What a great night!…Minnesota Meet & Greet was a great hit!…Thanks to everyone!

Marie and Bill started following us at the beginning of our posts which began in March 2012. It was Marie who inspired the fabulous idea of the “Meet & Greet.” Thanks, Marie and Bill! It was wonderful to meet you in person at long last and fun to meet another couple who are “glued at the hip” like us!

It couldn’t have been a better evening!  Our readers came from as far away as Wisconsin with several of our guests driving from distant locations in Minnesota.  No words can express how grateful we are for the opportunity to meet and see some of our readers/friends from here in our original home state.

Then, a handful of wonderful old friends also showed, adding further to the experience of the evening at Grizzly’s Wood-Fired Grill located next door to our hotel in Plymouth, MN. 

The restaurant did a perfect job in handling our Reader’s Meet & Greet. We’d decided to host the food, which consisted of happy hour appetizers and pizzas, and leave the purchase of drinks and cocktails to the guests.

My friend Chere with me last night with whom I’ve stayed in very close touch all these years of travel.

Grizzly’s staff was impeccable in serving the drinks with separate tabs and serving the starters seamlessly in a steady flow as the guests arrived. The food, the service and surprisingly the usually noisy ambiance worked quite well. 

Before the event, we were a little concerned the usual happy hour music would impede conversation, but as it turned out, they lowered it a touch for us, and we were able to talk without hollering.

Earlier in the day, I’d made an agenda for a short presentation but had to toss it to the wind based on the setup and background noise. But, as it turned out, it didn’t matter after all. Everyone seemed to have a good time chatting amongst themselves when Tom and I were busy moving about in an attempt to visit with each of our guests.

Us with Jodi and her lovely daughter Meredith. Jodi is often included in conversations when we describe our “friend/reader in Minnesota who reads our daily posts on the bus on the way to work each day. Jodi, your generosity was shocking and unexpected. Thank you for your kindness and love. Even we are speechless!

It was fun to observe how many of our guests had so much in common with the other guests they’d never previously met. Many went to the same schools, knew each other’s friends and had similar experiences. 

Several in the group are big fan’s of Tom favorite radio show, KSTP AM 1500’s “Garage Logic.” I could hear the laughter when they mentioned the familiar lingo avid listeners have come to know. 

Many in the group had been following us since the onset of our travels while others joined in along the way. Many had found us based on a local newspaper story about our upcoming travels, published in 2012, before the time we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012.

Friends Peggy and Maury, we’re so happy you came!

Tom and I were reeling from the sheer joy these enthusiastic readers/friends brought to us last night, driving in rush hour traffic with endless detours due to seasonal road construction and for taking time out of their busy schedules to share a bit of life with us. We are humbled by their interest and so grateful to see some of our readers face to face.

For those of you in Minnesota who were unable to join us, we appreciate your kind email and Facebook messages expressing your disappointment in being unable to attend. You, too, will be in our hearts as we continue on our journey outside the US on August 1, 2017, in a mere 51 days.

Our dear old friends, Lisa and Brian, an extraordinary friendship for 30 plus years in the making.

We’re hoping to conduct similar events in other parts of the world down the road including upcoming in Las Vegas on July 21st. (The location is yet to be determined until after we arrive in Nevada on July 7th to check a few possibilities in easily accessible venues). 

In all, the cost for us (since we always post the cost of everything we do) was $183, including $50 in tips for the helpful staff. Grizzly’s prices are reasonable both during happy hour and after.

Joanette and Denny. I share low carb recipes with Joanette in Facebook and am thrilled to have them both sharing our journey with us. Joanette surprised me with two of the most delicious chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever had, all low carb, grain and sugar-free.  I ate one last night and will enjoy the second tonight. Thanks so much! The recipe, please, Joanette!

After the evening ended and I ordered a salad (none of the appetizers worked for me) and we were on our way back to the hotel, unable to wipe the smiles off our faces for an evening well spent.

We apologize to those who’s photos we didn’t take. Engrossed in lively conversations, we missed several photos ops with others who had kindly joined us.

Writing about Joanette’s cupcakes makes my mouth water. I can’t wait to savor the last one of the two she’d baked for me. When I have a kitchen again, I plan to make these!

