Final expenses for Maharajas Express…Safari photos from Ranthambore National Park

Two baby barns owls were peering out from the safety of the hollow in the tree in Ranthambore National Park.
Expenses   US Dollar       Indian           Rupee 
Maharajas Express Train
Fare for 2 
$ 11,996.00 857905.94
Tips   $     433.38 30993.60
Taxi   $        –                 
Dining Out   $     115.43          8255.09
Visa Fees – India for
 $     120.00 8581.92
ATM fees   $       24.30 1737.84
Total   $ 12,689.11 907474.39
Avg Daily Cost (6 night train-2 nights hotel in Mumbai)   $   1,586.14 113434.30

No, we didn’t spot the elusive Bengal tiger in Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, northern India, on Friday’s safari when we disembarked the Maharajas Express at the train station.

Nearly dry river bed.

Based on our relatively vast safari experiences, several reasons may have been instrumental in not spotting a tiger. They include:

1.  The noisy 20 passenger safari driver drove too fast through the park, causing loud noises that could easily prevent a possible sighting when tigers are elusive and sensitive to loud noises.


2.  Driving slowly with all passenger’s eyes on the lookout for a sighting would have significantly increased our odds.

3.  Loud talking: The tour guide, although seemingly knowledgeable about the park, spoke and yelled out in loud tones that would easily have prevented a sighting of a tiger, let alone other wildlife. Often, the guides were yelling out to one another as we passed along the narrow route.
Monkey searching for morsels of food.

Once we entered the park, Tom and I looked at one another, knowing that it would be doubtful we’d see a tiger under the above circumstances.

We don’t blame the Maharajas Express. 
Spotted deer.

Most likely, few, if any, passengers would have voiced these concerns, especially if they’ve never been on safari in the past. The speed at which the driver was maneuvering through the rough roads made it especially difficult for senior passengers. 

Wildflowers blooming at the river’s edge.

One kind woman, Carol from Australia, with whom we made a good connection, literally fell out of her seat, landing on the vehicle floor, injuring her hip, and breaking her finger. This could have happened to anyone of us when the bumps were so outrageous we could barely hang on for dear life.

Antelopes in India are similar to kudus in Africa but without prominent white markings.

By the time the short two-hour safari came to an end, we were all rattled after the extraordinarily bumpy ride. Oh, as our readers know, we’ve been on many safaris over rough roads, but nothing and I mean nothing, compares to that outrageous ride for two hours.

Termite mounds, considerably smaller than those in Africa.

The early morning was chilly. The train staff provided us with woolen blankets. Although Tom and I were bundled up in our warmest clothing and blankets, our hands and faces were cold as the safari vehicle ripped through the jungle.

Banyan tree.

We still have four or five more game drives scheduled during our 55-night tour of India, but this time, we’ll be on our own with the guides and surely will provide some input on how we’d like the safaris conducted. This is not meant to be arrogant by any means. But more so, it’s an attempt to improve the odds of spotting wildlife we long to see in India.

Crocodile on the bank of the river at the Ranthambore National Park.

Today, while in New Delhi, we were out on tour with a driver and our tour guide, Subi, in both the old and the new Delhi. We visited some outstanding venues and look forward to sharing them with all of you over the next few days. Our hotel, the Metropolitan in New Delhi, is excellent.

Shallow river in the national park.

Whew! We’ve had quite a busy schedule since we left Arizona 11 days ago, and there’s more than we can imagine in days to come. Please stay tuned.

Have a pleasant day and evening.

Photo from one year ago today, February 9, 2019:

The four piglets certainly have grown over the past six months. They are so fun to watch. For more photos, please click here.

Money, Money, Money…A song and also real life!….

Every evening around dusk, before Frank and the Mrs. (to his left) go off into the bush to “make their noise,” announcing the beginning of the night, they stop by the veranda steps for birdseed which we happily provide for them.  Whatever is left is eaten by either the helmeted guinea fowl or, believe it or not, the warthogs.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Every night the bushbabies find their way to their little stand and gobble up the fruity yogurt we place there.  They often tip the cup, occasionally dropping it to the ground. Tom always picks it up and places it back on the stand for them.

Last night we paid the second big chunk of an installment for the upcoming Kenya tour in February. It’s an expensive tour, and we cringed over the price considering our budget constraints, especially when last night we paid well over ZAR 73,437 (US $5,000) for the second of three installments as required by the tour contract.

Elephants on the Crocodile River enjoying their day.

Last week after we returned from Zambia and Botswana, we paid rent for three upcoming months in Marloth Park, typical when living in rental holiday/vacation homes. Generally, with popular properties, long-term renters pay large sums at a time rather than paying monthly.

Most wildlife gravitates to the river for water, cooling off, and rich sources of nourishment.

When having a permanent home, one often doesn’t pay three, four, or five months in advance. Plus, when booking tours, vacations/holidays, it may be for only one or two trips a year.

For us, we have to pay so much in advance to secure plans for the future that it’s not surprising we cringe when having to lay out large sums of money well in advance of plans far down the road.

A hornbill and “Frank and the Mrs.” our resident francolins.

We use credit cards to pay for all of our expenses when we can’t use banking’s “bill pay” or send checks (which we consider an antiquated means of paying anyway in these high-tech times). We prefer not to use “bank transfers” for security reasons.  

Keeping track of all of these transactions requires a tremendous amount of diligence and record-keeping to maintain one’s sanity and sense of where we are financially at any given moment.

Two wildebeests, neither of them Wildebeest Willie, stopped by for treats with Tusker in the background and numerous helmeted guinea fowl who were hoping for a few pellets for themselves.

Every few months, we reviewed every upcoming dollar to be spent for current and future travels, referring to our comprehensive Excel spreadsheets of many pages. On top of that, we must keep diligent records for tax purposes.

In our old lives, once a month, we entered all our bills into our bank’s bill pay feature, never giving it much of a thought until the next month. In this life, we must constantly stay on top of our current and future expenses, deposits paid, balances due, and projected expenses for the future based on historical experience.

A mating pair of ostriches. The female is brown, while the males are predominantly black.

Need I say, this is a daunting task that those considering long-term world travel may not consider. When booking for the future, it’s imperative to consider the budget, above all other interests and desires.  

