A post from seven years ago…Has much really changed?…

Although rocky, the sandy beaches are beautiful.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Rotunda Hospital in Dublin opened its doors in 1745. It is the longest-running
maternity hospital in the world.”

We can’t quite grasp the fact that we’ll have been traveling the world for seven years in a little over four months, although we began posting in March 2012, before leaving the US. It’s interesting to look back at those old posts to see if we’ve changed our views and perceptions. Often, we’ll read a post from so many years back on the same date.

On June 20, 2012, ironically, we wrote the following, in part, at this link:

“The uncertainty of the quality of medical care in the many countries we will visit undoubtedly presents us with cause for concern. Overall, we are both in relatively good health after working so hard to improve it these past few years.

With our healthful low carb diet of organic, grass-fed meats and produce, exercise (mostly me), reduction in exposure to toxic chemicals in our home, low stress, and a happy relationship, we feel we can manage our few complaints easily from afar.

Fishing boats in the bay.

Our doctor will be available via the Internet should we have questions, and we’ll be well-armed with a wide array of preventive and emergency medications should an illness arise. In the past almost year, neither of us has had a cold, a virus, or illness requiring a trip to the doctor.  

Our recent medical appointments have been for the sole purpose of reviewing our travel medications, receiving our vaccinations, and having blood tests with an annual exam thrown in for good measure, all of which showed tremendous improvement from a few years ago. We are hopeful.

AWe should be fine if we don’t get bitten by a snake or warthog, break a leg, or have a sudden gall bladder or appendicitis attack, But, of course, we must plan for the possibility of illness in the following manner:

  • Emergency evacuation insurance
  • Supplemental insurance for Jess (Medicare won’t pay for any care out of the US). Only 60 at retirement, Tom will be covered by his regular insurance.  Proof of insurance documents.
  • Prescription processing from afar (as mentioned in prior posts, we’re awaiting a response from our prescription plan as to whether they will provide us with 12 months of prescriptions at a time).
  • Emergency medication for infections, bee stings, and allergic reactions (Epipen), and gastrointestinal distress.
  • Copies of all of our immunizations (proof of yellow fever vaccine required with passport upon entry into Kenya).
  • Copies of all of our prescriptions (if we are asked during customs inspections or through security).
  • First-aid supplies: Bandages, antibacterial and cortisone creams, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide (small bottles).
  • Over-the-counter medications.
  • Vitamins/Supplements we currently use.
  • Medical records for both of us (scanning these).
  • Optical needs: extra sets of glasses/prescription sunglasses for Tom,  three years of contact lenses for me.  Both of us are yet to have our final optical appointments.
  • Final dental appointments and supplies: Our teeth will be cleaned two weeks before leaving the US while visiting Las Vegas over Christmas. The past few years, we both had all the crowns done that we’d needed.  
  • Copies of our living wills and legal designation for medical advocacy in the event of an emergency.
    It was hard to determine how this building crumbled.
A neat stack of medical forms and documents sits on our kitchen table with post-it notes reminding me to complete the above tasks on the appropriate dates.  
This Saturday is the free shredding event. After going through every file folder, cabinet, drawer, and piece of paper in our entire home, we are ready for the event. No words can describe the freedom we feel from unburdening our lives with paper.  
Other than the required medical documents, passports, and travel documents we’ll need to have on hand, we’ll leave a “paper” life behind us instead of relying on the latest technology to provide us access as required. Yeah, for technology! Without it, planning for this adventure would be more of a headache than it already is!”
Another pretty beach scene.
At that time, we posted very few photos. Neither of us was adept at photography and assumed we could take pictures for the blog using our phones. Smartphone cameras weren’t as good then as they are now. It didn’t take long for us to purchase our first, second, and third cameras, each time upgrading.

These days, we’ve seen many great photos taken with smartphones but now, after using a camera for so long (we have two), we have no interest in going back to the phone for photos.

But, as I reread through the above, not having read it in seven years, I was amazed at how little we’ve changed. Plus, unknown to us at the time, our insurance concerns were well-founded as we continued to deal with my recent open-heart surgery issues.  (I won’t get into that here today, as they continue to avoid reimbursing us for the many expenses we paid out-of-pocket).
House on a hill overlooking the sea.
And yes, we continue to avoid having “papers” in our possession, cluttering our luggage and our lifestyle. As for prescriptions, recently, I refilled everything I needed for six months in South Africa.  