Thank you, dear readers/friends. As much as we’re enjoying our time in the US visiting family and friends, we anticipate being “back in the world” again as we continue on, sharing our adventures along the way…

Be well.  Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, June 10, 2016:
Tom asleep on the locomotive, early 90’s, while deadheading (being transported to another location while not on duty).  Technology story on last year’s post shown here.

Comment from a reader…Keep those comments and emails coming our way!…

Painted performers at Circular Quay.

Regardless of the content (except offensive comments), we generally post comments we receive from readers. At times, we receive comments daily, and at other times, we may not hear from our worldwide readers for several days.

Visitors from all over the world visit the popular area of Circular Quay.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, we love hearing from our readers and promptly reply within 24 hours, usually earlier, providing we have access to the Internet. The same goes for email, even when we may receive dozens of email messages within any 24 hour period. 

Some of the comments we receive are spam, advertising for a wide array of products and services, none of which we care to share with our readers. However, if we encounter a product or service that may benefit our readers (such as a coupon for products they may use), we may mention it within the body of a post.

This is the ship, Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, that we hope to be able to board on April 22nd to bring us back to North America for a nine-week family visit.

A few days ago, we received the comment below from a newsreader that makes us chuckle. Of course, we were happy to have the new reader onboard, but it confirmed how misleading it could be to start reading our posts part way through.

Reader said…

“OK, silly question, If you are gone for more than a month, why not have a lawn service cut your grass? I am new to your blog, and you might address it. We are going to be doing some of this once we retire.”    

Jessica said…

“Dear Reader,

Perhaps you haven’t had an opportunity to read more of our posts, but actually, we sold everything, and we don’t have a lawn, a house, a car, or storage. So instead, we have 3 checked bags and 2 carry-on bags as we travel the world for 53 months to date. Thus, no lawn to mow.

Thanks for stopping by,
Jess & Tom”

Our upcoming cabin is located two decks above these two lifeboats in the approximate center in this grouping.
In jumping into our almost 1700 posts (today is post #1699) out-of-sequence would make it impossible for a reader to grasp the comprehensive nature of our five years of posting (beginning on March 15, 2012) and the life changes we’ve made to embark on this journey over the past 53 months.
We certainly understand how reading partway through our story could be deceiving as to how and why we’re living this nomadic life. Most would assume we have a condo, house, or apartment somewhere, a place to go to repack, do laundry, catch up with family and friends and take care of business.
Tourists dressing in rain gear to partake in a high-speed boat tour in Sydney Harbour.
Alas, we are wanderers, free from the encumbrances of owning “stuff,” opening mail, washing windows, and of course, “mowing the lawn,” as the writer mentions above. 
Looking up, we observed people on the popular attraction, the Bridge Climb on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The walkers are tethered to a railing as they make the walk. 
Yes, if we had a lawn, we’d certainly arrange for it to be mowed in our absence. But, that’s not our life, nor will it be anytime in the future if we can help it. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with having a home of any type with its accompanying belongings that many treasures after a lifetime of accumulating a variety of personal treasures.
Could it be that the Bridge Climb is not as scary as it looks from below once up there?
Many people we meet on cruises say to us, “Oh, I could never do that!” Yet, when we tell our story, we rarely encounter anyone interested in living as we live. On the contrary, we totally respect and understand that. Nor do we tell our story with the intent of convincing anyone this is the ideal lifestyle. For most, it is not. 
Customs House now contains shops and restaurants.
It just happens to work for us. In the process, we meet many travelers who spend the better part of each year traveling to interesting and exotic places, many of whom have done so for many more years than we have. We love hearing their stories and suggestions.
McDonald’s is in almost every big city in the world.
Then again, we love hearing the stories from others of their pleasant home lives, wherever they may be, enjoying their surroundings and the lives they built for themselves and their families. It’s easy to recall the pleasure we gleaned in our old lives as well, for those very same reasons.
Department of Lands Building Clock Tower in Sydney.

Today, we’re heading out with Bob for a little shopping. Last night, he joined us for dinner, which, not surprisingly a delightful lengthy conversation. He’s had an interesting life which he freely shares in detail with heartfelt emotion. So, again, we’ve been blessed with another very special landlord who will surely become a lifelong friend.

Happy day to all.

Photo from one year ago today, March 21, 2017:

One year ago today, we booked our current holiday home with this garden and view, including chaise lounges, a gas grill, and an outdoor dining table overlooking the bay in Fairlight/Manly. For more photos, please click here.