We don’t mean to sound like “tightwads,” but the future success of traveling the world is entirely predicated by careful financial planning and maintaining good health.  Both of these vital areas could easily “get away from us” if we weren’t a cautious as we’ve chosen to be.

Mom, Auntie, and Tiny Baby, who only months ago was the tiniest warthog we’d ever seen.

When living on a fixed income, one can easily imagine how disastrous it could be to find oneself living beyond their means and running money difficulties.  It would take away all of the joy and adventure of living this peculiar life on the move.

Wildebeest Willie stops by to check out the pellet action.

Instead, we carefully monitor all of our spending to ensure we stay within the confines of our budget.  Special purchases we may have once enjoyed are a thing of the past. 

Every financial move is calculated even to the point that we can’t dine out two or three times a week, nor can we flippantly select preferred rental cars or holiday rental homes.  Our most recent tiny, little car was ZAR 14,687 (US $1000) for three months (as mentioned in an earlier post).

Here again, Tusker is in the background awaiting an opportunity to get in on the pellet frenzy.  He visits several times a day while these or other zebras may stop by a few times a week.

And yes, we bounce around on these bumpy dirt roads more than ever in this recent car, but it doesn’t keep us from getting out to explore as we have all along.  

After we spent most of the morning updating and working on the “money, money, money” (click here for the Abba song), we’re excited to take off soon for another of those bumpy rides, always providing us with such pleasure to be a part of the magical world surrounding us here in the park.

This is our favorite warthog, Tusker.  He knows his name and turns around in one quick pivot when I call him.  It’s hysterical!  He’s charming to all of the other animals, politely waiting his turn.

For all of our readers/friends in the US, please have a safe and meaningful Labor Day weekend as you wind down the summer months.  Here in South Africa, we’re ramping us for spring to begin soon, on September 21st.

We’re worlds apart in the distance but close at hand in our hearts.  Happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, September 1, 2017:

One year ago, we reviewed September firsts throughout the years of our travels, including the above photo and caption here:  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 we humans can adapt! For the one-year-ago post, please click here.

We’re back!! And they’re back, too!…Final expenses for Zambia and Botswana…Playful Chobe kudu video…

Our most recent bag of pellets contained a lot of dust. As Tom began to sweep the dust from the pellets off the veranda’s edge, these four kudus took a spot to begin licking off the dust.

“Sighting of the Day on the Veranda”

This young male’s horns have started to sprout. How right he is! He was mature and experienced enough to know that looking into our eyes would reap some rewards.

We’d intended to post more Zambia and Chobe National Park (Botswana) photos today but have decided to do so over several days instead. We wanted to focus on the expenses today but something magical occurred this morning. We had a record-breaking 19 kudus come to call including moms and their offspring of varying ages.

There were more out of view of the camera for a total of 19 in our garden this morning, more than our prior record of 17.

There aren’t words in the English language that can describe the joy we felt as one by one they approached the veranda, making direct eye contact with us. Our hearts were pounding with sheer delight. We couldn’t toss the pellets quickly enough.

Sixteen kudus in this photo, with more on the sidelines.

It was great to be back at the bush house in Marloth Park. Louise had arranged a deep “spring” cleaning as she’d done last time we were gone, and the house was dust-free and spotless. They’d even rearranged and tidied the kitchen drawers I tend to make messy from time to time. We couldn’t have appreciated it more.

Kudus are smart.  They sure know how to grab our heartstrings.

Bushbuck and Ms. Bushbuck, Baby Bushbuck and Friend, who must have been waiting for our return. Imagine their curiosity as to where we were for seven days and nights. The three bushbucks are here, content to see we’re still here as I write this now.

 No more than seconds after we pulled into the driveway, we had visitors waiting for us. Shortly after their visit, Josiah thoroughly washed the veranda floor, preventing the spread of disease among the kudus.

We’d planned to go out for dinner after our arrival, but neither of us felt like eating out again. Instead, we stopped at the Spar Supermarket in Melalane while Tom stayed in the car with our luggage while I shopped, buying enough to last until well into next week. This way, we wouldn’t have to leave right away.

They each picked a spot, licking to their heart’s content.

By 1900 hours, 7:00 pm, we were pulling the steaks off the braai, the salad and vegetables were prepared and we were both completely unpacked, sorting piles of laundry to get done today. (As it’s turned out, it’s a cloudy drizzly day and we’ve had to hang all the wet clothes on hangers throughout the house, after we had to bring them inside when it started raining).

Last night, as always, we set up the veranda for the evening and set the table for dinner. We weren’t disappointed when several warthogs, a few kudus, our usual male duiker, and the typical bushbuck family hung around while we dined.  (We never feed them any of the animals our leftover food. They get pellets, fresh raw vegetables, and apples at this location), all fit for their consumption.

A few determined kudus, anxious for some greenery, began chewing on the “house” plants of the veranda.

As for the immigration situation, we’ll share the details in tomorrow’s post after we’d had an opportunity to do some research today. The news is both good and not-so-good. Somehow, we’ll figure it all out.

I’m back to feeling like myself again since the side effects of the malaria pills have finally worn off after stopping them two days ago. After reading about the possibility of long-term side effects after stopping the drugs, I’m relieved to feel great again.

This kudu particularly liked the lemongrass plant.

I was a little queasy and dizzy on the return flight, especially when it became turbulent for a while, but oI felt better once we landed. South African Airways is a good airline, and we feel safe and comfortable flying with them overall.  

They offered a complimentary lunch, but we both declined. We’d have our last (included) breakfast at the hotel and had no problem waiting to eat again until dinner.

A determined oxpecker held on tight while this kudu participated in dining on the pellets.

We’re looking forward to seeing Louise and Danie later today when they mentioned they’ll be stopping by to say hello. Tomorrow night, we’re meeting up with Kathy and Don and friends for dinner at Jabula. As usual, it will be another social weekend with both humans and animals.

We couldn’t be happier, nor could we be more grateful for this beautiful life we live. Sure, it has its ups and downs as you’ve read as they occur and, in tomorrow’s post we’ll share a realistic down we must face going forward.  

This happened so quickly we barely had time to set the camera to video. It was fun to see this Big Daddy having a good time.

But, there’s always the joy of living in the moment, remembering the thrills of what transpired in the past and the excitement of the treasures the future holds.

