Forgetfulness and aging…A story from long ago changing our lives…

Photo of the railroad guys at the train station.  Year unknown.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This is a Clay Colored Robin, the national bird of Costa Rica.

Two weeks from today, we leave for Nicaragua for two nights, returning to the villa on the 30th.  The next day, October 31st is our five-year anniversary of traveling the world.

When we first began traveling in 2012, we hadn’t imagined we’d last five years.  At that time, we “qualified” our long-term plans by saying we’d find somewhere along the way where we’d eventually settle down or we’d return to live in the US, location to be determined.

Settling down at some point is no longer a topic of interest or discussion.  We’ve accepted the reality when health fails for either of us (which eventually will), we’ll have to make a decision.  Do we worry that such a sudden decision will overwhelm us especially under the duress of a medical problem? 

Locomotives, back in the day in Atenas.

Not really.  Why worry about a situation over which we have little control other than to take good care of our health and well-being each and every day?  When it happens, it happens.  We’ll figure it out from there.

An important aspect of managing such a situation is predicated on the ability of one of us to be able to make decisions in the event of a medical issue for the other.

In our old lives, at one point, I was concerned about developing memory loss issues as I’ve aged.  Dementia was a common condition on my mother’s side of the family. 

Horn off a locomotive.

Once I hit the age of 50, I found myself becoming forgetful…walking into a room and not remembering why, starting a project and getting sidetracked on another project, forgetting where I’d left off.  These were subtle changes I was embarrassed to mention,  not even to Tom.

In 2011, when I dramatically changed my way of eating from a ‘low fat, low protein, high carb, healthy whole grains” diet to a “high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet,” not only was I pain-free three months later but over the next several years, my memory improved to an astounding rate, comparable to when I was in my early 20’s.

No longer did I find myself losing things, wondering where I’d left something, or forgetting what I’d done the prior evening.  Was it due to the diet as explained in Dr. David Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain” or was it due to the fact that in early 2012 I began the 12-hour-a-day process of planning our world travels keeping my brain whirring in a plethora of new knowledge?

Model trains on a shelf.

Dr. Perlmutter included the story of my success with this way of eating on his website as shown in this link here.  We also shared the story in one of our previous posts as indicated here in this link

The smidgeon of notoriety I gleaned from this article only mattered to me in that it might inspire one more individual to embark on this way of eating to improve their health as well.  When readers wrote asking questions, it was so rewarding.

No, this way of eating doesn’t make me exempt from injuries (obviously) such as in Bali when I hurt my spine (fully recovered now) or in developing Helicobacter Pylori from tainted food in Fiji from which I’m still recovering. (It may take a few more months).

Toy truck and more trains on a shelf.

However, being pain-free and regaining my memory has truly been an awe-inspiring result which ultimately allowed us to travel the world and recall the most finite details of our lives of travel.

Plus, it’s allowed me to post our daily stories which require a tremendous amount of recall.  Tom, on the other hand, inherited great “memory genes” and does equally well.  Tom’s mother, at 98 years old could recall names, birthdates, and events of her huge family and her life over the prior 11 decades.  Tom’s eldest brother Jerome, at almost 89, has an equally finely tuned memory. 

Ironically, Tom with the greatest of ease, remembers dates of past and upcoming events, places we’ve visited and our numerous cruises while I recall names of places, people, expenses, and miscellaneous oddball items. 

Coin collection at the museum.

Long ago, when we began our travels, we each gravitated toward that which we’d prefer to recall most readily.  Thus, we can always depend on one another to fill in the blanks.  As we all can recall from our schooldays, we tend to recall topics of the most interest to us.

Each day as it comes and goes, with a bit of serendipity thrown in, we’re left with memories we’ll always cherish as part of this wondrous life we’re blessed to live.

May your day be filled with wondrous memories.


Photo from one year ago today, October 13, 2016:

Workers in the rice fields in Bali.  For more photos, please click here.

Finding joy in small things…Life doesn’t have to be “big” to be rewarding…More exquisite seashell photos…

At times, over these past 46 months we’ve posted photos of “small things” we’ve spotted along the way, mostly tiny creatures and plants. Not every environment is the ideal in finding such miniature items of interest inspiring us to take photos to post here under a “small things” category.

Please click here to see one of our “small things” posts.

We haven’t been out enough here in Phuket to search for “small things” nor have they been readily available in the tiny gated yard of this property.

Small things are most prevalent in wildlife rich areas which of late hasn’t been the basis of our travels. Of course, as all of our regular readers are aware, I have a one track mind about wildlife rich areas, looking forward to the upcoming countries we’ll be visiting in the next few years which undoubtedly will provide such opportunities.

For now and over the next few months, the only “wild” life we’ll see are barnyard animals, which we do enjoy, including chickens, cows, goats and of course, buffaloes. 

These are also determined to be 400 million year old fossils.
These are 400 million year old fossils.

In three and a half months we’ll arrive in Tasmania where we’ll spend three months living in two distinct areas; in the town of Penguin, across the street from the ocean not too far from Hobart and the other, in the Huon Valley directly on the river.

