Too much time indoors?…

A beautiful white lily in the garden of our holiday home in Campanario, Madeira.

There’s no doubt about it: we’re spending a lot of time in our hotel room. It’s somewhat like an apartment with a living room, bedroom area, kitchen, and roomy bathroom, with the convenience of daily maid service. All we have to do is dishes, using the full-sized dishwasher, and do our laundry every Friday.

Our free time is abundant without a garden, lawn to mow, house to maintain, oil changes, and shopping for household goods. Monthly, we pay off our credit cards online, review retirement financials, and annually, prepare expenses for our accountant in Nevada to do our taxes.

We never go to Home Depot and seldom visit Costco when buying in bulk is not in our wheelhouse. On July 1, Tom has a hearing aid appointment at Costco, but other than that, we had little reason to visit the crowded warehouse store packed with items we didn’t need.

These days, while waiting for my upcoming appointments at Cleveland Clinic at the end of August, we have little to do other than shop for a few groceries here and there and get together with family and friends. I have no interest in shopping for clothing, knowing I’ll only be wearing pajama bottoms and button shirts for months after the surgery. I’ll purchase the items I’ll need from Amazon when the time comes, never having to go to a store.

As a result, we have little reason to be outdoors right now. It’s been raining most days since we arrived. As much as I’d like to walk outdoors, the uneven pavement presents a tripping hazard for my unsteady gait. Instead, I do steps indoors in our room, often standing in place, setting my phone timer to remind me to get up from sitting for extended periods.

We cringe when we talk about how much time and effort it took to get our home ready for spring and winter in Minnesota and how doing so monopolized most of our free time. I recall the angst I felt over knowing I had to get down on my hands and knees and plant flowers each year when it wasn’t ever an interest of mine.

Tom worked 12-hour days with two hours of driving time, leaving little time and energy for home projects. But, he, too, lived up to the responsibility of outdoor home projects while I handled the indoor tasks, washing windows, keeping the house clean and free of clutter, and on and on.

I know many enjoy doing all the tasks and have done so with enthusiasm. But that type of enthusiasm was beyond our reach, although we were both relieved when the tasks were done. We did them all. Now, having the freedom we’ve had over the past 12 years has fulfilled us in a way that is hard to explain.

We commend and recognize those who accomplish these tasks with joy and dedication and are proud of their finished work. We have always longed for more time to enjoy our home and its beautiful surroundings freely. Instead, now and especially over the past years, we’ve cherished our free time and our surroundings, but on a much larger scale…the world.

We are grateful for our experiences in all areas of our lives, including those before we began traveling and time spent with family and friends, which will remain constant. But, for now, the simplicity of our nomadic lives, whether indoors on a nice day or not, continues to be fulfilling in many ways.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 6, 2014:

This was the remaining tuna the truck fish guy in Campanario, Madeira, cleaned and cut for us after we gave Judite, our housekeeper, a good-sized bag, some of which we’ll cook over the next few nights. We sealed the remainder in Ziploc bags and froze them for future meals. For more photos, please click here.

Apprehensive about the four hour bumpy ride to Placencia…

Yesterday, I was feeling a little apprehensive about tomorrow’s upcoming trip to Placencia, Belize. The almost four hour ride through the mountains on bumpy dirt roads with one way bridges tends to make me slightly anxious. Tom, as usual, is totally at ease. I wish he were driving.  He’s the safest driver I know and he’s been on plenty of one way bridges in his 42 years on the railroad!

With the driver picking us up in Belize City at 12:30 for a quick trip to the FedEx store to drop off the XCom Global WiFi, we’ll be on our way.  We’re bringing along our four Contigo mugs filled with ice which usually keeps for hours, one quart of pre-made Crystal Light iced tea and one quart of purified water.

In a reply email from the owner of Little Cottage in Placencia we’ll be about two miles from a grocery store or restaurant. She suggested we stop along the way to buy some food for dinner until we figure out a form of transportation to get around.  Car rentals are $250 a day or more. 

Golf cart rentals may be our best option.  We can rent one for about $27 for three hours.  We figured we’d do this at least twice a week so we can go grocery shopping and I can work out at Robert’s Grove Hotel gym  ($39 a month). 
If we get the golf cart one morning a week, we can grocery shop and go out to breakfast.  The next time, we can get it in the afternoon, grocery shop again and then go out to dinner.  We’ll figure it out.  Also, I sent a request to a local vehicle rental company for a two month rate for a golf cart. They responded saying they’ll give us a price by tomorrow.

Norman, the owner’s property manager, will drive us anywhere for a nominal amount for gas and his time. We can ask Norman to take us sightseeing and to further explore the area. Placencia is far from the tourist hustle and bustle which is exactly what we’ve wanted although, it does have a busy downtown area with shops, activities, restaurants and services. 

