Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!…A new year, a new decade, a new beginning…

On this date in 2013, this foot-long insect on the wall by the bathroom door in the master bedroom made us cringe. Tom as always, disposed of it outdoors, but of course, didn’t kill it. Sleep didn’t come easy the remainder of that night, fearing that the rains of the prior few days may have brought more of these ugly things indoors. For more photos from that date, please click here.

Many times, in the past seven years, we’ve chronicled our year in review on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll list where we’ve traveled in 2019 with snippets of what transpired during those travels. 


As our readers know so well, this has been a tough year for us when on February 12th I had triple coronary bypass surgery with many complications. We won’t get into all of that. 


We’ve said enough and appreciate the patience of our readers who saw us through that difficult time and stayed with us, continuing to read our daily posts. That month I only uploaded 16 posts when I was unable to prepare posts during the first two weeks after surgery. 


In tomorrow’s post, we‘ll breeze by that period when in May we were “on the move” once again, albeit with a certain amount of trepidation and fear.


Instead, now, we look to the future with hope and optimism that we’ll be able to continue on for years to come. But, we’ve both decided over the past few months that we cannot and will not dwell on fear or apprehension of what could happen. 


We could all get caught up in this state of mind, even those in great health. None of us know what the future holds and we can only do our best to maintain good health and a good attitude which ultimately may be instrumental in our quality of life and longevity.


Most of us can look back at our prior year and recall various circumstances causing us to worry and be concerned for ourselves, our loved ones, our circumstances. No one is exempt.


And, most of us choose to move forward, learn from our experiences, good and bad, and continue on the path we’ve chosen for our lives or in some cases choose a new path as we had done over seven years ago. It changed everything.


Rather than New Year’s resolutions, we find it helpful to look back over the past year to determine what we have learned, changes we have made and the changes we need to make going forward. 


It’s highly individual and we cannot imply or suggest that any of our readers/friends follow such a path. But, we find a sense of comfort moving into the New Year knowing we are doing the best we can to maintain a quality of life that brings us both joy and contentment. 


That being said, we wish each and every one of our readers a meaningful and purposeful New Year that fulfills your needs and wishes and brings you joy and contentment as well.


Happy New Year!

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Photo from one year ago, December 31, 2019:

Adorable giraffe at rest in Marloth Park. For more photos, please click here for more photos.

Social nirvana into the New Year…

We often encountered beautiful flowers when we walked the neighborhood in Pacific Harbor, Fiji on this date in 2015.

We knew that staying in Apache Junction would provide us with an opportunity to not only to spend enjoyable times with Tom’s sisters and spouses, but also with other resort residents we’d meet along the way.


Yesterday afternoon at 3:00 pm was no exception. When Colleen and Mary were invited to an afternoon “happy hour” of course, they ensured we were included as well.

When we arrived at Sue and Ed’s lovely park home, we were heartily welcomed. The group of eight of us engaged in lively conversation. As the afternoon wore on, word got out and four others showed up, all of whom we’d met at other parties over the past three weeks.


The 12 of us were a lively group and there was no shortage of chatter in the room. How they managed to squeeze enough chairs into the room to accommodate everyone baffled me. I guess groups this size must be a common occurrence with all the socializing.


When we’d brought up New Year’s Eve to Tom’s sibling none sounded enthused to going out to celebrate. Tom also hesitated to plan anything and yet, I’d have loved to go out to celebrate, especially if we could do so nearby.


There’s a New Year’s Eve party planned at the resort, but we’d heard the tickets were sold out. Ironically, last night a couple, Sue and Mike mentioned they were trying to sell their two tickets to the New Year’s Eve party for which they paid $64. They preferred to attend another party at a nearby resort.


The husband, Mike, was open for negotiations on the price of the tickets. He agreed to $50 for the pair. I offered $40. After all, the party occurs in only two days. He agreed to $45. I stuck to my guns at $40 and eventually, he agreed, knowing it would be unlikely he could sell them at this late a date.


Hostess Sue (lots of Sue’s here) suggested we sit with them and hang out with them at the party. We may know a few others in attendance, but this plan was most preferred.


This morning I baked blueberry muffins and just took a huge egg, sausage, mushroom and onion bake out of the oven to bring to Colleen and Gene’s home for brunch for the six of us. We’ll be watching the Minnesota Vikings game from Tom’s laptop on their big-screen TV using our HDMI cord.


Tomorrow, we’ll all celebrate Colleen’s birthday at the local bar and the next night we’ll attend the New Year’s Eve party. It’s quite fun being here. We’re enjoying every moment.

Have a fantastic day, dear readers! Go Vikings!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 29, 2018:

Tom took this photo of two hadeda birds on the roof of a neighboring property.  Click here to hear the sounds they make, which resulted in their name.  They are known as the loudest birds in South Africa. For more photos, please click here.

Part 3…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…They’re back!!!…Six years ago today…Itinerary re-post from one year ago.

We so excited to see the kudus and other wildlife returning to our garden as the holiday crowds dissipate.  

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

One of our two favorite frogs took up residence in this cute little decorative basket near the pool on the veranda.

This morning, two bushbucks, one duiker,  five zebras, and three warthogs stopped by at the same time.  Last night before the pelting rain began, 12 kudus and three warthogs stopped by for a snack.  We couldn’t toss the pellets quickly enough.  

Notice the pellet crumbs on her nose.  Often, there are lots of crumbs in the huge bags of pellets.  Most of the wildlife are happy to lap up the crumbs if we place them on the tile steps.  See more here at this link.

We’re so excited the animals have begun to return to our garden.  After all, that’s why we’re here…the wildlife and the people.  They’re all wonderful and have made this past year fly by in a flurry of activity.