Certainly these two locations will once again provide us with plenty of scenery, wildlife and vegetation photo ops we anticipate with enthusiasm. Hopefully, by that time, I’ll be feeling like my “old self” once again and we’ll easily be able to get out and explore. 

We’ll be renting a car as soon as we arrive in Tasmania (after a flight from Sydney) to begin the drive from the airport to the first of our two properties where we’ll spend six weeks at each location, each diverse and interesting in its own way.

For now, we focus on the small things that don’t include nature-like curiosities, those small things that make life special each day, regardless of where we may be living at any given time; communication with family and friends; the laughter and playfulness we experience together; and a good meal we’ve prepared and appreciated as we dine each evening. and a good movie or series.

Its the small things that bring us joy during these somewhat restricted circumstances we find ourselves at the moment including a hesitancy to venture out to popular tourist areas with the recent bombings. Even the upcoming grocery shopping trip in the next few days gives us pause. 

We read in the local news that many tourists decided to cut their trips short and head back to their home base rather than finish their remaining booked vacations/holidays they’d planned in Thailand, uncomfortable with the prospect of more attacks. 

For us, without a home base, we stay put feeling fortunate to be staying in a private home as opposed to a resort or hotel where it seems the risks are greater.

Shall we go out on a weekday or a weekend day, we ask ourselves? Is there a specific day of the week that would be considered safer? There seems to be no rhyme or reason to such horrific events other than the fact that they generally occur where many tourists gather.

Today, as everyday, we focus on the “small things” that matter in our daily lives, while looking forward to some of the “big things” that await us on the horizon.

Have a day filled with “small things” that bring you joy.

Photo from one year ago today, August 17, 2015:

We’ve never used the hot tub in Trinity Beach, Australia for a few reasons; one neither of us cares to use hot tubs especially in a hot climate and secondly, the cost to heat the hot tub and to keep it heated would be outrageous for the owner who pays all the utilities. For more details, please click here.

Counting down the days earlier than usual…Has boredom set in?…More photos from Phuket Seashell Museum…

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this vacation home. It’s clean, well organized, properly managed, secure, in excellent condition and has most of the amenities we find useful when we’re staying for a month or more.

For any travelers preferring a home as opposed to a hotel, this villa is ideal.  Although it’s a short drive to the beach, it has a lovely pool kept meticulous, cleaned three-times-a-week by the pool staff. 

The owner whom we’ve yet to meet remains quietly in the background answering any questions we may have in a prompt and efficient manner. The four person cleaning crew arriving Wednesdays and Saturdays are equally helpful with one speaking good English.

But, I’m anxious to continue on, a feeling I’ve only had a few times in our world travels. Why is that? Tom says it’s been due to the fact that I haven’t been feeling like myself and I’m associating it with this location. 

I suppose, in part, I agree with him. In carefully analyzing other possible reasons I’m looking forward to moving on, I can only add that I’m feeling a bit like a caged animal when I don’t have access to views of scenery and wildlife from inside the house. There’s literally no view behind the stone walls of our “compound.”

Tom is perfectly content as he often is when he’ll easily entertain himself on his laptop for an entire day. Once I’ve completed the daily post, worked with our photos, completed any necessary research, record keeping and banking, I can easily put down my laptop except perhaps for watching a few favorite shows we’ve downloaded.

Lately, I’ve even downloaded a few shows Tom may not care to watch to entertain myself during the day, something I’ve never done in these past 46 months. Oh, I guess it sounds as if I’m a bit bored.

It’s a rare occasion for me to be bored.  As a generally active person with many interests its always been easy to entertain myself. Take away my ability to be flitting about the house engaged in a wide array of activities, unable to stop and enjoy the view, unable to go out whenever I’d like and in this case to explore the area to take endless photos, I find myself at a loss.

How many books can I read? As a speed reader, I can easily consume a book in a day. But, over these past years I’ve reserved my reading for bedtime or for mornings when I awake too early to get up, reading becomes my go-to activity. 

During the day, I have little interest in reading a book, a habit I never took time to develop after I retired. I’ve always kept myself so busy during daylight hours I rarely considered sitting down with a book. 

Another important aspect affecting my sense of boredom is my inability to go out for a walk in the neighborhood. The dirt road to the right is uneven, with many potholes making walking too much of a risk at this point. 

The dirt road to the left has a huge hole covering the entire roadway which is always completely filled with water from frequent rains. Also, I’m not sure I’m ready for long walks quite yet.

I must clarify that by no means am I feeling sad or depressed. That’s not me. Even with my recent injury, now heading into the third month, I still remain my “overly bubbly” self, hopeful for the future and optimistic that in time I will fully recover. 

However, a sense of boredom doesn’t necessarily connote sadness or a feeling of malcontent. For me, its almost as if a few times a day, I find myself in a room, asking myself with a flippant air, “What shall I do now?”

Pestering Tom in hopes of him alleviating my peculiar-to-me feeling is not something I’d do. It’s my own thing. He’s perfectly content managing our investments, reading online, checking Facebook, watching short videos and researching for the future. 