When refills are due, I’ll be able to order them through ProgressiveRX, having them shipped to wherever we may be at the time. Hopefully, I have enough meds to last until we arrive in the US and deal with more prompt mail service than some countries.

Of course, since the above dates, we’ve both turned 65 (and now over 65) and could no longer use the insurance we had when we started. Medicare doesn’t pay outside the US, so before that time, we arranged for the insurance we now have that we can’t cancel until we find another option and they pay the claims.  So far, no luck in either situation.
Painted sheep grazing in a field.

Many of the supplies we mentioned in the old post have long since been eliminated from our bags. We don’t have space for many supplies with only one extra (third bag between us). In most countries, we can purchase a close alternative to any items we may need.

Tomorrow, we’ll share photos and stories of yesterday’s sightseeing outing.

May your day be filled with pleasant memories of times past.

Photo from one year ago today, June 20, 2018:

Little Wart Face, whom we later called “Little,” was so warm during yesterday’s 34C (93F) he climbed into the cement pond to cool off! We couldn’t stop laughing. After he exited the pond, he found a shady spot for a nap. For more photos, please click here.

We’ve booked a new location…Quite unusual for us!…

There are many beautiful scenes when driving on the many winding and narrow roads.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
Because Ireland is isolated, many species of animals commonly found in Europe do not live here. This includes moles, polecats, and weasels.”

When we decided how to handle our upcoming schedule for visiting the US, the starting date on November 8 was based on when we’d disembark a transatlantic cruise from Southampton, England, ending in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We booked a flight from there to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where we’ll visit kids, grandkids, and other family members, for two weeks staying in a nearby hotel.

From there, we’ll fly to Nevada, where we’ll spend 10 days staying with my son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, frequently visiting my sister Susan in Las Vegas. While in Nevada, we’ll renew our driver’s licenses and passports.  
Fishing boats in the bay.

With the rental car we’ll have booked in Nevada, we’ll drive to Apache Junction, Arizona (five hours) and spend the month of December near his sisters, Colleen (and husband Gene), Mary Ellen (and husband Eugene), and Margie. They each have a home in a 55-plus RV park where they spend the cold Minnesota winter months.

When we visited the US in summer 2017, we spent time with his sisters while still in Minnesota. However, we’d only visited them at their Apache Junction homes a few times when we stayed in Scottsdale in 2012.

Mr. & Mrs. Sheep

As the youngest in the family, Tom thought it would make sense to spend some quality time with his sisters while they were in the US at the end of the year, and I concurred.

Where we’d stay has been a source of research over the past few weeks. They were a few holiday homes we could consider and plenty of hotels. But, we wanted to spend time with his sisters and their neighbors, who get together each day for happy hour and snacks. 

Two white Connemara ponies were tended to by their owner.

If we were staying in a hotel, we wouldn’t make some food to bring for each evening. If we stayed in a nearby holiday home, we’d have the drive from their location to a house a few miles away. We didn’t want Tom driving after happy hour. On occasion, his family members stayed up very late, too late for me, and he’d have to go me back to our location.

The logical choice was to find a place to live in their RV park, which was merely a short walk away from his sisters. As we began our research, we couldn’t find any rentals for that specific location advertised anywhere online.

As we approached Balleyconneely.
Tom’s sister, Colleen, got to work and found a place for us, not far from their RV sites, within easy walking distance. The rep at the park has confirmed our rental, which will include all utilities, WiFi, TV service, and a complete unit with kitchen and laundry facilities for a little over Euro 1339, US $1500 per month.  

We agreed to book the unit from December 1 through December 31. Once we get settled, we’ll decide where we’d like to be on New Year’s Eve, but we’ll figure that out later. It’s a bit odd that we’ll be staying in a trailer home which is far removed from our usual private homes throughout the world. But, we’ve determined this is the best possible scenario for that particular period.  
Ruins of another castle.

No doubt, we’ll have a great time with his sisters (and husbands) and thoroughly enjoy staying in this unique (to us) type of property. Each time we have an opportunity to try something new, we look forward to the opportunity to expand our horizons.

This morning, we took off for Clifden, visiting a museum for which we’ll share photos and historical facts in the next few days.  
Thanks for stopping by! Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, June 19, 2018:

She turned her head to pose for the camera. For more photos, please click here.

Things we can count on…Ireland…

What a view!

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”

“Hook Lighthouse in Hook Head, County Wexford, is believed to be the oldest working lighthouse in Europe and possibly even the world.”

