Exploring July 1 throughout the years…

July 4, 2012: Excelsior, Minnesota (still in the USA). Here’s the link to the post.

Our favorite spot on our lawn, where we lounge in “comfy” outdoor chairs at our old home in Minnesota.

We thought it would be fun to review the first day of July over the years of our world travels, beginning with our first year of posting in 2012. If there wasn’t a post on July 1, we’ll add it for the next closest post, including a photo. Enjoy!

July 1, 2013: Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. Here’s the link to the post.

Our enchanting neighborhood was far removed from neighborhoods in the US and many other countries. Our temporary home was next door to the clock tower in the upper right. It was fun to see it from this vantage point.

July 1, 2014: Campanario, Madeira, Portugal. Here’s the link to the post.

There are some areas where flowers continue to bloom. Although, we’ve noticed a decline in the number of summertime blooms.

July 1, 2015: Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. Here’s the link to the post.

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

July 1, 2016: Singapore. Here’s the link to the post here.

Tom likes these “wienie wraps in Singapore, a food haven!” They are SGD 1, or US $.74.

July 1, 2017: Minnesota, family visit. Here’s the link to the post.

While visiting family in Minnesota, we stopped at a few favorite spots—boats at one of many marinas on Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata.

July 1, 2018: Marloth Park, South Africa. Here’s the link to the post.

We were at the Marloth Park, South Africa Honorary Rangers Winter Fair entrance.

July 1, 2019: While still in Marloth Park, South Africa, we booked our trip to India for 2020. Here’s the link to the post with the upcoming itinerary.

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

July 1, 2020: Mumbai, India, during the ten-month lockdown in a hotel room. With no photo ops, we share older posts, including photos from a past post. Here’s the link to the post.

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

July 1, 2021: Frankfurt, Germany, from South Africa, during a layover on our way to the US to visit family. Here’s the link to the post.

We spotted elephants in Kruger National Park only a few days before leaving South Africa.

July 1, 2022: Marloth Park, South Africa. Here’s the link to the post.

Venomous processionary caterpillars next to the house. The locals refer to them as “Satan.”

July 1, 2023: The Villages, Florida. Here’s the link to the post.

We got a booth at a fun restaurant in The Villages. As always, we had a great time chatting.

July 1, 2024: Residence Inn by Marriott, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA. Click the link in the address bar for today’s post.

The Residence Inn by Marriott is comparable to an apartment complex, although it is a hotel. The rooms are all suites, large with kitchens and comfortable. This is a good spot for us while we wait for the Cleveland Clinic.

We hope you enjoyed the review of these 13 past posts, mainly on July 1.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 1, 2014:

The rose blooming season in Madeira was almost over. Yet, when I walked in the neighborhood, I continued to find a few new blooms. For more photos, please click here.

Photo shortage…Photos from five years ago today…The island of Madeira Portugal…

These old stone tunnels are common throughout Madeira.  To see this five-year-old post, please click here.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
“The population of
Ireland currently sits at around 4.5 million people, which is still almost 4
million less the population before the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852.
However, it has been reported that almost 80 million people around the world
have Irish passports. Up to half the entire population of Australia claim Irish
ancestry, while just over 39 million Americans believe they are part Irish.”

With all the wind and rain this week we haven’t been out to take photos.  This creates a certain amount of concern as I struggle to share photos for each day’s post.  

This fact has been a constant dilemma when at times, especially lately, I haven’t felt up to going out.  Now as we wind down our time here, leaving in 15 days,  I doubt we’ll go sightseeing before we leave.
There’s a substantial Catholic population on the island.  It’s not unusual to spot a shrine of the Virgin Mary in public areas such as this.
I’ve kept track of the interest by our worldwide readers when we post sightseeing photos and oddly, there are no fewer readers when we haven’t been sightseeing, taking lots of photos.  I can’t quite figure out this dilemma.

At this time, with the ongoing realities of my continuing recovery, I don’t feel like riding in the car for hours at a time.  Instead, we’ve decided to only go out when we have to shop in these remaining days in Connemara.
There are a few sandy beaches on the island.  Most are rocky such as this.
In the interim, I continue to walk, climb stairs indoors and walk the big hill from the driveway (which I haven’t done in a few days due to bad weather, fearing the slippery rocks could result in a fall).  