I’ve never seen Tom exhibit a moment of boredom, not in the past 46 months nor at anytime in the 25 years we’ve been together. In our old lives, he could spend an entire Sunday reading the newspaper from cover to cover. I often teased him that he even read the page numbers!

Why will Bali be any different than here if I’m still recovering when we arrive? A few things come to mind; one, the ocean view; two, the smooth level road outside the door where I’ll be able to begin taking walks; three, the daily flurry of activity at the house with the wonderful staff in and out; four, the ability to go out and about with a driver whenever we’d like; five, the endless interesting activity on the beach with the buffaloes, the dogs, the colorful boats, and the fascinating array of people. 

Never once, was I bored in Bali even after I’d injured myself. Somehow, I was distracted enough to remain engaged in our daily lives even though we didn’t cook, clean or grocery shop.

Of course, prior to Bali we lived on the alpaca farm in New Zealand and I’d only need to walk outdoors or look out the window for a dose of paradise. We’ve learned a valuable lesson for future bookings, I need a view, plain and simple. Or, at least the ability to walk outside and find myself in somewhat of a wonderland of one sort or another.

As we continue on, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t accomplish this as we book future vacation homes. It’s ironic that after all this time we’re still learning what matters the most. Of course, good health and safety will always be at the top of our list. Might a great view follow?

Have a healthy and safe day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 16, 2015:

Cockatoos visited us daily in our yard in Trinity Beach, wasting no time in announcing their arrival. For more details, please click here.

Remembrances of the ocean awhile ago…The seafarers life awhile ago…One year ago today…We gave away 40% of our clothing and shoes…

Whale ship masthead rings that held the sailors to the mast.

Its funny how as time marches on, many memories flooding our minds have become some of the most treasured experiences in our travels.  Now, into our third year on the move, Belize, our first vacation home outside the US lingers in our minds for our close proximity to the ocean.

Whale blubber pot.

Early this morning I stared out the glass door to the sea feeling that same warm sense of comfort familiar from so long ago with the ocean at our door beaconing thought provoking gazes at the sea at every opportunity.

Blubber hook. 

The sea has held a mysterious attraction for sailors and land lovers alike since the beginning of time.  On Monday, as we wanders through the Whalers Village Museum the passion for the sea was evident in every artifact, painting and representation of sea life. 

Tools used in whaling.

Whaling was big business in centuries passed.  In today’s world and particularly in Hawaii, the love and the preservation of the life of whales is a profound aspect for oceanic devotees and the scientific community.

Replica of small whaling boat.

Although the museum depicted the long ago whaling business, it was evident that today’s profound sense and love of the whale and other marine life is in the forefront of the hearts and minds of the people of Hawaii.

Pilot whale blubber.

While at the museum we watched an amazing movie learning about the humpback whale, much of which neither of us had any awareness.  Many of these facts are depicted in the following site.

Scrimshaw, which is the use of bones and teeth of whales and other marine mammals, was commonly made into a variety of items the sailors later sold at port for additional income.  Also, there were many boring hours at sea and making scrimshow kept them busy.

Scrimshaw picture frame.

Please click this link to find an audio file of the actual sounds of the humpback whale.

Equipment used in making various artifacts.

The humpback whales come to the Hawaiian Islands and also to Maui in December on their long journey from Alaska.  We’re are only weeks away from their arrival, although we’ve heard a few have been sighted.  We’ve spent many hours gazing at the sea hoping to spot them.

Sleeping quarters of whaling boat from early 1900’s.

In getting close to these bunks, we could see how small they actually were, as short as five feet long and two feet wide, certainly inadequate sleeping space in today’s world.

The prevalence of the humpback whale is much greater in Maui than on the Big Island so we’re hoping to see them before we leave in five days. At the moment we’re awaiting a confirmation on what may prove to be a pointless expedition out to sea in hopes of spotting whales.  We’ll certainly post updates here in the next few days.  If “safari luck” prevails, we may have whale photos to share on Sunday.

Ship octant and charting tool.

Today, we share our photos of some of the memorabilia from the much maligned days of whaling in an era when extinction wasn’t given a thought.  Sadly, whaling continues in many parts of the world with little regard for the likelihood of extinction of the whale, perhaps in the lifetime of this generation.

Sailors would make this decorative canes from whale bones selling them in port to supplement their income.

A fiddle kept on the ships for entertainment for the sailors

We’ll be back tomorrow with more new photos and an update on our possible whale watching outing.

Rigger tools.

Have a lovely pre-Thanksgiving day.  In my old life, today was the day I’d make eight to ten pumpkin pies rolling the made-from-scratch dough for the crust of each pie. 

Actual photo of seamen on a whaling boat.

This interesting chart depicts the income earned for various positions aboard ship after a four year period at sea. 

Each of our families or friends that came for Thanksgiving dinner was given a pie to take home along with containers of leftovers.  I don’t miss making the pies but, perhaps, the eating them was worthy of mention.

Photo from one year ago today, November 26, 2013:

One year ago today, we completed boxing up 40% of our clothing and shoes to give away when we’d accepted the fact that further lightening our load was imperative to avoid continuing excess baggage fees.  More photos of the clothing we gave away are shown in this link.  Please click here.