction, Arizona USA 61 12/1/2019 – 1/30/2020
Flight Phoenix, Arizona to Mumbai, India* 2 1/30/2020 – 2/1/2020
Hotel – Mumbai, India 1 2/1/2020 – 2/2/2020
Train – Maharajas Express -Mumbai to Dehli 6 2/2/2020 – 2/8/2020
Safari – India (inc. in Private Tour) 5 2/8/2020 – 2/13/2020
India – Private Tour 51 2/13/2020 -4/3/2020*
Cruise – Mumbai to London 29     4/3/2020 – 5/2/2020
Total days planned 359 5/12/2020 – 5/2/2020
*The private tour ended on March 15, 2020, due to COVID-19

Life is filled with trade-offs. Only each of us as individuals, couples, or families can decide what works best for their desires and choices. We pray that each of our readers can choose what is best for their needs as opposed to being driven by the choices and opinions of others.

Photo from one year ago today, July 1, 2019:

A year ago, we posted more information on the then-upcoming tour on the Maharajas Express. One of the many excursions on the Maharajas Express train includes a visit to the Taj Mahal. (not our photo). For details, please click here.

A huge update and change in plans!!!…

Locals were hitching a ride to the local festival.

If we had a home during the corona-virus crisis and had been touring India, most likely we’d have ended the lengthy tour early and headed back to the US, purchasing a fair amount of toilet paper to hunker down for a while.

As world travelers without a home, if we need to hunker down, where might that be? If we return to the USA, we have no health insurance other than Medicare Part A, and even if we signed up for Part B and a supplement, we’d be stuck with it once we were on the move again.

Plus, returning to live in the US is not an option for us at this time, even with this looming virus. We’re not about to “give up” this lifestyle we recently embraced with gusto after last year’s open-heart surgery and a long recovery.

But, now we have excellent, low co-pay health insurance through United Healthcare Global (Safe Trip) that we purchase every three months, good only outside of the US. This morning we bought more coverage until the end of July, when we’ll renew for another 90 days at that time.  

Crowds of people on their way to a festival.

Yesterday, when Viking Cruise Line informed us that the 29-day cruise we’d booked had been canceled long ago, we had to figure out what we’d do for the 29 days. So far, we only have one booking in Bath, England, and a cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town next November. 

With the number of virus cases rapidly escalating in the UK and Europe, we decided against keeping the UK booking. The house owner in Bath is arranging a full credit for us for the deposit that we paid only one week ago.

The cruise line is refunding the full fare we’d already paid, which easily covers a good portion of our costs for the next 12 months. 

Guess where we’d headed, folks?

Yep, back to South Africa… to Marloth Park… to all of our animal and human friends and a vibrant social life. We’ll arrive at Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport next Friday night, spend the night in a hotel, and on Saturday morning, make the hour-long drive to Marloth Park, where dear friends Louise and Danie will have a house waiting for us.

“Buffaloes are believed to have domesticated around 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley and thrive best in the areas of moderate rainfall as they require plenty of water for their daily bath.   Indian buffaloes are considered to be an important source of milk today. They yield nearly three times milk like cows. Interestingly, 47.22 million milch buffaloes produce 55 percent of milk, which is more than half of the total milk produced in the country. Whereas, 57 million cows contribute only 45 percent of the total milk yield.”

Of course, we’d love to get back into the Orange house, but that’s booked until May 1. At that point, we’ll move around in. In the interim, Louise will ensure we have great houses to stay in as we hop from house to house as she deems necessary for the remainder of March and all of April. We can live with this plan without hesitancy.

There hasn’t been a single case of coronavirus in Marloth Park, but of course, we’ll continue with precautions as we have here in India; avoiding crowds, lots of handwashing, no handshaking, and extra careful touching any surfaces or possibly infected areas. 

Yes, we’re excited to be heading back. But, Marloth Park is remote, with fewer and fewer visitors coming to stay due to fears of travel right now. And no, there are no unrealistic expectations that South Africa will be safer than in any part of the world.,

No, we won’t bore our readers with endless photos of warthogs. We’ll strive to focus on the fascinating little things, exciting people stories, and wildlife special moments. It will be an all-new angle for our time in Africa once again.

Buffalo is movin’ on down the road. “Buffaloes, also called Bubalus bublis to belong to the family Bovidae, sub-family Bovinae, genus Bubalus, and species arni or the wild Indian buffalo. They are classified into river and swamp types. The present-day domesticated buffaloes are the descendants of Bos arni found in North-Eastern parts of India especially in Assam and surrounding areas.”