Perhaps I am babying myself.  Its what I feel like doing right now.  We’ll be plenty busy when we get to Amsterdam and two days later board the cruise with many ports of call we’d like to see.  
As we drove through a village, this bell tower warranted a stop.
We apologize for this “change” over the next 15 days but once we’re on the move, many photos will follow.  In the past over seven years since we began posting, (March 2012), there have been few occasions when we didn’t post photos, except perhaps for the first year before we became excited about taking photos.

Sadly, we didn’t do what we’d hoped to do while in Ireland, mainly further explore Tom’s ancestry and sightsee.  For now, the timing wasn’t quite right and the distances required to do so would have resulted in six or more hours of driving each day.
This village was decorated for the upcoming banana festival which occurred over the prior weekend.
Had I not had the dreadful surgery in February, everything would have been entirely different.  But, this is our current reality.  And, as hard as its been, we’ve made every effort to stay upbeat and positive.

Without getting out much, writing here has been challenging.  Much to our delight, our readership hasn’t faltered during this less exciting period.  Thanks to each and every one of you for sticking with us.  
Soon, it will become more exciting as we work our way toward our upcoming travels, cameras in hand and enthusiasm in our hearts and minds.  No doubt, we too, have missed the excitement.
Ironically while in Madeira, Portugal, Tom got a kick out of this sign for an Irish Sports Bar with a photo of a camel on the sign.  We couldn’t quite grasp the significance of the camel and Irish.  There aren’t any camels in Ireland, are there?  Not that we’ve seen thus far.
Over the next few weeks, we will add photos from past adventures often going back as many as seven years.  During the last week, we’ll begin posting our favorite photos of Ireland and then, a few days later we’ll be in Amsterdam.

Yesterday, we wrapped up our travel health insurance.  From August 11th, when we board the ship to November 8th when we arrive in the US, we’ll be covered including my preexisting conditions.  

The total cost was for the short term policy for both of us was Euro 1113,  US $1240, half as much as our old policy which no longer covers my preexisting condition.  This gave both of us peace of mind.  (The policy doesn’t cover time spent in the US).

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  See you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, July 24, 2018:

We took this photo on Volstruis Street.  The word volstruis means ostrich in Afrikaans.  For more photos, please click here.

1000th post today!…How did we ever come to this?…A fabulous video to share!…Please check it out!…

It took considerable time to get this video. Finally, Tom suggested I kept the camera opened and ready when we realized if I stood up to take the video, he’d stop singing. As a result, part of this video is through the screen door to the lanai, my view from where I was sitting at the time. Enjoy this simple video with us for the magnificence of Mother Nature and for the world around us, whether it’s a little bird or a Goliath rhino. It all matters.

Today we’re posting for the 1000th time. How did this happen so fast? Where did the time go? When we look back at prior posts we realize that so much has transpired, that we’ve had so many diverse experiences.

Often we noticed digitally enhanced photos of roses with raindrops. This photo is exactly as we took it when we walked after a rain shower a few days ago.

It’s hard to believe that on March 14, 2012, I sat down in my comfy chair in my old life and wrote the very first post found here? In the early days, I wrote sporadically as is the case for most bloggers. 

There are numerous varieties of Anthurium these included.

At that time, I seldom included photos for which I used my less-than-ideal smartphone camera, with little knowledge on how to adequately use the digital camera we had. 

It was only after we left the US on our first cruise that we purchased the first of three digital cameras we’ve since owned, each a little more sophisticated than the other. Finally, I began to learn to take photos and include photos in the posts which has proven to be an ongoing learning experience but pure labor of love.

Apparently, this is a Giant Sunflower, the first we’ve seen in our neighborhood.

There was a gap in time from leaving Minnesota until we first left the US, from October 31 to January 3, 2013, slightly over two months. Originally, when we were completing our paperwork to leave the US, we decided to rent a vacation rental in Scottsdale, Arizona for a few months.

This way, we’d be close to eldest son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, my sister in Los Angeles, and Tom’s sisters who spent the Minnesota winters in Apache Junction, Arizona each year. 

Often ambitious gardeners plant these parasitic type pods to a palm tree in order to grow more orchids. 