The lifestyle in Belize will be very different from that which we’ve known and loved: no TV, limited Internet (the cottage has wireless but its unpredictable), no transportation round the clock. We’ll adapt.

Linda says the water in potable but “it may take time for our systems to get used to it.”
Does that mean we’ll get sick? It might be best to use bottled water. Hopefully, we’ll be able to eat uncooked vegetables. Life without salad is hard when eating my restrictive diet. Then again, when we travel to Africa in seven months, lettuce will be out of the picture entirely, along with any uncooked vegetables.

Nurse Marsha from the Travel Clinic in Minnesota firmly stated that we should use only bottled or boiled water for everything and tototally avoid any uncooked vegetables, including lettuce. 

Two schools of thought here.  Shall we bite the bullet and use the tap water, allowing our systems to “toughen up” even if it means a few uncomfortable days?  Or, shall we avoid it altogether as suggested by Nurse Marsha? I guess we’ll decide this tomorrow when we arrive. 

On our second week’s dose of the malaria drug, we’ve relived that neither of us is experiencing any side effects so far.

It’s now Monday morning. We’ve had breakfast and we’re sitting outside on the shop on the deck off the restaurant each of us reclining on two comfy sofas, a strong warm ocean breeze swirling around us, a fresh glass of iced tea in our mugs. 

Soon, we’ll go back to our cabin to begin packing, much easier this time since we’d only opened
a few of the many bags when we began this cruise one week ago today.

Today, we’ll buy two of the soft beach towels for sale on the ship at $28 each, well worth the price and two bottles of Courvoisier for Tom, liters at $35 each, a good duty free price. Belize allows tourists tobring one bottle of alcohol per person in the country.

The ship is swaying due to high winds but after 23 days at sea, we barely notice it. Could we
have developed “sea legs?” We both feel that we could cruise indefinitely.
Perhaps, down the road we’ll encounter a great last minute price on a “world cruise” that lasts for 120 days or more. 

Once situated in Placencia we’ll write a review and comparison of the two cruises we’ve experienced thus far, the Celebrity Century and the Celebrity Equinox. Definitely not experts after only two experiences, we’d love to document our observations while it is still fresh in our minds,
coming back later to see, after six more cruises, if we’ve changed our opinions.

We won’t be writing here tomorrow as it will be a long travel day. By Wednesday, we’ll update you on the process of getting off the ship, our perspective of Belize City, the four-hour drive on the bumpy road and photos of our new home, a cottage on the beach in Placencia.
Tom to the rescue…

The live show begins at 9:00 PM each night in the Equinox Theatre.  In order to get a good seat, it’s necessary to arrive at least 30 minutes before the show  begins. With the majority of the ship’s passengers 65 and over, it’s not unusual to see folks scrounging for seats as early as an hour before the show.

Seating in the Silhouette Dining Room each night between 6:30 and 7:00 PM, we’ve found we have time to enjoy dinner, the companionship of our “table mates” and a three course dinner with time to scurry off to the theatre for the show.

While comfortably seated on bar stools with cushioned backs at a high bar top table, we’ve had a “bird’s eye view” of the hundreds of passengers picking out where and with whom to sit. In itself, that’s been entertaining. “People watching” aboard ship can be quite an adventure.

Saturday night, we couldn’t help but notice an adorable couple, possibly in their 90’s, as they managed to find two seats to their liking. We laughed. Hopefully, that could be us in many years.

Yesterday afternoon, while cloudy and drizzling while out to sea, we decided to go to the 2:00 PM movie in the Celebrity Central Theatre, for the showing of “My Week with Marilyn”. Once again, arriving early to ensure a good seat, we perused the room for yet another 30 minutes of “people watching.” 

As the lights went dark, suddenly from out of nowhere, Tom bolted out of his aisle seat so fast, I didn’t know what happened.  There on the floor lie a little old man, of the couple we’d seen on Saturday. He apparently tripped while maneuvering to his seat in the darkened room and Tom with his hawk-like ability to scan the room, moved so quickly to assist him, it was
He reach the old man about 15 feet away in but two seconds flat, checking out his condition as he lay completely flat on the floor, helping him to arise after he insisted that he was uninjured.  Thanking Tom profusely for his prompt assistance, he was able to sit through the entire movie.  
When the movie ended, Tom again, dashed to the old man to see how he was feeling asking if he’d like further assistance. 
This incident, luckily without injury, reminded me of how safe I feel with Tom at my side. No matter my apprehension or fear, he’s at my side offering loving reassurance and comfort no matter the situation. His quick responses and ability to “think on his feet” put my mind at ease knowing he will be at my side through any “out of the box” experiences we may have along the way.
So… bumpy, mountainous, narrow road with single lane bridges, here we come! I’m ready for