A year ago today, we wrote a story on “things we can count on” in Marloth Park, South Africa, which prompted me to consider the “things we can count on” since our arrival in Connemara, Ireland 37 days ago.
Curious cow.

Some may assume we haven’t grasped the true nature of Ireland when we haven’t been out as much as usual. A few days ago, one of our readers wrote the following comment with my response below:

Unknown said…
Please don’t let the weather keep you inside….buy a sweatshirt and a raincoat and go….we’ve been in Ireland and Scotland as well as the Baltic countries. In any of these places, the weather can be cool, rainy, windy a lot of days. We don’t let it keep us inside and eat up days of a trip…..go despite the weather. 7:52 am 

Jessica said…

Dear Unknown, we so appreciate your comment. But, the reality for us is two-fold right now. One, I only had two surgeries on both of my legs a short time after cardiac bypass surgery, a little over two months ago and walking on uneven surfaces presents a severe risk of falling. Secondly, for us, this isn’t a “trip.” This is our daily lives, and in our old lives, we seldom went “sightseeing.” We have warm clothing and raincoats, but I must heal more before getting out on slippery surfaces. This is our reality right now, and we strive every day to make the best of it, in good and bad weather. Thank you kindly for your comment. It is greatly appreciated.
Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom
Painted sheep…everywhere!

We certainly understood and appreciated this well-intentioned comment and thanked the reader for taking the time to write to us. Most readers quietly lurk in the background, seldom commenting. I do this when reading most blogs, reading and failing to express any thoughts, suggestions, or comments.

Rarely do we ever receive negative comments from readers? We can only attribute this to our sense of vulnerability expressed here. It’s tough to be negative to those who admit their foibles and shortcomings, which we freely do here day after day. But, when our readers write, we take their comments seriously.

I so agreed with the above writer. Her/his comments would be so true under different circumstances. We decided to respond to the comment with the utmost forthrightness, again being candid about our reality.

She was lounging on a hillside.

Sure, we wish we could be out several days a week exploring. But, when it rains, and I’m not feeling 100%, it’s simply not appealing to bundle up in rainproof clothing and trek through areas with slippery grass, hills, and often steep roads to climb.  

Regardless of this temporary slow-down in our sightseeing over the past four months, we have found many “things we can count on” here in Ireland when we’re only heading out a few times each week to take photos and discover what we can.

However, in the simplicity of life we’re living here in Ireland, we’ve encountered several “things we can count on.”

They include:

  • A stunning view out of most windows in a beautiful house
  • The sunset is breathtaking on clear nights as late as 2200 hours, 10:00 pm
  • It’s still light up until almost 2300 hours, 11:00 pm
  • There has yet to be an uncomfortably warm day
  • Locals are amiable, helpful, and humorous
  • Fish and seafood is readily available, freshly caught from the Atlantic Ocean
  • The “fish guy,” John, stops by each Tuesday afternoon with fantastic options
  • Organic foods are functional in abundance in grocery stores
  • Concern for the environment is a vital part of life in Ireland
  • Ruins are regarded as an essential part of Irish history and are strewn about the countryside in their historic glory
  • The property we’re renting runs on solar power for heating water and warming the house (although electricity and WiFi is provided)
  • WiFi service is dependable and high speed
  • Driving to any venue is an opportunity to see exceptional scenery
  • Animals such as sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, and horses are spotted on every outing
  • Seabirds and other birds are plentiful
  • There are few venomous spiders and other creatures
  • Mosquitos seem to be non-existent, although there may be midges at dawn and dusk (“The Highland midge is a species of small flying insect, found across the Palearctic in upland and lowland areas. In the northwest of Scotland and northern Wales, the Highland midge is usually very prevalent from late spring to late summer,”) during which time one should stay indoors, use repellent and keep windows shut.  (There are no screens on windows).  We’ve yet to use any repellent while here.

It’s a rarity to find any insects indoors other than an occasional harmless spider or isolated fly.

A Connemara mare and her colt.

Well, you get the drift. There are many more “things we can count on” here in Ireland, and the list could go on and on, especially based on one’s preferences.  While we are here for the next 54 days until we depart for the following location.

Have a fantastic day reveling in “things you can count on!”
Photo from one year ago today, June 18, 2018:
“Zebras are very fast-moving animals and can reach speeds of up to 65 kph (40 mph) when galloping across the plains. This is just fast enough to outpace predators such as lions. Foals can run with the herd within a few hours of birth.”  For more details, please click here.