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted this elephant digging a hole to access water in the ground below.  Please take a moment to watch our video at the top of the page.  See this link here for more.

The now working aircon in our main floor bedroom provided us with a good night’s sleep along with the fact the power stayed on for the past 36 hours.  Add the fact that today, for the first time in days, the temperature is cool and comfortable at 21C, (70F) and surprisingly doesn’t feel as humid as it had over the past several days.  What a welcomed relief!

Louise and Danie joined us for dinner that night at Kambaku, the popular restaurant at the golf course in Komatipoort, as we celebrated their belated birthdays.  We couldn’t be more grateful for all they’ve done for us.  See this link here for more.

Today, we’ll complete this three-part series of 2018, “Year in Review” and return tomorrow with our regular posts and all new photos as we see more and more wildlife each day as the holidaymakers have begun to drift away.

Our photo of the blood moon taken on July 27, 2018.  See this link here for more.

Holiday times are different in South Africa than many other countries. In the US, kids return to school the first day after the end of New Year’s Day.  But here, the return to school varies from public schools to private schools but may be as late as the middle of January.  This fact determines when many of the holidaymakers leave Marloth Park.

Not a night passes without an opportunity to watch these adorable bushbabies enjoy the yogurt we place on their little stand.  See this link here for more.
However, as we’ve seen from the gradual return of the wildlife to our garden, many may have left right after New Year’s Day.  At this point, we’ll see how it transpires over the next week or two.

What an animal!  We feel fortunate to have been able to get lion photos.  See this link for more.

This morning when Tom was reviewing past posts, he mentioned it was exactly six years ago today that we boarded our first cruise.  See here for the link. (At that time, we didn’t post many photos and didn’t do a post daily). In 80 days, we’ll be boarding our 24th cruise in Santiago Chile, ending in San Diego California.  

Mom and baby love.  See this link here for more.

It’s even hard for us to believe how many cruises we’ve experienced in this short period of time and other than a four-day back to back cruise in 2013, in the Mediterranean, we’ve loved every one of them.  

Every piece of art at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery was representative of Zambian culture.  See this link here for more.

The four-day cruise was during spring break and was crowed with highly inebriated, loud, demanding and pushing and shoving passengers.  It couldn’t have ended quickly enough for us.  

We were excited to get a view of the leopard’s face after waiting for a considerable period while Samson, our guide in Chobe National Paek in Botswana kept moving the vehicle for better shots.  Upon careful inspection of this photo, you can see the pads of the feet of her kill in the tree near her head.  See this link here for more.

Below included in our “one year ago today” feature we posted the itinerary which we’d included on today’s date in 2018.  Certain aspects of our itinerary have changed, including the first year that has since passed.  In the next few months, as we add more bookings, we’ll be updating the itinerary and post it here.  

Based on our position in the line-up of vehicles in Kruger our photo taking advantage was limited.  See this link here for more.

As the years have passed, we don’t feel the sense of urgency to fill in the blanks and extend the itinerary beyond two years.  Its less about being lazy and more about feeling comfortable that all of it will work out as we go along.

Stunning female lion – as a part of the Ridiculous Nine we spotted in a game drive in Marloth Park with friends Lois and Tom who visited for three weeks.  See this link here for more.

Tonight, we’ll be visiting Rita and Gerhard at their second condo at Ngwenya where they’re staying until tomorrow.  Then, much to their delight, they’re moving back to the Hornbill house where they lived the first month they were here and will stay until sometime in March when they’ll be leaving Marloth Park.

Tom, Lois, Kerry (our guide) me and Tom after a highly successful game drive in Kruger.  See this link here for more.

We’re hoping to see them in this New Year when they’ll come to visit us in Ireland during our three-month stay beginning in May.  We’re also looking forward to Kathy and Don visiting us in Ireland as well.  How fortunate we are to have made such fine friends.

We encountered this stunning scene of zebras and wildebeest from the fence at Marloth Park. One reason zebras and wildebeest hang out together is that zebras love to eat the taller grass and wildebeest the shorter grass – it’s a type of symbiosis. There is no competition regarding food.  Also, wildebeests have a better sense of hearing, while zebras can see very well. It’s always great to have an ally to warn of any impending danger.  Another reason is zebras and wildebeest prefer to be in the open savannahs…the concept of safety in numbers comes into play.  See this link here for more.

Then upcoming on January 14, friend Linda and Ken will stay here with us for a week.  They arrive from Johannesburg on the day that we’re having a birthday dinner party for Rita. Such good times with friends…we are so grateful.

We’ve so enjoyed spending time with new friends Rita and Gerhard who came to Marloth Park after reading our posts years ago.  Through our site, they found the holiday home they’ve rented and also found Louise to help them get situated.  They’ll be here in Marloth until March.  We look forward to many more exciting times together.  See this link here for more.

That’s it for today, folks.  We’ll be back with more tomorrow. 

May you find your day to be fulfilling and meaningful!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 3, 2018:

One year ago today, we posted the upcoming itinerary that included a total of 852 days, which is now down to 486 days since the first year of this itinerary has passed. Since that date, we’ve had a few modifications which we’ll include next time we update and post the itinerary. For details, please click here.