How long will we stay? As long as they’ll have us, which our regular readers know is a tricky proposition. We’ll do everything we can to last as long as possible, even if we have to fly to other countries, stay for a while and return.

As for the balance of our India tour? It’s ending about 16 days earlier than planned. We didn’t make this decision lightly. The tour company is giving us a partial refund, which we’re grateful for, but such cancellations such as this are happening all over India, all over the world. 

Temples are closing. Sporting events have been canceled, public celebrations are fast coming to a halt, schools are closing, as is the case in most countries worldwide. It’s a frightening time regarding contracting the virus and the awful impact on workers and economic conditions worldwide.

We carry on… All of us do, in an attempt to make the most of this dreadful time in history. We extend our love and prayers for every one of our family members, friends, and readers worldwide. 

Workers were loading sugar cane onto a truck.

May you and those you love be safe as you exercise every caution. Wash your hands! Use hot soapy water when possible. Don’t cough or sneeze in anyone’s face! Don’t shake hands! Wear a mask if you are sick or stay indoors at all times.

Don’t touch surfaces others have touched! Even an elevator or lift button, a grocery store trolley, or the bank counter can carry the virus. When going to the doctor, dentist, or office, don’t lean on the counter when checking in. If you need a handrail to walk up or downstairs, get someone you know to help you instead of touching the railing.

Make everything and everyone suspect, but in the interim, we somehow must do our best to find ways in which to enjoy life, enjoy people and cherish every moment we have of this precious life. God bless.

Photo from one year ago today, March 13, 2019:

With ample vegetation after many days and nights of soaking rain, the zebras still love pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Researching the future…We’re behind schedule…

Taking this photo without zoom on this date in 2013 gives a perspective of the small size of this island, somehow appealing to her for its varied vegetation. For more photos from that date, please click here.

Since we arrived in the US on November 8th, we’ve been preoccupied with visiting family and planning for our upcoming two months in India. We’ve yet to begin booking where we’ll stay after our 29-night cruise from Mumbai to London, which ends on May 2, 2020.

It may seem to be a long time away, but in our world, four or five months fly by in a flash, especially when we are having a great time. As much as we’d like to postpone the time it takes to conduct an in-depth search, the time has come for us to get to work.

The hardest part of booking the six months we have to fill between the end of the cruise until the next cruise in November is where exactly we’d like to travel.

With the Schengen visa requirement that we can only stay in Europe for 90 days out of 180 days, it makes sense for us to spend more time in the UK that doesn’t fall into the Schengen requirements. 

There appear to be several available options for the summer months. Undoubtedly, it makes sense to stay in Scotland (a part of the UK) for a period that neither of us has visited. But, certainly, we’d better get something booked soon.

It’s still hanging up in the air concerning our return to South Africa at the end of the November cruise. But one thing we have decided is we won’t stay in South Africa over the holidays due to increased seasonal rental costs and excessive power outages, especially when there are so many people in Marloth Park. They are experiencing such issues now, as we’ve mentioned many times on Facebook.

Instead, we’re contemplating getting off the ship a few days before the end of the cruise when the ship docks in a port of call in Luderitz or Walvis Bay, Namibia, and stay there for a few months while awaiting the end of the holiday season in South Africa. This makes a lot of sense to us.

After the first of January, we’ll be contacting an immigration attorney in South Africa to assist us in getting the waiver we applied for, which has yet to be approved.  

It’s been almost eight months since we applied and yet had no response. Without the waiver, we won’t be able to return to South Africa until May 2024. That’s too far out for any planning at this point.

This morning, we visited Mary, Eugene, Colleen, and Gene (Margie returned to Minnesota for a few weeks to attend her granddaughter’s wedding on New Year’s Eve). No one seems interested in doing anything out and about on New Year’s Eve, but a few activities transpire in the next few days.

Tomorrow, before noon, we’ll get together for the Minnesota Vikings Game at Colleen and Gene’s home, where we’ll hook up Tom’s laptop via the HDMI cord to their large TV. I am making an egg, mushroom, onions, and sausage casserole to bring for brunch.

On Monday, it’s Colleen’s birthday, and the six of us will go out for a happy hour and a bite to eat at a local pub, “What’s the Hell.” It will be fun to celebrate with her as we did over Tom’s birthday on Monday.

Now, I’m off to the market once more for a few items. We’ll spend a quiet day and evening at our place, having dinner and perhaps watching a movie in the evening. We’ve already completed our walk now that the rain has stopped.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 28, 2018:

It’s easier for male kudus to eat this way instead of bending down with those giant horns. Wildebeest Willie waits in the background for his turn. For more details, please click here.