With plans to get together for the holidays of 2012 with all of the above family members, and more we also rented a vacation home in Henderson, Nevada for a week, leaving behind the rented condo in Scottsdale which had no room for overnight guests. We had a blast, to say the least.

During the remainder of our time in Scottsdale, we kept busy taking care of “paperwork” and other tasks associated with leaving the US; taxes, banking investments, lowest ATM fees, and exchange rate credit cards, new computers, phones, and digital equipment and on and on.

Close up of the orchids growing on the above parasitic pod is eye-catching.

We were busy almost every day of those two months in Scottsdale working on all of the above, taking walks in the neighborhood, going out to breakfast at a favorite local restaurant, US Egg, and fine-tuning our scheduled bookings for the upcoming two years. 

Packing in those days was a nightmare. We had 17 pieces of luggage. Now we’re down to two large, one medium, one computer bag, and a purse, for a total of five items. Big difference. Now, we can pack in 30 minutes. Then, it took days.

A new little palm tree had sprouted at the base of this tree.

After the holidays and saying goodbye, we left Henderson to return to the Scottsdale condo on December 27, 2012, for the few remaining days until we were ready to leave for San Diego, California for our first-ever upcoming cruise which was scheduled to sail on January 3, 2013. 

We loaded everything into Tom’s car and on January 1, 2013, we drove to San Diego to stay with my niece and her husband for two nights. On January 3rd, we drove to the pier in San Diego, spotted our ship, the Celebrity Century and for the first time the excitement kicked in. 

It looks like these are impatiens a popular shady area flower we often planted in Minnesota.

My sister Julie, her partner, and Richard met us in San Diego at the pier. Julie wanted to say goodbye and Richard came to say goodbye and to take the car off of our hands, later to sell it. Wow! How this all worked out so well still baffles us.

The excitement, the trepidation, the uncertainty, and a bit of fear washed over both of us. As the ship sailed away from the pier we looked at one another as we stood on the deck of the ship and Tom said, “Can you believe we did this?”

We were baffled when we spotted these buds unsure of what they’d become.

I shook my head as I looked deep into his blue eyes, “No, I can’t believe we did this.”

In time, the fear wafted away to be replaced by an innate sense of adventure and excitement which remains firmly in place today, 1000 posts later. In 26 days the adventure will continue as we board yet another ship on cruise #11 since that date in January 2013. 

And then, we walked a little further to spot these, and we had our answer, more exquisite orchids.

In eighteen days at sea, we’ll be in Australia, living close to the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, the ocean, the jungle and wildlife galore, Funnel Web Spiders, Tiger Snakes, and crocs. Now, we’re talking adventure!

Thanks to all of our readers all over the world who have followed us, written to us, challenged us. Thanks to all the contributors to our site. Thanks to all the wonderful people we’ve met in our travels, on cruises, on beaches, at vacation homes, who invited us to social events, and to all of the people who assisted us in one way or another. 

A different arrangement of orchid buds.  We’re looking forward to when these all bloom, hopefully in the next 25 days while we’re still in Kauai.

We are humbled.  We are grateful and most of all, we’re in awe of the world around us. Let’s see what happens over the next 1000 posts!  Whatever it is, you’ll find it here, each day when you turn on your laptop, desktop, iPad, iPhone, or smartphone to see what’s happening, in the life…

Have a terrific Tuesday!

                                               Photo from one year ago today, April 28, 2014:

Houseman Samir warned us about purchasing spices from open containers such as these which were often stale or contaminated. Since Madame Zahra did all of our cooking, we had no use for spices during our period in Morocco. For more details, please click here.

A trip to the barbiere (barber)…A new haircut plan in new place…More lessons learned…

Driving around, we yelled to two gentlemen sitting outside, “Uomo Barbiere?”  They kindly pointed us in the direction of this salon, serving the needs of women (donna) and men (uomo)

Yesterday, while driving around Pescia, Italy, searching for a barbershop, it dawned on us that most likely Tom will need a haircut in each country in which we’ll live for a period of two to three months.

Leaving the US last January, we’ve since lived in two countries for approximately three months, Belize and now Italy, (we were in the United Arab Emirates for only two weeks). By next July, we’ll have added four more countries in which we’ve lived, a mere pittance based on the number of countries in the world.