 Location 
Days
 Dates 
 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
20
 1/2/2018 -1/23/2018 
 Ushuaia, AR – Ushuaia, AR – Antarctica Cruise 
16
 1/23/2018 – 2/8/2018 
 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
2
 2/8/2018 – 2/10/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Bush home selected
89
2/11/2018 – 5/11/2018
  Zambezi River Cruise – Victoria Falls 
8
5/11/2018 – 5/19/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
89
5/19/2018 – 8/16/2018
 Uganda – See gorillas and the “Cradle of Mankind” 
7
8/16/2018 – 8/23/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
89
 8/23/2018 -11/20/2018 
 Mozambique, Africa (get visa stamped) 
1
 11/20/2018 -11/21/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
89
 11/21/2019 – 2/17/2019 
 Valparaiso, Chile – Rent vacation home or hotel
36
 2/17/2019 – 3/24/2019 
 Cruise – San Antonio, Chile – San Diego 
14
 3/24/2019 – 4/8/2019 
 San Diego, CA – Fly to Minneapolis, MN – Family visit
13
 4/8/2019 – 4/21/2019 
 Cruise – Fort Lauderdale, FL- Dublin, Ire (1-day hotel stay) 
15
 4/21/2019 – 5/6/2019 
 Ireland – Rent country house – Research Tom’s ancestry 
90
 5/6/2019 – 8/1/2019 
 Amsterdam, NLD – Hotel stay 
11
 8/1/2019 – 8/11/2019 
 Cruise, Baltic – Amsterdam, NLD – Amsterdam, NLD 
12
 8/11/2019 – 8/23/2019 
 England – Rent country home
62
 8/23/2019 – 10/24/2019 
 Southampton, UK – Fort Lauderdale, FL
15
  10/24/2019 – 11/8/2019 
 Henderson/Las Vegas, NV – Los Angeles, CA -Scottsdale, AZ 
25
 11/8/2019 – 12/3/2019 
 Ecuador – Galapagos – Rent vacation homes on islands
89
 12/3/2019 – 3/1/2020 
 Peru – Machu Picchu – Rent vacation homes, visit site 
30
 3/1/2020 –  3/31/2020 
 The Pantanal/Amazon River Cruise – Brazil (2 cruises)
30
 3/31/2020 – 4/30/2020 
 Number of days  
852

Part 2…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…An important decision has been made…

Two female rhinos on the trail of a nearby male.  See this link here for more.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We were hopeful on Monday when we had 13 kudus in the garden, thinking perhaps the traffic in Marloth Park was thinning out.  Today, we’ve had several kudus, bushbucks and the warthog mom and four babies.

Yesterday was another hot and humid day, leaving us soaked in sweat throughout the day.  Today, it continues.  Luckily, the power didn’t go out and we slept in one of the upstairs bedrooms with working aircon.

Linda, me and Kathy.  It was these two thoughtful friends that took me to lunch on my birthday, four years ago.  Now, we’ll all be together again to celebrate my 70th.  Wow!  See this link here for more.

We’re hopeful, the repair guy will come today and repair the aircon in our main floor bedroom where we have a dust-mite-free mattress, pillows, and covers.  The bed upstairs is a double and although we’ve slept in double beds throughout the world, a queen-sized bed is much more comfortable, especially when we both have a tendency to hog the center of the mattress.

Ken, Tom and Don making big faces for the camera!  See this link here for more.

We’re looking forward to aircon comfort in our main floor bedroom, hopefully, available by this evening.  From there, we hope the power stays on as it has for the past 24 hours.

We’ll always remember this birthday as a special event for both of us; celebrated life, health, our experiences and the fine friends we’ve made along the way.  See this link here for more.

This morning, it’ rained, a nice soaking rain needed in the bush at this point.  We were discussing the frustration many holidaymakers must be feeling after they came to the bush with lots of expectations, only to be sorely disappointed by some events that transpired.

While in Kruger, we spotted a rhino mom and her baby, born this season and still closely attached to the mother. See this link here for more.

It’s been outrageously hot, humid and there have been more power outages than we can count.  Kruger National Park has been difficult to enter with the crowds going as far as making reservations for a fee, to enter.  Once inside, they’ve had to deal with all the vehicles blocking the roads during a sighting.

This was a “tower” or “journey” of the eight giraffes who made their way to the only paved road in Marloth.  Note the eighth giraffe is to the far right in this photo.  See this link here for more.

On top of that, there has been less wildlife visiting the properties over the past several weeks due to the added number of people and vehicles in Marloth Park, certainly adding to the frustrations.

When “capturing” the Black Mamba it is imperative to immobilize the head close to the ground and raise the tail.  Tom managed to do this while it was desperately attempting to escape during his snake handling experience at Snake School.  The Black Mamba is the fastest snake on the planet.  See this link here for more.

As we often drive around Marloth Park for two hour periods, almost every day, we see few animals in the gardens of holiday homes, other than an occasional kudu or warthog.  

At a distance, they saw Dad coming their way.  The chick’s pace picked up the moment she spotted him.  Look at the far end of the dirt road to see him coming!  His feathers are dark.  See this link here for more.

We can only imagine the frustration of the holidaymakers dealing with these issues, as well as property owners and managers, dealing with the renter’s demands as a result of their frustrations.  It hasn’t been an easy situation. Some tourists have left earlier than they’d planned.

 I awoke Tom when this thing was walking on me.  With the light from my phone, I saw it and must admit, a little scream escaped my lips as I shooed it off my shoulder.  Yucky!  Look at those spiky legs!  Tom captured it in this plastic container and released it outside.  See this link here for more.

Today, we continue on with Part 2…2018, “Year in Review.”  In yesterday’s post, found here, we covered our cruise to Antarctica and the many stunning photos we captured along the way.  It was exciting for us, once again, reviewing each post for favorite photos to share in the post.

This was a common sight in Marloth Park a holiday weekend in April.  It’s packed with tourists sitting in the back of a “bakkie” which is Afrikaans for “pickup truck.”  Very dangerous.  See this link here for more.

Today, we’re including photos and links from the first half of the year up to and including June 2018.  Tomorrow, we’ll add a Part 3 which with so many photos, we found to be necessary.