Here are the expenses we incurred for the seven-night trip to Zambia and Botswana as we continue to strive to extend our time in South Africa:

 Expense   US Dollar   South African Rand (ZAR) 
 Hotel & Flights (rt) 7 nights   $                  2,730.22  $                 39,073.66      
 Tours   $                     968.35  $                13,858,58        
 Taxi   $                       78.90  $                   1,129.18       
 Dining Out   $                     235.07  $                   3,364.21     
 Tip  $                       69.04  $                       988.07
 Visa (Zambia Immigration)   $                     160.00  $                    2,289.85
 Pharmacy & Misc.   $                       41.90  $                        599.65
 Total   $                 4,283.48  $                   61,303.20
 Avg Daily Cost    $                    611.93  $                      8,757.66

Please click here if you’d like to review our expenses for our last seven-night stay in Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. These visa extension trips are pricey, as shown.

May your day bring you joy!

Photo from one year ago today, August 24, 2017:

We had the opportunity for numerous iguana sightings at the rescue center in Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.

Final expenses for Zambia trip…Heading back to Marloth Park…Hotel and other photos….

Three Egyptian geese on the shore of the Chobe River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Bird’s nest at the  Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.

It was an exceptional trip and we’re so happy we had the opportunity to experience these three countries in Africa: Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.  Each is unique in its own way and in each case, we felt welcomed, safe and in good hands as we embarked on our various tours.

Another aspect of this trip we’d failed to mention which greatly enhanced the experience in Zambia has been our seven-night stay at the Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.

The beautiful restaurant and bar at the Livingstone hotel at night.

Rated as a four-star hotel by various booking sites, we were thrilled to be able to stay in this convenient location with services and amenities befitting our criteria for comfortable travel.

Although the king room was typical for most mid-range hotels, the bed and bedding were of good quality, the room amenities satisfactory including a hot kettle with supplies for coffee or tea, excellent air con, and much to our liking, windows that open with screens, an amenity rarely found in hotels. Plus, good quality, complimentary Wi-Fi is included in the rooms and common areas.

The walkway from the guest rooms toward the lobby/entrance of the  Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.

Breakfast was included in our package which we purchased through Expedia on our website. The complimentary meal was available beginning at 6:30 am until 9:30 am with times changing on weekends from 6:30 am to 10:00 am. 

The food is hot, fresh, and well prepared in a pleasing buffet with many options and special orders for eggs cooked to perfection. Most mornings, Tom had fried eggs and I had poached, except yesterday when I ordered an excellent omelet. 
The coffee and tea are served tableside at no extra charge and many juices and water with lemon and orange slices are available at breakfast and throughout the day.

We dined at the hotel in this area during our seven-night stay.  The food and service were good.

On a few evenings, we dined at the hotel when we preferred to eat in. The food is good, although not necessarily exotic, and can fulfill the needs of most tourists. Preferring to experience a more authentic Zambian meal we ventured out on five of our seven nights.

Last night, we returned for a second time to the restaurant the locals consider #1 in Livingstone, listed on TripAdvisor as #4, Café Zambezi, a definitely exotic and inviting restaurant filled with local charm and culture. Again, our meal was spectacular.

Bar seating area surrounded by a Koi pond.

The Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone provides some of the most impeccable services we’ve seen in hotels during our years of world travel. The staff is ultra friendly but in a genuinely kind and caring manner. 

They proved to respond to each request with the utmost of attention and detail.  Management staff is readily available often stopping by to say hello and asking of there was anything we needed. 

We highly recommend this hotel to any travelers seeking a pleasant, easy environment whether they’re in Zambia conducting business or visiting to see the many wonders in the area. Most of the tours are within a 45-minute drive from the hotel.

We enjoyed a few drinks in this bar on a few evening. 

The hotel can arrange transportation to and from the airport and all of the tours through their highly competent concierge staff. We had the fine opportunity to work with Mapoma Chipasha who went over-the-top to help in many ways in helping us with a few details. 

He’s highly competent and knowledgeable in arranging tours and may be reached at Yesterday, he provided me with a list of the events we engaged in during our seven-night stay. 

For kwacha 9550.92 (ZAR 11,826.34, US $944) a visitor can ask Mapoma to arrange all the same tours that made our experience in Zambia exceptional which includes:

1.  Round trip to the airport from the hotel
2.  Victoria Falls on the Zambia side with a private guide
3.  Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side with a private guide
4.  Chobe National Park safari with guide
5.  Chobe River safari with guide
6.  Lunch at Chobe Safari Lodge between the above two safaris
7.  Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River on the Lion King, appetizers, and all drinks included.
8.  Transportation and taxes are included in each of the above experiences.

Many other tours are available including many high adventures including white water rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining, parasailing, ultralights, helicopter rides (too expensive for our budget right now) and many more.

Huge bright pink rose.

Although we were very happy with our tour arranger, Chris Tours, many hotel guests feel more comfortable booking tours through their hotel. No doubt, either option is highly satisfactory, most likely using the same companies and guides included in these popular local events.

Following is our usual final expenses, including figures also calculated for the South African Rand (ZAR):

 Expense   US Dollar   South African Rand (ZAR) 
 Hotel & Flights (rt) 7 nights   $                  2,730.22  $                      34,138.42
 Tours   $                     759.01  $                        9,490.59
 Taxi   $                        71.78  $                            897.53
 Dining Out   $                     131.00  $                        1,638.01
 Tip  $                     114.66  $                        1,433.70
 Visa (Zambia Immigration)   $                     100.00  $                        1,250.39
 Pharmacy & Misc.   $                        42.08  $                            526.16
 Total   $                  3,948.75  $                      49,374.80
 Avg Daily Cost    $                     564.11  $                        7,053.58

This morning, we’re off to the airport at 11:00 am. Our flight is at 1:35 pm and we should be back in Marloth Park by 6:00 pm, considering the long drive from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga.

Yellow hibiscus on the ground of the hotel.

Our thanks to the hotel staff, our tour operator Chris Tours, Alec our tour driver, and all of the fine support staff that made this week-long experience one we’ll always cherish as one of the highlights of our world travels. 

We especially connected with our taxi driver Matthew who is a kind and generous man who is very chatty, offering a wealth of information on the area along with many local cultural morsels of wisdom. Matthew may be reached at If you plan to come to Zambia, he’s the guy to call for local transportation.