Prior to leaving Scottsdale, Arizona where we resided for two months, he’d had his final US haircut for a very long time.  So far, his favorite was the haircut in Belize with Joel McKenzie, under the tree on the plastic chair atop the cement blocks.  If you haven’t seen these photos, look for the post in the archives from March 13, 2013.

Most guys have a regular barber they see at certain intervals. For some, the quality of the cut is less important than others.  For Tom, with his full head of thick, almost white hair, it matters. It matters to me as well, more that he’s happy with it than my having to look at him all day and night.

Luckily, I am able to take care of my own hair, manicures, and pedicures.  I learned this years ago when I found myself squirming impatiently in a beauty salon, anxious for it to be over.  This is quite helpful now as we travel.  Plus, it saves tons of money better spent on other more important aspects of our daily lives.

Tom, relaxing and ready for his haircut with Barbara.

The Euro $20 (US $26.06) he paid for his haircut included a 30% tip, although he wasn’t thrilled with the cut, definitely no fault of the stylist.  Most certainly, it was a result of the language barrier.  We learned a valuable lesson yesterday:  translate what one would like done in advance, showing it to the barber or stylist before they begin cutting, if possible, including photos.

Fortunately, the upcoming haircuts he’ll need will be in Kenya and South Africa  where English is spoken freely.  In Morocco, we’ll have staff that will translate for us. 

After Morocco, we’ll be in Madeira, Portugal for almost three months where Portuguese is spoken. We’ll translate instructions at that time. So far, we know one Portuguese word, “obrigada” which translates to “thank you.”  We’d better start working on a few more words.

Smiling and hopeful for an easy summer “do” Tom was at ease.

Between us, we’ve learned enough hand signals and Italian words that enabled us to carry-on somewhat of a conversation with “Barbara” pronounced bar-ber-a) yesterday as she cut Tom’s hair.  She told us in Italian that she grew up in Pescia, has three children, 8, 13, and 16, a husband, and has been a stylist for both men and women for 20 years. While at the salon, we met her 13 years old “bambini” hoping she spoke English.  No such luck. 

Barbara asked us, about us, where we were from, where we were going. Dumbfounded, Tom and I looked at each other wondering how to explain. Somehow, we managed to convey that we are living in Boveglio for the summer, are traveling to Africa soon, have four adult children and six grandchildren. 

Hand signals conveyed the grandchildren’s part. I had yet to hear the word for grandchildren which I’ve since researched in Google Translate. It’s “nipoti.”  Some words make sense in translation, reminding us of a word in another language; English, French, or Spanish.  This one, I couldn’t get for the life of me.

Lots of Tom’s gray hair on the floor.

Apparently, our communication methods didn’t serve us well enough. As Barbara neared the end of Tom’s haircut, the top standing straight up, she asked if he’s like some “butch wax” while holding up the container. He cringed shaking his head an emphatic “no” all the while with a forced smile on his face. 

Later, in the car, he said, “I didn’t want to look like Bob’s Big Boy. She was going in that direction!”

I agreed that was true, based on the photo he’d shown her.  When packing for our flight from Dubai to Barcelona in June, we’d tossed an 8-ounce tube of hair gel. Bringing it along would have cost another $5 in excess luggage fees. Thus, we’d have had no way to maintain Bob, had he liked that look.

Here it is, the haircut. Maybe in a few days, it will take shape. I’ve offered to reduce the length of the top for him. He declined my offer.

“Give it a few days,” I said.

Having perused a substantial book of men’s haircuts while he sat in the chair, we observed all youngish chisel faced models in their 20’s. There was nary a cut befitting a mature adult male. The one he ultimately chose, had the sides cut as he’d prefer, but the top was definitely in the Bob category. Trying to explain this to Barbara was fruitless. We couldn’t come up with anything other than a “scissors snipping” hand signal to take more off of the top
We take full responsibility for the cut. Barbara is surely a very fine stylist. My well-intended interference and our lack of communication skills inspired the end result.  He’ll live with it and see what happens in three months from now in Kenya. 

Living in the world is a never-ending lesson. Some experienced travelers we’ve met over the years talk as if they have it all figured out. We’ll never figure it all out. Each area, each country has its own unique customs, modes of living, and nuances that one can only become privy to over a long period of time. 

Two to three months in any country will never be long enough to learn the language and those nuances, that in the end, for us, make it all the more enjoyable.