Adorable baby Danie with his loving and attentive mom, Okey Dokey, our friend and driver from 2013 when she and her husband and baby came to visit.  He never stopped smiling and laughing the entire time they were visiting.  See this link here for more.

Of course, we want to “save” some favorite photos to share on the last few days of our one year stay in Marloth Park, including all the year’s expenses which we’ll include on the last day, February 14, 2019.  On that date, we’ll depart the park to spend the night in a hotel in Nelspruit, close to the airport for our early morning flight to Kenya.

This gorgeous feta, onion and lettuce salad served by dear friends Louise and Danie when they invited us for dinner was enhanced with edible flowers indicative of the attention to detail and creativity these two fine hosts possess. See this link here for more.

We made a very important decision in the past few days…we will return to Capetown, South Africa via a cruise on December 2, 2020.  However, we’ll fly to Namibia from there where we’ll spend three months and then return to Marloth Park.  

Alas, we arrived in Zambia to see the magical splendor of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Later that day we also went to Zimbabwe to see the falls from that country.  See this link here for more.

By then, the holiday season in Marloth will have passed and we can avoid or at least diminish some of our own frustrations during the holiday season.  No doubt, Namibia will have some challenges but we’ll have an entirely different set of expectations of our own.

None of the six of us or our guide Alfred could believe our eyes as we watched this male elephant build his mud pool in Chobe National Park.  We’ve seen a lot of elephants in Africa but this was a rare sighting for us.  See this link here for more.

As for yesterday and today’s photos, many of our long-term readers certainly have seen them in past posts.  However, we always have a new influx of readers and encourage them to click on the links we’ve provided along the way.

Check out those teeth on a croc we spotted while on the Zambezi River cruise. Crocs are able to replace each of their 80 teeth, up to 50 times in their 35 to 75-year lifespan.  See this link here for more.

It’s been a fantastic year, as we mentioned in yesterday’s post and we continued to smile when we reviewed the year’s posts and see all that we’ve accomplished and experienced along the way.

The harsh realities of the bush – This is a Bovine Tuberculosis infected kudu we spotted only the day after we were educated on this dreadful disease impacting mainly kudus in Marloth Park.  See this link here for more.

And, there’s so much more yet to come in the New Year.  Please stay with us as we continue on our exciting world journey.


 This video will remain as one of our favorites in years to come clearly illustrating the intelligence of elephants during a human intervention in “their world.”  Watch and you’ll see why.  See this link here for more.


Have a spectacular second day of the New Year!

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

We set up the tripod to take this photo of us in Costa Rica on October 31, 2017, the five year anniversary of our world travels which was posted in Part 2, our 2017 “Year in Review.”  For more, please click here.

Part 1…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…

It was fun to hold up our US flag on the ice floe in Antarctica. See the link here for more.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Perhaps the holidaymaker’s are beginning to leave the park when yesterday we had no less than 20 kudus stop by throughout the day, including this adorable young male.

This has been one of the best years of my life.  The adventures were many the challenges endless, and the opportunity to see parts of the world we only dreamt of.

A one or two-year-old Rock Hopper Penguin on New Island in the Falkland Islands yet to grow his full plumage.  See this link for more.

Tom always says, “The best year of my life is yet to come.”  OK, I’ll go along with that premise as well.  

  Closer view of King Penguin with a chick.  See this link here for more.

But, how in the world can we possibly top this past year visiting Argentina, Antarctica, spending a year in Marloth Park, and twice traveling to Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe…Chobe River, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls and cruising on the Zambezi River?  (More photos will follow in Part 2 tomorrow).

Tom certainly got it right when he captured this Black Browed Albatross chick with what appears
to be a smile. See this link here for more.

Today, included in our photos is a focus on our Antarctica cruise, surely one of the highlights of both of our lives.  We left Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 23, 2018, to head to Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southerly city in the world, to board the ship, the Ponant Le Soleal.

It was stunning to see all these Albatross atop these pods in their massive nesting grounds.

When the cruise ended on February 8, 2019, we returned to Palermo for two more days before we flew to Marloth Park on February 11, 2018, to begin this year-long stay, ending on February 14, 2019, in a mere 44 days.

This elephant seal on Steeple Jason Island didn’t care for our photo taking antics.  See the link here for more.

Going from the cold and ice of Antarctica to the heat and dust of Africa was quite an experience in itself.  But, in no time at all, we adapted to our new life for the year to come.  And, its been a grand year we’ll always treasure.

This is unreal…the Black Browed Albatross on Steeple Jason Island, remove tall grass from these massive “pod-like” structures, adding mud and vegetation to make it a free-standing pod on which they can nest. Here’s a young chick making a little noise while atop her/his elevated nest.  That’s amazing!  See the link here for more..

By far, that cruise was the most expensive cruise or venue we’ve experienced in our six-plus years of world travel.  We doubt we’ll embark on such a costly expedition in years to come.  It proved to be well worth the expense and we have no regrets.

Standing among the King Penguins was an experience we’ll always remember.  See this link here for more.

Last night we brought in the New Year at Royal Kruger Lodge, a four-star safari resort and spa here in Marloth Park.  Our host, Flo, and JJ did an exceptional job at making us feel welcomed. We been to several social events with Flo and JJ over the past year and found them to be a very special couple, with three children, teenage daughter, and a son and, a college-age daughter, all of whom attended the party.

This has got to be one of our favorite Antarctic photos, a Chinstrap Penguin lying on the rocks for a short rest with what looks like a winsome smile on his face.  See this link here for more.

Louise and Danie, longtime close friends of theirs ensured we had an invitation, along with Rita and Gerhard.  We couldn’t have had a more enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

We had to keep our distance from this delicate structure which would be a disaster for us in the small boat, where it to collapse near us.  See this link here for more.

