Day #165 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Living in Kenya, adaption in 2013…

September firsts…Looking back over these past six years of posting on September 1st…

The day we arrived in Kenya, on September 2, 2013, we were shocked to discover that there was no living room, no salon, no sofa, no chair, nor a dining table and chairs on the interior of the house. In other words, we spent three months living outdoors on this veranda with no screens, venomous insects on the floors, furniture, and walls, and excessive heat and humidity (no AC, no TV). We adapted spending from 7 am to 11 pm outdoors every day for three months, less when we went on safari in the Masai Mara. What a good learning experience this was!  By the time we reached South Africa after leaving Kenya, we had no interest in being indoors in the two air-conditioned living rooms in the Marloth Park house. Again, we spent every day and night outdoors! How quickly us humans can adapt! (To see this post, please click here).

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Most peculiar. This little bird was hanging on to the screen of one of the glass doors.

Yesterday, while we swam and lounged by the pool, prior to the arrival of the afternoon rains we started reminiscing about September firsts, many of which were of particular significance to us in our world travels.

Since we began posting in March 2012, this is our sixth September 1st post which we’re sharing in part with our Readers today after the playful poolside conversation sent our minds spinning over our past experiences.

We love sharing our daily lives with all of you and we also love being able to look back at our lives in words and photos during this many year’s long journey. Tom, who’s memory for dates is amazing, was able to recall exactly what we did each of the past five years after leaving Minnesota in October 2012.

The only September 1st he couldn’t recall was the month before we left as we began to wind down the time until our departure from our old lives to embark on a new life.

The first September 1st post went like this…

“September 1, 2012

Is a good memory needed for travel? How I improved my memory after it started to decline…
Peculiarly, my memory is better now than when it was when I was 20 years old (so I think). When I turned 50, while working at a stressful job, my memory started deteriorating rapidly. I expected to be a mindless blob at 60, let alone, my now almost 65.

I’d find myself wandering around a room, wondering why I was there, forgetting my keys (don’t we all?). On occasion, I’d get into a stranger’s unlocked car in a parking lot that happened to be the same color and model as mine. That scared me. Remember names? Forget about it!  Impossible, at that time.” To continue this post, please click here.
This morning at 6:45 am while watching the news in the screening room, Tom read me the above post in full.  Ironically, when we look back this far, we marvel over how little we’ve really changed in many ways since we began posting so long ago.

And yet, our travels have molded us, refined us, and lightened us by the vastness of the experiences, making us less worried, less fearful and more adventurous than ever.

The following September 1st came quickly when by that point we’d been gone from Minnesota for 10 months, gone from the US for eight months, having left by ship on January 3, 2013, on the exciting cruise through the Panama Canal. Gosh, that seems like so long ago.

The second September 1st post went like this…

“September 1, 2013

I arrived in Venice. Flying away tomorrow morning…

Last night, our last night in Boveglio, there was a wedding at the centuries-old church across the road. The smoke is a result of a short fireworks display set off to celebrate the newlywed couple.

The 4-hour drive to Venice was relatively uneventful although the traffic on the toll road was intense at times, moving fast with crazy driving typical for Italy weaving in and out of lanes with little regard for safety.

Tom is a good driver but his level of patience in traffic is lacking. From time to time, it was a nail biter.  In charge of navigation, my task, itself was daunting. With a severe lack of road signs, driving long distances in Italy is a challenge. During several stretches, we’d driven for miles unsure if we were on the correct road. How we managed to get here without ever taking a wrong turn baffles me.” To continue this post, please click here.

Reviewing the above post, we quickly recalled that the following day we were off on the longest travel day we’ve had to date, 34 hours from airport to airport, Venice Italy to Mombasa Kenya, an exhausting period with lengthy delays and layovers in Istanbul.  We’ll never forget that day and night.
The third September 1st post went like this…
“September 1, 2014

Part 1, A day in Normandy…Profoundly moving experience…

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.
Tom has always been the history buff in this family. His knowledge of wars astounds me at times.  Having never taken a particular interest in past wars, other than feeling pride and compassion for our loyal soldiers, I didn’t expect I’d find the 10 hour day exploring Normandy.

Not only did we both find visiting Normandy interesting but, our hearts were embraced by the way France and the US have maintained a peaceful and respectful tribute to our fallen soldiers from World War II.