Pretty orange bloom.

Next time you hear from us, we’ll be back in Marloth Park sitting on the veranda while waiting for our “friends” to stop by for some pellets. We were out of carrots and apples when we left, but I assure you, we’ll be heading to the market very soon. Of course, we’re looking forward to seeing our human friends, too!

Have a glorious weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, May 18, 2017:

The waning sun creates an impressive beam of light of the sea from the deck of the Celebrity Solstice in Alaska. For more photos, please click here.

Final expenses for 25 days in Nevada…Back out “to the world tomorrow!”….A new normal…

Mountain view on a rare cloudy day.

This morning I packed my one suitcase of clothing and collected items for our supplies bag. My bag weighs well under the 50 lb maximum (23 kg). Indeed today, I’ll find odds and ends to get me up to the 23 kg maximum allowed by the airlines.

In a way, it’s bittersweet, packing and leaving the US once again for the next two years when once again we’ll return to visit family. Next time, we won’t stay quite as long, most likely for a total of one month between Minnesota and Nevada, giving us plenty of time to be with family and friends.

Here are our total expenses for the 25 nights in Henderson, Nevada:

 Expense   US Dollar 
Housing (Richard’s home)   $                         
 Gifts & Misc.   $                  299.00
 Airfare    $               1,137.00
 Rental Car & Fuel  $                  926.00
 Groceries   $               1,245.30
 Dining Out   $                  402.52
 Supplies & Pharmacy   $                  609.32
 Entertainment   $                  310.25
 Total   $               4,929.39
 Avg Daily Cost 25 days   $                  197.18

Now, as we pack and make the necessary preparations to continue our world journey, we’ve further discovered that this nomadic life we live is our “new normal.” 

There’s no way we can envision living in one place, renting a condo somewhere, and returning to a life of owning “stuff,” shopping among the crowds, waiting in traffic, and considering times to go out based on when “rush hour” ends. That’s no longer who we are.

We ask ourselves, “Was that ever us anyway?”

Two Mallards are sharing a rock in the pond at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

As we’ve melded into life in the convenient Henderson, Nevada location, over these past 25 days, we’ve realized how far removed this easy life is from our reality. Living in constant temperature-controlled comfort, with nary an insect in sight, little wildlife, and nature surrounding us, we’re starving to be living in a challenging environment.

To be surrounded by nature, including the good and not so good, and the occasional discomforts that remind us of our humanness and vulnerability, is where we long to be.

One of eight ponds in the preserve.

That’s not to say that living in a luxury villa in Costa Rica will be tough. It will be easy in most ways. But, we’ll be surrounded by expansive views, varying temperatures and climate, and some of the finest wildlife in the world. 

Costa Rica is a country rich in unique and colorful inhabitants, both human and animal. Yes, modern conveniences will be enjoyed and appreciated but never taken for granted. Our goals will still be to focus on that which always appeals to us the most.

Is this a weather ball I shot from a distance?

We have a plethora of tasks to complete while in Costa Rica, including tax stuff, visa extensions, trips to a dentist (we’ve both lost a few fillings), other financial “paperwork,” and beginning the process of preparing for the Antarctica cruise which requires medical certifications and tons of forms to complete.

We hope to get as much of this “work” completed shortly after we arrive to leave us ample time to focus on our interests in culture and take photos of the extraordinary scenery and wildlife that Costa Rica offers in abundance.

Today, we’ll complete the packing, make a quick trip to the market to replace any paper products and supplies we used while living in Richard’s home (he doesn’t expect this but, that’s just us), and fill the little white car with fuel. 

Mountains surround the Las Vegas valley.

Tonight, we’ll all dine on the leftover pizza which I made yesterday with a new salad I’ll make today.  Overall, with as much as we’ve already completed, the day won’t be much busier than most. Thanks, Richard, for an excellent stay in your beautiful home!

Tomorrow, we’ll post from the airport while we await our flight. We’re leaving for the airport at 8:30 am, although our flight isn’t until 11:25 am. Returning the rental car is far from the airport and requires a 10 minute or more ride in a shuttle to return to the airport where I’ll be waiting for Tom.

Tom feels more comfortable leaving for the airport earlier rather than later. I’m OK with that since it is an international flight after all, and I’ll have more time to upload a new post while we’re waiting.

We’ll be back tomorrow with some favorite Nevada photos and our goodbyes once again to the USA as we continue on our “new normal.” We can’t stop smiling.

May your day bring many smiles!

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2016:

One of two long piers in Chalong Bay. At that time, I was still recovering from the spine injury in Bali occurring on June 1, 2016, and I couldn’t make the long walk on the pier. Now, I wouldn’t have thought about it twice.  For more photos, please click here.

Figuring out the numbers…Outrageous outlay of cash over these next months…Four days and counting…

This pond in the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve was filled with a variety of birds.

Yesterday, after we uploaded the post, we decided to review our expenses through January 2018. With several cruises upcoming, including the pricey Antarctica cruise, which begins on January 23, 2018, and ends on February 8th, we’ve had to be extra frugal this past year.

Once the Antarctica cruise ends and, after we pay approximately $4600 for our two airline tickets from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Mpumalanga Nelspruit, South Africa (with a layover in Johannesburg), we can breathe a sigh of relief that several huge expenses are behind us.

The border of trees along the edge of this pond provides additional habitat for the birds.

Fortunately, living in Africa, which is less costly than many other parts of the world, we’ll have plenty of time to regroup and “lick our wounds” over the outrageous expenses of the prior 12 months or more. 

Also, our final months in Australia were costly, followed by two cruises, including the 24-night cruise back to the US, followed by the Alaskan cruise, and then the nine weeks we spent in the USA, six of which we stayed in a hotel, dining out for most meals. Also, during the six weeks in Minnesota, we replenished our wardrobes (no sales tax on clothing in MN) along with many of our dwindling supplies.

This pretty duck was paddling at full speed when I took this photo.

We’ve paid down the pricey Antarctica cruise, which started at $34,500 (for two) and is now down to a balance of $13,875, which is due in full by October 16th, 80 days from today.

By September 18th, we have to pay off the back-to-back South America cruises beginning on November 23rd (Thanksgiving Day in the US), totaling $7,988, on which we’ll embark before the Antarctica sailing on January 23, 2018.

One of the smaller of the eight ponds.