Also, we knew a number of other guests in attendance of the party of 30 to 40 guests, staged poolside, at their stunning property, surely one of the most beautiful resorts/game lodges in Marloth Park.

There we were, sitting on a Zodiac boat in Pleneau Bay sipping on French champagne.  Was that ever fun!  See this link here for more.

We returned to the house at 1:00 am but didn’t fall asleep until after 2:00 am.  Fortunately, we both managed to get some sleep even without working aircon which hopefully will be repaired in days to come.  Also, we were thrilled to find we had power and could at least use the portable fan.

Both of us raising a glass in celebration of this special occasion.  The ships staff created an ice bar on a small ice floe.  We used the Zodiac boat to arrive at the floe, all set for French champagne.  See the link here for more.

Today, we’ll lay low and have a nice dinner on the veranda, hoping we’ll see as many visitors as we did yesterday before we left for the party close to 1900 hours, (7:00 pm).  

Both of us holding the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign.  See this link here for more.

We had no less than 20 kudus stop by; Little and his best friend; warthog friends Mike and Joe;  numerous bushbucks, and both female and male duikers.  Even Frank and the Mrs. made an appearance.  We hadn’t seen either of them in over a week.  I suppose holiday traffic has an impact on francolins (birds).

A face only a mother could love.  See this link here for more of our favorite photos from the  Antarctica cruise.

We’re wishing every one of our worldwide readers has an exceptional New Year, filled with the riches of life that even money can’t buy…the joys of nature and our surroundings, free for the taking, fulfilling in many ways.

Happy New Year to each of YOU!

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

Us, one year ago at the boutique hotel in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina where we awaited the Antarctica cruise beginning on January 23, 2018.  For more details, please click here.


Part 1…Our year in review…Photos of us…Happy New Year to all!…Photos from last night’s celebration in Buenos Aires…

 
Us, last night on New Year’s Eve 2017.

There are a few things we’d like to mention as we begin today’s post.  One, we aren’t able to post the entire year’s photos of us in review due to Wi-Fi issues with so many people online in the hotel right now. 


Our second concern is that yesterday we’d promised to post our new itinerary for the future but, for those same reasons and the need for us to pin down a few more ideas on this topic, which we’ll do today and tomorrow, we won’t be posting it until January 3rd.  Sorry about that!

Margaret and Con, our new friends from the UK joined us for dinner in the dining room at the wonderful Prodeo Hotel in Palermo, Buenos Aires.  See more New Year’s Eve photos below.

Also, in our year in review photos, we did not include photos of our family during the six week Minnesota visit. To see those photos, please visit our archives on the right side of the main page under the Amazon link where it reads “Previous Posts.”  There were so many photos it was difficult to pick and choose.  The dates to search are from the end of May 2017 to July 6, 2017.

Cute, boys and their cars!  Tom and a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500 in Franklin, Tasmania.


Tom and I had grocery shopped yesterday to purchase food and drinks for the evening’s activities which we were sharing with Margaret and Con in the hotel’s dining room (with the owner’s permission) since the items on their menu didn’t comply with my way of eating.

Since it would be a long night until midnight to welcome the New Year, we decided we’d meet in the hotel’s dining room at 8:30 pm with the food and drinks which Tom and I set up shortly before Margaret and Con arrived.

We were happy to have photos of Bob, our dear friend, and landlord in Fairlight, Australia in 2017.  Sydney is in the background.

We’d planned on meats, cheeses, nuts, bread, and crackers (for them) as appetizers followed up by roasted chicken and salad later on.  We never got to the roasted chicken and salad after eating so many appetizers. 

Christina, a new friend we made aboard ship hung out with us on silent disco night while her fiance slept. 

Tonight, we meet again, this time at 7:00 pm and eat the balance of our food and hang out for more delightful conversation.  The time to midnight flew quickly and before we knew it Linda and Bill stopped by our table to invite the four of us to join their group of friends on the rooftop for the fireworks display.

Tom standing by the king on the giant hand-carved chess set at Butchart Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Of course, the four of us were thrilled by the invitations as we made our way up to Michael’s penthouse apartment on the fourth level.  Michael is a full-time resident of Argentina and conducts his business from here.  The family is from New Jersey in the USA with homes in multiple locations.


My friend Chere with me when we had our Minnesota Readers Get-together. Chere and
I have stayed in very close touch during these years of travel.

The display was breathtaking during the 40 minutes we spent on the rooftop.  I haven’t taken many fireworks photos so I was challenged a bit with the settings in the dark which I’d failed to do in advance with such short notice.  As a result, I didn’t get many great photos.

Our waiter took this photo of us on our 26th anniversary of the day we met in Minnesota at this same location, now a different restaurant.

After the display, the four of us returned to our table in the dining room to finish our many bottles of red wine.  When I occasionally consume red wine (local Malbec is popular here) I usually don’t have more than one glass. 

Colorful fireworks display in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Eve.

Last night, while caught up in the flurry of the fun activity over the evening, I actually drank three glasses.  Ouch.  I’m sure feeling it today.  I suppose its a typical red wine hangover.  I guzzled down my mug of turmeric tea following by copious glasses of bottled water.

Big splash of light.

An hour ago, I headed up to our room to eat a few slices of cheddar cheese we have in our tiny fridge.  Later today, a nap will definitely be in order.  We never got to bed until 2:00 am, reminiscent of many nights on the most recent cruise when we were having “too much fun.”

Fireworks were on display in many areas of the city and we were in a perfect spot for viewing them, along with Margaret, Con, Linda, Bill and theirs and Michael’s friends.