Of course, we’re anxious to share some of the many photos taken throughout the day. Unfortunately, we just returned from our small group-of-eight-chartered-tour and time is short.” To continue this post, please click here.

Tom had suspected I may not enjoy the Panama Canal, as mentioned above, or visiting Normandy but both of these experiences were enlightening and meaningful to me as you can read in the above post from that September 1st.

The fourth September 1st post went like this…

(In this post, we reminisced about Kenya as we prepared to leave Trinity Beach, Australia for Savusavu, Fiji).

“September 1, 2015

Beauty is subjective…We’ve changed our perspective…

Mid-day sunlight filtering through the trees.

The fifth September 1st post went like this…
Kenya was dark in its mystery, its eerie sounds, dry, dusty plains, and sudden pelting rains. At night, we’d hear a freaky indescribable sound, comparable to the tones from the movie, “Close Encounters of a Third Kind,” a sound that impacted the way we felt about it, a little frightened, a lot in awe.
In many ways, Kenya was far removed from our familiar, as familiar as one can feel traveling the world with the certain ungainly expectations we’ve adopted as we’ve continued. Nothing was the same from that point on. We’ve changed.

We aren’t as afraid. We learned to live outdoors for 16 hours a day with no living room or lounge area inside the house, no screens in our outdoor living room, a spacious veranda with a wide array of nasty insects always in attendance. I was stung on the thigh early on, and a year later, it still hurt when I touched the spot.  We’ve changed.” To continue this post, please click here.

We have never been able to get Africa out of our heads, thoughts that still reverberate today after so much time has passed. It’s hard to believe that in a little more than five months, we’ll return.

“September 1, 2016

Today’s the day, the four or five-hour harrowing drive to Sumbersari…(Please see the year-ago-photo below)

With Butu picking us up at 10:00 am this morning after our included breakfast at the excellent and outrageously affordable Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Airport with room rates at US $50, IDR 663,300, we had a little time to complete this post, pack a few items and be on our way.

As for the flights from Phuket to Bali, we found comfortable seating at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Singapore for the three-hour layover.  We signed up at the information desk for free Wi-Fi after showing our passports and boarding passes, purchased tea for me and bottle water for Tom and there we were in comfortable seating, writing to our loyal readers.” To continue this post, please click here.

From there it was the four or five-hour harrowing drive, one of the most challenging car rides in these past years, one we’ll never forget and never hope to repeat again, although we loved the villa, the people, and the location.

The sixth September 1st post went like this…

Well, here it is, today’s post the sixth September 1st post we’ve done since we began posting on March 14, 2012 (here’s our first post). I suppose we won’t ever be able to write this same September 1st-type post again or it will seem too much like Groundhog Day. I guess.

Today’s September 1st has as much meaning for us as any other date in our world travels, rich with memorable occasions, even amid the quiet times like yesterday, when we languished in the pool, remembering and remembering.

Fortunately, both of us have retained, if not enhanced, our good memories as we’ve aged over these past years since we wrote that first September 1st post as mentioned above in 2012.  We pray for good health, well being and the ability to remember which will allow us to continue on for many more September firsts and… all the remaining days of the year.
Be well.  Be happy and cherish every memory.
Photo from one year ago today, September 1, 2016:
By far, the  Hilton Garden In n Bali Ngurah Airport was the best bargain in a hotel we’ve experienced in our travels, ideal for those needing to be close to the airport. For more details, please click here.

Another boring day in paradise…Adventure or not?…

An early evening from our lanai.

Just kidding! We’re not bored. We’re never bored. 

A few days ago while returning from the grocery store alone, driving down Ka Haku Road, the main road in Princeville, I asked myself an important question, “If this was our lives permanently, would we be happy?”

The residents of Hawaiian are very proud of their love and preservation of wildlife and their land.

After all, we’re in the most beautiful village either of us has seen anywhere in the world including in the US mainland; ocean and mountains all around us, perfect weather, exquisite vegetation, minimal traffic, friendly people, no worn and tattered neighborhoods, no visible local dump and quiet, except for the sounds of the singing birds, the crowing roosters, and the clucking hens.

Searching deep within my heart, the question lingered for the short drive home. As I pulled into our assigned parking spot, the answer became clear. With the wanderlust still deeply rooted within our hearts, we couldn’t stay put, here or anywhere else.

Eventually, we visited Kileaua Point after seeing this sign on the highway.