In addition to the above, we have yet to book the one-month gap in Buenos Aires between December 23, 2017, to January 23, 2018, which we’ll put together once we’re settled in Costa Rica in the next few weeks. 

On top of all of these, we’ll have monthly living expenses, including a few one-night hotel stays, transportation, groceries, tours, and miscellaneous. When we add all of these expenses, it’s a daunting number.

By figuring out all of these totals, we’ve determined this is all doable over these next six months if we really continue to tighten our belts. We must add all of these numbers to our anticipated living costs over the next six months, most of which we’re paying in advance.

No doubt, the cloudy day had an impact on the quality of our photos.

When living in a permanent home instead of our constant lives of world travel, typically, one doesn’t pay their mortgage payment, rent, or any other expenses six months or longer in advance. 

Typically, the only pay-as-we-go expenses are groceries, tours, and local transportation (if we aren’t using a rental car which always requires advance payment in full, often for three months or more upon picking up the vehicle).

In each case, when renting a vacation home, we must pay good-sized deposits well in advance. To book cruises, deposits are required even if they’re booked two years in advance.  However, over this past almost five years of world travel, we’ve become more comfortable waiting to book certain situations.

These two birds were too busy preening to look up as we passed their habitat in the utility vehicle.

When we’re often asked how we manage money, it’s always through careful frequent analysis and planning to determine we’re staying within the range of our overall annual budget. 

What’s thrown us off this year has been the Antarctica cruise which, once completed, leaves us with no costly plans for the future, certainly not to this magnitude. 

Why did we stretch ourselves for this cruise? This cruise may not be suitable for some as they age.  It requires medical certification months in advance (which we’ll handle in Costa Rica) and a certain degree of physical stamina and endurance. We have no guaranty, as hard as we may try, that we’ll be in such a position in the next five to ten years. 

I saw several Grebes during my tour of the facility.

This particular cruise is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially for us with our strict budget and obviously advancing age. For us, it may be a now-or-never situation. We chose to take it on to enhance our world travel experiences further.

When we began our travels, we’d made a list of a few special experiences we wanted to ensure we’d experience;  the Panama Canal (done, with another transit upcoming in November); Africa (done, with more coming beginning in February 2018) and of course, Antarctica (where we’ll be getting off the ship onto the Zodiac boats to step foot on ice floes and glaciers with thousands of Emperor Penguins and more).

I’d planned to visit Susan today, but as it turns out, we have several calls to make to complete some necessary tasks before leaving the US in four days, all of which require weekday calls. Today is the only logical day to complete these tasks. As a result, I’ll visit Susan tomorrow, Saturday, for the last time before we leave on Tuesday.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow as we wind down these last few days in the USA. Please check back! Have a fabulous weekend wherever you may be!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2016:

We rented this car from the property owner. It was a little rough but served our purposes over the remaining days until we left Thailand. For more details, please click here.

Final expenses for Fairlight/Manly Australia…40 days gone…On to cruising…Favorite photos…

Beautiful sky at sunset, taken from our veranda.
Tom’s shot of a stunning sunset.

It’s about 10:00 am Saturday, April 22nd, on this side of the International Dateline. We’ll cross back to the opposite side of the International Dateline during our upcoming cruise, gaining a day. We’ll post this peculiar phenomenon when it occurs on May 1st during the upcoming cruise.

The Sydney Opera House at night, taken from the Manly Ferry.
Luna Park in Sydney Harbour at night, taken from the Manly Ferry.
Saying we’re excited is to minimize the extent of our raging enthusiasm. It’s not that we’re anxious to leave the South Pacific after almost two years. It’s simply that we’re excited about what is yet to come.
A Cockatoo visitor in the yard.
Our friend, Mr. Magpie, visited us inside the house.


In reviewing how much time we spent since arriving on land in Australia on June 11, 2015, is shown below using the online “date to date” app at this link: “From and including Thursday, June 11, 2015

To, but not including Saturday, April 22, 2017

Result: 681 days

It is 681 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date or 1 year, 10 months, 11 days excluding the end date.”

Hand-feeding Kookaburra in the yard.
The interior of the Sydney Opera House as we waited for the performance to begin. In a short time, almost every seat was occupied. We had excellent center seats four rows from the stage.

Wow! We’ve been in this part of the world for a very long time, although the diversity of our experiences have been vast. We won’t take the time to list them all here today but feel free to review our archives during these above dates. 

The cafe where we had a beverage the morning of our final appointment at the immigration department.

Now, packed and ready to leave for the port at noon today, our hearts are filled with joy and satisfaction for the time we spent in this part of the world. Even with the fact that I’d been “under the weather” since a spine injury on June 1, 2016, which followed the exacerbation of the Helicobacter Pylori infection I acquired in Fiji in 2015, we still had a great time.

The scene in Manly near the ferry.
These two difficult scenarios confirmed how resilient and dedicated we are in continuing our journey, even with stumbles along the way. Never once during this extended period of less-than-stellar health did either of us lose hope and faith that we’d be able to continue.
Offseason bloom on the grounds of Fairlight Gardens.

Nor did we ever get on one another’s nerves, not for a day, not for an hour. Mr. Overly Grumpy never reared his ugly head. Then again, Ms. Overly Bubbly made fewer appearances than usual. So now, we’re both in the Overly Bubbly mode with plans to stay that way in the future.

Ken and Tom drinking beer.
Me and Linda toasting at lunch.
We met friends Linda and Ken from South Africa in Sydney for lunch. It was a perfect day among friends!
Our experiences in Fairlight, although limited as I was slowly improving, were delightful with opportunities to meet with old friends, as shown in today “favorite photos.”
St. Patrick’s Estate in Manly, a popular event venue.

Of course, no experience compares to the daily sense of comfort and companionship we spent with our kindly landlord, Bob Reed. This morning, Bob sent us the following email as posted below. It warmed our hearts to develop such a fine relationship with this kindly man, now a lifelong friend. There’s no doubt we’ll stay in touch.

The grounds at St. Patrick’s Estate were prepared for a wedding.

Bob wrote the following:

“Good morning Tom and Jessica, welcome to your new adventure upon the high seas and continuing adventure that most of us only dream about. 