And life goes on…Knowing or not knowing…

Whenever the sky is pretty straightforward, we look forward to the sunsets.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“The Irish perform in the Tailteann Games, Ireland’s version of the Olympics.”

After all the excitement over the past week by finalizing several bookings for the upcoming year, we’ve now settled back into our day-to-day lives. The itinerary is almost filled in with only a few gaps for hotel stays. To see yesterday’s posted itinerary, please click here.

Not only has it been exciting for us, but it’s also been a huge relief. Not knowing where we’ll be in six months is daunting, especially as I continue to recover from open-heart surgery.

A glimmer at a distance.

That is one of the essential aspects of world travel after all these years…knowing where we’ll be a year from now and perhaps the following year. This fact has been instrumental in our booking so far out over the past almost seven years.

Without a home, apartment, condo or place we can go to repack and regroup, this process must be completed while in the midst of our travels. This could be unsettling for many.

In the beginning in 2012, we were booked out over two years since we were well aware of the fact about the human condition is to be rooted in one (or more) locations.

The sunsets occur late here in Ireland, especially at this time of the year.

Now, with experience, we’ve found if we know where we’ll be in a year is all we need to feel comfortable. However, we both acknowledge that most likely we’ll never be in a position to land in a new country without reservations. If we’d did, we’d figure it out and not panic.

But why put ourselves in that position? We’re not 20-year-olds backpacking it and staying in hostels along the way. We have certain expectations as to the creature comforts we require;  a clean and well-maintained property; WiFi, heat, and aircon (if necessary), electricity, running water and a kitchen suitable for preparing most meals. A comfy bed and bedding is a bonus.

Anything beyond that is a plus we never fail to appreciate. We aren’t snobs and don’t require “fancy” and “modern.” While we stay in Apache Junction in the same neighborhood as Tom’s three sisters and significant others, it will be a fun for us.

What a sight!

We chose to stay in Apache Junction near his family a few reasons, but mainly since Tom is the youngest in the family and wanted to have valuable time with his sisters, which we haven’t done in years.  

Many of our travel experiences include what I suggest and would like to do.  Good grief, do you think he wanted to spend over a year in South Africa, something we’ll never do again for such an extended period? He did it for me and ultimately enjoyed himself in the process.  

When he suggested we visit his sisters for two months (a time we had to fill) in Apache Junction, Arizona living in their neighborhood in our own place, it sounded like a good idea. This is a collaborative adventure. Besides, I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with his sisters.

Old cement house along the highway to Oughterard.

With a bit of time and effort and assistance from his sister Colleen, we were able to book a place within walking distance to his sister’s places. It is inexpensive compared to many houses we’ve rented at Euro 1327, US $1500 a month (includes WiFi and all utilities) and will give us an opportunity to recover some of our losses over the past year.

We’re both good with this.  We didn’t want to spend the cold winter in Minnesota when we have no cold-weather clothing, can’t stand the cold or afford a hotel for such an extended period. It’s costly to stay in Minnesota. 

Another man and a boy are fishing in front of our house.

We didn’t want to impose upon son Richard by living in his house for two months (instead we’ll stay with him for 10 days). It’s a five-plus-hour drive from Henderson, Nevada, to Apache Junction, Arizona.  

We’ll rent a car in Nevada, use it while in Nevada, drive to Arizona and return the car either to the airport in Nevada or Arizona, depending on our plans at the time.  Tom has done some research and it appears the price will be the same if we pick it up in Nevada and drop it off in Arizona since both airports are very busy.

So much planning goes into each location. Fortunately, we continue to find research fun, rewarding, and not a chore. Should this ever change, we’ll have to rethink our lifestyle.

We hope you have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 2, 2018:

This flock of ostriches is often found in a particular area near the river we often visit when on daily drives. For more details, please click here.

Here it is at long last!…Our newest itinerary!…

One of the many excursions on the Maharajas Express train includes a visit to the Taj Mahal. (Not our photo).

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Abortion is illegal in Ireland unless keeping the child would put the mother’s life at

There’s no doubt we’re tentative about booking into the future, especially when there is no certainty about my health going forward. To date, we haven’t booked anything where we’d lose the entire cost of the venue, just deposits.

Even paying deposits is risky. After we’ve paid out so much in medical bills, our insurance company refuses to pay and to lose so much for prepaid travel events we couldn’t attend, flights we had to cancel, and bookings we had to forgo, it’s not surprising we’re cautious.

The unexpected cardiac bypass surgery could easily put a quick end to our travels, which neither of us wanted to stop. Instead, we strive to continue living life to the fullest.  