It isn’t about the “place” for us. Today, I recalled a day in late February last year when Okee Dokee took me to the dump in Marloth Park and I jumped for joy when we arrived when I saw all the Marabou Storks sitting atop the piles of garbage. (Soon we’ll approach that date and we’ll share the link and a photo at the end of the post as the “photo from one year ago today.”)

Good grief, I was at the dump and I was happy. Earlier, we’d been in the often higher risk cities of Mombasa, Nairobi, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Cairo, and more, and we were happy, grateful for the experience, absorbing the varied cultures. Potential dangers lurked in sidewalk cafes and street corners as we cautiously absorbed the knowledge these cities had to offer.

Yesterday, Tom and I took an online test (separately) to discover our “types” and we both were described as “adventurous.”

These bodies of water are part of the Wildlife Refuse encouraging the life cycle of many varieties of birds.

Often, one thinks of adventure as only high-risk sporting adventures. We’re too old, unfit, and unwilling to be injured putting a fast end to our travels with a broken leg or back. But, adventure means so much more.

Adventure is of the heart, of the spirit, of the nature of stepping outside of the “safe” zone for the experiences we’d never had staying permanently in one place.

Stretching ourselves to the limit and yet staying within the realm of safety knowing that I have a serious spinal condition that could teeter in a single fall making a degree of caution be the order of the day.

This area is not open to the public to preserve the integrity of its purpose.

Oh yes, we walked the torturous three-hour walk to Petra on rough terrain. Yes, we walked the steep hills and rocky terrain in many other countries. Yes, we went on unbelievably wild boat rides and 4×4 off-road adventures in various parts of the world. But, the adventure doesn’t begin and end there.

The adventure is in our hearts knowing every single day of our lives that we have no home. We have no place to go and repack our bags. We have no storage filled with stuff to set up housekeeping. We don’t own a frying pan, a sheet, a TV, or a car. 

We took these photos on a cloudy day which is difficult to avoid a few days each week.

“These are all good things,” so says Tom as I read this aloud to him as I write. When we were on our first cruise, the art auction people approached us asking if we’d come for the free champagne and art auction at 3:00 pm. I laughed aloud and said, “We don’t have any walls. Where would I put a piece of art?”

Tom stopped dead in his tracks, raising both thumbs with a huge smile on his face. Many times since, he’s used that expression, “We have no walls.” We both love what that means for us.

The scenery away from the ocean is beautiful.

If a medical issue immobilized us for a period of time or permanently, and I assure you, someday it will, we’ll be faced with the fact that one of us may be in a hospital and the other staying in a hotel with no home to return to.

That’s a risk but, in essence, it’s all a part of the adventure. We’ll figure it out. Either one of us alone is capable of figuring it out. And yes, we’ve discussed this possibility infinite detail.

Clouds lingering in the hills.

No, we don’t skydive. No, we don’t bungee nor do we do zip lines. No, we don’t do 12-mile treks up mountains and dangerous terrain. But, each and every day of our lives, we live with the reality that risk is at every bend in the road.

We’ve had a cobra at our feet. We’ve been within 10 feet of a lion in the wild. We’ve had poisonous insects inside of our shoes. We’ve had an angry elephant head toward our car in the wild.  

One of several one lane bridges we cross when exploring. The other drivers are very considerate when crossing.

We’ve spent 34 hours getting from one location to another with nary a complaint or a moment’s sleep. We sailed on a ship with 50-foot swells, all the while giggling and taking videos of the excitement without a moment of seasickness. We’ve sailed through the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden where the true story of the movie Captain Philips transpired.

So, dear readers, for a time we languish in the luxury and ease of life in Princeville, Kauai where the riskiest possibility is stepping in rooster poop.

View of a channel from a one-lane bridge.

And yet, we’re content for now, living in the moment (as Tom says, “Love the one you’re with”), and happy with the thought that soon we’ll be on our way to a slightly more adventurous location, Australia. We can’t wait for a safari in the Outback if there is such a thing.

Be well.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, February 8, 2014:

One year ago, we visited a restaurant on the Crocodile River and spotted this hippo with some bird friends. For details from that day’s story and more hippo photos, please click here.

We don’t like flying…

It’s not that we’re fearful of flying. We’re not. We both say a prayer upon take-off and landing, asking God to take us to our destination safely and praising God for the minds and skills of those individuals instrumental in creating and flying these beasts of the sky.