How lucky I have been to have met you both and have had the pleasure of your company for the past 40 days.
Those happy memories will stay with me forever.
Even though I cannot be with you as you travel the world, your wonderful website will be my companion to where you are and what exciting places you are visiting.
May good health be your constant companion during your world travels.
Jessica, I will also miss the wonderful dinners you cooked for Tom and me and our daily conversations solving all the world’s problems.  Well trying anyways.
Hopefully, one day our paths will cross again, and we can spend time together reminiscing about the happy times we spent together.
You both left a little bit of your hearts here at Fairlight Gardens.
Lots of love as you travel the world.
Bob Reed”
Tom in a pub with me for dinner in Circular Quay.
Reading Bob’s thoughtful message brought tears to our eyes. How did we get so lucky to become friends with yet another extraordinary person? We truly are blessed.
Giant surf at Manly Beach on a gorgeous day.
Rather than write back to Bob in an email, we decided to write back here:
Dear Bob,
No words can express how much we’ve appreciated your kindness and love and for your constant and thoughtful attention to our needs. But, above all, your efforts at building a lasting friendship among the three of us will always be treasured as one of our favorite memories of the time we spent in Australia, here in beautiful Fairlight, a gem amongst towns throughout this fine nation.
Thank you for your lovely property, your attention to detail in every aspect, driving us about town, and spending time with us.  You truly optimize the essence of friendship and generosity.
We hope that someday our paths will cross again, but if they do not, no worries, we’ll always carry you in our hearts wherever we may be.
Much love and good health always,
Jess & Tom
Bob and Tom at Dobroyd Head.
Should any of our readers decide to visit Sydney, we assure you an excellent experience if you book Bob’s lovely property, either Fairlight Gardens private apartment, as we did with this link here. For Bob’s Fairlight Gardens Bed and Breakfast, please click here.
Bob and I a Dobroyd Head.

There’s no doubt in our minds that Bob will ensure an equally exceptional stay for our readers as well. If you have any questions, you can be assured he’ll reply promptly.

Bob, Bev, and Colin (a popular name in AU and UK) when they joined us for dinner at our apartment.

As for our final expenses, current to the last expenditures of two days ago, are listed below. Again, we’ve found Australia to be more expensive than many parts of the world but have found staying in holiday homes is much less costly than staying in a hotel. 

Christine, Tom, and I at dinner two nights ago.

With the excellent public transportation services in Sydney and surrounding areas, including buses, trains, and ferries, it’s unnecessary to rent a car. We managed very well, taking advantage of the affordable public transportation and, of course, Bob’s frequent insistence on driving us on many occasions.

Expense US Dollar Australian Dollar
Vacation Rental  $ 4,564.08  $ 6,053.92
Airfare   $    217.00  $    287.83
Taxi   $    105.01  $    139.29
Ferry (OPAL Card)  $   140.00  $    185.70
Shipping  $   460.00  $    610.16
Groceries  $ 1,014.25  $ 1,345.33
Dining Out  $    361.43  $    480.24
Entertainment  $    102.06  $    135.38
Medical & Pharmacy  $ 1,230.26  $ 1,534.68
Total  $ 8,197.09  $10,891.59
Average Monthly Cost  $ 6,233.20  $ 8,282.22
Avg Daily Cost – 40 days  $    204.93  $    272.30

In less than two hours, we’ll be out the door and on our way by taxi to the Sydney Cruise Terminal, arriving in about 45 minutes. Our next post will be uploaded aboard the ship tomorrow, with photos for the next 24 nights. 

Out to dinner with Christine and Colin, who we met on our last cruise, which ended 40 nights ago.

We hope our readers will continue to travel along with us during these upcoming 33 nights at sea, plus an additional two-night gap while staying in a hotel in Vancouver. We plan to share many new stories and exciting photos along the way.

Cruise ship in the Sydney Harbour.
While still dark at 5:45 am this morning, we could see our ship, Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, entering Sydney Harbour. What a sight! We can hardly wait to board!
A bunny we posted on Easter Sunday, spotted on a walk with Bob.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, April 22, 2016:
Due to poor signal aboard the ship one year ago today, we didn’t include a photo. Instead, we posted a list of some on the freebie on the ship, Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas.  Here they are:
Some of the “freebies” included on this particular cruise are:

  • Fitness center to include a few free classes and activities
  • Trivia games
  • Daily Mass
  • Men’s Shed
  • Water aerobics
  • Mensa challenge
  • Movies are shown daily inside the large theatre and outdoors on a giant screen by the pool.
  • Dance lessons
  • Mini-golf tournament
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Singles gatherings
  • Bridge lessons and tournaments
  • Shuffleboard, ping pong, video games
  • Napkin art workshop
  • GLBT meetings
  • Ice Skating and skating shows
  • Rock climbing
  • Paper airplane making
  • Drama class
  • DreamWorks characters on display in Promenade Deck
  • Voyager Scavenger Hunt
  • Karaoke auditions and eventual show in the theatre
  • Shows in the main theatre in the evenings at 6:45 pm and 8:45 pm, different each evening
  • Live music at various bars both during the day and in the evenings

Final expenses for six weeks in the Huon Valley…Final favorite photos…This morning we’re on our way to Sydney for a cruise…

This is one of our favorite photos in Tasmania, taken through the living room window glass as the sun began to set. 

By the time you see this post, we’ll be on our way to Sydney, flying from Hobart International Airport. Upon arrival and after a 25-minute cab ride to the pier, we’ll immediately board the ship, Celebrity Solstice, a boat on which we’ve sailed on two prior occasions over these past years of world travel.

Boats in the river channel on a cloudy day.

We’ve loved this particular ship on the past sailings, especially the Cafe Al Bacio, where we’d sit each morning while I prepared the day’s photos and post while we sipped on the most delicious coffee we’d had on a ship.

Church located outside of Geeveston, Tasmania.

Now that I’ve given up caffeine, coffee, and tea (due to the acidity), for the time being, it’s going to be tough to resist, but I have no choice. So instead, I’ll focus on having fabulous conversations with guests while they walk by as we lounge in the cafe.

After a significant rain, helicopter blades dry the cherry orchard across the road.

We plan to get off the ship at several ports of call in countries we’ve yet to visit. We’ll be staying aboard the boat when we arrive in two different ports in Fiji. Right now, I’m associating Fiji, which we enjoyed at the time, with having contracted this awful digestive issue while there for four months on two different islands.