Tonight, I’ll drink water instead of wine and hopefully, we’ll get to bed a little earlier.  One thing I’ve always known about a hangover, nothing like a good night’s sleep to cure it.  This doesn’t mean I won’t have a single glass of Malbec while out to dinner over these next three weeks until we fly to Ushuaia.

Linda and Bill, owners of the hotel invited us up to son Michael’s penthouse in the hotel to watch the fireworks at midnight.  What a spectacular view and display!

So…how was your New Year’s Eve?  We’d love to hear from you, either by email or posting on the “comments” section at the end of the post.  We wish the very best to each and every one of our worldwide readers and again thank all of you for making 2017 very special.  Love and hugs always!

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

The photo we posted last New Year’s Day of a local deli we frequented in Penguin, Tasmania.  For more photos, please click here.

Happy New Year!…Video from Sydney Harbour Bridge…Making errors throughout the year…

 
View of a local beach on a drive through the country.

This morning for the first time in a year, we posted “Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2016” that indicated “2016” as opposed to “2015.”  We’ll see how long it takes for me to make an error and post 2015 in this daily highlight regarding a photo from the prior year.

Its easy to make mistakes when writing every day of the year.  Since we began our travels in October 2012, we’ve posted as follows for each year:


Many ponds are found on farm properties.

2012 – 159 posts
2013 – 346 posts
2014 – 376 posts
2015 – 365 posts
2016 – 373 posts

With our goal of posting once a day, why did we post less than 365 times in 2013?  It was partway through 2013 that we decided to post daily.

Why during the years 2014 and 2016 did we exceed the 365 days a year?  Firstly,  2016 was a leap year adding one more day, February 29th.  Secondly, when we’ve flown or cruised frequently we often posted a short blurb earlier in the day, later uploading a more comprehensive post.


Farm field recently planted for warmer summer weather.

As for errors, they’re inevitable. As much as we’d prefer to be “error free” no matter how much proof reading we conduct we easily miss typos, grammar errors and my nemesis, paragraph spacing issues.

Let’s start with the paragraph spacing issues…Blogger has a flaw in its system.  Posting multiple photos has a bearing on the users ability to be able to correct line and paragraph spacing. 


Farmland on a sunny day.

Also, when the Wi-Fi connection is slow, line and paragraph spacing become a major issue.  If anything takes me the most amount of time, its attempting to correct the spacing.  This isn’t as much an issue in other blog editing programs such as WordPress. 

Why haven’t we changed from Blogger to WordPress?  We’d lose all of our stats and have to begin again, perhaps losing many of our past posts.  As an avid “numbers cruncher” and stats fanatic this would be awful. So we plod along using Blogger, hoping someday they’ll make changes to impact this one area of concern.


View of our vacation home from a nearby park. (Similar photo shown recently).

Beside the paragraph spacing issue, we make plenty of errors.  I can read and reread a post several times.  Once I upload the post, within moments, Tom is busy reading through every word and photo caption.  There is rarely an occasion when he doesn’t find any errors which I immediately correct per his suggestions. 

At times, I’m appalled by the nature of an error.  How did I not see this when reviewing the post?  I suppose its human nature.  We easily miss mistakes we’ve made.  That’s why they’re called mistakes.


Mom and her colt. 

As the New Year rolled in last night, while we watched the festivities in Sydney on TV for which we’ve included the this fabulous video, I considered making a New Year’s resolution for the first time in decades…no more errors in the posts.

But, as I contemplated this possibility, my eyes landed on our slogan at the top of our home page which reads:  “Wafting Through Our World Wide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity.”


Close up Bottle Brush plant.

In my old life, perfectionism was the order of the day, an endless objective, never fulfilled.  That’s changed progressively over these past four plus years.  We’ve finally neared the pinnacle of acceptance of our flaws, our idiosyncrasies and our eccentricities.  We’ll never strive for perfection again. 

Instead, we strive for ease, joy and simplicity.  Within this concept lies no accommodation for attempting to be perfect at anything.  The burden of striving for such an impossible goal has long since passed.


Bottle Brush plant growing in the yard of our vacation home.

So, instead of a resolution to avoid making errors when posting, we choose to accept the reality that posting 365 days a year (or more) is a breeding ground for errors. 

Of course, if we’ve misspelled or misrepresented information on an locale, an item we photographed, a culture or a people, we kindly ask you to let us know so we can make corrections accordingly.  We never intend to provide faulty information.  In this aspect there’s no margin for error.


Holland America cruise ship was passing by a few days prior to Christmas.

For the rest, we ask our readers to bear with us, knowing our intentions are genuine and heartfelt.  Accuracy will always be our goal…perfectionism will not.
Maybe we all may benefit from not being so hard our ourselves.  Its a lesson we continually strive to achieve.

May your New Year bring you personal acceptance, peace and love.  Happy New Year!

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


Riverfront property in the neighborhood in Pacific Harbour, Fiji.  For more photos, please click here.

Our year in review…Photos of us…Happy New Year to all!



 

We were on the Mekong River Cruise and tour in July, stopping at a the Kampong Cham temple in Cambodia.

It was a very good year.  Five months during the year, from June 1st to November, I was recovering from an injury to my spine which undoubtedly put a damper on many of our activities. 

In February for my birthday, me and Miss Jessica, an alpaca cria born under our watch while the farm owners were on holiday.

Out to dinner in February in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

We enjoyed an excellent dinner at this restaurant in February.

Healed and pain free, that’s all behind us now as we move into the New Year anticipating many more adventures and amazing experiences including the upcoming trip to the US in a mere five months.

Out to lunch at a winery in New Zealand in March.

Beside that difficult period, during which we still had many memorable experiences, we’ve had many exciting times in the following places and on the following cruises:

In July, Tom squeezing his way out of a narrow opening after crawling through a tunnel at the site of the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam.  He was very brave to do this and the crowd cheered when we made his way out.