In our earlier discussions of the possibility of world travel upon retirement, we had this brilliant idea (so we thought) that we could avoid flying and cruise from location to location. In the planning of our first year, we are able to avoid stepping foot in an airport from October 31, 2012 (retirement/departure date) to September 1, 2013, when we will depart from Rome to arrive in Diani Beach in Mombasa, Kenya for our upcoming three-month stay.

In looking at a world map, it’s easy to ascertain that cruising from Italy to Kenya is challenging, if not impossible. The trip through the Suez Canal is wrought with dangers of political strife and rampant piracy, which prevent many cruise lines from sailing through these areas.  

Also, the seaports in Kenya are shallow as described in this link about the difficulty China has in importing goods to African seaports, not only due to its shallow ports, but also due to a lack of an adequate river system to transport the goods throughout the continent. As a result, smaller ships travel to Kenya, vulnerable to piracy.  Not an ideal scenario for cruising.

There are a number of cruises that travel through the Mediterranean to Egypt, but only a rare few that continue on into the Red Sea to Kenya. The cruise we have booked for June 4, 2013, doesn’t sail to Egypt. In the future, we will experience a cruise to Egypt. After all, we will have all the time in the world provided good health prevails.  

We selected this cruise which departs from Barcelona, Spain, after our one-month stay in Majorca, Spain, to fill a two-week lag we had to fill prior to the availability of our rental in Tuscany on June 16, 2013.  The cruise ends in Venice where we’ll either take a train to Florence or rent a car and drive to the Tuscany Region to our rental.  

When analyzing the cost of this cruise to the costs of two weeks of transportation through Italy, car rental, hotels, and meals, it proved to be slightly more economical. We’ll have plenty of time to tour Italy while staying in Tuscany for almost three months. 

12 nights departing June 4, 2013, on
Norwegian’s Norwegian Spirit
Brochure Inside $2,399
Our Inside $1,249
You Save 48%
Brochure Oceanview $2,599
Our Oceanview $1,499
You Save 42%
Brochure Balcony $3,299
Our Balcony $1,929
You Save 42%
Brochure Suite $6,399
Our Suite $3,929
You Save 39%
$$$ Early booking bonus! Book now and receive a FREE $100 per cabin onboard credit and a FREE bottle of wine on select categories. Book select penthouse suite or villa categories and receive a FREE $300 per cabin onboard credit (call for pricing).
Promotions may not be combinable with all fares.
The prices shown are US dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. They include port charges but do not include airfare or (where applicable) airport or government taxes or fees.
Important Note: Visas are required for this itinerary.
Tue Jun 4 Barcelona, Spain 7:00 pm
Wed Jun 5 Toulon, France 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Thu Jun 6 Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 pm
Fri Jun 7 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 pm
Sat Jun 8 Naples (Capri), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 am
Sun Jun 9 At Sea
Mon Jun 10 Mykonos, Greece 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Tue Jun 11 Istanbul, Turkey 9:00 am 6:00 pm
Wed Jun 12 Izmir, Turkey 11:30 am 7:00 pm
Thu Jun 13 Athens (Piraeus), Greece 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Fri Jun 14 At Sea
Sat Jun 15 Venice, Italy 2:00pm
Sun Jun 16 Venice, Italy Disembark

As always, we have booked a Balcony cabin.

And thus, we are limited by our transportation to Kenya. Train travel through Africa appears interesting and varied, but the uncertainty of train schedules and creature comforts didn’t quite fit our goal of “wafting through our worldwide travels with ease, joy, and simplicity.”  

Simplicity and ease would not include dragging our bags through various train stations, often waiting overnight while sitting on a bench awaiting the next train. That, definitely would not be “joyful.” After all, we aren’t in our 20’s any longer. 

We’ve discovered that careful planning, well in advance, better prepares us to handle the “unknowns” we will encounter along the way.  

Flying to Kenya and three months later to South Africa could result in sleeping on the floor in an airport with our heads on our carry-on luggage due to a delayed or canceled flight.  It could also result in delays at custom checks or as a result of overweight checked baggage. It may result in our being unable to sit together on the flight. We’ll take these risks, albeit hesitantly, and book the flights as the time nears.

Once we arrive in Diani Beach, unpacked our bags, and get situated on the veranda, we’ll be quite content.