A calf is nursing an almost same-sized mom.

Yesterday, by noon, we were almost wholly packed less the items we were wearing, with fresh clothing set out for today’s travel day. We weighed our bags, and each of the three bags weighed slightly less than 23 kg (about 50 pounds), the maximum allowance for the two free checked bags with Virgin Australia. So the charge for the third checked bag is AU 70, US $54.  That’s fine with us!

Also, we were able to eliminate one of our carry-on bags, the duffel bag, which we’ve hauled with us since the onset of our travels. It’s been loaded with jeans, shorts, and cargo-type pants too heavy to place in our checked bags. 

Calla lily in the garden.

On the last cruise, we purchased a new carry-on wheeling bag easier to manage than the duffel bag, which had impossible wheels to drive. Instead, Tom ended up carrying it by the strap. My new black carry-on bag can fit our “pill bag” (includes prescriptions, emergency medical supplies, Epipens, and a few over-the-counter products) plus all the jeans and pants. 

A decorative item they’d purchased in Africa, at the entrance to Anne and Rob’s garden.

I’d always carried the pill bag while Tom insisted we carry the heavier Costco bag, the duffel bag, and the computer bag. Now, we’re down to two carry-on bags, one each, since I don’t own or carry a handbag. This will make a massive difference for us making our way through airports. No longer do we need or use the metal cart we had in the beginning.   

View of the Huon River from the front lawn.

We were able to fit the Costco bag into one of the checked bags and the cloth Africa bag, and one small insulated bag, all of which we use in every country for grocery shopping. They add less than one-half kg (1.1 lbs) to the checked bags. So in all, we have five pieces; three checked and two carry-on bags. This is the lightest we’ve been since day one.

As mentioned, below is our chart of total expenses for the six weeks we spent in the Huon Valley of Tasmania. To see the final costs for Penguin, Australia, please click here.

Expense US Dollar Australian
Vacation Rental  $                  3,490.99  $                        4,550.30
Airfare   $                     241.68  $                            315.02
Taxi   $                                   
Rental Car/Fuel  $                  1,979.2  $                        2,579.86
Wifi   $                        48.00  $                              62.57
Groceries  $                  1,174.96  $                        1,531.49
Dining Ou  $                                 $                                     
Cleaning  $                     191.50  $                            250.00
Medical & Pharmacy  $                     709.51  $                            924.80
Total  $                  7,835.91  $                      10,214.04
Monthly Cost
 $                  5,554.21  $                        6,964.12
Avg Daily
Cost – 44 days
 $                     185.14  $                            232.14
Wood carvings with historical themes are found throughout Tasmania.

These costs fall into the mid-range for our vacation/holiday home living, comparing them to all of our past expenditures. We stayed within our budget of AU 7,807, US $6,000 per month, and thus are pleased with the result. But, of course, adding cruises to holiday home living has quite an impact on annual total costs.

Next time you “hear” from us, we’ll be posting from the ship at the usual time other daily posts are uploaded.  See you soon!

Be safe. Be happy!

Photo from one year ago today, March 1, 2016:

One year ago today, we lost our dear friend Richard, who made our four-month stay in Kauai a glorious social stay on the gorgeous island. We’ll always miss him and his lovely wife, Elaine. Please click here for details.

Final post from Sumbersari with Bali expenses…Soon, we’ll be on our way on the four or five hour harrowing drive…

We attended the buffalo races.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Balinese people certainly take advantage of using their heads to carry heavy or cumbersome loads.

After nearly four months of living in Sumbersari, Bali today, we’ve uploaded our final post for this location and also for “Sightings on the Beach.” Perhaps down the road in future posts we’ll be able to have a similar feature depicting special scenes we embrace each and every day.

With an exciting future ahead of us, we certainly have no doubt there will be many of those types of scenes. We look forward to seeking them out to share with our readers each day. On the upcoming 33-night cruise embarking a week from today, we’re discussing possible feature photos we’ll include comparable to “Sightings on the Beach in Bali,” of course, related to the cruise experience.

Workers in the rice fields.

I know, you may be thinking…”How in the world will they possibly hold our interest while they live on a ship for 33 days and nights?  Won’t it be more and more of the “same old, same old?”

This presents a unique challenge to us, one we’ll adopt with the utmost enthusiasm to ensure you’ll be intrigued to see what we’ve discovered each day. As we meet other passengers, we’ll ask for their assistance as well in spotting particularly interesting photo ops.

Nature at its finest on the edge of the infinity pool. We spent hours watching this praying mantis.

Today, as we’re uploading this final post for the villa in Sumbersari including the final expenses, we’re excited to continue to share the last of the favorite photos during this extended period on the west end of this island.  

It was highly unusual for us to return to Bali after a two month hiatus for the Mekong River cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia, a one week stay in Singapore and six weeks in Phuket, Thailand. In the future, we only have one country planned for a return visit in 16 months, South Africa as we mentioned in this earlier post.

A working well at a neighboring home.

Unfortunately, from June 1st on, I was suffering with the spinal injury resulting in a considerable portion of this period spent distracted by the discomfort and an amount of concern that it might never heal. 

Alas, here we are almost five months later and once again, I’m my “old” self, pain free and again delighted for the many plans on the horizon as well as reveling in the joys of the moment, reminded to always “Love the One You’re With!”

As you read this post, we’ll already be on the four or five hour harrowing drive from the villa to Denpasar to the hotel we’ve booked through the week, departing at 10 pm on Saturday night for the red eye flight to Sydney. 

“Rustic” residence on the beach.

It will be a relatively easy few days as we lounge by the pool, walk the neighborhood and if we feel like it, grab a taxi to check out the area. But, Tom’s aversion to traffic may prevent us from venturing out when the Kuta area is so congested it takes 30 minutes to get to the airport that’s only a kilometer from the hotel.

Kuta is not necessarily known as an area suitable for sightseeing of any major consequence. In a way, we don’t mind laying low in air conditioned comfort for a few days after six months of scorching heat and humidity, day after day. The only time we’ve been cool has been at night when we finally headed to bed to turn on the AC.  It may prove to be a welcomed relief.

Frangipani flowers blooming in the yard, aka Plumeria in Hawaii.