2016 in review…

January:  left Fiji for cruise from Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand – 2 weeks
January – April: Alpaca farm vacation home in New Plymouth, New Zealand – 3 months
April – Cruise from Sydney to Singapore – 2 weeks
May – June:  Vacation villa in Bali, Indonesia – 2 months
June – July:  Boutique hotel in Singapore – 1 week
July:  Hotel in Vietnam and then on to Mekong River Cruise and Tour – 3 weeks
July – August:  Vacation home in Phuket, Thailand – 6 weeks
September – October: Returned to villa in Bali – 2 months
October (end) to December (3rd):  Cruise circumventing the Australian continent – 33 nights
December to present – Vacation home in Penguin, Tasmania where we’ll remain until heading to Huon Valley, Tasmania in mid January – 6 weeks

In Bali, lounging in the infinity pool.

In between all of the above, we spent 32 nights in hotels and took 10 airline flights (not counting layovers).  Whew!  Writing this here makes us realize how much we’ve moved about during this past year, especially when so much of it occurred during that difficult five month period.

We swam in the pool every sunny day in Bali.

Now, with only 16 days remaining until we depart Penguin, we realize how quickly time flies.  We could easily have enjoyed spending three months in Penguin. 

A visit to the Monkey Temple in Bali in May wearing the required sarongs.

No doubt, once we arrive in the Huon Valley after another long and interesting drive on an alternate route from our original drive through Tasmania, surely we’ll be thrilled to experience another part of this amazing state in Australia. 

On a port day in November during our 33 night cruise, we spent the day in Perth with friends
Michelle and Carlo whom we’d met on a prior cruise.  How sweet of them to
spend the time with us!

The world is huge.  We’ve only touched the “tip of the iceberg,” speaking of which, in one year and three weeks, we’ll be boarding the cruise to Antarctica.  Wow!  Its even hard for us to imagine how much we’ve seen thus far and how much we’ve yet to see in the future.

Tom talking during one of the two seminars we conducted on the 33 night cruise in November. Check out that hand moving with his words!

As the New Year rolls in tonight at midnight, we hope to be awake to share a kiss and to welcome in this new year of our world travels, of our lives and of this journey which for now, has no end.

Me, checking my notes, during one of the two seminars we conducted aboard ship in November.

Happy New Year to all!  May this New Year bring you the fulfillment of your dreams, an abundance of love and affection and enough laughter to rock your world wherever you may be!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 31, 2015:

In last year’s post we included photos from other New Year’s Eve, including this photo of us on New Year’s Eve including this photo from 2013 in Marloth Park, South Africa at Jabula Lodge where we’ll celebrate my birthday in a little over a year in February in 2018.  For more past New Year’s Eve photos, please click here.

Happy New Year!…Do we make resolutions? Do you?..Acceptance of aging in today’s world…

Riverfront property in the neighborhood.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  Tom explained the only resolution he ever made years ago was to quit smoking which lasted for eight months when he purchased a pack of cigarettes at the Minnesota State Fair the following summer.  He no longer smokes.

My resolutions of the past were always the same, common with many women and men; lose weight, exercise more or smarter.  I always worked out but never understood why I didn’t lose 10, 20 pounds or more as shown in yesterday’s photo.

Now summer in Fiji, more and more flowers have begun to bloom.

I never understood why working out 90 minutes at least five times a week had no apparent bearing on improving my health other than strength and cardiovascular endurance, until 2011 when I changed to my current way of eating. I’d already lost about 50 pounds in 2004 and kept it off for seven years through a very difficult-to-follow, low calorie, low fat diet. 

But, why didn’t my blood lipids improve on a low calorie, low fat 1400 calorie a day diet?  It was only after I began this low carb, high fat, grain, sugar and starch free way of eating in August, 2011 that my lipids greatly improved along with my health. 

Pretty blooms in the neighborhood on one of our walks on few less rainy day.

From 2011 on, I no longer had to count calories and monitor how much I consumed by eating only to satiety.  My ravenous hunger was gone along with years of pain and disability, enabling us to travel. 

Basically, I eat food in its natural state; grass fed, free range, organic without grains, sugar, starch and chemicals.  (Although I’m able to consume small amounts of full fat dairy; quality cheeses, real cream, sour cream, cream cheese and, yogurt without additives, sugar and fruit).

Modern house in the neighborhood with a name of its own.

With Tom following along in this way of eating, now at his lowest weight in many years, not smoking and feeling healthier than ever, he doesn’t feel compelled to adopt any new resolutions to tackle.  He’ll eat what he likes on the upcoming cruise and once we settle again, he’ll return to our healthy diet.  (I maintain each of my food restrictions while on cruises with the help of the usual conscientious chef and other staff, never experiencing too many obstacles).

As a result, we can’t think of a lot of resolutions we feel compelled to make in this new year.  Sure, we all have personality flaws and areas in our emotional lives that could prompt thoughts of a resolutions. 

Several times we’ve walked along to road beside the local golf course.

When one is happy and enjoying good health, its difficult to muster motivation to make any major life changes.  Are we cocky?  Not necessarily.  We’re  simply content.

Its ironic how as we’ve aged, we’ve learned a few basic life principals that may have been instrumental in easing many of the realities of aging and adding to our level of happiness:
1. We don’t need to analyze everything
2. What we perceive others may say about us may stem from their own experiences
3. We have choices we can make for our own happiness which others may perceive as selfish and that’s about them, not us.
4. Life is shorter than we imagined so live every moment to the fullest 
5. Physical signs of aging can be minimized with good health but gravity is more powerful than anything we may try to do in an attempt to defray it, so accept it with grace and dignity.