None of us knows how much time we have on this earth, and yes, my situation may mean I have less time than many. But, it’s no reason to stop living. What would we do if we lived in a condo in the US? Stay home and do nothing? 

The travels we have ahead will require some days at the airport, waiting in a long queue to board a ship and lots of walking. Would it be a lot less active if we lived in the US (or some other country)? Besides, being active is the number one prescription for improving one’s health after cardiac bypass surgery.

Walking? Yep. I’m on it every day, keeping track of my fitness watch to ensure I get in enough steps each day. It’s not easy to do, walking around the house all day.  Right now, I have a timer set to walk every 30-minutes.

I shake it up every few days.  Sometimes, it’s for long periods or several times a day, once every hour.  On some days, I do half or more of the walking at one time.  Why don’t I walk outside?  It’s cold, windy and it rains a lot.  Also, there are no sidewalks on the very narrow winding roads. The driveway to the road is rocky and uneven. It defeats the purpose to risk injury.

Itinerary 2019 – 2020
Ireland – Connemara – house rented 89 5/12/2019
– 8/8/2019 
Hotel Dublin, Ireland 1 8/8/2019
– 8/9/2019
Hotel Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2  8/9/2019 – 8/11/2019 
– Baltic – Amsterdam to Amsterdam 
12  8/11/2019 –
– Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
14  8/23/2019 -9/6/2019 
– St. Teath, Bodwin, Cornwall, UK
14 9/6/2019 – 9/20/2019
– Witheridge, Devon, UK
21 9/20/2019 – 10/11/2019
Wales –
Chepstow, Monmouthshire, UK
11 10/11/2019 – 10/22/2019
Hotel – Southampton, England 2 10/22/2019 – 10/24/2019
– Southampton to Fort Lauderdale 
15  10/24/2019-11/8/2019 
Hotel – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 14  11/8/2019 –
Nevada, USA
9 11/22/2019 – 12/1/2019
Rental – Apache Junction, Arizona USA
61 12/1/2019 – 1/30/2020
Phoenix, Arizona to Mumbai, India*
2 1/30/2020 – 2/1/2020
Hotel –
Mumbai, India
1 2/1/2020 – 2/2/2020
Train –
Maharajas Express -Mumbai to Dehli
6 2/2/2020 – 2/8/2020
– India
5 2/8/2020 – 2/13/2020
Udaipur, India 
30 2/13/2020 – 3/13/2020
India –
to be booked
21 3/13/2020 – 4/3/2020
– Mumbai to London
29 4/3/2020 – 5/2/2020
Total days planned 359 5/12/2020 – 5/2/2020
It does not include cruises beyond this date in the event we make some changes. * All distant locations include flights – the only flight more than a day is from Phoenix
to Mumbai.

Walking around the house at a good clip is not that bad.  I have a route I vary every few minutes rather than stick to one path. Boredom is the biggest problem.  My cheap South African-purchased smartphone doesn’t have enough memory to add a podcast app which would help tremendously.  

At one point, I added an SD card, but it couldn’t store any data. It’s the phone.  Nothing I can do about that until we purchase new phones in the US when we arrive in November, a mere four months from now.  

We’ve already selected the phones we’d like but won’t order them until closer to the time of our arrival in the US. In four months, newer models could hit the market, and prices may change.

In preparing the itinerary we’ve included today, we didn’t include the cruise we’ve booked to Cape Town, South Africa, long before my illness, based on hearing from immigration as to our “undesirable” status after overstaying for three months my recovery. As mentioned a few days ago, we’ve applied, re-applied, and called several times, requesting a response. None yet. We’ll continue trying.

Also, as mentioned, we have a few more cruises we’ve booked and may not take. These are not shown in the itinerary.  We’re able to move the deposits at any time with no losses. Having chosen a few costly cruises, considering our budget, we won’t be cruising as often as we had in the early part of our travels.

Cruises are highlighted in the itinerary in turquoise. We’ll be taking the cruises listed on the itinerary. Everything we do in life is subject to good health. For some oddball reason, I wrongfully thought that saying “health providing” in dozens, if not hundreds of other posts, as if provided some insurance, nothing terrible would happen. It did happen anyway. I am done saying that!

After further research and comments from kindly readers who’ve been to India, it appears we can stay up to 180 days. That’s great! We didn’t want to deal with more immigration problems.

Gotta go! My timer just went off for my next round of walking.  

Enjoy your day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 1, 2018:

One year ago today, we attended the Honorary Ranger’s Annual Fair in Marloth Park.  Artist’s renditions of wildlife along with an array of skulls, horns, and tusks. For more photos, please click here.