As for the expenses for Bali, we’ve decided to keep these last two months from September 2, 2016 to October 24, 2016 separate from the first two months we spent in Bali from April 30, 2016 to June 28, 2016.  

We’ve made the calculations based the 59-night stay, although we’re leaving a few days earlier since we’d already paid for 59 nights in full. (We’re not receiving any compensation for leaving earlier nor do we expect it.  It was entirely our decision).

We considered each of the two stays in Bali as individual stays when the expenses varied for the time we spent at the resort in Lovina. If you’d like to review our expenses from the earlier stay, please click here.

This appropriately muddy pig posed for our photo. 

Expenses for 59 nights:  US Dollar to IDR Indonesian Rupiah
Vacation Rent:   US $ 4,648.03  IDR   62,330,082.30
Transportation:  US       759.13  IDR    9,909,557.43
Visa Extension:  US         54.63  IDR       713,130.98
Tips/Laundry:    US       389.00  IDR     5,077,941.65
Clothing & Misc. US     1,144.88 IDR    14,945,074.12*

Groceries:         US       947.00  IDR    12,361,981.33
Hotel & Meals:   US       739.49  IDR      9,653,180.12**

Total:                              US $ 8,409.16   IDR 109,771,783.48
Average Monthly Cost:  US $  4,335.23   IDR   56,587,713.48 

Average Daily Cost:       US $    142.53    IDR     1,860,442.65

*The above total includes the pants we purchased at Lovina when long pants were required at the immigration office.
**The above total includes the entire bill for hotel ad meals for four nights in Lovina during the visa extension process.

Recent photo repeated, nonetheless a favorite with Tom dressed in traditional Balinese/Hindu attire.

Although our previous stay in Bali was less costly, the addition of the shipment we received with many supplies including Tom’s new phone, iced tea, clothing and shoes and, the hotel in Lovina, the average daily/monthly costs increased exponentially. Another traveler may spend comparable amounts shopping while on such an extended trip.

We’ll post the upcoming hotel stay expenses when that period ends as well. With the low cost for the hotel room, the included breakfast, with dinner as the only add-on, most likely the total will be reasonable.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back as usual with more photos and updates. Thanks to all of our loyal readers for hanging in there with us during this relatively quiet time spent in Bali. We appreciate each and every one of YOU.

Be well!

Photo from one year ago today, October 24, 2015:

It was a cultural day in Fiji one year ago when we visited this modest village. This structure is used in ceremonial rites and kava drinking. For more details and photos, please click here.

Final expenses for six weeks in Phuket, Thailand…Departure to Bali today…12 hour travel day…Final favorite Phuket photos…

We stumbled upon the scene in Phuket.

By the time you see this post today, we’ll already be at the airport in Phuket awaiting the flight to Singapore with a three hour layover until the final leg of the flight to Denpasar, Bail. 

Colorful shrine in front of a property!  Wow!

Neither of these two flights are very long, the first only 1 hour, 50 minutes; the second under around 2 hours. These shorter flights shouldn’t be too hard on me. Once we arrive in Singapore, we’ll get a passcode for the free WiFi, find comfortable seating in a restaurant in the terminal and busy ourselves online while we wait.

Many fruit and coconut stands are found along the road.

Although it will be a long day, expecting to arrive at the hotel in Kutu, Bali around 8:30 pm after departing the house in Phuket at 7:00 am, there is a one hour time difference resulting in a 12 hour travel day.

We’ll always recall the 34 hour travel day from Venice to Kenya in 2013 making this 12 hour travel day seem like “a walk in the park.” We don’t anticipate too many more lengthy travel days in the immediate future when we only have a few more flights until heading back to the US for a family visit via a cruise embarking in about 8 months.

In rained and was cloudy almost every day for a period of time. 

Once we arrive in Bali we only have a few more flights pending until we head to the US in April, 2017:
1.  Bali to Sydney:  October 30, 2016 (Yuck! A red eye)
2.  Sydney to Hobart:  December 3, 2016
3.  Hobart to Sydney:  February 28, 2017

Well care for wood boat tied to a tree in the bay.

Now for the final Phuket expenses, keeping in mind that these expenses are less than expected and budgeted when we weren’t able to get out to dine and do much sightseeing based on my health condition. 

Colorful shells from the Phuket Seashell Museum.

Most tourists stay in resorts with minimal cooking facilities (if any), dine out for most meals, pay for a more expensive rental car or multiple taxi rides and go out on a number of tours and sightseeing adventures.

Blue-green water at a distance.  Sandy beach at the shore.  Beautiful!

Here are the total expenses:

US Dollar
Thai Baht
Vacation Rental  $            2,603.19     89,994.51
Airfare   $               830.00     28,693.81
Visa  $                 74.14       2,563.08
Taxi (inc. tips)  $                115.75       4,001.58
Rental Car  $                260.33      9,000.00
Wi-Fi  $                    0                0                  
Groceries  $                948.60      32,793.92
Dining Out  $                     0                         0                  
Miscellaneous $                    24.12            833.85
Tips (for cleaners)  $                  115.50         4,000.00
Total  $             4,971.63      172,196.91
Monthly Cost
 $             3,688.30      127,747.61
Avg Daily
Cost – 41 nights
 $                 121.25           4,199.60 
Spiky colorful shells.

In the next few days we’ll be writing an online review for the vacation rental at the owner’s preferred site. Soon, the cleaners will arrive and we’ll present the four delightful helpers with tips as indicated above.

Had I been feeling well, this 41 nights in Phuket would have been an entirely different experience.  Hopefully, as we go forward and the healing continues, we’ll be able to return to our former more active experiences.

No disrespect intended.  When I spotted Tom posing next to this statue, it was a LMAO experience. He’ll do anything to make me laugh during these challenging months of healing. I couldn’t resist taking a photo.

Thanks to all of our loyal readers for hanging in with us during this very quiet, relatively uninteresting period in Thailand. I know you may be anticipating that the upcoming two months in Bali won’t be much different. But, we promise to make every effort to share great new photos and experiences as circumstances will allow. 

Midway through the next two months, we’ll be spending four nights in a hotel in Lovina, Bali in order to acquire the necessary visa extensions. While there, we should have some new and exciting photos and stories. Please stay tuned.

Back at you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, September 1, 2015:

Clear blue skies contributed to our colorful beach photos of our final days in Trinity Beach. For more photos, please click here.