One of the green on the golf course.

6. Avoid disharmony.  Baloney…that “stuffing it” is bad for one’s psyche.  Doing so, gives us an opportunity to think over the situation later in a calm manner and if one can put aside ego and apologize, accept and rewarm the relationship, harmony and happiness is retained.  No snipping!  We’d bite our tongues before being snippy at one another.  Ignore grumpiness rather than get involved in it.
7.  Avoid stressful situations by planning ahead as much as possible.  When unexpected situations arise, breathe, think and come up with an mutually agreeable solution.
8.  Don’t worry in the middle of the night.  Everything is easier during the day when we have an opportunity to work on a solution.  (Its only been in the last year that I’ve learned to do this and am still working on it after considerable improvement).
9.  Take risks and stretch ourselves while making safety and health the first priority. Fear is good when it protects us, not so good when its irrational and immobilizes us.
10.  Appreciate, be humble, thank your God or higher power every day.  Pray, as well as take action, for the things we want to achieve.

The road along the golf course.

The above may not apply to everyone although we’ve found these ten points to highly contribute to our sense of well being making us grateful and fulfilled, while making these the best years of our lives. 

None of the above has anything to do with traveling and exploring the world and everything to do with exploring and developing our own personal growth and horizons.  We’re never too old to grow and learn. 

Happy New Year, everyone!  Its New Year’s day here in the South Pacific; very hot and humid with pouring rain. In three days the journey continues… 

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

Raging sea with heavy mist on this date on year ago on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  For more photos, please click here.

Its New Year’s Eve in the South Pacific….A happy, healthy New Year to everyone!…A long ago, goofy photo!




Hahahaha!  We sure didn’t look very healthy here on New Year’s Eve in 1999.  We were both overweight (40 pounds each heavier than we are now), on multiple medications and looked less healthy than we do today.  It goes to show that our way of eating coupled with a low stress, happy life can contribute to one’s state of health. 

For many years in our old lives we hosted New Year’s Eve parties often with a special theme requiring a little preparation for those so inclined.  If a guest preferred to come “as is” there was no ribbing, only good cheer that they’d decided to come out on what was often a very cold, below zero degrees F, (-18C) night in Minnesota.

On New Year’s Eve in 1999/2000, when much of the world was terrified something bad was about to occur at the turn of the hands of the clock to midnight, we had our last New Year’s Eve party with a change of the millennium theme. 

Tom and I dressed as “bugs,” computer bugs” specifically as shown in this photo, when many techies along with the general population worried that computers worldwide would crash.  Remember that?

Photo of us two months ago today, slimmer, healthier and happier than ever. Sure, we have a few more wrinkles than 16 years ago but who cares when we’re enjoying our lives and good health?

Sadly, that particular party, the first time ever, was a total bust. The weather was bad in Minnesota, the roads icy and without a doubt, a certain degree of fear left many preferring to stay home.  Only six die-hard party goers attempted the long drive to our home. 

We celebrated together, ending the night early so our guests could get home before the weather and the traffic with impaired drivers got any worse.  Over the next 11 New Year’s Eves, we didn’t have a big party instead getting together with our fabulous neighbors, greatly reducing the risk of getting home on a bad night.

Having left Minnesota before New Year’s Eve 2012, spending it in Scottsdale, Arizona after spending Christmas with family in Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada, we were busy finishing our preparations to leave the country on our first cruise on January 3, 2013 as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

New Year’s Eve 2013 in Marloth Park, South Africa at Jabula Lodge with Piet and Hettie.

On New Year’s Day, we drove to San Diego to stay with our niece and her husband for two nights while we waited to board the ship at the Port of San Diego. 

In these past three years, we’ve made little hoopla of New Year’s Eve except in 2013 when we attended a party at Jabula Lodge in Marloth Park with our new South African friends, Piet and Hettie whom we’d only met on Christmas Day at the same location. 

Having never met Piet and Hettie prior to Christmas Day, we shared a table that day when Jabula Lodge became packed and we’d offered to share, making an instant connection with this wonderful couple, friends for life.

Last year in 2014, we were still on the Big Island with two weeks remaining until we’d fly to Kauai for four months.  Our remaining three family members had traveled the two hour drive to Kona to swim with the manta rays on New Year’s Eve and stay overnight.  Tom and I stayed in settling into a quiet evening as the year wound down.

Our friends, Piet and Hettie with whom we spent Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve in 2013.  For more photos from that date, please click here.

There’s no disappointment for us in having another quiet New Year’s Eve.  Having the opportunity to spend them each year in different parts of the world provides us with all the excitement we need.  Down the road, should social activities ensue, we’ll certainly participate but, in the interim we’re thoroughly content.

We’ll play a little Gin, enjoy a good meal and perhaps, if the wifi signal is good enough, download a movie to watch after dinner. 

Yesterday, Susan, the property owner, arrived from another of her homes in Argentina with her significant other and stopped by in the late afternoon to say hello.  What a delightful woman, who ironically was born in Wisconsin, USA!  As a world traveler, a writer, a business woman and an adventurer, it was wonderful to hear her stories of frequent world travel.

They were busy with plans for a few days but surely, we’ll all get together in our remaining time in Pacific Harbour, now down to a mere four days.  Sunday, we’ll pack.  Monday at 7:45 am our driver arrives to take us to the airport in Nausori for a non-stop flight to Sydney. 

We’re ready to begin a New Year, grateful for the New Years of the past and hopeful for the New Years of the future.  May all of our readers have a safe, happy and healthy New Year!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 31, 2014:

Late in the day yesterday on December 31st last year, we spotted these whales.  The much anticipated fluke, the tail was the prize.  Wonderful!  For more details and photos from that date, please click here.